Nardwuar The Human Serviette vs Nardwuar vs. Bushwick Bill
Nardwuar: Who are you?
Bushwick Bill: My mother’s child [laughs].
Nardwuar: You are Bushwick Bill.
Bushwick Bill: Yeah, I’m Bushwick Bill, how you doing [laughs]?
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, welcome to SXSW, Austin Texas, where you do not live.
Bushwick Bill: No, I do not live here, but it is where music lives, so I guess technically I am living here.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, right off the bat, I wanted to ask you about this particular record right here, First Priority, Basement Flavor [Nardwuar hands a LP to Bill]. What can you tell the people about it?
Bushwick Bill: About First Priority? Are you talking about MC Lyte, Mom and Dad record label with Audio 2 and the rest of these characters?
Nardwuar: Indeed, yes, Michie Mee from Canada.
Bushwick Bill: Well, really what I like about this record right here, personally, is that it shows diversity and flavour. And if you think about it, Audio Two, 50 Cent just sampled them three years ago and went platinum again on that beat, and so did Mary J Blige sing on the same beat that Audio Two did, Milk is Chillin’. So the beats off this album have been multi platinum since this album came out, with other artists rapping over the same beat.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, you started as a dancer in New York, at the Swatch Watch competition?
Bushwick Bill: Yes. I am a breakdancing genius. [Laughs]. Actually, when I was younger, I was into grafitti, breakdancing, and DJing, and then later on found out I could rap. But I am part
of the 5 elements of hip-hop, as far as breakdancing, producing, DJing and writing grafitti, yeah, it’s all the same.
Nardwuar: What were the dances? The Jerry Lewis, the Pee-wee Herman, the Smurf. What were the dances?
Bushwick Bill: Yeah, those were all of the dances right there, including the original moves that we would make up during breakdancing, you know what I mean? Like the headspin into the windmill, you know what I mean? It’s just, now that I am older, I feel all those pains in my joints [laughs].
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, the early days of Bushwick Bill, the Rhinestone Wrangler. You worked at the Rhinestone Wrangler. What was the Rhinestone Wrangler?
Bushwick Bill: [Laughs]. Well, first it was the Rhinestone Wrangler, then it was the Thunderdome, but I was a busboy with DJ – rest in peace – DJ Lonnie Mack. The biggest act back then was Captain Jack and DJ Lonnie Mack, and Lonnie Mack got me a job there, and I was a busboy. And every time I would finish cleaning up the glasses and stuff around the club that people were finished with, and they would put on any beats from New York, and I would get out there and start lockin’ and poppin’ and doing the Smurf and the Jerry Lewis and the Pee-wee Herman and you name it.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, I wanted to ask you about the OG Ghetto Boys [Nardwuar hands a LP to Bill]. What can you tell the people about the Car Freak Ghetto Boys?
Bushwick Bill: Okay, well right here, this dude right here is where the name of the record label Rap-A-Lot came from, he is Sir Rap-A-Lot. That’s Raheem, and that is Jukebox, and this was the first song off of the Making Trouble album, this was the first single. And Raheem, if you remember, he got signed to A&M records and he put out the song Dance Floor, and he used the Keep on Truckin’ beat. Yeah, that was the first big deal that Rap-A-Lot had for distribution was A&M records with his solo.
Nardwuar: Another Ghetto Boys that I wanted to ask about was this particular Ghetto Boys, which you are on, Bill, Ghetto Boys B-Down [Nardwuar hands a LP to Bill]. What can you tell the people about Ghetto Boys B-Down? There you are.
Bushwick Bill: Okay, now look, if you check out the transition, right, this is what I want you to see right here. Okay, Raheem went solo; Sir Rap-A-Lot wasn’t in the group any more. The only original one still there is Jukebox. This is Jukebox right here. Ready Red, Prince Johnny C down, and they are from Trenton, New Jersey, and I am from Brooklyn.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, is it true you are one of the only people in the entire world, if not the only person, to have a birth certificate and a death certificate?
Bushwick Bill: Yeah, when I lost my high, I died on June 19th, 1991 at approximately 4:35, and I didn’t come to until in the morgue after 7 o’clock. And they were actually getting me ready for autopsy. That’s at Ben Taub Hospital (in Houston) they could tell you the whole thing. I was DOA on arrival, they have all the information right there, Ben Taub, Houston.
Nardwuar: And then you woke up in the morgue and then took a piss on a cop?
Bushwick Bill: Yes. I had to pee so bad I pulled out the catheter and I jumped down, and the cop just stood there like this, and I just peed, and then I realised what I was doing, because you have got to remember, I didn’t know I was dead, you know what I mean? So I just had the biggest urge to pee, and I jumped down, then of course he ran out of the room, and the technician ran out of the room, from the morgue. It was a serious moment.
Nardwuar: And when they said you were dead, you really were dead? Like you had a toe tag on, too?
Bushwick Bill: I had the toe tag on. I was in the morgue, dead, you know what I mean [laughs]? They didn’t have me in the hallway, they didn’t have me inside of a room waiting to transfer me – I was actually on the cold slab, getting ready to be pushed in.
Nardwuar: And then how much later did this LP cover happen [Nardwuar hands a LP to Bill]? When did this LP cover shot happen?
Bushwick Bill: On the day before my surgery to remove the eye.
Nardwuar: And you had no idea this was going to happen? People just showed up with cameras?
Bushwick Bill: They just, the hospital had me drugged up, so I was being prepared for a surgery. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink anything, they had me on a bunch of medicine, and I didn’t
see the album cover until after it hit the shelves. But I mean, such is life.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, Willie D heard you doing “Rebel Without a Pause, “that’s how you ended up in the Ghetto Boys? How did you end up in the Ghetto Boys?
Bushwick Bill: I don’t know who is giving you your information, but it is so [pauses] weird. Okay, this is what happened. I was hanging out with DJ Ready Red, I didn’t know Willie D, I knew Scarface. I knew Little J, ‘cause I hung out with him a lot, and we went over the bible many times on different subject matters, and I am hanging out with Ready Red, and the person who actually heard me rapping “Rebel Without a Pause” was John Beado , and he is the one that told Little J that, let’s see if Little Bill could rap something. And that is where the whole thing started from. Willie D had nothing to do with the influence of me rapping whatsoever.
Nardwuar: Going to Houston OG, this is an important Houston OG group, isn’t it [Nardwuar hands a LP to Bill], Royal Flush?
Bushwick Bill: Oh yeah.
Nardwuar: I love it on here because they thank you, quote, Bushwick Bill, for buggin’. Why were they thanking you for the buggin’?
Bushwick Bill: [Laughs] Because I would always trip out on them about hip hop history. Being that I am from New York, you know what I mean, I would talk to people about hip hop history, things that they didn’t know at the time, you know what I mean? But they were very into hip hop, but they just didn’t grow up around it like I did in Brooklyn, so I knew a little bit more than what they knew.
Nardwuar: What is the importance of Royal Flush to Houston rap?
Bushwick Bill: Mmmm, as far as I am concerned, it just showed diversity, you know what I mean? It was really about diversity. It was about showing the fact that, you know, you could dance or die. Everything didn’t have to be gangster, and everything didn’t have to be about death and misery, it could also be about having a good time and enjoying yourself inside the areas of the city that are outside of Fifth Ward. It showed that there were more sides to Houston than just Fifth Ward.
Nardwuar: Dr. Dre, “Stranded on Death Row,” he got you to do that amazing intro. What do you remember about that amazing intro for the Chronic?
Bushwick Bill: Ummm, I remember Warren G and Snoop inviting me to the studio, and Dr. Dre is in there with one of the guys from a rap group called Po’ Broke & Lonely, and I heard the theme to Stranded on Death Row, which reminded me of Dark Shadows, an old radio TV show, and I asked him if I could say something, and he said no, because I have to finish this album mix. And I was like, come on, just let me say something, and if it doesn’t work, then cool. I kept bothering him until he let me say it, then he said, can you do that again. That is how I got on it.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, the song “Size Ain’t…”
Bushwick Bill: “…Shit,” yeah.
Nardwuar: You talk about, quote, “shit, a dick, and a cigarette.”
Bushwick Bill: Yes, I said “I would punk you out and make you be my bitch/Let a nig get shit on his dick for a cigarette.” I was talking in jail terms because that is what people do in jails. So I was like, if you are going to write a song, and you have to write it in a way that the people who have been to jail know it, and the ones who haven’t been there can ask the question and find out. You know, so that was just a song written about what can go on in jail, you know. Because if you saw the movie Scared Straight, you remember how they were talking to those kids and telling them what they would make them like if they came in there, I am talking about the original Scared Straight. That is where a lot of the ideas for the song came from.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, are there many songs written about you, or titled Bushwick Bill?
Bushwick Bill: Not that I know of, no.
Nardwuar: There is one by Wesley Willis called ‘Bushwick Bill.’
Bushwick Bill: There is? I didn’t know that.
Nardwuar: There is indeed. He has passed away, but these are some of the lyrics. Wesley Willis’s ‘Bushwick Bill’. [Nardwuar recites lyrics] “You are a gangster rapper/You are a gangster rap artist/You can really knock it out/You can really whoop a camel’s ass”.
Bushwick Bill: Wowser, that is tight. Pretty cool. Um, I did hear that the artist from Sublime, the one that passed away, that he mentioned me on one of his albums, he sampled a Chuckie song. I just don’t know which album it was. I have been trying to find it and listen to it. But that is the only thing I have ever heard of, and Ice T on the Power album, “Ladies, we’re not just talking about you/Because some of you niggas are bitches too.” He sampled that from Size Ain’t Shit. That’s like the only two things I know, and now the new one that you just told me.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, back to punk for a second. You like Danzig? What other punk stuff do you like? You like Danzig?
Bushwick Bill: Yeah, Danzig is cool. We was on the same label with Rick Rubin. Yeah, he is pretty cool. I like Anthrax too. And I like Twisted Sister. I mean, I like a lot of music, man. And what’s his name, the one that did Sid and Nancy, Sid Vicious. I like Sid Vicious and I like Billy Idol, you know what I mean? I like a lot of music, man.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, you are wearing a backpack right now, and I also saw you wearing a Yoda backpack, that was incredible. What is the Yoda backpack you have?
Bushwick Bill: Well I decided to put the Chuckie down, because if you look at the whole Chuckie mentality, even when he gets a chance to come back, he doesn’t seem to quite get it right, you know what I am saying? And then Yoda is more like, underestimate my size, do you? You know, he is more about the wisdom, he is more about rolling with the Force of being better. That is what being a Jedi is, living above the lie [laughs].
Nardwuar: That was your Yoda backpack. Where did you get your Yoda backpack?
Bushwick Bill: I actually got it out here at South By [Southwest] last year.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, Ganksta Nip, did he invent horror core?
Bushwick Bill: No. What Ganksta Nip did is that he is horror core. He didn’t have to invent it; you wasn’t going to hear any other style from him. When the people heard me to Chuckie and hear him do his song they coined the phrase horror core, but he was just always, like, the best way I can put it is that he was like a Stephen Spielberg and Edgar Allan Poe Hitchcock rapper, you know what I mean, where he could, he could take a mood and a moment and tell you, he could put 500,000 cops’ heads inside of a vacuum cleaner, you know what I mean [laughs], and talk about migraine headaches, make them sleep in a toaster. It’s like, you know, the things he would say was like, it was vivid, like you could actually picture what he is saying, you know what I mean? But he never coined the phrase horror core rap, it was some media dude that said it after hearing Chuckie and Ganksta Nip’s album, but neither one of us came up with the phrase, no.
Nardwuar: Bushwick Bill, why should people care about Bushwick Bill?
Bushwick Bill: They don’t have to. As long as I love me, I am happy. Because if I really was worried about what people thought about me, my arms are short, you know what I mean? I am short, I am not average height, I can’t reach everything everybody else can reach. If I would have believed the things that people told me when I was younger, I wouldn’t even think I could accomplish half the things I have accomplished, so they don’t really have to like me. What they need to do is love themselves, because I love me, and like me, and I am happy with me all by my damn self.
Nardwuar: Well thanks very much Bushwick Bill, keep on rockin’ in the free world, and doot doola doot doo…
Bushwick Bill: Doot doo. [laughs] Out of control. That guy is out of control.