Fab 5 Freddy and his jazz legend influence
We’ve always known that hip-hop owes a lot to jazz in terms of style and feel, but to hear a rap artist directly discuss his jazz influence is a great thing! Jazz Times just posted a great interview with Fab 5 Freddy where the rapper talks about Max Roach’s influence on his music.
One day Max came to visit my dad and asked what I’m into and my dad said ‘oh, he’s into some rapping thing.’ This was before [hip hop] blew up, this was the early 80s when we were having street block parties and what not [in Brooklyn]. I was already making my moves on the arts scene and I was never trying to be a rapper but I had a few rhymes that I could get on the mic at a block party and do my thing. There was a DJ across the street who had built a nice system in his crib so I would go over there and rap a little bit. So my dad was aware of this, unbeknownst to me; my father was never into much contemporary music-with the exception of James Brown.
So one day I came home and my father said Max had been there and “I told him you’ve been doing this rap thing with your man across the street…”Right away I get kind of nervous because I never at that point considered anything music with the developing rap scene. I knew we weren’t playing instruments, we were making sounds and we were energetic and I knew this was a new thing that I dived into full speed ahead, but I didn’t consider it music-as in musicians. My father said ‘Max wants to check it out’, so I said OK. So we arranged a time a week or two later and he came through, on my block on Hancock Street between Lewis and Sumner [Brooklyn]-which is now Marcus Garvey Blvd… which is very appropriate.
Here’s Freddy talking about Max Roach. NOTE: There’s a little bit of language in this video, so may not be 100% clean.