How cool would it be to say your junior high school teacher belonged to a celebrated Hip-Hop group? Wouldnt that be awesome if your teacher could bust rhymes during recess, make a knuckle beat on the lunchroom table, or man the turntables at the high school dance? There exists three such teachers and together, they comprise the underground mammoth trio the Juggaknots. However, Breezly Brewin, Buddy Slim, and Queen Herawin live the classic marvel comic existence, working as dedicated New York City public school teachers during the day, and roaming the city as underground Hip-Hop heroes during the night.
Even though the name Juggaknots sounds beastly, the groups reign over the past fifteen years or so has been unjustly underscored. They are responsible for a lot of Hip-Hops quiet milestones, from their classic Clear Blue Skies, to their memorable single The City Needs Help on the Jasons Lyric Soundtrack, to Breezly Brewins remarkable flow in the audio epic Prince Pauls Prince Among Thieves.
The Juggaknots with the addition of their younger sister Queen Herawin, talk about their newest studio album, Use Your Confusion, and play a few fun games with AllHipHop in the process.
AllHipHop.com: How do the students respond to you being MCs? Do you ever put on performances for them?
Breeze: They dont know me.
Herawin: If they knew, we would get nothing done related to what we have to do.
AllHipHop.com: Is Hip-Hop a subject that comes up often? Do you have a feel for what the students like to hear?
Herawin: Yeah, most definitely. Its a part of their culture, its a part of our culture, so it becomes a playing field or medium, for us to all relate. Just cause they dont know were involved in music and have a group doesnt mean that we dont listen to music, and have knowledge on stuff. I cant look surprised when they recite some lyrics and I know who it is.
AllHipHop.com: So I just wanted yall to just like humble yourselves and spit a line of the very first rhyme yall ever made?
Herawin: First up to bat, Baby Joy can jump to that.../not the first or the second but the third of the crew something, something. I cant remember all the words. But that was like one of the first joints I recorded. It wasnt even Herawin. It was Baby Joy. My real name means Joy, so that was like a nickname. My brother got me a bookbag with that on it. I must have been like 12 years old.
Breeze: I cant put one out there, but I had this joint where I was videotaped and I found the videotape. I was rhyming and I was serious about it, and I remember seeing that joint and I took a sigh because I was 12 at the time. It goes, Thinking about the money we be making, Im on top.../ When I perform world series of the mic/ Then I bless you... Umm. Its simple.
AllHipHop.com: Along the lines of foundation and beginning to MC, who are the people you looked up to, like I wanna rhyme like that?
Breeze: For me, probably Special Ed. When he came out, I thought homeboy was like mad well rounded. He had this joint like, Fire MC. He had regular joints like I Got it Made, then he had straight grimy battle joints like Im Taxin Em. When he came out, I was probably like 14, so I was like, Im a little younger than him, maybe Id get at him but
Herawin: Women [were] who influenced me even though it was both women and men, of course. Definitely, MC Lyte. Latifah. I always used to like Boss too, she only came out with one album, but Slim bought me the single, Fever. That was the joint, I still play that.
AllHipHop.com: What was the meanest thing somebody said to you to try to discourage your dreams of being MCs and making music? How did you respond to it?
Slim: First of all, for the movie Jasons Lyric, I was given the opportunity to try to score the album. Doug McHenry was a big dog in the business and passed away a few years ago. Basically, he was just like, Do your thing, and I pretty much told him that I didnt have the equipment or really the resources, for I think what the guys were looking for. He gave some films for the movie, and he was like, Just put some beats together on tape and well get back with you in a few weeks, then well have a meeting, and well see whats up. So, [I] waited a few weeks. I really put a lot of work, really locked myself into the room. I didnt really see the movie cause I had it when it was like in its early stages, when there was no music behind the scenes and had the meeting with homeboy, and it wasnt really Doug McHenry, but when we finally sat down to have the meeting basically, they just tore me apart in the meeting. They was like, This is the worst s**t Ive ever heard. Someone else ended up doing the score. So, it was like, the beat that I did on the album with myself, Brewin, and Buddy Guy. I remixed The City Needs Help, it still plays in the movie to this day. Its kinda like even though you tried to scheme on me, my beat still plays.
AllHipHop.com: Pretend you were a door-to-door salesman, what would you say to get someone to buy Use Your Confusion?
Slim: When I listen to the album and I really try to be as objective as possible, I want people to really covet it and keep it in their hearts and minds, like those albums that kinda consume me - Brand Nubian albums, early Ice Cubes albums. Like albums that were really dope, that were didnt get that kind of initial fanfare and so much popular appeal, but [they] still in the lives and the hearts and the families of people, people can identify and love these albums without it having to be a top seller. Cubes AmeriKKKas Most Wanted, and stuff like that [is] one of the best albums, ever.
Breeze: For me, door-to-door, I think what people respond when its like look, you get this because you dont know when its will happen again and we kinda got a track record for that. Yo, this the last Juggaknots album ever, we retiring, like Jay-Z, Im retiring and everybody gets excited.
AllHipHop.com: If yall had an unexpected check for a $1000 whats the first thing yall would do with it?
Slim: Equipment. Equipment. Equipment. If I had money right now, equipments always like the safe thing. Im a nerd like, Oh wow, listen to the megahertz on that one. Its like a new toy. Its a gift that gives back. So, you always, kinda in the back of your mind, justify getting it. If I cant buy my kids clothes this week, its okay because when I raise them later, I could make some ill beats with this s**t.
Herawin: I would try to get my credit scores up. [Laughs]
AllHipHop.com: I wanna play this interesting game called Marry, Dump, F**k. For Herawin, Nas, Mos Def, and Andre 3000. Which one would you marry, which one would you dump, or which one would you keep on the side?
Herawin: Yeah, I like this game. I love Mos. Thats my man. Hes a cool cat. I might have to dump him only because he might dump me for a new wife. I know he likes women. No disrespect, whatever works. If it gets on that level. I dont know how stable that might be as a home for me. Lets see. I got Nas and 3000 left. I think Andre Id probably keep him on the side cause he seems like a straight freak. Thats great, but if youre that way then I dont know that stable that is either cause you know, freaks, they like to go out and do things.
Slim: You breaking up a happy home, is that what you telling me?
Herawin: Im not trying to break up a happy home. Kelis is dope. I love her, but this is hypothetical. I aint trying to move on nobodys man. Definitely not her's. I might have to say, I mean, thats already her man. You know, so, hypothetical. I would have to go with Nas. Me and Nas go way back. In the days of the [New York] State of Mind, hes been consistent. Ive always been a fan of Nas. His first album. I mean, crack, its one of my favorite albums and I definitely grew up listening to it and hes a real poetic cat. Im not comparing myself to him, but I definitely like to think that with my own stuff, one of my favorite aspects is flow. I can get a little sick with it. I love the height on him. Aint Nas tall? I need a man with some height. I dont even know. Once we get the height stats, I may have to reevaluate everything. But From character, I might have to go with that.
AllHipHop.com: Aight, for Slim and Breeze, Marry, Dump, F**k: Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, Jean Grae?
Breeze: I love Lauryn to death, love her, but she got a lot baggage. Shes like the type if I just wanna hang out with. Me and her, we wouldnt get it on. Id probably be like, its just a lot of things going on. My kids and your kids. This is too much. Foxy Browns fathers from Trinidad. If I brought that home hed probably pat me on the shoulder. So, Id definitely f**k her. That sound bad? Out of the three of them, Jean Grae, I did a song with her before, cool as hell. You know, shes from my era. We got a lot in common. If Imma marry any of them, its gonna be Jean.
Slim: I guess for Foxy, it would just be a jump off cause shes just a b***h I wanna f**k. I guess because Breeze is marrying Jean, so I would kick her to the side. I would say Lauryn is probably the chick I would marry because I just think in a lot of ways we relate. Shes a Gemini, Im a Gemini. She kinda does a singing thing, I do a little singing thing every now and then. She definitely rocks on the rhyme, too. She kinda put all her energy into that whole Marley family and its definitely something with me. I mean, recently I just cut my locks but I had my hair going for like 13 years. I dont know about her other sexual side but, shes definitely well off [financially]. And just even musically, Lauryn produces a lot of her own music. She likes live instrumentation, a lot of the elements I like to use in my own production.
AllHipHop.com: What was the high point when making Use Your Confusion?
Breeze: As far as, the high point, it was a lot of work. We made a good album. I dont think theres a lot of variety to it. I mean, its aight. I like it, I aint gonna front. I been here for a minute now, and Im proud of it. I feel hungry. I got feelings for it. Thats all I can ask for from an album. Feeling, at the same time variety of feeling and cats listening, of course.
Herawin: The high point, definitely the completion of the album. I mean, there was definitely points within it when it was get that right take or you get the pieces down the way you want it or whatever it is but on a whole, I think overall thing was just having it done. But really when you work on something for that length of time, then you know its done then you celebrate what you took to get to that point. So celebration, b***es. Very excited about that.