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Thursday, August 27, 2009


I frequently think of my much-missed pal Steve Hughes as he makes a new life for himself with his wife Natuza and infant son Liam in Brazil, and every now and then something here in NYC reminds me of his Bronx-bred uniqueness.

Natuza, Hughes and wee Liam.

Y'see, I met the guy when he was a freshman at college in the fall of 1986 and I was a perpetually stoned R.A. ("Resident Assistant," or the person parents trust to make sure their young are shepherded by an upstanding member of society), and he and I hit it off at first because we seemed to have had our existences switched; I grew up a rock 'n' roll-loving black guy in uber-white Westport, Connecticut while Hughes grew up Irish in the Bronx during the nascent days of the hip-hop movement and is in many ways "blacker" than me. As our friendship grew to the point where I now consider him a brother in all but blood, our musical tastes influenced one another and we both learned to appreciate genres and the obscura of those genres that we would never have experienced had we never met all those years ago. Hughes would probably never have heard Wildman Fisher's "I'm A Truck" had it not been for me, and I would certainly never in a million years have heard "Knowledge Me" by Original Concept.

"Knowledge me, Amin!": Long Island's Original Concept.

Hughes was may gateway into old school rap and such, so when I saw the following ad campaign adorning space on my local subway platform I immediately photographed it so I could send him a little piece of home.

It's an image of deejay par excellence Grandmaster Flash, representing on behalf of fellow foster children for the Little Flower adoption group, and the idea that the man behind the epochal "Grand Master Flash on the Wheels of Steel" turning up on the subway, for a very good cause, just makes my day. And I hope this makes Hughes' day as well.


John Bligh said...

RAPPIN': This movie hadda happen!!!

Hughes said...

You made my day, week and year!

Side note on "Knowledge Me"... it was actually the A side to a 12" single that contained "Can You Feel It", a song that became infinitely more popular (B-side wins again!) The group was formed by a collection of DJ's from WBAU in Long Island (including the semi-successful Dr. Dre of "Who's the Man" fame). The song makes no sense to anyone not living in western Nassau County at that time, but it contains what I would consider one of the greatest beats in hip-hop history. Viva la TR-808!!