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DJ Tat Money :: Interview [Philly, USA]
DJ Tat Money
DJ Tat Money
DJ Tat Money
DJ Tat Money
Hi, can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about where you are from? Somewhere in Philly isn't it?

Hello my name is D.J Tat Money. Iím from West Philadelphia. I grew up in an area of the city that is called Wynnefield.

What is your name about? Partly your real name I supposeÖ

Ok I was a big fan of Run D.M.C. Of course all of us that grew up in that era was. I was trying my best to come up with a name and I loved this group so much that when I heard them say Darryl Mac I was blown away. And obviously I would sit there in the floor with my album cover just staring at it for hours listening to the music. You know the world of no videos and all.

So I adopted my real name which is Terence Alan Thomas Hence the T.A.T and Money was just a popular name that everyone used. If your name was Rob. You called yourself Rob Money. Supposedly saying you had a lot of money. That was the thing. Also Ski was big. Rob Ski for example. It was just the cool thing to do. You know the slang thing. Thatís a big part of Hip Hop.

How old are you?

Iím currently 34.

So you must have been into Hip Hop pretty much since it began, what was it that made you turn to Hip Hop? What would you bump in your walkman?

I guess Iíve always been a hip kid. I was always a hip kid. So I like the Mass Constructions and the Rick James of the world. Of course Earth Wind and Fire, Teena Marie. All the hip stuff. When Rappers Delight came and Freedom from Grandmaster Flash, it was the beginning for me. That was it, I just lost it. I would sing those records everyday all day. I play a wide variety of music these days. I listen to my mixes a ton. Because radio is the worse in the U.S. Very overplayed records. I canít take that. The same record every 20 min. Itís the worse. So I make a lot of mix CDs and listen both old and new school. Biggie, Jay Z, old and new. Right now itís select cuts. Like the lean backs and R Kelly and Jay Z, Big chips. Also the Snoop Dog Drop It Like Its Hot. Nas and his pops. That's crazy. And Snoop Dogís Drop it like itís hot. Those are my shits right now.

Can you remember the things that were going off Hip Hop wise in your area at that time, right at the beginning?

Like I said Freedom, Treacherous 3, Funky Four Plus 1 More. Spoonie Gee Love RapÖ my god. The Adventures Of Grand Master Flash forget about it. The Crash Crew.

Were there any particular DJs who inspired you, or whom you based your style on?

I would have to [say] Flash. The Adventures Of GMF was it for me. I was mesmerized by it. I listened to it religiously. And then Grandmixer DST. Ouch, he just came in and got crazy with it. With the chops. He was a sick DJ. Iíve had the pleasure to meet both of them. It was crazy. I would say my style is based on some of what these guys brought to the table. Obviously you would want to improve on what they were doing. So thatís what I set out to do.

OK, so to give a bigger perspective who are your crew, obviously back in the day it was Steady B and the Hilltop Hoods, do you still run with them? At the moment are you affiliated with any MCs or are you part of a larger crew or collective?

Ok it was the Hilltop Hustlers. That was the name of all of us. Steady B, Cool C And 3 Times Dope. Iím affiliated with a kid name Big Al. He does production as well. And we are going to be doing some things in the future. But for the most part I travel the globe alone. Of course with a side kick. But not an MC.

So when did it really kick off for you? Would it have been around 1986 with the Bring The Beat Back LP from Steady B, or were you doing stuff before that as well?

85 actually, I was working in a record store because I felt I could be closer to the music world that way. And I would make Mix tapes and put them on the street with the dude with the boom box. And cats could hear what I could do. I would do that like every weekend. Just make up something to top the last thing that I did. And Steady heard that I worked at this record store in downtown Philly called Funkomart. And He came to see me and asked me to DJ for him.

How did your career mover from there? Can you talk us through some of the releases and collaborations and let us know how they went? There was four LPs with Steady B wasnít there?

From there I went straight to the studio and cut 4 records on the Bring The Beat Back LP with Stead. I was so raw at that time. I was like a wild cat that needed to be tamed. The manager at the time was like ďyo, you have to slow down your cutting. Itís a record not a battleĒ. I had to conform so I learned how to make records hooks etcÖ

OK, and then you moved on to Three Times Dope - Chuck Nice, Woody Wood and EST and did a couple of LPs with them. Were they like your protťgťs?

Oh for sure. Woody came to the record store when I worked there and asked me to put them on. I was hesitant as usual with new unproven talent. And I put them in contact with my manager. And that was it. We, Steady and I listened to the demo and said yes we like them. So they came in under our wing. We made their first 12Ē Crushin And Bussin with Cool C and showed them how to make records from the door.

OK, you also worked with Kwame on three LPs as well. It is all high profile and groundbreaking stuff. Do you feel proud, or like a pioneer after being so influential in how Hip Hop developed?

I guess you could say I like when cats tell me that I influenced them to strive for their goals. Thatís a wonderful thing to hear. Because I was driven by other cats before me. Like Jam Master Jay. It was like ďjust put your mind to it ya go real far and the next thing you know youíll have a big carĒ Sucker MCs / Run DMC.

What did you learn from each of these relationships?

Each situation had itís own set of lessons. The Steady B situation was a classic example of the Manager taking full advantage and the artist not know[ing] how to handle their own business. I took off because of this mishandling. I couldnít take the incompetence. The Kwame situation was a little different. He was a little more in tune with his business. Although we had the same kind of take advantage manager. So lessons learned I would say, to be in control of your career. And never trust it to someone elseís hand.

Have we missed anything out?

I donít think so.

What else have you done so far?

From recording to making mix tapes. I figured I would keep my name out there by hitting the mix tape market. I was selling them all over America. And then I wanted way more so I hit Japan, Germany. And anywhere I could get them. It is the best way to attack the streets and let people know whatís going on. Besides I wasnít pleased with the tapes that were on the street. Poor display of what a DJ is . So I stepped into the arena.

Do you have any current wax out?

Big Al and I did a 12Ē it is called I Love Bitches B/W Sunny Days and Dark nIghts. Which I rhyme on. That single did pretty good for us. It was obviously on our independent label. But again, I was in the mix tape world and Al wanted to Produce. So thatís whatís going on now.

Can you tell us about Knuckle up?

Knuckle up is still rolling. Itís more of a production company right now. We intend on finding new talent and releasing them. Itís a bit tough right now with the state of Hip Hop. Hard to find really true talent anymore. Everyone is a gangster. Ok, How many people have you shot? That shit is boring to me. Iíd rather you make up a rap about how much you love your Grandmother.

Lets now talk about you as a DJ. Did you always know you were going to be a DJ, or did it take a while for you to decide or build up to it?

Man I used to have this girlfriend and 10. Of course nothing was going on. She was just my girl for some strange reason. Ok, I would go over her house. And she had 3 brothers. One of them was 1.5 years older than me. So we go into his basement one day. And heís on the turntables. And Iím like what are you doing? And he replies, ďmixingĒ. So he says come give it a try. So I go over and he shows me how to do it. My first records that I mixed that day were Superrappin and The Adventures Of Superrhymes. Two ĎSuperí records I never noticed that. Ok, that was in the summer on a Sunday. I liked it a lot. After that I just went back outside to play. A little while after that, letís say 4 years. I go to a little house party that a friend was keeping in his basement. And a few of my neighbourhood buddies were The DJís. I was losing my mind. I stood over the tables all night. I think my face was in the way the entire night. They never said a word, like back up. But I wanted to spin so bad but I hadnít done that since I was 10. But I just had this major urge. It was killing me. I knew at that moment that I was going to be a DJ. I started making quick pause tapes in school on a component set that My Mom bought. It was a Techincs set up. I used to make wonders with that thing. Of course it was one turntable and receiver and tape deck.

So, when would it have been, that you started spinning records?

I started to spin when I was 15. I saved my money and bought my first set of tables. 2 different tables but I didnít care.

You start as strictly a bedroom DJ?

Yes sir, I was in my room 24 hours a day mixing. It was my destiny to be a well known DJ. I had my Run DMC posters on my wall with Jay in the middle. And I would say one day, Iíll be there.

What set up did you start out with?

I started with a SLB 101 Technics and a SB80 straight arm table. The 101 was a curve arm. But I heard they had discontinued them. I was pissed. And with no internet it was tough to find things. But I searched until I gave up. I just settled with that setup for the time. And I had a big Gemini mixer. Very smooth but big.

There would have been none of the specialist gear you can get now would there?

Oh no, the companies had no clue of us. They just made general equipment. We as DJís had to go out and spend out money on something that we thought would work for us. You know, loose faders, and convenient cues. And small in size. Of course you canít get too crazy on a big ass mixer.

Would you agree that starting out on shitty equipment would help a budding DJ learn light touch and stand them in good stead for the future, or would you recommend that they just get on a pro set up from day one?

I would agree with the shitty equipment that it will help you. But If you can afford 12ís then you should do it. Because the 12í donít jump as often. Though, if you come from humble beginnings you will develop that soft touch and youíll be able to rock most any set.

So in the long time you have been doing this have you had many different set ups or did you quickly settle on what you liked?

I just had the one setup until I could afford the 12ís. I had my eyes on the Malcom Maclaren album cover. I would mix on my setup and have the cover with the turntables right in front of me (buffalo Gals).

Was it a money issue?

Absolutely, I was young and had no job. But I saved my little cash until I could get 1 Tech 12. My Mom asked me if I wanted a car and I told her to get me the other 12. That was all I wanted for graduation. They were so lovely that I just set them up and looked at them forever. It was almost a sin to mix on them. Then I broke Ďem in.

And now I suppose you are using the standard Technics 1210s and a Vestax 05 or 07?

Yup I have the 1210ís from Germany actually. I got them like 12 years ago.

So you do anything special to your set up, like have it hamster style, or do something funny with the cartridges in the head shells?

Yeah I have them Hamster style now. In the beginning I used to have them on the left. It was bad habit that I picked up from some guys that I practised with. But Iím straight Hamster and no funny tricks with cartridges. Just Ortofons and also Shures.

What bit of kit that you donít have would you find useful for adding to your performance?

Useful I would say a delay on my mic and thatís it.

How would you best describe your style?

Iím more of a rhythm scratcher.

Do you edge towards a particular style of scratching/cutting or mixing, or would you say that you donít specialize and try to cover everything?

Basically, Iím a scratch DJ / turntablist. Then a party DJ. So I cover it all.

Have you invented/discovered any scratches or special techniques of your own that you have or expect to be credited with?
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DJ Tat Money
DJ Tat Money

Not really. Iím a backspin artist. That was something that I just loved to do. I never practiced to discover new scratches. just wanted to use them for expression. So whatever Iím feeling is what came out of the speakers. I just wanted to have the ability to do whatever I could think of.

I know when I was DJing I invented everything I did for myself, but someone had already got there first!! To get to your level and keep it there do you find yourself practising all the time?

As much as I can. I love to spin and see how high I can take my talents. So I constantly strive to get better and better. I record myself and listen back as I did when I was a rookie DJ. Itís the only to way to improve your skill.

How many hours per day would you be at your decks?

Dude, I would mix non-stop for 3 hours then take a little break and maybe eat. Then go back to the tables for another 3 or so hours. My Mom would go crazy from that. I would come home from school and drop my books on the floor and mix from 2:30pm till 6pm everyday.

Maybe now it is all second nature to you?

Oh itís too easy. Iím so sharp because I mix all the time. Itís like riding a bike, you never forget. And sending mixes and all I stay in the groove.

I understand you get the chance to play on for XM Satellite Radio & Philadelphiaís WUSL/Power 99. Can you tell us how you came to land these jobs and perhaps tell us what your playlists are like and what this listeners can expect from your shows?

I obtained these positions from my popularity as a DJ. Philly has embraced me something special. They love their own. Especially if you started out here and you pioneer something. They love to claim you. So Power 99 came first, actually I donít spin for them anymore. Regular radio really stinks. But I got onto XM through a party that I did for Will Smith on NBA allstar weekend. A representative from XM was there and they asked me to come on board with them. I liked the idea and thatís why I love XM. Itís the wave of the future. They Play what regular radio wonít. My playlists vary on XM from Ď96 to present. Thatís our format. Very lovely and flexible format. I love it. I can play pretty much what I want. So my audience should sit back and enjoy the ride. Because Iím looking to cut up any record that goes on the platters. Iím rocking the Jay Z stuff of course. I love the You Me Him And Her track. Also Biggie Who Shot Ya is one of all time favourites. The new Jay Z and R Kelly like I said is hot. Big Chips. And The Return. Also the Snoop Dog Drop It Like Its Hot track, Nas and his pops is crazy too. Iím loving the Old school tracks primarily because of the production. They thought about the DJ. Like My Adidas. It starts with something you can cut. Just like They Call Me Big L ay. LL Cool J Headsprung. One of my favourites. Also the feel the beat track is sick. Thatís Hip Hop to me. You canít leave out the DJ.

I heard you say that at one point you were the third best DJ in the world. How did you measure that? Have you entered any DJ competitions?

Ok I never said I was the 3rd best. I actually got this information from Cash Money. He went to London in the late 80ís and he showed me documentation from an article that said that the top 3 DJís at that time were Myself, Cash Money and Jazzy Jeff.

Is that your thing - DJ competitionsÖ If you have entered, how did it go? Can you break down which comps you have entered so far and what your positions were?

I entered the New Music Seminar twice. The first time was when I was in the process of creating the Whatís My Name LP. I put a lot of time into that LP to make it all that it was. So I had little time to practice for the Seminar. Actually my manager had me take part in it. I wasnít prepared at all. I had no clue I would be in a competition. I was spending endless hours on our soon to be LP. And I was exhausted. I won the first heat and was wiped out in the second heat. It didnít matter, I knew what happened. So I prepared myself and came back the following year. I made it to the semi finals. And there was a bit of trickery going on. The competition was set for a NY DJ to win. I caught wind of this earlier that day. This was the year that DJ. Scratch won. The judges were shuffled around. They took the Philly judges off the panel - Jazzy Jeff and Lady B. And then they voted on who won the rounds. It was an obvious set up. I killed this dude by the name of All Star Fresh. I believe he is from London. And they gave him the win over me. The whole house went crazy. I did an insane routine that night. It was blazing hot. I put this knit cap on my head with the ball on the end. And I started to back spin the record then I Pulled the cap over my eyes and continued to backspin. I spun around and the house went nuts. All star fresh did a blend with Roxanne Shante and Rob Base It Takes Two and he won. That was such a horrible thing. The crowd went crazy booing first then chanting my name and that was it for me. I earned my name that night in New York at the Ritz.

Would you rate any DJ comp over another, for example the DMCs are the big daddy and maybe more prestigious, but the ITFs and Vestax have built big followings?

 

Yeah I would say that is right. I lost all interest in competitions after that experience. I was so worried about my reputation that I never entered again. Because you could be disgraced by someone who fixed the battle. I mean theyíre announcing my name as DJ Tat Money from Jive Records. And then you have DJ so and so. I mean you could be ruined in a heartbeat. You just have to know that these people are for real. And that your not going to be cheated.

Each has different rules. What are those differences and do you think it makes a positive or negative difference to the spectacle? Maybe one suits your style more than the others?

Again Iím not into them like that. I havenít paid much attention to them.

Do you know what happened to the New Music Seminar comp? They sorta started the whole thing off didnít they?

You know I have no Idea. I think they stopped the Hip Hop portion because of fighting.

How long would it take you to prepare and then get a routine down?

Basically one night to get all my routines down. Then another to get them all way down. Thatís all it took for the last time I entered.

Do you just keep adding to routines so they evolve or do you start a brand new one each time? How would you go about putting it together?

You sound like a DJ. And thatís cool Iíll put you down with how it goes. Ok I do the evolve thing. I love it that way. I find a groove with one of my favourite records and boom I build on it. Each time it gets better and better.

So, how many routines can you remember at once? How many do you reckon you could do now?

Off the top I can do like 6 or so. I have a different routine for each record. They all have different feels to them. My favourite right now would be my Biggie Who Shot Ya routine. I just love this record. I used to love the record when it was out in Ď95, but I started cutting it one day and WOW I was in love. Now I can hardly stop. Itís so powerful. Every word you can just kill it.

It is probably hard for you to say, but what are the most memorable things you can remember from your DJing career?

Very easy, I would say playing in front of 20,000 people in the Houston Astro dome. That was so off the hook. And Travelling overseas on my own. Iíve been there countless times.

What is the worst thing that has happened to you whilst DJing?

 

Now thatís a tough one. Ok, my tables got flipped in Va. Very crazy. I wasnít spinning, it was just before we got on stage. I was Pissed. But I got a new set out of the deal.

What about when you were on stageÖ Like playing the wrong record or something. I have picked the needle off the record that is playing! Were you able to style it out and are you able to laugh about it now?

Well Iíve done that one myself. Real crazy. I actually did it while playing a very fly party overseas and I just needle dropped it back in the right spot. I played it off so well.

Philly seems to have produced quite a number of top DJs including yourself and Cash Money. Hip Hop has always been New York, but for a bit back then it looked like Philly could be running things. Do you have a perception of Philly being a place where DJs can flourish?

Definitely, because we have such rich roots. The cats that are into it right now are like that because of the Jazzy Jeffs the Cash Moneys and myself. We took it to a level where the DJ had to be sick. So the new cats that I meet are like worshiping the ground that we walk on. Itís so exciting to see kids that come up in the culture and want to take it to that next level as well. I know itís a bit tougher these days. And itís pretty hard to live up to the reputations that we built. But itís worth it for me to see. You really have to have some crazy passion for it to take to the next level. And we live, slept and ate this Hip Hop shit. Thatís why you know of us.

I think the same is true of the UK. Would you agree that perhaps the UK punches above its weight in terms of numbers of world class DJs for the size of the population?

That one Iím not too sure about. Iím very in tune with my area. But Iíve never explored the UK. I know that theyíre into DJing there like crazy. I would say the DMC helped do that. But Iím not in tune with the DJís in the UK. I know that Pogo comes from there. And he was cool when I saw him. He had one fresh idea that I saw. And that was fly.

Are people in the US aware of the UK DJs?

But for the most part I would say no.

Apart from yourself, which DJs do you feel are really on top of their form at the moment and are progressing the artform?

I would say my man Revolution and Spinbad and of course I would have to say Cash.

Could you say why you rate them?

Iím guessing that you mean how I would rate them. Now Revolution is a very good DJ. He is an exceptional scratcher. Iíve seen him spin once. But he is serious about DJing. Spinbad as well. They both get a 10 in my book. Cash as well. Mainly because we have a very similar style. Heís into rhythm scratching like myself. And that means he can rock a party as well as do body tricks / be a turntablist.

Who should we be on the look out for? What DJ that no-one has heard of yet do you think will be the next one to break through, or come with something original?

To tell you the truth, I donít see that kid right now. Iím still waiting to see that day myself. I saw a few but today is tough. I donít see cats with the same fire that we have for this game. Therefore, you wonít see that break through cat.

What are your thoughts on the whole Turntabalism thing? Do you think that it is getting too elitist and maybe going up its own arse, or do you think that it is simply healthy competition and people going deep into a subject they love?

I would say the latter.

Would you class yourself as a Turntablist or would you prefer to be seen as a straightforward DJ?

NO I can do both all day long. We started doing scratches and then rocking parties.

So we know you can Scratch and juggle, but can you rock a crowd for an extended period?

All day long. I play on radio Satellite radio. Itís all over the country. And Iíve played so much that it is second nature to rock a crowd. Any crowd. I have a deep need to rock a crowd. Thatís all itís about for me.

Do you play out at any club nights on the regular, and if you do what can people expect and where are they?

Actually I donít. The Philly scene is so dried up thatís itís not funny. And honestly I donítí have that interest to rock here. Iíd rather go away and play. They love us but getting gigs here is wack. If you wanna play in this town you need to throw your own night. To put it plainly, there is a lot of hate here. They love you but you are in my way. You understand. Cats here love to hate. They love you and all that you do but get out of my way so I can go overseas too. Get it. Thatís the way itís always been. And the promoters love me too. They just wonít pay enough. They want to give you a fee that I would get when Iím 16 years old. Thatís crazy. So again, Iíd rather spin outta town or overseas.

Did you ever imagine that you would take it to the levels you have?

Never in my wildest dreams. My imagination didnít see that far in the future.

I hear you have sold in excess of 1.5 million records, that is simply amazing. It must have been hard work, but when you look back can you believe it?

Itís is pretty believable. With major distribution. Ok, I guess itís a little hard to do. But that just proves that hard work pays off. And thatís what got me there.

What do you make of all the attempts to invent a notation for scratches, i.e. to try and represent them written down? Have you tried to invent one yourself, or ever seen a system that you thought came close to working?

You know I tried doing that in the beginning. I would say in my mind, never really keeping track. It would have been more proficient Iím sure. But I just go by ear these days. I know what I like to do so I just handle my biz from there. Different records have different feels to me. So thatís what drives me.

Where do you like to pick up your vinyl? Do you have a special shop that you frequent because it has good service or a special selection, do you shop around all over, or are you lucky enough to get it all sent directly to you?

I do little to know shopping. Iím very fortunate. I have excellent service from the Record labels since Ď92.

What position do you take on the use of 'battle tools'? Would you ever get a special record cut to fulfil a need in your set?

Thatís really not my M.O. I normally rely on my skillz.

And connected to that do you think that Nu Skool DJs could have it too easy with unskippable decks and mixers with super slippy faders with sharp cut in times?

Itís is a bit of an advantage I would say. Too easy? Maybe so, they still have to be creative to make it sound good. And Because itís so easy that canít afford to be lazy with it.

Or do you think these developments allow for greater experimentation and for different things to be attempted?

I think with a work horse of a DJ, you can get mad shit done. Especially when you donít have to research needles, headphones, tables etcÖ thatís all the things that we had to do and then be creative. It is so much easier today. Have you checked out the Rane Mixer? The fader can be blown from one side to the next. I have one and it is ridiculous.

Have you ever tried to DJ on those CD mixers?

No I havenít attempted that one. Nor do I think I will.

Or mp3 mixers?

Nope.

What do you make of that?

Iím not a big fan of the CD stuff. I didnít purchase a CD player until way after they were out. I stayed with my tapes forever. Till one day I broke down. I just have this thing in my mind that these people are creating more things for us to buy and fucking up the whole 2 turntable and a mic situation. I tell you what, I would use the CDJ 1000 for dropping exclusives. Thatís about it. There is this thing that is called the final scratch. Iím sure you know about it. Itís the 2 platters and the computer. Thatís cool. I could see using something like that when you donít trust a venue or promoter. You feel me? Other than that, Iím str8 turntables. I love the way they sound and the whole idea of having the actual record on the platter.

Do you think that it is just something different and another tool to use?

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Definitely.

The Pioneer and new Technics CD decks are moving things along and are now much more prevalent, is this a good thing or to keep it real you still need to be using records?

Again, I have to have my records.

Although it isn't such a fear as it was 10 years ago, do you ever worry about the future availability of vinyl, or new releases at least?

Maybe like 10 years from now. Or if the music economy gets real bad. Then maybe they may stop pressing vinyl. But the vinyl is mad cheap already. So Iím sure theyíre not paying that much for it. Itís tough to get if your not on a mailing list.

Do you have plans to broaden your horizons as so many DJs do and step into production? If you have made beats already what equipment are you using?

We started with the Studio 440 by Sequential. That was Steady and I. Steady and I did all of the production for the LPs that we made. I never got that credit. Thatís what that was about. I co-produced all the records that you said you liked in your initial email. But now I have a MPC 3000 LME and of course keyboards and what not.

Where can people hear your stuff?

Iím in the middle of establishing myself with the mix tape game. Especially overseas. Iíve hit the U.S like crazy already. I have done some overseas work with the mix CDs.

Do you have any advice for kids starting out who might want to become DJs, or who have made the first steps and take it to the next level?

I would say practice everyday like your life depended on it. Also get a friend that is into it. Maybe not wanting to spin but to watch. That will help to motivate you. And learn the history of DJing. Know where it can from to know where your going with it.

Is there anywhere people can go to learn all about this stuff, or do they simply have to teach themselves?

Sure you can get a veteran DJ to teach you the trade and give you a head start.

Would watching videos help, or should you develop your own styles?

Whatever floats your boat. I personally donít like videos because you learn someone elseís style. Itís better to learn your own way any day.

How do you view the Internet? Do you think it is a useful promotional tool and a good way of getting out there and breaking the strangle hold the major labels have on the marketplace, or are there too many idiots too willing to spout a load of rubbish with no control over them?

It has a great presence for those who are established. It can really be your friend if you are tied into a site that has plenty of traffic.

Do you have any plans to get your own online presence?

Yes I actually had it going on for little while. But Now I will re-establish it. And of course change the site around as well. Like I said, it is very major for someone that has a name.

How do you feel, as artists, about distribution systems like e-Mule, Soulseek (SLSK) or other P2P software that is out of your control and for which you don't get any money? Do you think that seeing as the free music genie is out of the bag it could create problems in the future for you as artists to get paid for your work?

Oh absolutely. Itís a problem for us all. You have to play the law of averages on that one. Take the promotions and hopefully you can sell some as well. Hopefully more than what is given away.

How do you find the scene is now compared to when you originally broke through? What are the main changes and developments you can discern?

It was a different game then. Way less exposure on the broad scale. And oh so innocent. It was the shit then. So new and wasnít oversaturated. I loved it, the music was so pure and it wasnít poisoned yet. Now itís a bit different. You can barely sample which changes the face of Hip Hop. And you have these pop corn beats and pop corn rappers to match. Itís like a transparent industry now. You donít have to have skills anymore. And thatís a big part of the change. Thatís what makes the industry watered down to me. And thereís a hell of a lot more money in the game it brings out the snakes. So the game has grown. And thatís good. But now itís totally about the money and thatís what I hate. We did for the love and the money came later.

Hip Hop is massive, how do you see Hip Hop at present and the direction you see it going in?

Itís massive like you said. I love it of course. Obviously enough I have to pick and choose the songs that I like. There arenít many. Thereís a song called Nolia Clap that is pretty hot. As well as lovers and friends from Usher and Lil' Jon and Luda. Itís on the r*b tip but I love Ludas rap. Itís a good blend. You have to pick and choose these days. Because everything is not hot. And yea I like R*B. Itís actually where Hip Hop comes from. You have to maintain a good balance. Youíll also get a chance to hear new music that you can use later on. Haaaa.

On Steady Bís Bring The Beat Back LP you give thanks to Mike Allen.

If Iím not mistaken, Mike interviewed us in like 87-88. He was mad cool and he called the managers office to set up an interview. He was from London if my memory serves me. And he was mad cool. It was very interesting to me because He was from overseas and he knew of us. And that has always been intriguing to me. And at the time, we didnít know who was enjoying the music. You have to understand, we were making this music in a basement and then itís being heard all over. That concept was major for 2 teenagers. We had no idea who had a hold of the music. Videos werenít so prevalent then. So most people would buy your record / LP not your CD. So I go to some cats homes these days and Iíll see my Album. That is so crazy. They sometimes ask me to sign it. It blows my mind.

What sort of a connection did you have with him and to the UK in general?

Just that he reached out and let me know that we were more known than just in America. We were cool for a good while and stayed in touch. But that was it for the most part. Very cool dude though.

Are you aware of any UK Hip Hop artists or records?

Actually I know of one his name slips me at this moment. But I play his record on satellite radio. He has a record off of Billy Squires big beat. Ok his name is Raskal something. I like that record.

What are your thoughts about the state of UK Hip Hop?

I really donít know it. Itís not broadcast over here.

Do you know why it is very hard for UK artists to get any exposure in the US?

Mostly because there are not from here. And that is the chip that American have on there shoulders. The music would have to be exceptional. Thatís the only way it would work here. Hits shut everyone up.

Do you have any advice for struggling artists in the UK?

Try to make that hot shit. Donít just make a record. Any fool can do that. You gotta make that hot shit.

What is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?

I actually moved again to a bigger home. So Iím working on my basement. Creating a new studio. So that will consume me for about a month. Then itís the fuck on. I will be cranking out the tracks. And mixes. And Iíll be on my grind like crazy.

What are your plans for the longer term?

I have a movie coming out in January. Itís done and Sony Pictures is releasing it mostly for DVD. They have to make it a Major release because they used The Screen Actors Guild actors in it. So they have to release it commercially. And Wood Harris is in it. He plays on The Wire. Itís a show that is very popular and comes on HBO. So they want this cat to star in a movie that they have planned for him. So they are releasing it this January. So that will be nice. Also, I plan to manage some producers. I have some now under my belt. And I shop their beats. But Iíd like to get into the movies even more so. And of course go for my goal to get a few plaques.

I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on, but most current Hip Hop heads decline to answer. I guess they donít want to upset anyone. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes too?

Well the obvious is the presidential election. This has passed now. Iíll say everyone should be involved. But what can you do. Itís probably all a scam anyways.

Who do you think is going to win the Presidential election and who would you like to win and why?

I wanted anyone but Bush. Kerry was just ok. He was not that great at all. We need a new strong leader. We had bad candidates. But I had to vote for Kerry.

If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?

I would change this racial thing. Itís so important to some people and I know that we are all created equal. Itís a shame how some are treated. It happened to me when I went to Germany once. I went into a eye glass shop and the owner would not let me see or touch the glasses that I wanted to purchase. Itís a shame. I just left the shop. They looked at me as if I was a convicted criminal. But that has to come from the appearance on TV that we have. Itís a shame. As well as the whole Jewish thing. They have it bad and have had it bad for some time.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

I love the way of life overseas. I was asked if I would move there. And I really had to think about it. It is the place for me. But My Mom and Dad are in the States. So I couldnít do that right now. But I love the easy living and way of life there. You guys donít know how good you have it. Or maybe you do. But Itís the best. Iím so at ease when Iím there. Itís like I donítí have to watch my back. When I come home from a trip from overseas, I donít answer the phone or talk to people for a few days. For the mere fact that I know they are going to bring that bull to my life. You know misery loves company. So people bring their nonsense to your life. Especially when they donít live the life that [you] lead. So all they can do is tell you about troubles. It sucks your energy away.

Is there anyone else you would like to mention?

I would like to thank you for your time and effort. And I will say that you are a very good interviewer. I really appreciate the fact that you took your time out to do this and that you were a fan at some point. It makes me feel relevant. For the shear fact that I made some music and it touched someone in a different time zone. That is something that I didnít know at that time. So making it and releasing it and never seeing first hand who was enjoying it was crazy.

But now I have confirmation. That is so dope. Thanks again,

D.J. Tat Money.

Thank you very much for finding the time to let the readers know a bit more about yourself. Best wishes and good luck for the future.

http://video2edit.com/TerranceThomas.html
http://rane.com/dj/tatmoney.html
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