INTERVIEW w/ DOT-A-ROCK OF FANTASTIC ROMANTIC FIVE
by Troy L
Troy L.- Where did your name Dota- Rock come from?
Dota- Rock- The name came from a candy called Mason Dots. They were
like ju ju fruits. My last name is Mason so I took the name Dot. I
originally started out as Dottie Dot, I wanted to get more rawer so I
went Dota Rock!
Troy L.- Who inspired you to want to M.C.?
Dota- Rock- M.C. Geronimo of the crew called Chaos from up in
Edeamore [Edenwall] projects here in the Bronx. That was 1974.
Troy L.- Who was the first D.J. you heard?
Dota Rock- Breakout, He was known back then for having a lot of
plates. Then came Flash.
Troy L.- How did you and Whip, Caz and J.D.L. meet?
Dota Rock- Whip and Caz was coming through my projects the Twin Parks.
They had with them there school brief cases with thier names written
on the side and a Radio that we called a Box back in the days, one of
them joints with 2 mics on the sides. they started rocking the crowd
by just playing one of there tapes. That's how we got cool. We ended
up all going to Roosevelt H.S.. I met J.D.L. going for try outs to
be with the Mighty Force. So I was on my way to D.J. A1 Mighty
Mike's house for the try outs. The way me and the L. met was he too
was looking for the same house. So we walked past each other twice
until he walked up and asked me were the building was at that he was
looking for. When he told me the address I started laughing he did
also when he realized that it was the same address. So we went up the
same time and made the crew the same time.
Troy L.- Who were the players in the Mighty Force?
Dota Rock- Me, Whip, Caz, R.C. and J.D.L. and the D.J.s were Caz,
Mike Swat and A1 Mighty Mike. Big Bank Hank (before Sugar hill gang)
was our manager. Back in those days there really wasn't any routines
just rocking on the mic saying your lyrics. One night we were
supposed to battle the L-Brothers at the Audubon but our system broke
down on us. Me and Whip stayed there about 2 years and broke out.
Troy L.- Where did you and Whip go to next?
Dota Rock- We went to the Cold Crush next. It was Chase, A.D. and
Mr. Tee. We went to the Crush cause they had a better system and did
better party's which meant better money. We also had contracts that
said we did not have to carry equipment any more. We left them after
2 years. While with the Crush we would do parties with the L.
Brothers, and me and Whip were on top of our game so we use to kill
parties that the L. Brothers were at. So they approached us and
asked if we would like to be down. Man they were doing better shows
so you know that meant better money. We went from 2 dollars a man
with the Mighty Force, thats because parties were costing a buck back
then, to $20 a man with the Cold Crush. Then $100 a man with the
L-Brothers and Fantastic.
First we ran with the L-Brothers that consist of Mean Jean, Cordio
and D.J.A1 Mighty Mike and me and Whip. Theodore by now was doing his
own thing with him, Kevie Kev, Master Rob and Busy Bee. Now Ruby Dee
lived in the same building with Busy Bee so that's how he got the
juice to be down with Fantastic later. Which was soon because Busy
and Kev use to argue a lot and that started back from them growing up
together from little boys. So Busy Bee chose to step out on his own
and that's how Ruby got on. Even when Busy went solo he would still
come back to rock with us. Then it didn't take long before we
combined with them and became the Fantastic Romantic 5 M.C.s
Troy L.- How would you describe each M.C. of the crew?
Dota Rock- Kevie Kev was the captain and lady's man. Master Rob,
Kev's brother was the baritone smooth talker. Me I was the story
teller, with fast rhymes. Whip was off the top of his head going with
the flow as well as a story teller. Ruby Dee was just the most
skilled Puerto Rican M.C. as well as the most well known. Kev also
collected the money and had a pretty good knuckle game so we never had
a manager but we kept our guns right up on the stage with us.
Troy L.- What about the back up to Theodore, Kevie Kev Rockwell?
Dota Rock- Kevie Kev was the backup but very important to us! He
would set up all the records for Theodore while he was D.J.ing. Also
he warmed up the crowd as well as the equipment before the actually
show. Being as Theodore was serious about this, it was hard for
Rockwell to get light because Theodore would be at every show just
Troy L.- Was there a time when the Fantastic 5 was suppose to battle
the Crash Crew?
Dota-Rock- Yes. We did some shows with them and at the time their
record High Powered Rap was out and they played it at every show we
did with them. Being as the record was good, doing good they thought
they were hotter then us. One night we had a few words with Darrell C
and I think G- Man. So we set a date to battle them but they did not
show. I guess they knew we were ready to tear ass! We did battle
some kids from Yonkers, The Devastating 4 and we tore ass!
Troy L.- What started the battle between the Fantastic and Cold Crush?
Dota-Rock- J.D.L. one night was saying they were the best and Busy
was like Fantastic could take yall out. So they were riffin' about
that. One day we passed by Caz's house while they were practicing and
they seen us out the window so they came out side and started arguing
which turned into a bigger argument. I couldn't believe it myself
because we were all friends.
Troy L.- Where did Theodore get the idea to use the handcuffs in the
Dota-Rock- Theodore use to always be playing with them in practice.
So one day he says "Yo man I'm going to do this at the show". I said
" you that nice you might as well, go ahead and do it'.
Troy L.- Did the Hip hop world want to see another battle between
Dota-Rock- With out a doubt, many people wanted to see it again.
There was people still believing we won and there were many others
that felt the Crush won. But it didn't take long before Kev went on
to the Furious 5 and Whip later went in to the Navy.
Troy L.- What made Kev leave for the Furious 5
Dota-Rock- We were loading up our bus to do a show in Poughkeepsie and
out of nowhere Kev says he is not going. We start buggin. It became
a very touching moment for us. Me being the writer of the crew, I
always had him included in all the routines so we were like "what are
we going to do now". From that day on we were never the same. Later
on he did come back because his brother Rob was still in the crew so
that left a door open for him. Nobody could take his place anyway.
What happened was Kev took the Kid Creole spot. Creole was going
through some personal problems so being as Kev was light skin about
Creoles complexion he took Creoles spot. That is exactly what he did.
Kev's name to the public was the Kid Creole Kev could not get burn as
him self. Man there was a time were we used to go on tour with some
of the Sugar Hill acts and the Funky 4 had a date in South Carolina
and they couldn't show for what ever reason Sylvia Robinson wanted us
to act like we were the Funky 4. We didn't do it but that goes to
show you how game tight she was.
So back to Kev. The Sugar Hill was blessing him with thousands of
dollars but now Creole is ready to come back. They might not have
planned for this or what ever but they had to let Kev go. So thier
way of thanking him was a one cut deal. There you have the "All Night
Long" single for Kev and no more. We were approached by Sylvia to get
on her label but we heard too many horror stories. There would be
times we be rockin in the T- Connection or the P.A.L. and the Funky 4
or Treacherous 3 would be there and they couldn't perform live because
they were under contract to Sylvia Robinson.
Troy L.- What was the difference between the Bronx crowd and the
Dota-Rock- The Bronx crowd was hearing hip hop many years before
Manhattan so they pretty much was use to it so they were into
partying, dancing. The Manhattan crowd would sit there and listen
closely to your shit and give you the love that you were looking for
and react to your rhyme they way you made it to be reacted to. I
loved Manhattan. The clubs that I really dug was the Celebrity Club
and Harlem World there was a funky flavor crowd plus they had some
Troy L.- Where was the roughest club?
Dota-Rock- The Armory in Do or Die Bedstuy Brooklyn. We come one
night in a limo and it's very crowded in front of the entrance so we
can't get in. The promoter comes outside and says "Oh no I have to
get yall in" So he says hold on and pulls out two guns and starts
bustin off into the air. The crowd turns around and looks at him like
what the hell is wrong with this fool and continues on doing what they
were doing. So he finally gets us in there and the Armory is jammed
packed to the walls. So they lead us up to the dressing room tell us
don't worry about nothing they got our back. So we chill because Dr.
Jeckle and Mr. Hyde are on stage. So after awhile me and Whip is like
lets go out and peep the crowd see how they get down. Kev screams out
the dressing room door you better stay here were it's safe. I told
him we ain't scared of anybody. In the back of the Armory brothers
are shooting dice and this kid pulls out two guns talking about
"Nobody move that's my money". Niggers is getting robbed in the
corner you go in the bathroom mother fuckers is getting robbed there.
Just heathens even the chicks looked like dudes. All this was right
inside the Armory.
Troy L.- So it was similar to the parties in the Bronx?
Dota-Rock- No it was Rougher.
Troy L.- What about the thugs in the Bronx? Did they try to push up
Dota-Rock- When it came to thugs in the party's we kept it up front
with them soon as we seen them we would say thier name on the mics so
they didn't have to ask (or tell us). The Ching Aling Gang told us
(when we were with the Cold Crush) if you don't say our name every 5
minutes we are going to take all your equipment out of here and keep
it. See you had to look at that as that was how they were, and we
were the music. So they would not go too far because if we were gone
then there would not be any music. And they were not having that.
They may act funky with us but nobody else would bother us because the
Ching Alings would go to war for us. Mele Mel and Flash had the
Casanova's back then and when we were the L-Brothers we had the 9 Crew
backing us. The 9 Crew and The Casanova's were rivals like the bloods
and crips. As we all got older that intimidating played out, we knew
everybody. They still had marks but they knew who to do it to and not
Troy L.- What about the promotor's of the shows?
Dota-Rock- Jerry Blood Rock was a good promoter, Mandiplite was also
good. He use to pay us up front before we performed. There were
other good ones then there were guys like Ray Chandler who you had to
be on your P's and Q's because he was straight gangster he was an
ex-cop and Casanova had his back.
Troy L.- Why did the Fantastic 5 change your name to Fantastic Freaks?
Dota-Rock- We wanted to start doing something different. The girls
always loved us. In our routines we at times humped the floor. This
is also during the time when Kevie Kev came back. Since he did that
record called "All night long" it labeled us just right.
Troy L.- How did the Fantastic 5 go about doing your record "Fresh out
Dota-Rock- A gentleman by the name of Johnny Soul talked to us about
doing a record on his independent label. He was a decent man and he
gave us some good ideas. So we did the record. It sold pretty good
here in N.Y. Mr. Soul also had a tour bus for us with our name on the
side of it. Mr. Soul died before we could do a second record.
Troy L.- Where did "My mic sound right check one" come from and how
did the Fantastic feel about the girls "Salt and Pepper" using it?
Dota-Rock- Kevie Kev made that up. He got tired of saying "one two,
checking the mics. We never really got a chance to meet Salt and
Pepper but we met Herbie Luv Bug their manager and producer. He came
to one of our shows one day with a bunch of body guards and told us he
really admired our music and he was a big Dota- Rock fan. We just
looked at him and said thanks and walked away. We really didn't
appreciate him using "my mic sounds right check one" with out
permission. That was not the only thing he stole, there were other
routines that we wrote he used for the girls.
Troy L.- How did Fantastic get on with the Wild style movie? And what
was the pay like?
Dota-Rock- Well we were the hottest group. So Charlie Ahearn and Fab
5 Freddy came to one of our shows and asked us if we would like to be
in the movie, we said sure. They paid us $1000 a man each set we did
for the movie. That set we did in the basketball courts was at 7:00
in the morning. Us and the Cold Crush did shows that night before the
game so we never went to sleep, everyone looks tired. If you look
close enough I still have on a collar shirt under my sweat shirt from
the night before at the party.
Troy L.- How do you feel about Hip Hop today?
Dota-Rock- Hip Hop is Hip Hop but it's not Hip Hop from before its
more practiced, more gangster, its more record. It's not enough
imagination. I think the gangster took a lot out of Hip Hop. I enjoy
some of the records now but that's all it is records. It's not an art
any more. I hear brothers freestyle and say the same thing like the
next man talking about he goin' to pull out his glock. Blazy blah
what he goin' to do on the block. Any body can do that. But he's
just promoting violence. I don't see anything party about that.
There's no skill there. If you don't have a dope beat behind what
your saying it don't mean shit because no one's going to buy it. The
majority of it is gangster and I am getting tired of it I think it is
killing Hip Hop. I never talked about killing in my rhymes in fact no
one did in those days.
Troy L. Who do you dig today as an M.C.?
Dota-Rock- L.L.Cool J. I like the way he gets on that Gangster but
gets right off of it. He's able to be versatile and has longevity.
Even though he breaks out for movies or his show he still comes back
and lays down his rhymes good. I checked him from day one I even went
to his Raising Hell tours. That's who I think is a great m.c.
Troy L. Are you finished with Hip Hop? Do you still write?
Dota-Rock- I have always wrote but I took a couple years off to be
closer with my family and just chill and collect my thoughts. Now its
back on. I am always Dota-Rock but I am Darrell Mason first.
Troy L.- ONE.
Troy L. from HARLEM 2002 Troy L. Smith No part may
be reproduced without authors permission.