5FT of Black Moon: Odd Man Out

Whether MC Ren, Jarobi or T-Mo Goodie, most prolific rap groups have a member that doesn’t quite fit into the spotlight. After three acclaimed albums, one of which toted as a classic, Black Moon’s middle member has always been 5FT. As Buckshot became the Timberland-clad executive of Duck Down Records, Evil Dee’s signature filters help make Da Beatminerz a go-to production core of the ‘90s. Playing against the two forces, 35-year-old 5FT claims to have actually been the cornerstone in uniting Buck and Evil in the late ‘80s. After several untimely bids in prison amidst group tension, the height namesake has often been absent in Black Moon press and Duck Down family activities. Newly released from incarceration, 5FT says he’s a changed man. The Brooklyn native tells AllHipHop.com the story of Black Moon, and explains his absence all these years. Now an official member of The Boot Camp Clik, a proud 5FT speaks about his family, his new label, and how Black Moon has yet another slow-cooked album waiting in the wings. AllHipHop.com: As a fan of Hip-Hop, one thing I’ve always noticed about Black Moon is that Buckshot and Evil Dee have done most of the press. Certainly, you’ve been locked up during several campaigns. But as a Black Moon fan, I want to know who 5FT really is. Tell me some of your story…5FT: In actuality, I put all of that [Black Moon] together. Me and Evil Dee went to Bushwick High School together. He was deejaying, doing talent shows while I was dancing. I met Buck at the center in Brownsville, 430 Saratoga. I was dancing in there one day, and I seen him dancing. I started politicking with him because I always wanted a dance partner, and we was at the same level. We ended up getting up. Sitting down, building with him, [we both] wanted to get into the rap game. I brought him to Evil Dee’s house, and we created the situation.At the time, Evil Dee had a group called Unique Image. We was doing a lot of local, high school talent shows. As time elapsed, things started changin’, the group broke up, and I still stuck with E. Eventually, we was like, “Let’s start writing, making things happen.” That’s actually how Black Moon all started. This was right before Buckshot started [as an intern] at Soul Records. AllHipHop.com: So this 1990?5FT: 1990, 1991. I was doing talent shows way before that – ’86, ’87. In actuality, moving to Bushwick in ’86 gave birth to my involvement in Hip-Hop.AllHipHop.com: Where did you move from?5FT: I moved from Brownsville.AllHipHop.com: What was Bushwick like at that time? Your music was so educational to Brooklyn life.5FT: It was house parties, hooky parties. It was enjoying the moment. At the same time, the streets were the streets. You didn’t have gangs back then, like they do today, but we had [Decepticons] on the block, you had Autobots on the block. Crews was still doing what they’re doing today, but it wasn’t as extreme as it is right now.AllHipHop.com: You walk that line. You’re a Hip-Hop dude, but you’ve always been a street guy. Coming back from a bid recently, tell me about that balance in your life…5FT: In my house, we had my moms, my step-pops…we was livin’ in Flatbush. I had my little brothers. Being the oldest, I had a great level of responsibility making sure my brothers were straight. The street showed me a lot. The streets became my home, my education center. There’s a lot of things that I’ve seen on the streets that I’ve disagreed with, saying, “I don’t want no part of that. I don’t want to be dead from all that.” There was a time in my life where I didn’t think I was gonna make it to 21 because of how the street was. I’ve proved myself since day one; I’m thankful to be talking with you right now. Life is what you make of it; life is the teacher and experience is the lesson. The streets showed me what could happen to me, it gave me choices. Being a part of Hip-Hop, that’s my out from putting myself in a detrimental situation. These are the things I tried to explain to my mother; she couldn’t understand it. AllHipHop.com: After Enta Da Stage comes out – it's deemed a street classic. In the five or six years from that to War Zone, there’s a lengthy holdover. Meanwhile, you and Evil kind of fade from the picture as Buck does his Duck Down thing. What are you doing during 1993-1997?5FT: Me, I was stuck, to be honest with you. There were internal problems going on within the [group]. I was in a stuck position, because they already established themselves. I wasn’t in a mental state of mind to say, “Okay, this is a business,” because we started out doin’ it for the love. It was funny for me, and slightly uncomfortable for me to embrace that, something I wasn’t used to. Doing the history on other groups, there was a lot in my mind. I was young, and still becoming who I am today. I was trying to do me. It was like being stuck in a dream state.AllHipHop.com: What did it take to smooth everything over?5FT: It wasn’t hard to go and do [War Zone], but it was hard to pick up where we left off. There was so much space in between that time – not only doing music, but us being around each other. When we first started, we was around each everyday. We had that bond, that determination, that vision. Between the first album and the second album, we had a fallout with the label, we had our own internal issues. A lot of pressure and a lot of weight had an impact on the second album. It wasn’t easy. We had to try to regain what we put out on Enta Da Stage with War Zone. We still had it, but it wasn’t there ‘cause we weren’t building with each other the way we should have been. AllHipHop.com: Outside of the group, what have you done?5FT: I’ve made a lot of music by myself that people haven’t heard yet. Right now, with my new establishment Militant Mindz, you’re gonna get the chance to hear a lot of that stuff. I organized Militant Mindz back in 2000, 2001. In life, you’ve got to have a militant mind, discipline, loyalty, honor. That family-orientated atmosphere is needed to get through in these troubled times. Along my journey, I was linking up with individuals who I needed to be part of the journey. Right now, I have everybody that’s in my circle in Militant Mindz. My artist M3, I’ve known him since he was 17. His pops’ did a lot of MC Ren, Ice Cube, N.W.A. stuff back in the day. We’re trying to work together. Now is the time, let’s make this happen. Let’s organize, formulate, and do what we love to do. I never had a million dollars in the bank, that’s not my story. I don’t have a flashy car, that’s not my story. My story is how I struggled in life and how I overcame. I’m still able to talk to people. That’s my strength in this game.AllHipHop.com: Jail is an interesting experience. Hip-Hop seems to celebrate it sometimes. When you were up north, were you surprised to find people touched by your work?5FT: Yeah, I was surprised because my absence has been so long. It made me feel really good. It adds fuel to my fire as we speak, to make good music and get a positive message out there. S**t is real in the battlefield. But we can overcome. If I knew what I know today, I would have dealt with my situation in a different way and I probably wouldn’t even have went up north. AllHipHop.com: What were you up there for?5FT: A sale – a drug sale. That I didn’t make, by the way. A partner of mine made a sale to an undercover cop; he got caught. Unfortunately, I got the s**tty end of the stick because of my track record – my criminal record. AllHipHop.com: Will there be another Black Moon album?5FT: Of course! Definitely! We’re putting that in the works right now, as we speak. We’re just putting it together the proper way so it can be effective. I want to give the people what they want to hear. Bottom line. We’re gonna take our time with this project. The game is totally different right now. At the end of the day, I want to be effective the way we was in ’92, ’93.AllHipHop.com: Interesting that you say that. Unlike many groups and outfits, I would say that Black Moon has never made less than a really good album.5FT: Our respect has always been at the street level, and I embrace that. That’s why I’ll always do my part to give back to the community and the streets. Even though we haven’t had a platinum impact, we still have an impact with the people that have supported us from 1992 to 2007. That’s why I’m not half-stepping on nothin’ I give y’all today. Being a part of the new [Boot Camp Clik] project is another thing. That’s real special, because I haven’t been on none of those projects. Casualties of War is out, and that’s real special. It’s a new beginning. This is a do or die mission right here.AllHipHop.com: What verse in your career is your proudest?5FT: Wow. That’s hard to say. My first album will always be my baby. That was the beginning. That’s my heart. “Son Get Wrec” means a lot to me. On top of that, “The Fever,” that’s my most favorite right now. I was going to trial, we was traveling. All the pressure and intensity that I was going through, I was still able to get my music off. Those are the right words [in the verse] for what I was going through.