Published on January 20th, 2022 | by MuzikScribe0
Catching Up With The One Chadio (Of Cru Fame)
Now where exactly have you been? And what all had / have you been up to during your hiatus from music?
Honestly, I’ve been living a normal life during my hiatus. Basically, I had two kids and most of my time has been occupied providing for my family.
That said, how has not only yourself – but also the industry in general – either changed and / or evolved since you debuted on the scene?
Well, as far as Hip Hop music is concerned, it has both evolved and changed. One example of the evolutionary aspect is in the level of rhyming. Now, it seems as if there are more people who possess above average talent when it comes to rhyming. Some possess complex rhyme schemes, multi-syllable rhymes and more. Battle rap is another example of how it has evolved into something next level. Nowadays, battle rap rhyming is more complex, extremely animated and even at times we’ve seen, for lack of a better term, costumes worn and / or clothes changed, props brought onto the stage, etcetera. As far as how it has changed, the music at times is totally different from the “Golden Era” of Hip Hop, whichever your Golden Era is; ‘80’s or ‘90’s. The overall sound of some of the music is very different from the earlier years, such as the Boom Bap era; so much so that some people have asked for a separate classification of today’s “type of Hip Hop.” On the other hand, although rhymes have stepped up in some cases, as mentioned above, some rhymes from others sound extremely simplified. This is especially true with commercialized rap.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for The One Chadio?
Musically, I was exposed since birth. Whether it was Salsa and Doo-Wop through my mother, Disco via my cousins or Hip Hop and R&B via my older brother and my neighborhood family where I was born and raised. Music always played a part in my life.
Now you are a native of The Bronx, N.Y.C., correct? So growing up in the ‘Boogie Down,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Indeed I am a Bronx native. Growing up in the X, I was surrounded by Hip Hop; so much so that I do not remember the elements of Hip Hop not existing because it was all around me for as long as I can remember…graffiti, jams in the park, etcetera. So, to answer your question the influences began with the pioneers who got busy at those jams during the beginning stages when I was young; like The Cold Crush, The Fantastic Five, The Jazzy Five, Funky Four Plus One More, etcetera. I was too young to be at a lot of the indoor jams, but my brother and his people would play the recorded cassette tapes that circulated and I would bag them and play them for myself continuously. I was able to attend the outdoor jams in the park though. Basically, I was enveloped by Hip Hop. As the saying goes, it’s in my blood.
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
Personally, I don’t like to classify my sound / style because depending upon how I feel is what will be made. I create from a diverse spectrum of music that is within me, but I guess, for the sake of answering the question, I would say, for the most part, it can be called Hardcore Hip Hop sprinkled at times with social awareness. That’s the best way that I can classify my (The One Chadio) sound / style.
What particular string of events initially led to you linking up with Yogi & Mighty Ha, ultimately forming Rhythm Blunt Cru, which was later shortened to CRU?
For the most part, we grew up together in the same housing complex since we were young dudes; therefore, there isn’t a particular string of events I can refer to because we are from the same neighborhood and were hanging out together before the music thing.
How did y’all even come to the attention of the powers-that-be at Violator Entertainment / Def Jam Recordings?
Actually, we did it the best way we knew how at the time. We hand delivered a cassette of some of our music to the late, great Baby Chris Lighty (RIP!) outside of a nightclub in N.Y.C.. We wrote a contact phone number on the cassette, and he called us back after listening to it and asked to meet. We met and agreed to go back into the studio to do some more tracks for an official demo, and the rest is history.
In June 1997 y’all dropped the group’s premiere offering, Da Dirty 30 — Although a super solid effort, the project was (criminally) slept on; why do you think that is?
In my humble opinion, it can be one of several factors. You never truly know why. With that said, the promotion probably could have been better / more. Also, I believe timing is important as well, and we came out with a project that, I now see, gets high recognition and is even considered a classic album by some now, as opposed to when it was released. Some will say we were slightly ahead of the curve and people needed to catch up so they could appreciate Da Dirty 30, which many now do. One other factor is the choice of singles. I think the ball was dropped when it came to choosing. If I had to pick the three singles with a video, I would’ve picked “Just Another Case” (B side “Pronto”), “Pay Attention,” featuring Anthony Hamilton (B side Live At The Tunnel, featuring Lox) and “I Like” (B side “Dat Shit”). But others had other ideas when it came to picking the singles, and Def Jam also short changed us in only giving us two singles / videos.
Did y’all wind up parting ways or had there been plans in place to record and release a follow-up LP?
The answer is yes to both questions. Actually, we were more than halfway done with the second album before we parted ways.
What are your fondest and / or most memorable moments from this particular time and place in your life and career?
The entire experience was memorable. I was blessed to work with Chris and Dave Lighty…genuinely good brothers. I met and worked with peers, as well as legends of Hip Hop. I shared the mic with KRS-One, who is one of my favorite Hip Hop legends, on a float at the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. We traveled up 5th Avenue passing the mic to each other, as he performed “Step into a World” and we performed “Pronto.” I shared the same stage with many legends such as DMX, The Lox, Cypress Hill, The Roots, Pharcyde, Foxy Brown, Erykah Badu, (A) Tribe Called Quest, etcetera. It was all memorable.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
Yes and no. On one hand, I’m unhappy with the ultra commercialization and exploitation of our art form. On the other hand, I’m happy at the resurgence of the foundational qualities of Hip Hop, such as lyricism. I see and hear some artists respecting the lyrical aspect more now in their work and that is refreshing.
To date, what has been your greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?
Honestly, my greatest career achievement thus far was the completion and release of our one and only album Da Dirty 30. It is a great album, if I may say so myself, and it feels good to contribute such a respected piece of work to the art form of Hip Hop, the art form that I love.
One track of y’all’s that you think defines you all and why?
I’m going to take a different route for this answer. I don’t think one song defines us. Rather, I think the entire album as a whole defines us. If you look at the CRU logo, I was responsible for coming up with, you will see a half smiley face and half skull. The logo, which is on the back album cover, represents our music perfectly as sometimes we created tracks that were rugged and hardcore, and at other times we created tracks that were opposite of hardcore. That is why I say the album in its entirety is what defines us.
Do you remain in touch with either / both Yogi and Mighty Ha? And if so, do you ever foresee a reunion; whether it be on stage and / or wax?
I do come into contact with Yogi and Mighty Ha from time to time. As far as a reunion is concerned, honestly, I don’t know if that will happen but if it was to happen it would most likely be on wax. Of course, this is just my opinion, but one never knows…
Finally, what’s next for The One Chadio?
Well, as for me, I am releasing what is in my possession as far as solo material is concerned. I have recorded music that is just sitting there and I despise that. I recently released a project titled Internal Insurgency, which is part of a dual set, on Spotify and Apple Music, and I will release that set’s next project titled External Insurgency on March 1st. In addition, I am featured on a track on my West Coast brethren Bishop Lamont’s album, titled Just Don’t Die, which will be released this year. Also, I have a couple of features with an artist from The Bronx named Kloke. That project is titled The Brown Bag Project. We just finished filming a video for the first single titled “And So It Begins.” I have a couple of more features lined up but I don’t want to speak on them before they are completed. I am currently recording a solo project as well which is tentatively titled Kang Chad. I have already recorded 3 songs on that project. Another thing is I am entering the merch world. Admittedly, I am new to that realm but I really am interested in participating. I already am selling tee shirts, hoodies, pins and stickers with the CRU logo on them via my Instagram page, which is @realcru…and I plan on purchasing different things with the logo on them to sell in the future.
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
I would just like to say thank you to all who have supported CRU in the past and the present, and anyone who is new to CRU as well. I ask for your continued support via my The One Chadio solo music projects, any features on other projects as well as any merchandising efforts in the near future. Don’t forget to follow @realcru on Instagram. I’d like to close by saying CRU is The One Chadio, Yogi, Mighty Ha and ANYONE out there who is riding with us…That is what comprises the whole CRU!