If you didn’t know before I guess you know now, Showbiz is back.
One-half of one of the 1990s most acclaimed Hip Hop duos, Show & A.G., (who together comprise one-fourth of the legendary Diggin’ In The Crates crew) has reemerged on the scene after a lengthy hiatus from constructing new music to introduce his brand of boom bap beats from a bygone era to a new generation of Hip Hop heads.
An equally prolific producer in a crew that includes legendary trackmasters the likes of Lord Finesse, Buckwild and Diamond D, Show has resurfaced alongside one of his non-Diggin’ Bronx brethren, KRS-One, for a collaborative long-player entitled Godsville. The ‘90s flavored collection (released digitally this week, with a physical CD release due March 8th) boasts a bevy of neck-snapping selections including the horn-blessed reintroduction of real Hip Hop “Improve Myself,” a head-nodding life lesson from The Teacha aptly-titled “The Truth,” and the past-meets-present Bronx union “We Love This,” which shines a much deserved spotlight on the BX’s newest star-in-the-making, Fred the Godson.
Late last Wednesday (February 9th), Showbiz spoke to HipHopDX about his history with KRS-One, and broke down how that history ties into the title Godsville. One of Hip Hop’s original boom bap suppliers additionally revealed to DX the role a fellow producer he once mentored played in bringing Show back to the beatmaking game. The Diggin’ In The Crates crewmember also revealed some sad, but ultimately not surprising, news about his long splintered musical family. And lastly, the 20-year vet took a brief stroll down memory lane to reveal if Da Beatminerz are really beat biters, if Show is in possession of any previously unheard Big L verses, if he and A.G. might revisit their classic ’95 release, Goodfellas, and if Greg Nice and Tupac really helped hospitalize him on one unforgettable night in 1992.
HipHopDX: Before we get to Godsville, I recently had the pleasure of conducting a really dope interview with DJ Premier to commemorate the 20th anniversary of [Gang Starr’s] Step In The Arena. In that interview your name came up a couple times, with Preemo giving you major props for his early development as a producer. Is it fair to say that Showbiz helped groom the guy who would go on to become Hip Hop’s G.O.A.T. producer?
Showbiz: Yes, basically because – [Laughs] I mean, [DJ] Premier doesn’t lie, he tells me every day that [I mentored him]. It’s a thing that with me [though], I don’t put a lot of stuff on Broadway. But, the whole chopping [samples] and all of that, I basically brought that to the game, and showed everybody how to do it. But I never ran around saying that while I was out [during] the whole 20 years I was doing what I was doing. Preem helped me a lot in my career also, on a lot of levels. He was in the business before me and he did a lot of things for me also. So we have that type of relationship. It ain’t like I did for him, or I showed him things [and he didn’t do anything for me]. He’s done just as much for me. That’s why our relationship is real solid. … Him even giving me a spot to rock at [in HeadQcourterz Studios] is real…it’s unbelievable.
DX: Let’s get to Godsville. First off, why that title?
Showbiz: Because where I’m from, [Forest Houses in the Bronx], our neighborhood was called “Godsville.” [In the late ‘80s there were] a lot of Five Percenter [Nation of Gods and Earths members], and it was nothing but Gods in there. Every guy you’d see was a Five Percenter. And at that time, the music that was [played in the neighborhood] was strictly [KRS-One]. That’s all we rocked was KRS. [Boogie Down Productions], that’s all we rocked. All of the radios, and everything we did, it was all B.D.P. We was from the Bronx, and he represented us. He just had the [MC] Shan thing jump off, and then he came out with Criminal Minded. So, that whole period I dedicated this album to, being that he was the one that was rockin’ at that time. … It’s just a dedication to my hood, and to that time [and to] making an album with the guy that we was actually listening to at that time.
DX: This is the first time you worked with KRS since “A Friend” from I Got Next, correct? What took so long for y’all to reconnect?
Showbiz: Well…I haven’t seen him. [Laughs] It’s just that simple, I haven’t seen him. I was in North Carolina for a couple years. I was away for awhile. And I hadn’t seen Kris to…maybe two years ago …. And then I wasn’t ready. I’m only now getting ready, as far as musically and getting back into my thing because I have a studio to go into all day and do what I do.
DX: So you were down in North Carolina like hangin’ out with Big Daddy Kane? [Laughs]
Showbiz: Nah, [Big Daddy] Kane is not too far from me but…I had moved my mother down there a while ago, like in the early ‘90s when I first was rockin’ [with A.G.] And my mother had became ill, and I had to go down there and take care of her until she passed. And when she passed, I stayed down there for like a year or two. … Then I came back [to New York] and had got the studio with Preem.
DX: And so when you first ran back into KRS did you say, Hey, we need to do a whole project?
Showbiz: Nah, it didn’t happen like that. I ran into him [at HeadQcourterz but] he wasn’t even in the studio with Premier. He was in the other studio, the other room with [Charlie Rock]. And there was a little incident in the studio that night where some guy had wanted to see KRS that KRS had ran into earlier that day. And long story short, me and him started talking after the incident. He was in my room, so I was playing beats and he just was like, “Yo, what’s up? Let’s get in poppin’. We got enough beats?” I’m like, “Yeah, I got enough joints.” And he knocked out four joints right there, came and knocked another eight out. He came with a little suitcase: one of them carry-on’s like when you go to the airport. He had that full of rhymes. So we just got busy up in there.
DX: I just wanna segue here to educate the uninformed about your history with KRS. “Sound of da Police” was your first big production credit outside of the Diggin’ camp. But 17 years later, is KRS’ classic indictment of the po-po your personal favorite track you’ve constructed in your 20 year career?
Showbiz: It’s one of them. But I don’t have like a personal favorite track that I [made]. I think it’s like four of ‘em that’s on the same level as [“Sound of da Police”] – off of [Show & A.G. albums] and stuff like that. But, that’s definitely one of ‘em. Of course it’s the most successful one that I’ve done.
DX: Were you in the studio when he recorded his verses?
Showbiz: Nah, I wasn’t there. I laid the beat first, and he came after.
DX: So when you heard that officer breakdown, from “overseer” to “officer,” were you like, He just went crazy [with his flow]?
Showbiz: Yeah, but you know, I was amazed like – I’m a fan. I’ve been a fan from, like I said, back in the Godsville days. So, just him even coming to my house, like to see him pull up…I was like, “KRS coming to my crib. This is crazy!” But, after hearing the track I just was like – And I ain’t even know it was gon’ be a single. So once it was a single, it was just like, "Wow, this is crazy." I’m glad he rocked it; I’m glad it was a single, and it was one of the highlights of my life.
DX: Since you contributed to Return of the Boom Bap, are you puttin’ in any work on Return of the Boom Bip?
Showbiz: I don’t know; I wanna see how they do that. Because, I don’t wanna bully foot they project because I got my own with him. So, him and Preem just gonna go in and do what they do. I’ll just remain next door, being quiet. [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] You mentioned [there are] a few other tracks that might be on par with “Sound of da Police.” I think one of ‘em is the remix you did for the Artifacts’ “The Ultimate.” And so I was wondering if you’ve gotten it in with El and Tame for their reunion project?
Showbiz: Nah, I haven’t. I haven’t got up wit’ ‘em. If they check [for] me I’d be down. I’m in work mode right now. … I haven’t been putting a lot of stuff out lately, but I’m in work mode right now. I’m on my way to the studio as we speak.
DX: Your producer-for-hire credits seemed to shrink after the ‘90s came to a close. Are you still submitting beats to artists or - ?
Showbiz: Well I really never was submitting beats. That’s never been my thing. Buckwild always done it, and Diamond [D] does it, but that never was my thing. I never done that. Like, I always had a lot of independent stuff out with my crew. ‘Cause I really want my crew to rock over my beats. I never was the type to submit [tracks to artists]. I’d never be going to people’s sessions and be playing beats for them, that never was my thing. I did [“Sound of da Police”] because that was Kris, and he came to me. … And when I did “A Friend” and [“Blowe” featuring Redman, preceded by “Represent The Real Hip Hop” featuring Das Efx], he came to me. When he comes to me, of course I’m in. But, I don’t run up on people. I never did. I never was that type of dude. That’s why I never had a lot of production [credits] on a lot of people’s stuff. Even with the Artifacts, they came to me for the remix. … I always wanted my crew to shine. So, most of my beats was on my crew [members projects]. Most of ‘em, whether it was with A.G., Party Arty and them…Milano…it was always people in my crew…
DX: You mentioned A.G., I wish he would’ve taken some beats from you for that Everything’s Berri project. I interviewed him last summer, and he said y’all still support each other, but were you really in support of that softer sound he came with though?
Showbiz: I’m supportive of what he does ‘cause I see him reaching; he trying to grow. And there was a time where I was more musical and he couldn’t understand it. But now he’s growing into that, and I want him to grow into something more musical outside of him just having a mindset that he just gotta impress the people from the hood. ‘Cause it’s a global thing right now. [So], I definitely support him. I don’t know if I woulda made a whole album like he do, and I gotta give him credit for even reaching like that. Because, he ain’t in a box because everybody wants him to rhyme a certain way or rhyme off of certain beats. So I gotta give him credit for even reaching to do some shit like that, ‘cause you gotta have a lot of confidence in yourself to even make a move like that. And I understand that, because I know where he’s at wit’ it mentally. I sit down and I talk to him, so I already know where he’s going at wit’ it. He’s just gonna do him; he just wanna do what he feel at that moment. So, I gotta give him credit for that.
DX: I gotta ask, Raekwon, AZ, hell now even Ja Rule’s coming with a sequel to his most successful album, so when are we getting that Goodfellas Pt. II?
Showbiz: Not a chance. Me and A gon’ rock, but there’s not gonna be a part two to [any of our albums]. I don’t believe in that. It works for some people, don’t get me wrong. It worked for Dr. Dre, it worked for Raekwon and them, but I don’t think it would work for us because…we’ll just try to do something else.
DX: I kinda wish that album would be noted more, ‘cause it seems like when cats discuss the long list of classic LP’s that dropped in ’95 Goodfellas isn’t always mentioned in the same company as the purple tape or The Infamous the way it should be.
Showbiz: Yeah. But, I think more people gravitated towards Runaway Slave than Goodfellas. I mean, I see that [album included] in certain lists or whatever the case is. But you gotta understand, those were bigger artists at the time than what me and A were. I think we contributed to our own style of Hip Hop, and we brought stuff to the table. But at the same time, the reality is they were bigger artists than us [so] of course they gonna get mentioned a lot more than us. ‘Cause if you ain’t really a Hip Hop head like that, you wouldn’t really know. Like, how big Wu-Tang [Clan] was, we wasn’t like that. But Diggin’ In The Crates definitely, we represented and we brought something to the table.
DX: I had that tape though, and I gotta say, 15-plus years later “You Know Now” sounds just as gloriously menacing to me as it did in 9-5.
Showbiz: Ah, thanks man, ‘preciate that.
DX: Yeah, they don’t make grimey goodness like that no more, sadly.
Showbiz: I’ma tell you the truth, since the Internet came out, and since I started getting on the Internet, I never knew that our music had that type of effect on the amount of people it did. I didn’t know people really wanted that [type of music], because before the Internet you were only known as far as [doing] shows or [having your songs] on the radio. I had no way of knowing how the fans felt, at all. So it’s only now coming to light when I’m looking at the Internet and seeing – I’m like, “Wow, I didn’t know that.” But, that grimey sound is where it’s at. I’m actually about to put out a project with nothing but that.
DX: Like a compilation project?
Showbiz: Nah, first I’m doing the beats, then I’m trying to drag ya man [A.G.] in so we can do that grimey album. ‘Cause that’s what a lot of people wanna hear, man. It ain’t a lot of that going around.
DX: Just a suggestion, I’m not a producer, but you gotta take a vocal sample from “Next Level” and cut it into a new track: “Showed all these corny muthafuckas what Hip Hop supposed to sound like.”
Showbiz: [Laughs] Aww, that’s funny. That’s crazy. The game has changed so much, but I ain’t mad at it at all. It’s a beautiful thing to me. I love every minute of it.
DX: Let me end with one loose question. I just gotta ask this, [after producing] Nice & Smooth’s “Blunts” [in 1994 and then] when you heard Smif N Wessun’s “Bucktown” [later that same year] were you like, "These bitin’ muthafuckas?" [Laughs]
Showbiz: Let me see, how can I say this without – Everyone knows, and it doesn’t even matter because…back in the ‘90s we all [sampled the same] records that other producers [previously used]. You went and found a record that [A Tribe Called Quest] used or whatever. But, that [sample], I’m known for that record, ‘cause that record is the one I did [“Hold Ya Head” from Runaway Slave] with [in 1992] – that Jack Bruce [sample, “Born To Be Blue”]. So, I already knew [Da Beatminerz] got it because of…somebody told ‘em. I don’t know who told ‘em, but…I wasn’t mad at it. I just was like, "Yo, this is Hip Hop." Because, I got records that other dudes did and I chopped that same record up that they used. This is Hip Hop. I would never look at it like, "Oh, y’all bit." This is Hip Hop; I don’t own the rights to that shit. They used it, and they hooked it up. I love that record too! Word, I was like, “That shit is hot!” But I definitely had it first though. [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] It wasn’t like when you see Evil Dee y’all get into it or something? [Laughs]
Showbiz: Oh, hell no! That shit was all live, but I knew somebody told him my little secret though. [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] Hey, I could take this walk down memory lane with you all night for real, but I wanna save myself having to transcribe a three hour long interview. [Laughs] So before I let you go, any other projects besides the Godsville project and this stuff you’re working on with A.G. …?
Showbiz: Well, I got three guys: my man Milano, D-Flow and my man Gauge. And the name of the group is called Barbarian. … So that’s the next joint that I got, and it’s very nice. … That, and I got a couple of instrumental ‘90s joints coming out, with the raw, grimey sound.
DX: This is all still D.I.T.C. Records?
Showbiz: Oh yeah…
DX: So you’re the one putting out all these [Rare & Unreleased D.I.T.C. albums]?
Showbiz: Yeah, I’m doing all of that. [Laughs] All of that stuff was just sitting there, and people was asking me for them [songs]. [So] yeah, I threw that out. Nobody else better be throwing that out.
DX: Well, I was gonna ask you, any feelings on Big L’s brother putting out [Return of the Devil’s Son]? It’s like, he wanted to put out something, but he really didn’t need to do that.
Showbiz: Yeah, but what can I do? That’s [Big] L’s brother. And, I’m not gon’ beef wit’ it. I like Don; Don is a cool dude. And whatever he wanted to do I’m supporting him. But, I don’t think I woulda put out anything that’s…re-releasing tracks that was out [already]. But, it’s all love over here. I’ma do whatever he ask me to do as long as it ain’t hurting me.
DX: Just for the sake of the heads who are curious, do you have any previously unheard L verses in the vault still?
Showbiz: No way. Nah, man, everybody asks for that. But, nah, we don’t. L, he has a lot out there, but I just don’t have ‘em. But he definitely has albums worth of material with a lot of little producers he was working with – three tracks here, two tracks there. He definitely has a lot. [And] if they get ‘em together, they’d definitely make a nice album with ‘em. Because, that was towards the end, and he was getting vicious [and recording as much as he could] towards the end.
DX: People forget back in the ‘90s it wasn’t like you could do a whole mixtape from your bedroom. Like, going to the studio was -
Showbiz: That’s the thing that we always [say] that, you know how much it cost to go to the studio back then?! We wasn’t wasting no songs! Everything we recorded, we using that shit! You talking hundreds of dollars an hour, man! Are you crazy?! It was a different thing; Pro Tools wasn’t poppin’ like that back then. So it was a different ballgame back then.
DX: I guess while I got you here…I’ve done interviews in the last few years with O.C., Lord Finesse, and every interview it’s like, Is there ever gonna be the other Diggin’ album? And O.C. told me a few years ago that you were the one who actually convened like a Godfather-style pow-wow, and something was supposed to come of that and never did. Why not?
Showbiz: Huh? I did what? You lost me…
DX: Yeah, O.C. said you got everybody in the same room and said -
Showbiz: I did that …. But, that’s not gonna happen again. With D.I.T.C., that’s not gonna happen. It’s a wrap.
Showbiz: It’s definitely a wrap. The majority of us is cool, but…it’s not gonna happen. Everybody is grown, and creatively we in different spaces. And it was things that happened that’s not gonna – that’s gonna probably prevent us from being creative and comfortable with each other. But you know, that’s how the music industry is. It breaks up a lot of people. And it’s sad that that’s a reality, but…it definitely is.
DX: Damn, I don’t wanna end on a sad note. Let’s end on a positive note. When I interviewed A.G., he talked about [how] Tupac was like the biggest Show & A.G. fan, ever. And, he came to your crib one time or something like that?
Showbiz: Yeah, he came to my crib, [and] got me fuckin’ drunk and high at the same time. I wound up in the emergency room, B.
Showbiz: [Laughs] Word up, man. Fuckin’ wit’ that nigga, man.
DX: This is while he was in New York filming Juice?
Showbiz: Juice had just came out I think. But he was here already, [and] Greg [Nice] is…aww man, I love Greg. Greg is my dude, [and] Greg called me like, “Yo, me and ‘Pac coming over right now. He got some alcohol and some weed.” I’m like, “Yeah, whatever.” Man, they come over…that was the worst fuckin’ mistake I made that year.
But, it was all love though. The last time I saw ‘Pac he was like, “Yo, I’m mad at you, man. The remix of ‘Fat Pockets’ ain’t on the album. I went through every song looking for that shit.” That’s my man. Rest in peace to that brother.