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October 30, 2023

What Does Artist Cey Adams Have to Say?

By: Elizabeth McQueen

Confucius and Fresh interview hip-hop art legend Cey Adams, former creative director for Def Jam who designed album covers for everyone from Run-DMC to Jay-Z. They talk about his early days in hip-hop, what it’s been like to watch the genre evolve and grow, and his new show “Combinations” at the West Chelsea Contemporary in Austin.

You’ll learn Hip-Hop Facts about Jay-Z’s first appearance on television, Jermaine Jackson’s diss song to his younger brother Michael, and more.

Fresh states the Unpopular Opinion that the culture put unrealistic artistic expectations on Bobby Shmurda after he got out of jail.

Confucius talks about the recently discovered flesh-eating parasite in Texas, the new speaker of the House, and Bob Mendez’s legal woes in Confucius Reads the News.

The full transcript of this episode of The Breaks is available on the KUT & KUTX Studio website. The transcript is also available as subtitles or captions on some podcast apps.

Confucius I’m Confucius and you are now listening to the Breaks podcast. These are highlights from our Saturday night hip-hop show on KUTX 98.9 in Austin, Texas. My co-host, Fresh and I are Native Austinites, And we love talking hip-hop. Texans, hip-hop, hip-hop history, and what’s going on right now. And just so you know, the opinions expressed in this podcast are our own and do not necessarily reflect the position of KUTX, Texas.

Confucius Well, yes, we are the Breaks. I am Confuicius.

Fresh And I’m Fresh.

Confucius Normally we do like, we do like do the whole intro thing.And we’re still gonna do it  the news unpopular opinion, hip hop facts. But for this show and this 50th anniversary of hip hop, we have a special special guest, a person who is a part of a huge amount of history of hip hop.

Fresh Yes, I dare I would say pioneer.

Confucius I would. I would dare it. He is a pioneer in the studio with us right now. We have Cey, Adams.

Fresh We do mean the great Cey Adams.

Confucius Say hello to the people.

Cey Adams Hi. I’m just digging it man

Cey Adams Just diggin it, man. You know, the idea that we’re even here? We got through the pandemic, at least round four or whatever we’re at now. And I’m excited to be on the show and talk about hip hop.

Confucius Yeah, you. If you don’t know if you guys know who this person is. There’s many of logo’s medium graphic designs.

Fresh Many a artwork for great artists.

Confucius That you’ve seen and might not have known it was him. But that’s why we’re here to have that conversation. So just a brief just a brief description of who you are, what you’ve done for the five people out there who don’t know.

Cey Adams Well, my name is Cey Adams, and I’m from New York City. I am. I would say from the if not the first generation of hip hop. Definitely the second, because I sort of place the first as folks that came up in the seventies and I came up in the eighties. So to me, I think of myself as sort of the second generation because I’m not as old as Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa and those folks and Grandmaster Flash, but I’m right behind them. And so I spent my teenage years as a graffiti artist and then my twenties as an a graphic artist, then an art director, and then the creative director of Def Jam Recordings. And I have worked with everyone from Run-D.M.C. to Jay-Z and a lot of folks in between, and we’ll talk about all of that. But right now, I’m here in Austin because I’m celebrating my 40th anniversary as a working artist, and I have a brand new show at West Chelsea Contemporary Gallery here in Austin. And I’m here to talk about my life, my career, and some of my famous friends. So let’s jump into it.

Fresh Let’s get into it man. 50 years of hip hop, as you say. You will say you are second generation. So that would mean you you saw the inception or were around for the inception of hip hop from the Kool Herc Party at the community center to everything else that forms after that, from the gri to the graffiti artists to B boy and B girl, and to the DJ to what eventually becomes the emcee. How does it feel to watch hip hop literally grow from an infant to now 50 years? Like, did you ever think they like.

Confucius Hip-hop  would take it this far.

Fresh This way all.

Fresh Like everything that it would like we would take it this far, like going from park jams to like Jay-Z being and  headlining Glastonbury.

Cey Adams Well. Well, no, but to be able to sit in this chair next to you and to even acknowledge all the people that came before me, I was a little kid and to to witness it with my own eyes, you know, it’s easy to look back and say it was gigantic. But when you’re a teenager, everything’s exciting because there’s nothing to compare it to. Very true. And that’s what it was like for me. I had I’m from Queens, New York. So for your listeners here in Austin that don’t know, that’s where Run-D.M.C. comes from. That’s where L.L. Cool J comes from. That’s where Eric B and Rakim come from. Tribe Called Quest, de La Soul, Jarule 50 Cent, all of these folks, I mean, certainly, you know, Public Enemy and all the rest of them, they’re from Long Island. It’s a little bit further out, but it’s still all Queens adjacent. And I would have to trek on a subway train for the better part of 2 hours to get to the Bronx, to be at those parties that Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc were throwing. But. Traveling was nothing to me. I would go anywhere to be in those spaces and it was just so much fun. But again, when you’re a teenager, everything’s great. .

Confucius It is true. Last week we were talking about hip hop films and we were talking about Belly to Belly to us, which is, you know, great film. You were in what some would argue. Are you a seminal hip hop film, Style Wars documentary? What was it like being in that also deejay Kay Slay was in it as well.

Fresh Than it was.

Cey Adams True? Well, let’s start by saying first, I designed the album cover for Belly, and I remember it vividly because it was, I think, one of the first times that DMX had done a film.

Confucius Yeah.

Cey Adams And when you come to my exhibition, you’ll see that album cover on display. But back to Style Wars, that was, I think, one of the first times that I remember cameras being on us. And this is 1983, I think. And what I remember the most was that adults were paying attention to what we were doing, because prior to that, even when we would go to clubs like the Roxy, it was just us doing us. It wasn’t a whole lot of activity centered around what adults think. We were just doing our thing. And a lot of that comes from really sort of having to make your way on your own. And often times I say that adults weren’t checkin for us. So we had to create our own literally our own culture, you know, whether it was art, whether it was dance or whether it was music. Hip hop had to take over pop music to get recognized. That’s the only reason Madison Avenue’s woke up because we dominated the charts. And it’s the same thing with graffiti and street art. Until Jean-Michel Basquiat’s career takes off. People aren’t really paying that much attention. And so we did our own thing.

Fresh Makes sense. Makes sense. You bring up Basquiat, and I know you were around and doing your art st out of Basquiat and Keith Haring. Did you ever think they’re like the influence of what they were doing in what you were doing in other artists in that same sphere would grow to kind of. Run art in like art today. Like you. Like you say I had to take over. Did you ever think they like what you were doing? Will kind of like, be the staple and really go for.

Cey Adams No, you know, it’s unimaginable to think of the level of success that these folks are experiencing, even if they’re not alive. It’s unimaginable. But if you’re a teenager, you know, if you can even think in thousands, that’s a lot. And so forget. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even a million like back in the day, the idea of $1,000,000 like you could like 100 people could live off that forever.

Cey Adams Yeah.

Cey Adams You know, it’s like I was telling somebody this just the other day that if you got something to eat and something to drink in exchange for your art back in the eighties, that felt like a fair trade. It wasn’t until much, much later when all of this started to happen.

Cey Adams At, you know, with your career. So you’re front and center for the rise of hip hop in the Mecca, the birthplace of it. You’re at Def Jam, you meet Ad-Rock of Beastie Boys. What was it like to see the inception of Def Jam all the way up until Def Jam becomes the seminal hip hop label in all the world?

Fresh Stole my question.

Cey Adams Well, for the record, I met the Beastie Boys before Def Jam started. Yeah, they were a part of Rush Artist Management, and that was run by Russell Simmons. And this is years before he and Rick Rubin meet and form Def Jam. And so, you know, just to frame it for your listeners, it’s really like you and your friends just doing your thing and you do a little bit at a time. These guys would get in a van and they’d drive to, you know, tri state area. They drive to Connecticut, Philly, New Jersey to do shows. And if we got enough money to buy food for the whole crew and a couple of beers or whatever it is, that was a good night because you’re just hanging out with your friends and if you got gas to get back and forth, that was what it was about. It wasn’t anything beyond that. You’re trying to build a base and we live in this time now where we use all these buzzwords, but that’s what the grind truly was, to get in a van and drive for 2 hours to make $35 or whatever it is that that’s the definition of hustling. Yeah.

Confucius LyorCohen kind of told a similar story. I was watching Dream Champs about the same thing, like just just being in a van and just, just, just trying to make something of nothing at a time when you didn’t realize, like, Look, we don’t know where this is going. We just know it feels good and we just feel like we should be doing it, that.

Cey Adams There’s no such thing as the future, that to think about what’s going to happen five, ten, 15, 20 years into the future was just unimaginable because you could not measure it based on what was happening in R&B, pop and rock and roll because it was a different animal altogether. And that’s why I keep referencing adults, because when I remember my my brothers and my friends and I crammed into my room and we’re playing early hip hop like the treacherous three and Spoony G and Lovebug Starski and all these folks. My mother would just always say, Turn that boom, boom, boom, boom stuff down, and she didn’t want to hear it. She had Ella Fitzgerald, and she was happy, Right? But to them, it was just plain old noise and it was always loud.

Cey Adams I mean, that was uncharted territory. So it’s just that’s just wild to think because like, even now us being, you know, fans of hip hop. We’re used to it just being this massive thing on all places. So y’all just like, hey, we just this just sounds good to us. We don’t we don’t know where this is going. So it’s dope.

Fresh 40 years of a career of professionally doing art. Like you said, you’ve gone from being an art director. You were a graffiti artist. You’ve done you’ve been creative director at Def Jam. What is, I guess, one of the greatest moments that you’ve had or that you feel like you’ve had in your career? One of those moments that made you step back and say, Wow, like this is really my life.

Cey Adams Sitting in this chair. Yeah. I can’t emphasize it enough that if you can tell somebody about a memory, that means you’re still here. People you know, and I don’t mean to be that guy, but you know, a buddy of mine, Tracy 168, who’s the definition of a pioneer, he passed away the other day, and as an homage to him, I have a piece in the show titled Wild Style. I did that piece a month ago, maybe even a month and a half ago in New York. That’s how much I love this guy. And I want people to understand who we are and where we come from. And now he’s gone. And I’m I feel proud that I’m honoring folks in real time. We often hear people say, oh, give me, you know, so-and-so, the flowers, blah, blah, blah. That is the nature of how I roll because I know where I come from. And so to me, my greatest moment is this moment because the history has been documented and we can go back and listen to the records. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of these album covers to point to. And, you know, thank goodness for, you know, Google. You can research a lot of this stuff, but the greatest moment is where you are right now, because we make money, we spend money. We you know, we invest, we lose all these different things. You know, you eat great meals, you get to travel, you meet great people. The only thing that matters is the memory. Like I was telling you guys before we went on the air that we had this celebration in Los Angeles last week for my friend Lyor Cohen. And it was a fundraiser for City of Hope. And the whole idea is to educate people about the, you know, the cancer rate of black and brown people and to, you know, encourage people to get tested. And everybody came out. Everybody from Slick Rick to Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Diddy, Ludacris, it just went on and on. Swizz Beatz and T.I., everybody. And that’s how important this time is to us right now. This is our moment to celebrate each other. And I don’t need a lot of reason to celebrate. Understand? I know who I am. I know where I come from. I know what I’ve seen. And the greatest moment I’ve ever seen is this one looking at the two of you with white T-shirts on.

Cey Adams And I mean, this is a you know, we’ve interviewed a lot of people. I would say this is this means so much to us just because we’re children of hip hop, like, you know, all we know is hip hop. We don’t know what time before it. And so to sit here with somebody who was almost like a modern day Picasso is is beyond honor and privilege. Let’s talk about combinations. The thing I plan on going to numerous times, what what how did this come about?

Cey Adams So it’s easy. Like I said, for me, everything is celebration, you know? You know, hats off to my brother, Dave Chappelle. He’s got a show right now. He’s on the road and his tour is called It’s a Celebration. People get it. We’re at the 50th mark of hip. And I wanted to do this show. That was a celebration of all things that I love, and that’s my friends. I wanted to do an exhibition that was a combination of my work, my friends work. I wanted to celebrate photographers. I wanted to bring all these things together. My work in the past when I was a kid was graffiti based. Then I did album design for a lot of years, and now I’m making fine art using collage materials. And this show is about all of those things. It’s not one or the other. It’s a combination of everything. And I think it’s the perfect time to tie in all of these messages. The Black Lives Matter Movement 2.0 happened during the pandemic, and now we all know that we have to see people for who they say they are, not for who we think they are. And these are all messages that I incorporate into my work, because at this point in time, the only thing that we need is more love. The end, this war is going on and we don’t always have all of the resources to stop these things, but we can always keep putting positive energy out into the universe that we have control over. And as an artist, I think it’s it’s my job to constantly remind people that we can do it. We just have to care about each other more. And I’ve gotten an opportunity to see so many beautiful things traveling around the world with Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. And the one thing that I’ve learned is that people are not that different. There might be language barriers, but everybody’s laugh sounds the same. And that’s really all that there is.

Cey Adams You mentioned, David, one of my questions that were curious to Dave convince you to come down here to do this, because Dave comes down here a lot in black comedy, Black Man, Austin’s the place. You do exhibit it?

Cey Adams No, I mean, he’s my buddy and he just celebrated his 50th birthday, and it’s coinciding with the 50th anniversary of hip hop. And we just go back. I didn’t, you know, until recently do the math on how long it’s been. But I designed the Chappelle logo in Man, like in 2000 or something. That was 23 years ago. And we’re still buddies to this day. And I flew to Chicago a couple of weeks ago and I saw him and I surprised him with this beautiful piece of art. Thanks to my friends at the United Center, he was doing a three night residency there. And when he came into the dressing room and he just came off stage and, you know, Carmen is trailing him and Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa and, you know, all of these other folks. And he just broke down. He just broke down because we’ve known each other that long. And I just told him, I said, Man, you’ve been so good to me. And it’s the least that I could do to show you some love, because it’s hard to maintain a relationship with people in show business for a long time.

Fresh With all of that said, let everybody know one more time where and when combinations will be taking place and happening.

Cey Adams Well, it’s at the West Chelsea Contemporary in Austin, 1009 West sixth Street. And you can find them on Instagram at WCC, dot A.R.T. or on their Web site at. W w. W. Dot w. C. C. Dot a r.

Confucius T in the game get we gotCey Adams here. I have to ask is to do one. Do you still do album covers and do you have like new artists walk up to you like, Hey man, you want to do my cover? You’re like, Who are you?

Confucius No, you know.

Confucius I, I made it a point that. There’s nothing that I’m going to do that’s going to be better than what I’ve already done. I think the last album cover I did was for Vic Mensa, and I made an exception because I loved his energy and he reminded me of the artists that I came up with in the eighties and he requested me. He really did his homework and he researched who the great producers were. And when I flew out to L.A. to sit down with him, I had never heard of him before. I didn’t know he was on the come up and all of this. I just knew that if he did his homework, I was down to work with him. And like I said, a couple of weeks ago, I’m sitting in the audience waiting to surprise my friend with a gift. And he jumps up on stage and I think, Oh, right, Chicago.

Confucius And.

Confucius All of these, you know, Chicago icons are just doing their thing. But I I’ve done as many album covers as I need to do. The only way I would make an exception if it was for one of the folks that I’d worked with in the past.

Fresh I got to make sense.

Confucius That makes sense. Well, thank you so much for coming through, man.

Fresh Thank you so much. This was an extreme Pleasure.

Confucius Honor and will. It will be. We’ll be there. I will be there, definitely. So.

Fresh Yeah, I got to check this out.

Confucius Well, it’s great talking to you guys. I have to tell you, it it takes me back doing shows like this because you go back to the essence. And right now, we’re in celebration mode. Run-D.M.C. is celebrating their 40th anniversary, and I had the honor of seeing those guys a couple of weeks ago, and they headlined at Yankee Stadium. Forget about it. Talk about Gigantic. And who better than Run-D.M.C.? Who better.

Confucius Like that? Yeah, we’ve talked about on the show, too, by Legacy and how now they’re just like, like new artists kind of having a hard time selling tickets. But legacy accidents like LL Cool J, who’s Rock the Bells tour selling out.

Confucius Yeah, and good for them. They deserve it because these folks are still doing it at a very high level. And that’s the beauty of who we are and where we come from. All we need is the stage or the canvas or the theater. We know how to do our thing and we have all this knowledge to pass along to young people and. That’s what it’s all about. The rock and roll boys learned this years ago, and now it’s time for hip hop to take that same model and really push it because people in their forties and fifties, they buy concert tickets, too.

Confucius Oh, yeah, they do. I know. I want to go to Rock Bellls. But once again, thank you for coming out.

Fresh Thank you.

Confucius Thank you. Thank you.

Fresh And now Let’s get into hip hop facts, man.

Confucius Oh, yeah.

Fresh Hip hop fact in hip hop. We got some great facts. Oh, well, you’re the big man.

Confucius I mean, we just interviewed,Cey  Adams, and he’s a walking hip hop act.

Fresh Yes, but.

Confucius I mean, we got some good ones.

Fresh We got even more for you.

Confucius I don’t know. Do you want to go first? Do you want to?

Fresh Now you go first. You go for some suspense.

Confucius Okay. Yeah, because I don’t think I can beat what you got.

Confucius Uh.

Confucius I’m afraid I just beat suspense. So. Jay-Z, right? Yes. He just did an interview with Gayle King, which is pretty good interview. I think Gayle King is really good to interview.

Fresh I like Gayle King when she does her interview, the little one on one interview.

Confucius II’m about to say, ain’t nothing beating R Kelly

Confucius “I don’t know how to hogtie nobody”

Confucius Anyway, “this camera on me?” But Jay-Z’s first television appearance was on Rap City with Big Daddy Kane.

Confucius Yes, it was. I had that written down.

Confucius I wonder why you didn’t get to that Because, I mean, you know what told me about the rap city documentary

Fresh  What I handn’t finished the documentary I haven’t seen it, but I finished it the other day and.

Confucius Yeah, yeah, Big Daddy Kane, was do an interview. Jay-Z would sit next to him and the host of rap city at the time and say, you know, this guy with you want to freestyle Jay-Z.

Fresh And freestyle on.

Confucius Like 90 or.

Fresh Something. Yeah that was somewhere around like 90, 91.  maybe. Yeah.

Confucius Fast rappin Jay-Z, He’s never not interesting.

Fresh Yes, yes, yes. My first hip hop take. Let’s get let’s get right into it, man.

Confucius You are you could start off with a bang. Okay.

Confucius You know what? You know what you right.

Fresh Let me. Let me. Let me. Yeah. Let me build a little more suspense for that one, Maybe lets. Kind of like the coup de gras of hip hop facts. But I have a hip hop fact related to Michael Jackson.

Confucius Oh.

Fresh When Jermaine Dupri was working on 8701 with Usher. Michael Jackson was in the studio withTrackmasters, working with Mike, working on Invincible. Invincible, right?

Confucius Yeah, that’s right.

Fresh Yeah. Working with working on the Invincible album. And Jermaine Dupri says he gets a call from Trackmasters and they were like, Yo, man, what’s up, man? Like, what? What you working on over here with Michael Jackson? We got something.

Confucius Ask about our publishing.

Fresh They were like, we working on a song with Michael Jackson is going to kill whatever it is that y’all are working on in the studio. And Jermaine was like, Well, I’m over here with Usher, and that’s cool. And he’s a Trackmasters that’s put him on speaker and Trackmasters was like, You’re my Jermaine Dupri. And I’m just telling him like, we’re going to kill whatever any of the Jo, whatever it is that they working on over there. And Michael Jackson replies, We who? Who is it? Who am I talking to? And Jermaine said he took great offence to it, like, Yo, I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan. He don’t know who I am and it is at this. So I kind of get it like because Jermaine is Jermaine.

Confucius He wasn’t with Janet at the time.

Fresh Either, right? No, this was not this was well before you go.

Confucius Okay.

Confucius That woudl be messed up if he was with, Janet and  Michael was like who was that again?

Fresh A a Jermaine was like, well, you know what? I’m over here, Will Usher. And we just recorded something that is going to be bigger than whatever it is that your record in are working on over there. The song that they happened to be recording that day was You Got It Bad and Jermaine Dupri says, you can just go look it. You can go look it up and see which which song was a bigger song, which we You Got it Bad and You Rocked My World was the song that they were working on at the time. And you look it up. You Got it Bad is slightly A bigger song that you rock my world.

Confucius So I got I got to not defend that so much to defend Michael. Just to defend. To defend the situation. The reason why Michael’s Invincible album wasn’t bigger is because he got into it with Sony, Tommy Mottola. So there’s only one video from that

Fresh And it was You Rock My World.

Confucius And after that, Michael was like, I want anything to do with this album I don’t think he wants to perform any of those songs

Fresh So he probably just that one song

Confucius That.

Confucius It’s.

Confucius Not the best. It’s not a fair comparison. But if I’d made it, I’m bragging.

Fresh A little, bragging.

Confucius It. They both they both came out. You had your chance. I got nothing to do with that. And 8701  was the big album? Okay, my second fact. Yeah, I’m gonna do this one. Let me do this one. Uh, Milli Vanilli.

Confucius You don’t know who Milli Vanilli.

Fresh Girl you know it’s true.

Confucius True. Ooh, ooh, ooh.

Confucius I love you about that song. There’s a rap at the  beginning of that song, right? Mm hmm. Okay, so let me give you me paraphrase. Milli Vanilli was a group that came out in early nineties. They were huge. Sold like 12 million copies of their first album

Fresh Grammys.

Confucius Won Grammys, which is why they felt that was the beginning of the end for them. But they were lip synching. It was two.

Fresh Guys. It was not them performing their songs.

Confucius Oh, no, it was it was a whole other group of people. The person that performed the rap on that song, obviouslynot the two you see in the video, it’s a guy named Charles Shaw who is from Houston.

Confucius Well, look at that.

Confucius And got a call from Milli Vanilli’s producer and you know, who’s trying to incorporate some hip hop into this new thing he was working on and that but he was only on that song because he eventually because he didn’t feel like he was getting compensated. Right. I bet that song started kind of run his mouth and got blackballed. He’s fine now. But at the time, you know, the blues was like, You keep your mouth shut, boy.

Confucius I mean.

Fresh I mean, Texas. Stand up, man. Yeah, man. You just be making history out here.

Confucius Yeah, man. But yeah. So. Yeah, I.

Fresh Never knew that.

Confucius Milli Vanilli had some origins in Houston.

Fresh I never knew that. Never knew that. Look at that. They learn something new every day. All right, My second fact. My second fact. I don’t know if we done this before, but Don Cannon’s producer tag

Confucius You  have done this.

Fresh We have. Yeah, we’ve done now.

Confucius Yeah, man, you did that.

Fresh Oh, okay. Well, never mind. That’s skipped that’s skipped that’s skipped. I? Got to take it back. Let’s take it to New York. Let’s take it to New York. So I don’t know if anybody remembers Billy Bathgate, but I remember him. I can’t think of the name of the song, but I remember being on a video game or X-Box. But Billy Bathgate and you Juelz Santana were once both part of a group called Draft Picks. Never came out.

Confucius Oh, he’s the other guy that I knew was Juelz Santana was in Draft Picks

Fresh He’s the other guy in Draft Picks. But I don’t think anything like, ever officially really came out with them. But they were thing that was trying to happen and it just didn’t work. But Jeulz, Santana ends up being signed by Cameroon, being on diplomats Def Jam Rockefella and becoming big thing and now his teeth falls out. Is it truth, though.

Confucius As well? That’s they got nothing.

Confucius To do with it being in Draft Picks his

Confucius teeh falling out.

Confucius That man got dentures let him make it?

Confucius Oh, yeah.

Confucius Well, you hear that old? He got dentures.

Confucius On.

Fresh The show this week, man.

Confucius He wasn’t ready. Okay. Okay. My final fact, which I think is a good one, cause even I was perplexed at this. So for context, was Lil Wayne from New Orleans. You know, who is famed football team is Green Bay. Do you know.

Fresh Why? No, I’ve yet to figure that out.

Confucius I figured it out. So he was on Jimmy Fallon with 2 Chainz. We have an album coming out. Holly Groove. No Colly Grove. Colly Grove, right? And Jimmy Fallon asked him, what is one of the most, you know, important, like biggest things you’ve done in your career and in little ways, like right out of the tunnel with the Green Bay Packers for the beginning of this NFL football season. And Jimmy Fallon was like, wait, you’re from New Orleans? Why do you like Green Bay? And I’m like, finally, the answer to this lifelong question Why are you a Green Bay Packers fan? And you from New Orleans apparently went a little way with the kid. Green Bay won the Super Bowl in New Orleans in 96, and his dad went to that game and brought back a bunch of Green Bay Packers memorabilia. And ever since then, little Wayne is like the Green Bay Packers.

Confucius I mean, I get it. I rock

Fresh with it I’m not mad at it?

Confucius I bet. I just never knew why.

Fresh I never knew. I always thought it was weird because people from New Orleans are really prideful. Yeah, Really? Yeah, They really big on the Saints in the Who Dat Nation and everything. So I just was always baffled as to why. But I mean, everybody got a reason why they have their favorite teams. Their favorite.

Confucius Teams. Yeah, but that’s because yeah, they played the Super Bowl in New Orleans and won.

Fresh I rock with that, I rock with that.

Confucius So that’s why he’s the Green Bay Packers.

Fresh So I mean everybody get they reasons man. Yeah I cn’t be mad at it.

Confucius It Yeah I like the Eagles I’m not from Philly so.

Fresh I like the Knicks.

Confucius Yeah, you like the Eagles as well. But I could take that back.

Confucius Hey, hey, don’t throw the team on me. I really.

Confucius Don’t. You want to be on the winning side? We are five and one.

Confucius All right.

Fresh And lastly, but certainly not least, the coup de gras of hip hop facts.

Confucius This we brought it basically by fact of the month

Fresh So apparently, apparently TLC’s first like official appearance on the song is on a Jermaine Jackson song in which Babyface andLeft Eye wrote that in turns up being Jermaine’s diss song to his brother Michael Jackson. I never knew this existed. I am still shocked that it’s out there. That Michael didn’t scrub this everywhere on every part of the Internet. But yes, Jermaine Jackson had a diss record to his brother, Michael. I don’t I think this happened before Michael took his. Took Teddy Riley from working on his. It was before that.

Confucius So do you mind if I read some of the lyrics from this?

Fresh Go ahead. Please do. Please do.

Confucius Once You were made. You changed your shade. Was your color wrong? First? It ain’t about you taking my pie. You’ve been taken for a long time. You forgot about where you started from. You only care about what you want. Don’t care about how it’s done. You only think about you. Your throne, be it right or being wrong. Who wrote that song? Fresh.

Fresh Baby Lisa Left Eye Lopez  of TLC. Jermaine Dupri was signed to LaFace at one point. And he’s.

Confucius Jermaine.

Fresh Jackson. Jermaine Jackson, I’m sorry. Jermaine Jackson was signed to LaFace at one point in his career. So this was kind of like his resurgence into like the public eye because, I mean, everybody I won’t say everybody, but most people know Daddy’s home. From Jermaine Dupri. And I think that was like the eighties. I think that’s the only song anybody knows from Jermaine Dupri.

Confucius I think the biggest song outside of Janet and Michael is probably Centipede by Rebbi’s Yeah, I Forgot Daddy’s Home Existence.

Fresh I know Daddy’s home. I know Daddy Homes.

Confucius Michael wrote Centipede.

Fresh I think anybody ever should. Jackson But yeah, Jermaine clearly had some turmoil and.

Confucius Clearly.

Fresh Some turmoil and some animosity toward his younger brother, his younger superstar brother. And he voiced it in that song.

Confucius Janet was Big  at that time he didn’t say nothing about, Janet.

Fresh Now, now, now, granted, the song wasn’t written to be a diss sone like Babyface Left Eye. I did not write it to be a song, but Jermaine clearly changed some things in that record and it became the lines that Confucius

Confucius read about the song.

Confucius Did he try to, like, say it was like leaked or something?

Fresh Yeah, he tried to say it was leaked. Like he didn’t know it was out there. I But you wrote it. But you sung it though. Performed.

Confucius Yeah. Because I put a I looked up the article about it, they came out with the song, dropped it, he wrote an article, he said like, Oh yeah, it leaked. But then also, I mean, what I said, like, you might as well just stood it out.

Confucius It true.

Confucius But I heard my brother eight months. This is like early nineties Michael I mean most people to hear from an eight month.

Fresh Signee did you know Tito son had his three sons had a short lived reality show

Confucius  No, I know the Jacksons had a show, but I watched since Michael passed.

Fresh I watched the first two episodes. And boy, Them Jacksons is a wild family again.

Confucius They’re from Gary Indiana man.

Confucius Janet is barely from Gary. You Remember that? She don’t remeber being in Gary.

Confucius All right, man.

Confucius Is Michael Jackson diss son? Michael Jackson said that nobody will ever remember the fact you did it. They at that Jackson five, you play with me.

Fresh And I think we spoke we spoke about it before the hip hop fact. Michael goes on to take Teddy Riley from Jermaine Jackson producing on the album and Teddy Rileys, a producing Dangerous was becomes another hit album for Michael.

Confucius Which I never put the two together because if you think about it, Jermaine wasat LaFace, which automatically comes to Babyface, L.A. Reid, who wrote a lot of songs. He was working with Teddy Riley. He was basically trying to recreate that new Jack swing.

Fresh Yeah, he was. He was trying to.

Confucius Michael said, So you thought you ain’t recreating nothing.

Fresh Oh, you want to diss

Confucius I got you.

Fresh Then shouted him out at the Grammys.

Confucius That makes it even more ominous, more sinister and petty how that song Jermaine?. See these Grammys that you’ll never get?

Confucius That’s not exactly what it is, what it sounded like. But he shouted.

Fresh Them out when he won his Grammys.

Confucius For.

Confucius It. Next time keep your damn mouth shut Jermaine. Talk about his skin color. But Michael said, bot nobdy’ll ever hear this as this song again.

Fresh Oh, the Jacksons are by far one of the prettiest celebrity families, probably one of the greatest families on the face of this earth. We’re taking a quick break. Be right back.

Confucius Now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for Unopular Opinion. Fresh with fresh himself. A fresh It’s one of them days

Fresh Jay-Z has a lyric in a song for the life of me. I can’t remember the name of the song, but the lyric goes, I’ll Bobby Shmurda. Anybody you heard of? Now. Be honest, which I don’t know exactly what that means. I don’t know if that means I will get you locked up or I’m a shoot you. don’t really know. But. Oh, it got me thinking about Bobby Shmurda. And I saw someone on Tik Tok bring up Bobby Shmurda. And how? Before his before his release from prison. We kind of all had these high hopes and expectations for Bobby Shmurda when it came to the music. He kind of went in prison on a High he was signed Epic Records. He went in because the state of New York, wanted to paint him as this big time gang leader.

Confucius Yeah, he was like 17.

Fresh He was like 17 in his big time gang leader. And his song, his hit single Hot, kind of proclaimed that all of these people he knew from where he were from his neighborhood and his quote unquote, gang had committed all of these atrocities throughout the city of New York. So we all were like, yeah. And he was kind of and he was celebrated for it. Like, no, you know what? I would take this amount of time. So my guy, Rowdy can had the same amount of time. And we can get out around the same amount of time. Very stand up ish to the hip hop community for somebody coming out of the streets.

Confucius Yeah, cause he was Rowdy Had more time.

Fresh You know, Rowdy. I think it was facing, like, originally facing like 12 or something like that.

Confucius And they. Yeah. Bobby had less time. Had he told? Yeah.

Fresh He cooperated. Right. Rowdy would’ve got to 12 and Bobby would’ve got to seven and been now he was like, Nah, I’m not doing it. I’m, I take this way or that way. Me and my guy have the same time and he can have the same time and we can get out around the same time. Rowdy ends up getting out of a thing like months, a few months when.

Confucius We few months.

Fresh Before Bobby and then Bobby gets out.

Confucius I don’t only see Rowdy and Bobby together, by the way.

Fresh I don’t even.

Confucius Know.

Confucius And that’s a whole of I don’t know if that’s.

Fresh I don’t either. But Bobby eventually gets out. Bobby’s murder eventually is released, and it is celebrated around the hip hop community. Yes.

Confucius All on Vlad TV.

Fresh The prodigal son, hip hop son. Bobby’s murder is now free from jail. And my unpopular Petey is. We had two big expectations for Bobby Shmurda. And now I know you all are going to be able to talk.

Confucius But we still do. He’s doo doo doo doo doo. And you know, means to do to do what he had to do. So he’s got to come home to his.

Fresh Managed to come home. Yes, he did. I will never knock that. That is great, Bobby. I honestly don’t know if I would do the same thing.

Confucius I doing a crime with you? Jesus.

Fresh Please don’t.

Confucius No.

Fresh Oh. But anyway. I think everybody was expecting Bobby to pick up where he left off with hot air and like computers and all of this and the music he did have out when he upon being incarcerated before it dropped him. I think everybody was hoping they’re like, Yo, he’s just going to pick up where he left off. He’s still young. He’s still do what he can do to really have a career. And that was the hope. And he still does have a career. I won’t say he does not have career, but I think the expectations were just a tad bit too high. And when I say that, I mean. Let’s just be honest. Bobby’s murder didn’t put out the most prolific music when he before being incarcerated. And I think everybody thought he was going to come out and just go crazy musically and, excuse me, go crazy musically and just start just wrapping his behind off. And he would come out and just make the most prolific music. Yeah, but he wasn’t really doing it before he went in his song. Bobby wasn’t lying. It was hard. Trust me, I like it. But it wasn’t like the most lyrical and like the best written song that we had ever heard from a rapper. Hot wasn’t even that it was. They were catchy tunes that we liked and that ended up going viral. And I think when he came out, people thought, we like the success of like a young M, who most people, even I say, kind of leaned into what Bobby the style body really doing and kind of it was kind of a precursor to the New York drill sound that it confused to say is there. And when I think about it and I think everybody thought Bobby was just going to come in and just jump on there and then go, especially with like the death of a pop smoke, who was supposed to be New York’s next big superstar in rap and his he had his on his untimely death. Okay. So I think people were looking for Bobby to kind of fill that void. And Bobby came out. Bobby came out with a whole different mindset in a whole different, I would say different Sound of Music. I think it was still some drill elements in there, but nobody expected Bobby to come out upbeat and dancing, and that kind of rubbed people the wrong way. They’re like, Yo, music is trash, man. He just won’t stop dancing. Why? He always smiling, man. He’s just why this is so happy. And Bobby had to tell people like, I was locked up for seven years. I was locked up in prison, not county jail. I was locked up in prison for seven years. I mean, I was in there fighting for my life for seven years. And now I’m out and know he was going to not know you.

Confucius You. I think that’s wide open, man.

Fresh Well, Bobby was like, Yo, I thought about some things while in there, and now I am out with a whole new mindset and I’m happy. Like, my life is happy, I’m out, I’m good. I got money. My guy, my guy is out. He got out before me. He’s good. He got money in his pocket. We are here with the big jewelry diamond shining. My mom’s is good. I’m good. Like Bobby was Like, I’ve been in and out of lockup since I was a child, like he was. So our interview where he was saying, like, you know, the first time he had ever been locked up was, like, 12 in, like, juvenile, like detention in a juvenile detention center. And he was like he was in and out of that through the age of 18. Like then he got this case locked up again. So it was like, Yo. I’m finally in a space where I don’t ever want to be locked up again. And I’m happy where my life is right now. And it’s going to reflect that in the music. And that’s why I think we had these expectations on Bobby’s murder, is because I think we expected him to like I it come in field his voice that I think people felt like New York was missing and they were looking for him to be kind of the savior for New York rap and come back in and be right back with the grimy street raps and just jump right into the New York drill scene and take it over. And Bobby was like, Anyone I want to do, Borough, I’m happy. I’m dancing. We all see me. I’m going to be smiling. I’m going to be wearing my jewelry and I’m going to be dancing and I’m going to be around these rich white people that want to have me around you. And I just think we set a bar high. When I say we. I mean the hip hop community. We set this bar high for Bobby that Bobby probably wasn’t ever going to reach, and we probably were not going to be pleased with what Bobby wanted to do for Bobby. We had expectations of what Bobby should have done and what the music he should have been making coming out, and clearly they would. Bobby Shmurda wanted to do. Now, Rudy, on the other hand, he jumped right back to it. But Bobby is.

Confucius Unfortunately.

Fresh Bobby. I mean, I’ve been locked up for the last seven years of my life. I’m out, I’m good. I feel good. I had I sat down for seven years and had time to reflect on my life. And I that’s not what I want to do anymore. So Bobby’s murder is an example of you can’t expect an artist to live up to your expectations because they are your expectations. An artist is always going to do what an artist feels like. They want to do what is best for them. And that is my unpopular opinion.

Confucius You know, pop opinions. That artist can do what’s best for them, that we.

Fresh Know what we set up. We say expectations are a little too high for Bobby Smart upon release.

Confucius Which is interesting. I don’t think you’re wrong. I don’t disagree with this unpopular opinion. This week.

Fresh I thought I would get a little.

Confucius Pushback.

Confucius Oh, no. I think it’s interesting that people did have that expectation. Well, I do feel like I think people were more excited about him getting out than the music in a sense. I mean, people were excited about the music.

Fresh I get that and I can see that.

Confucius But for me, it was just funny because he was only had one song, Hey, like he went in with like three albums and like, you know, like, and.

Fresh People thought he was going to come out and just kill it. And I was like, What? He really only had one hit.

Confucius Like, Yeah, So and he was young and so and it’s also kind of messed up to say we did you in the studio making it same type music before. He’s like that because got me in trouble.

Fresh He got me locked up for seven years and now I’m going to go back.

Confucius I’m not.

Confucius Making yeah.

Confucius I don’t want to I don’t want to go back to putting myself. It seems like Bobby also wants to put himself in situations that don’t put him in any trouble, like he wants to be having fun around, you know, dance around women. And so, yeah, I don’t.

Fresh Like I say, be around rich white people that be partying on boats and.

Confucius All. Yeah, so but I agree. I agree with you. The expectation was that he got out that he would be, you know, take the place of like a pop smoke or whatever. But he was like the only one thought when he when he did so like pop smoke and pop smoke passed away. Pop smoke had like mixtapes and albums.

Fresh Yeah.

Confucius Yeah. No, it was.

Fresh Yeah, it was crazy.

Confucius I agree with that. Sorry, guys.

Confucius I agree. All right.

Fresh Next week I’m coming here with one that you definitely going to disagree or at least provide some pushback.

Confucius I do not. I feel like Milli Vanilli is underrated, but continue.

Fresh Because I should popular be.

Confucius A good one.

Fresh I’m I could argue that, though. Now let’s get educated and let’s get informed. Here is Confucius reads the news.

Confucius Oh yes, the news. The world is still on fire, but this is raining outside. There’s some rain in here. And boy, because.

Fresh I feel we were in a drought here and we were no water restrictions. Yeah.

Confucius So, yeah, I felt like I had to wait in stores for about two months. That’s why the two sons I feed the rain took my grass was looking mighty day and I.

Fresh The yellow.

Confucius Yellow. Did the dirt get some rain in here man I got a barbecue grill from friend of the show BRIMELOW and that was dragged through the back yard. You got to wait to barbecue, get some water. Well, if they touch, it’s grass going to be brown. Thank you. But, you know, whole.

Fresh Brush fire in Maine.

Confucius They’re saying. But, you know, that’s Texas, man. We have extreme weather and we have great weather. Just this happens like that. Speaking of Texas, apparently there’s a flesh eating parasite that is endemic happening in Texas. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, they believe that a flesh eating parasitic disease caused by a sand flab bite may be endemic in Texas and other southern states, according to a new analysis. Of course, we have a flesh eating parasite in Texas.

Fresh Of course we do. I like, oh my gosh.

Confucius Although the parasite can live in other host like rodents and spray it through the sand fly. All infections that are caused by the parasites have been had can have varying clinical presentations. The most common form can cause ulcers and permanent scars. So it’s like going to a Travis Scott concert. You end up with permanent scars. Look, we went that ACL badly. This is a lot because a lot going on with guys.

Fresh It was.

Confucius It was like I did liking somebody, but I’m not doing all this.

Fresh That was that was a is a depth device doing going to a Travis Scott so like it’s a lot man it’s a lot.

Confucius Remember back in 2016 when Hillary and Donald Trump were running and people were like, oh, you know, probably shouldn’t elect Donald Trump because, you know, things will get crazy and whatever, whatever grand things are crazy. Now that’s just the world. But, you know, it will never get as far as we think it is. Like Supreme Court, of course, over overturned Roe v Wade, right? Well, guess what crazy is getting us. Let’s head over to Lubbock real quick, who has now made it illegal to pass through there to try to get an abortion? It is reaffirmed they are a sanctuary city for the unborn. That’s what they that’s what they’ve said, According to Casey Ian, during a regular meeting on Monday, commissioners voted to reaffirm Lubbock County as a sanctuary county for the unborn unborn. The ordinance outlawed abortion, abortion pills and traveling for the purpose of abortion in Lubbock County. How are you going to enforce that?

Fresh That’s what I was about to ask.

Confucius Like when I’m driving through that podunk town passing by to gas stations, they got you Go pull me over to ask, What would you do to that woman in your car? That a woman? Is she pregnant? Then what? You going to make a PR? Honestly.

Fresh I you know any of it. If it even if that does happen or you see me with a pregnant woman as I’m passing through. You can’t just assume that I’m driving through here to get to somewhere else so we can have an abortion. Like, how do you know we aren’t just passing through?

Confucius Because maybe I just want to go to the one day when you got your cigaret.

Fresh Or how, you know, we’re not going somewhere else, like in the state of Texas or out of the state.

Confucius You can’t pass through it to try to get to, you know, New Mexico to get an abortion.

Fresh But you don’t. I could just have family in New Mexico. You don’t know that.

Confucius That’s what I’m saying. But the other side of this law is that if they catch you with it, they can’t arrest you, but it opens you up for civil cases. You know, people can see you like, oh, you know, they’re going to get an abortion. I’m gonna sue you personally for that. You can do that in Texas. How many days it’s been to Texas hadn’t been a national embarrassment.

Fresh Two zero.

Confucius Restarts.

Confucius Oh, my God. Let’s head out to the other side of the aisle. Senator Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to a charge alleging he conspired to act as a foreign agent of Egypt. Bob Menendez is a Democrat, New Jersey Democrat, which is not surprising. He’s corrupt. You see The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire of his multiple HBO shows about how corrupt New Jersey can be. Hey, Chris Christie gave him there and he shut down a whole freeway just to be petty towards his opponent. So in a statement after the arraignment, Officer Mendez said, I’ve been throughout my life law to only one country, the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in, democracy and freedom. Adding, I would not let litigate this case through the press, but have made it abundantly clear that I have done nothing wrong and wants all the facts represented will be found innocent. So. When I read through what happened, he was taking phone calls from people in Egypt by saying, Hey, y’all won’t. I got it. Me and my wife cool with it, but has been at one point in time he was charged when it failed, went through his house. They found gold bars that they found out was given to him also by another aid.

Fresh Like somebody from New Jersey.

Confucius Multiple Democrats have called on him to resign as well they should, because clearly he’s corrupt as hell. What’s interesting, though, on the other side of the aisle, any time that people get charged with corruption. Everybody’s like, that’s just a witch hunt. They just have to get that’s just the mainstream media to get you again. But in more non crazy news, what not. It’s still crazy, but more democracy.

Fresh Less crazy.

Confucius There’s a new speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. Oh, after Jim Jordan not getting through. Scully’s not getting through. They finally got through. Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson. If you know who Mike Johnson is, because I don’t.

Fresh Know to ask who he was.

Confucius He’s definitely pro-life. He feels that abortions take away from the working class because we can build a stronger economy by having women give birth to more people to work in the working class.

Fresh What he got away from people to be of age to work, though?

Confucius Yeah, exactly. Exactly. He doesn’t believe. He doesn’t believe in same sex marriage. He’s from Louisiana. People. What do you expect? Have you been to Louisiana? Don’t Mardi Gras?

Fresh Bourbon Street.

Confucius Is not progressive, you.

Fresh Know. Have you been is not New Orleans.

Confucius And yes, he is a MAGA Republican. He did not he did not certify he was against certifying the 2020 election. What’s interesting about MAGA Republicans is that this is the first win they’ve had in a long time. But, you know, I guess continuing to lose to a man who looks like he’s going to prison. Yes, there IMO. Speaking of going to prison. Mark Meadows, former White House aide of Donald Trump, is snitching because he did not see that coming. Oh, Fred said earlier that, you know, he’s not the person to crime with because he would definitely tell you I’m not mad at it because I’m not that far behind it. You’d have to throw a basketball number in my face for me, but I guess. Fine, I got it. Nope, I’m cool. I didn’t do nothing.

Fresh You face it. 35 years, huh?

Confucius When Donald Trump blurted out that he was going to pay for anybody legal fees, that was basically in trouble with him. It was only a matter of time before he started snitching. And this isn’t a mob. They’re all going start telling. So Mark Meadows has access to all the secrets. What’s been predicted is him telling is going to make everybody else start telling.

Fresh A domino.

Confucius Effect. Exactly. Because he knows too much. So, yeah, it’s looking it’s not looking good for Donald J. Trump. If I had some advice for him, legal advice that I might say legal advice that’s not even this is my probably legal advice. You should probably start sending some money out. It’s not a good idea to go on TV and say that Mar a Lago is worth $1.5 billion and then not pay anybody to be quiet.

Fresh Yeah, You better to figure that one out, man.

Confucius Yeah.

Fresh You had to figure some things out. It’s like he’s facing he going.

Confucius If he does. If he goes before the primaries, before the election in November, who takes the spot? And honestly, the best chance, in my opinion, that Republicans have would be a moderate Republican because MAGA. If Trump goes down, I think MAGA is going to take a huge blow.

Fresh Well, motto is always the best way to go.

Confucius Go ahead, get back in there. Mitt Romney. Don’t put the Mormon beliefs in there.

Confucius Go do it.

Fresh I mean, Mitt Romney’s looking better than it was his name. The, uh, the Indian guy, The vic. Yeah.

Confucius Everything looks better.

Fresh And DeSantis, the centrist. It looked a bit different.

Confucius When you say the stock in it, but we’re buddies. The idea was over him a year ago with nothing. Okay, Now, Sam, I. Disney, right. Most humans get asked about Disney, but it is what it is. But anyway that’s Confucius reads the. This episode of The Breaks podcast is a production of Kate’s Not eight nine, The Ulster Music Experience. You can listen to the Breaks radio show every Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.. This podcast is produced by Confucius Jones, Fresh Knight and Elizabeth McQueen with editing help from Jack Anderson. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We are at the breaks and you can find more episodes at Kate’s Sawgrass. The Breaks theme song is by Austin artist Deezy Brown.

This transcript was transcribed by AI, and lightly edited by a human. Accuracy may vary. This text may be revised in the future.


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