Volume 2 Issue 2 (2001)
If life were fair Buddy Slim and Breezly Brewin would already be household names. Hailing from the Bronx, NY the group has recorded alongside fellow underground pioneers Company Flow and J-Treds to form the Indelible MCs and followed their appearance on the Funcrusher EP with a stellar debut of their own. However there is much more to the story than that. The Juggaknots history easily predates their incredible first album Clear Blue Skies. According to Buddy Slim his first production credit was for his work with a group called Check 1 and Check 2 at age seventeen, in which an even younger Breeze ghostwrote the lyrics at age 15. That is where the Juggaknots began.
Much of the early Juggaknots’ success and money came from B. Slim’s production work, producing for such artists as Terry and Monica (Al B. Sure’s backup singers signed to Epic Records), Billy Lawrence, and Father M.C. Traveling along the same road as fellow up and coming producers of the time, he was on the fast track to success. However, he refused to be chained to a signature sound, choosing instead to consistently innovate and maintain an artist first perspective on the creation of music.
With that mentality in hand and a offer from East West Records, he chose to put full attention to the project he and Breeze had been waiting for and subsequently halted all side work in order to be more focused. By putting all of his eggs in one basket he was definitely taking a chance, but East West Records (now Electra) was home to some of the best groups in hiphop including Brand Nubian, KMD, Das EFX, and Pete Rock and C.L Smooth. This was a great opportunity for the Juggaknots to be added to that list or so it seemed. Industry rule #4080 was in full effect and the situation quickly went sour with East West trying to push the group to produce more dance oriented or “radio” songs. With the lack of label support and any agreement on direction the parties split under amicable circumstances and the album was shelved until Bobbitto stepped into the picture with an alternative.
Breezly Brewin (whose surname comes from his love for Bruin hats) knew Bobbitto through his basketball coach, 3RD Bass’ Pete Nice. Bob approached the group about putting out the album originally on Hoppoh Records and later decided to release it on his own label, Fondle Em. With the deal in place the indie classic Clear Blue Skies was finally given a chance to see the light of day, with write ups in the Source and underground fame soon to follow. Amazingly, this was not a complete project, as Bob was purposely given the home mixes of the group’s original LP to avoid any legal situations with East West. Only now with plans of a re-release will any of us finally hear what should have come out years ago.
While the group made noise in the underground, times were still hard and life was beginning to take its toll. After Clear Blue Skies they sporadically released material mainly under lyrical front man Breeze. While fans were wondering when new material would be released, much more important issues had become the focal point of the their lives. After the debut, Breeze had to drop out of school to support his two-year-old son. He began bouncing all over, moving wherever he could but still rhyming on the side. Life took precedence over music for Buddy Slim as well, who was also working to support his own growing family. Eventually Breeze, affectionately called such since the age of 8 by everyone including his mom, would settle down and find work. Things continued along this path until the day Prince Paul called.
Paul called Fat Beats and asked about him and was able to get his number from DJ Eclipse. Once they got in contact the Prince Among Thieves album was born with Breeze given the starring role of Tariq. With the release Breeze was admittedly brought back into the game. Although his sister contributed to the album he felt by not labeling himself Breeze from the Juggaknots an opportunity was lost to properly shed light on his crew. While the album was not a blockbuster it allowed the group to get back on their feet, buy some new equipment, and even gave Breeze a chance to tour and travel abroad.
The hiatus between projects now has been filled with hard work and not simply hard times. The main focus for Breeze is now the Juggaknots and he has pledged that everything he does from this point is in order to bring some publicity his crew. The focus could not have come at a better time as the Juggaknots are gearing up to release their long overdue sophomore album. Don’t expect another Clear Blue, as the only glaring similarity will be the balance of rhyme and concept songs. So what should we expect? According to Breeze what the Juggaknots are trying to do is talk about the shit that’s in your face that you might not be thinking about. The new song “General Lee” is a perfect example. “It’s basically talking about the Dukes of Hazard. I loved that show and in retrospect it’s kind of disgusting. The symbol was up there with all the popular symbols of the day. You were feeling it regardless because it was forced down your throat.”
His goal is to bring a well-balanced project to the table, and that is something you don’t get much of today. “Today cats are beating you in the head with whatever steez they are, like they don’t go kiss their mothers, play checkers with their boys, or that even the most intelligent kid doesn’t get mad. I’m just trying to bring back the regular cat because that’s the illest dude out here. The regular man is the one without the facade and when its time to differentiate it shouldn’t be a big deal to just be a well rounded person.”
The lyrics aren’t the only thing that has been updated as you can expect the sounds to reveal the progression the group has made in the use of different styles of music. It is almost assured that many obscure records will be present because they look at the art of sampling as a way to gain some redemption for artists like themselves twenty years ago. The last change is the addition of their younger sister Peridot aka Queen Heroine. Not looking to simply bring a female perspective, Heroine considers herself a mixture of her brothers, and hopes to play the all-important role of the equator adding more equilibrium to the group. Don’t get it twisted though as she is no stranger to the mic device. Some of you may remember her as the first MC to rip on The Indelible MCs “Weight” and playing alongside Breeze as his girlfriend on the Prince Among Thieves album. All incest jokes aside when asked about the development of her skills she innocently called to Breeze and asked, “When did I get nice?” In which he replied the 3rd verse. Enough said.
The Juggaknots are ready to make another splash into the music scene and have their eyes on doing it themselves, establishing their own label, Matic Records. Already planned is the re-release of the impossible to find Clear Blue Skies LP complete with final mixes and previously unheard material. Coinciding with the re-release will be a 3 song single (“It’s a triple A single because we don’t put out B-sides”, boasts Buddy Slim), and ultimately the 2nd album in early 2002. They already own their own studio and have select acts on the label. The success of the album is key to getting the label off on the right foot. “We’re throwing out the first single for delf and I want to see how it goes on the business side. Experience wise I think that is going to be a good teacher” notes Breeze. We can only hope to hear a lot more from the Juggaknots of hiphop. For more information on the Juggaknots visit their website at www.juggaknots.com.