Tha Alkaholiks: On Award Tour

You don’t need to be under the influence to appreciate a party-down performance by Tha Alkaholiks – but it sure is more fun. You don’t need to bring a girl with you to have a great time – but don’t expect there to be any good ones left after they shake the spot. You don’t even need to be familiar with their catalogue – you’ll appreciate the sheer energy the trio emanates at each and every performance. And if you didn’t know all the words already, you’ll be itching to get your hands on hits like “Hip Hop Drunkies” and “DAAAM!” when Tash, J-Ro and E-Swift are done rocking the house this Spring.More than 15 years and thousands of shows later, the guys decided to take a break from the group and concentrate on independent projects, a decision that led many to believe The Farewell Tour would be the last time they’d see Tha Liks together. Fueled in part by the popular demand of fans, and maybe more by the realization that they love it just as much, three core members of the Likwit Crew will take to the road as of March 20th on a 25-plus date North American tour that will take them to spots like Bozeman, Montana. With the possibility of a Canadian tour to follow, the group is saying that 2008’s Rehab Tour will be one for the record books, with more than a few surprises to throw into the mix.

I remember Daz picking up a speaker and just throwing it off the stage to give us a little room to get out. -E-Swift

Alkaholik tours have always been synonymous with a certain level of debauchery, and there are plenty of wild stories floating around between fans, promoters and the artists themselves. When pressed for the most memorable tale of the road, it’s not hard for E-Swift to recount one of their crazier moments. “Going on tour with Snoop is crazy, it’s just a whole other level of tour,” says Swift. “It was the last date we did, in San Diego. Snoop is representing the Crips, and out in San Diego is mostly Bloods, but it’s still all love from everyone. But for some reason, somebody on stage that night was not feeling the love that the Bloods was giving us, and they did something very disrespectful.” Swift continues, “Next thing you know, there’s 100 Bloods running up on stage chasing everybody off, and we just took off. I had to have lost $10,000 to $15,000 of equipment, because they were just destroying everything. I remember Daz picking up a speaker and just throwing it off the stage to give us a little room to get out. I ain’t even going to lie, my heart was pounding cause it was that crazy. It was like a movie, the last person through the backstage door just slammed it closed as a sea of Bloods was coming through, and trying to smash it down.”

All of sudden dude goes over the railing and falls all the way down onto the floor right in front of us. Breaks all types of bones. Everybody in the club is looking at us like we

provoked him or something! -Tash

A classic evening that J-Ro has a mild recollection of occurred while the group was on one of their initial tours, and first came into contact with the cognac they would eventually grow so familiar with. “We were in Cincinnati, and I remember it was this guy who played for the [Cincinatti] Reds, but I don’t remember who he was,” remembers Ro. “He came up and was like ‘Yo, we drinking Hennessey in here!’ and poured us some shots. We drank that s**t for our first time, and it was on.”There was another scenario that ranked high on Tash’s list of unforgettable tour moments, although he admits there are really too many to record. “We was in New York, and we stepped into a club with thousands of people, and there’s three levels in the place,” says Tash. “As soon as we walk in, this dude up on the third level yells down ‘Tash! Tash! Alkaholiks, Ooo Ooo!’ I looked up at him, and all of sudden dude goes over the railing and falls all the way down onto the floor right in front of us. Hits the floor and breaks all types of bones. I’m tripping out, J-Ro’s tripping out, the road manager is tripping out, and everybody in the club is looking at us like we provoked him or something! I don’t know what happened to him cause the ambulance came and took him away, but shout out to that dude for real!”On the last night of February 2008, Tash is unwinding at home, sore as hell. After spending the previous day snowboarding and getting a sunburn, it’s obvious he’s not quite in his comfort zone. He talks about his upcoming solo project, Rap Life 2: Control Freek; The Album Before The Album with enthusiasm, confident it will solidify his status in the game and set the stage for the rest of the upcoming Likwit Crew releases. However it’s not until the mention of the newly scheduled Rehab tour that slick talking Rico Smith really lets his guard down, and it’s obvious he’s missed the constant comraderie of partner-in-rhyme James “J-Ro” Robinson. “There’s been so much negative press and speculation over the last few years, like ‘Are you still together? Is there beef?’” says Tash. “Me and E-Swift have homes right down the street from each other in Vegas. As for J-Ro, we’ve got the type of chemistry that will last forever. Soon as J-Ro gets back over here and we step on the road, it’ll be right back to that same thing that fans have been asking for ever since King T put us on. Me and E-Swift have been doing some things in the studio already and we’ve got like five or six songs, but it’s not Tha Alkaholiks without J-Ro.”

Since the tour’s been advertised I’ve got people hitting me up from everywhere. It’s going to be a good

chance to see old friends and of course knock out some new music.” -J-Ro

Both crew members speak highly of J-Ro’s solo debut, Rare Earth B-Boy Funk Vol. II, which has already been released overseas and should soon be available in the U.S. He’s been keeping himself in demand and working constantly since he moved to Sweden in December of 2004, a decision that’s left him with no regrets. At approximately 2 a.m. one week before the tour kicks off in California, J-Ro is still in Sweden plotting his next album and visiting his daughter, all in preparation for a lengthy trip to the U.S.“I do a lot of traveling over here, just doing everything really. Live shows, DJing, hosting. Everything is so close out here, the longest flight I can take is two hours, and I get pissed when I gotta take a flight that long,” says J-Ro. “But I’m excited for this, we haven’t done the States in a while and since the tour’s been advertised I’ve got people hitting me up from everywhere talking about coming to the shows. It’s going to be a good chance to see old friends and get caught up on what’s going on over there, and of course knock out some new music.”The trio has confirmed that their set list for this tour will bring out classics they don’t normally perform, including new solo joints. Even better, they’ll be recording a new album as a product of the tour, to be written and recorded from the confines of their tour bus. Best of all, the new project will likely stick to the original album formula: entirely produced by E-Swift with minimal features.“It was the whole atmosphere that I was missing on the last album, the process and chemistry that we had on all our previous albums, and it’s going to be a lot different this time around,” says Swift. “It’s like anybody else who’s been in a group as long as we have; it’s hard to step away from the people you came this far with. Deciding to do the tour and record another album wasn’t something we had to sit down and talk about too much. We just said ‘Alright, let’s do it.’”Both Tash and J-Ro have no doubts about putting together their latest work in the span of a couple months. With E-Swift’s portable studio in tow, and the inspiration of good friends and great times, they expect to produce what could be their best work together. And fans won’t have to wonder how the whole thing came about, since they’ll also be recording a DVD detailing the entire process from beginning to end.“We’re pretty excited about it, it’s going to be fun and it’ll be something that hasn’t really been covered by any other DVD, which is the whole creative process behind how we really do the records,” reveals Swift. “We spend a lot of time on the road and on the tour bus, and we got a lot of demand and offers for the record, so we were like ‘Why not?’ It’s what we do, it’s in our blood, and we’ve got all these fans all these fans all over the world. We can’t disappoint them and just go out like that. There’s going to be a lot more exciting things happening in the near future too, so everybody should get ready cause we’re about to flood the market.”[Tha Alkaholiks "Make Room"][Tha Alkaholiks "Likwit/Only When I'm Drunk"][Tha Alkaholiks "Daaam!"][Tha Alkaholiks f/ ODB "Hip Hop Drunkies"][Tha Alkaholiks "Best U Can"][Tha Alkaholiks "The Flute Song"]