Over the past few weeks, Red Bull hosted its yearly Red Bull EmSee tour to showcase the country’s best freestyle battle rappers. Now, in honor of this year’s events, Red Bull caught up with Redman, Joell Ortiz and Schoolly D to discuss their first experiences on stage.
Redman recalled how his first performance on stage at the age of 16 ended with him and his partner at the time getting kicked off stage. He said that first, he farted as soon as he stepped on stage, and then after that when he forgot their set list, he got the duo kicked out of the venue with a profanity-laced freestyle.
“My first time going on [on stage], I farted,” said Reggie Noble. “I’d say I’d have to be 16, and me and my boy Craig had to perform in downtown Newark. There was a lady that was giving the program, so she strategically said ‘No cursing at all.’ We had our set down pat, went out there, and went blank, and I started freestyling. I was a good freestyler back then, so I was talking peoples’ mommas in the audience, just all out of character. They got us off [the stage], said we couldn’t perform there, whatever, just X-ed us out.”
Joel Ortiz remembered that his first time grabbing the mic wasn’t on stage, but rather, in a cipher in his Brooklyn neighborhood. He said that he tried to impress a girl he liked by jumping in on the cipher with little experience, but was swiftly defeated.
“The first time I was on stage was the first time I ever rapped. I mean, it wasn’t ‘a’ stage, but that was the first time I stepped to a cipher and it was a stage for me,” he said. “I saw a cipher and I didn’t know what it was, and there was this girl I liked over there, so I went over there and was like, ‘What is this?’ Dudes were rhyming, so I was like, ‘Man, I could do that,’ so I went upstairs and I wrote. I came back down, and I got my butt whipped.”
Schoolly D said his first time on stage ever was at a very young age in a school group to perform Funkadelic’s “Get Off You Ass and Jam.” His first time on a public venue as a rapper, however, he said he wowed Grandmaster Flash, Prince and Evelyn “Champagne” King as their opening act.
“The first time I was on stage it was somewhere in between [the ages] of seven or ten, ” said the Philly legend. “The first song we learned was [Funkadelic’s] ‘Get off Your Ass and Jam,’ which shocked the whole neighborhood, and we come out, ‘Shit, goddamn, get off your ass and jam!’ The first time as a rapper was we were opening up for Grandmaster Flash, Prince and Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King…they didn’t expect us to be that good, so they were like ‘Wow,’ and that’s when I knew we had something.”
The full interview can be seen below.