The electronic drums and ’80’s synthesizers of the pre-sampledelic Whodini are indelible rhythms that have survived and transcended hip-hop’s fickle and commercially affected body. Ecstasy, Jalil and Grandmaster Dee’s foundational work continues to breath e a funky pulse through hip-hop’s musical aspirations being referenced by people like Nas, MF Doom, Bones Thugs N Harmony and Pharrell. Their longstanding unity and permanent party jams helped set the standard along with many of their peers on how to be a hip-hop band. Stylistically their blending of R&B elements into their music precedes New Jack Swing and hip-hop soul. After giving a performance for Chene Park’s hip-hop legend series in Detroit Ectasy and Doctor Ice (Jalil’s little brother) from UTFO talked to Kickmag about legend-status, the state of groups in hip-hop and why they like T.I. and Missy.
Are you all going to re-release any of the old stuff with new liner notes and bonus tracks?
Ecstasy: We’re thinking about re-releasing some of the old stuff and we’re thinking about doing some old stuff also our goal right now is to stay as busy as possible so we like to try to stay on the road keeping putting our message out there and Detroit I don’t care how many times we come back they give us love they know the songs they know the order so I definitely think that’s a blessing right there being able to do that. Maybe by the new year we will slow down and do some new stuff. I wanna put a twist on some of the old stuff but I don’t want to say what it is it’s just that hot.
You are one of the great groups of the Golden Era why do you think they’re not many groups now?
Ecstasy: They have to split the money too many ways. We did it because we loved to do it. Everybody now is about what they can get. If you notice you will have a group and they will be together a little bit of time and the next thing you know everybody is focusing on getting their own money instead of developing the group and another thing that’s going on also with artists and with groups record companies like they did when we started don’t develop artists. You put $1000 out there and it might do alright and they will stick with you and say “Alright that’s a work in progress and we’ll do another one.” Now you make something and throw it out there and if it sinks it’s over but if it swims they give you another chance. So the mentality now has changed over the years and through the years something got lost in the translation where we were doing this for year after year after year and where we respect the game and respect it for the person coming after you. But now everybody don’t give a damn about the person coming after them all they care about is what they can get. We loved it for the art of what we were doing now everyone loves it for the money it can bring in it’s a different motivation right now which I don’t blame them we liked it for the money also but it wasn’t only for the money. Somewhere during the years the essence got lost.
Where is UTFO?
Doctor Ice: We’re kind of spread out right now so I’m a member of UTFO.
Who do you like from today’s hip-hop?
Ecstasy: I like the thing that’s coming up from the south like everybody else. I like Missy she doesn’t really take her stuff too seriously she likes to have fun with it.
Doctor Ice: I like T.I.
Ecstasy: I like T.I. too. T.I. is getting to that point now he’s done the street thug now he’s been through some stuff and your experiences change the way you rap. He’s going through that change right now and it’s changing how he is expressing himself so it’s kind of fun to see him from that teenage thing to a mature father
How does it feel to be a legend onstage you talked about getting honored last year at VH1’s Hip-Hop honors?
Ecstasy: We’re one of those groups who never really got quite their due. Run DMC got theirs, LL but what happened to Whodini? I think they really heard the cries coming from the street. I told them when got there you got one right and another thing Chris Rock wanted to present Whodini does it get any bigger than Chris Rock? He does the Academy Awards a little bit of everything and he would not do anybody until they let him do Whodini he said “Call me when you do Whodini.” And that felt good that was one of those moments the people at VH1 told us that. I’m happy my kids could see that it was great for that alone for me. It wasn’t about being on TV but more for the family of the kids too young to experience when we went the first time around. You tell your kids stories and they say “Daddy you don’t know Rev. Run you don’t know P. Diddy come on you don’t know Ludacris” and then everybody’s in the house and everybody’s embracing all the artists . That was really rewarding and gratifying for us we don’t really pop into that A-list type of thing all the time so we loved it.
Ecstasy: Touring we want to go overseas and some new music later on in the year. Our next stop is Houston.