Masta Ace

Hip Hop Icon Series

card_mastaaceWelcome to the first installment of Hiphop Icon Series, a salute to pioneers in hiphop that have influenced the culture. Our first guest is the legendary Masta Ace. As part of the original Juice Crew in the late eighties and the leader of the INC in the mid nineties, Ace has made significant marks in the world of hiphop appearing on the classic posse cut “The Symphony” and releasing his sophomore effort “Slaughtahouse” to critical acclaim. Ace is one of the few artists to release music in three different decades and he continues to inspire other artists with his conceptually rich projects.

Halftime: Heard you are a straight up football fan, since you’re from NY what do you think of your boy Jeremy Shockey?

Masta Ace: Good player. I’m an Eagles fan so it’s hard for me to give that guy any type of real props, but I can’t deny that he’s a good player. He’s a bruiser. A few of my friends went to Giants training camp this year and they told me he is definitely the real deal.

H: How did you become an Eagles fan living in Brooklyn?

Ace: You know what it was when I was a young kid my uncle used to torment me, he was a Giants fan and more so a Dallas Cowboys fan so I would always be rooting against the Cowboys. They used to always win in the 70s, so every time they won he would always tease me. Then one day Dallas had to go to Philly for an NFC championship game in 1980, the year the Eagles went to the Super Bowl, and from that point forward I found somebody who could smack the Cowboys up and I stayed with them from the 1980s till now.

H: Speaking of the Cowboys what do you think about Emmit Smith leaving them after being there so long and setting records?

Ace: I hate to see veterans have to move on to other things, but that’s the nature of this game. Back in the days guys would play with a team for their entire career and then retire and it was a beautiful thing. He’s one of those guys who still feel like he got a little bit of gas in the tank and I guess he is going after some other records and felt he had some more worth on the field and they just wanted to get younger. They weren’t going to pay him what he wanted to get paid.

H: What you think of Ray Lewis?

Ace: He’s the best in the game. When he chased down Tikki Barber from behind and made that play I said yo this guy is ridiculous. If you know football you know how tough a play that is to make with a guy that size chasing down someone with that type of speed and making the play from where he came from, in the middle [of the field], knifing through a bunch of blockers and getting him by the ankles.

H: Do you play in any leagues like flag football or something on the side?

Ace: I did. We had a team for a bunch of years from like ’93 -’99 we played flag fall, winter, and spring, but after ’99 the team disbanded after a couple rough seasons and I started coaching high school football in my spare time last year. That’s kinda where I get my football fix now. I still need to be involved with it and if I wasn’t playing flag I was missing it. My brother-in-law went into the 9th grade last year and I got him into this particular school where some guys I knew were coaching. I was around the program and they were like well you here so you might as well help us coach, so I just stumbled into it. This will be my second year and they are moving me to offensive coordinator and the whole nine yards so it will be interesting.

H: You got a new career in the making.

Ace: Nah, it’s just for the love. In high school they don’t pay you, I just love to be out there.

H: Let’s get into some hiphop shit now. What are your thoughts on the scene today and how do you think it has progressed over the years?

Ace: There is some good stuff out there and there is some terrible stuff. I guess that’s always been the case in hiphop. It’s probably a little more garbage that gets a lot of money behind it than it used to be. Back in the days you had your one or two acts that you knew was trash [that] still sold records to hiphop audiences, but now it’s like you start to feel that anything a label throws some money behind can win [even though] people who know real music will know that’s not a strong act or a strong artist. Musically things have changed, I don’t know if progressed is the right word, it’s morphed into something different. Cats don’t really sample as much anymore. There are a lot of tracks and beats that are played live. It’s a different sound musically and out of all of that some is good and some of it is garbage.

H: What do you think about the South really playing a big role in hiphop right now?

Ace: Down south is murdering things right now. They doing it in a big way. There are so many different groups from the south with records all over the radio. I never thought I’d hear those records on New York radio. There was a point and time where New York didn’t follow suit with anybody else in the country like we don’t care what everyone else is playing, but that has changed. They are damn near followers now. It’s the south’s time now [and] there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Anything to change the direction it was at is cool to me and the cool thing is some of them are spitting some decent flows because for a long time the perception was they beats is cool, but I’m not trying to hear there rhymes.

H: As a veteran in the game do you think hiphop pioneers get the respect that they deserve and if not what do you think contributes to that lack of respect and the lack of knowledge of hiphop history?

Ace: I think hiphop fans are very fickle and that’s been the case since the beginning of time. Hiphop fans are quick to turn on you. Your first musical mistake and the whole community is looking to the next cat and hiphop has always been about the next cat. I feel like it’s still that way. Unfortunately the fans are quick to look for the next cat and do away with past heroes. The other thing you have to remember is that every five years there is a new generation growing up with their artists like the Fabolouses or the 50 Cents and they might not even know much about Mobb Deep or something like that and that was only like five to eight years ago. I’ll give you a perfect example. My brother-in-law is about to go into the 10th grade and he was doing a social studies report dealing with racial injustice and he wanted me to help him with examples. I said what about the Rodney King situation and he was like who’s that and I was like Rodney King and he said you mean the guy with the big hair who manages those boxers? Then it dawned on me and I was like when were you born and he said ’88. He was like three years old when all of that went down so he doesn’t remember any of it. His point of reference is when he turned about seven or eight and that’s music and otherwise, so for him everything pre ’93 might be a little hazy. Plus those fans who were the Public Enemy fans all those years back then maybe they’ve moved on or their musical tastes have changed. I don’t know where they all went, but they don’t turn out for the shows like they should.

H: That’s true a lot of people blame the younger fans for lack of knowledge, but a lot of the older fans turn their backs on the music altogether.

Ace: I can’t be mad at an 18 year old kid who doesn’t know who Masta Ace is. Why would I be insulted by that? When I dropped my first album he was probably two.

H: Speaking of your first album how did the whole idea for “Me and The Biz” come up. Was that really Biz rapping or was that you mocking his voice?

Ace: What happened was the song was supposed to be a duet with me and Biz. It was a beat that Marley had that he was gonna use for Biz, but him and Biz was on the outs and that particular time so I picked the track. At that time Biz didn’t really write his rhymes, Kane wrote all of Biz’ hit records, so I knew it would be up to me to write the rhymes which I was cool with. I was really excited about it because I felt like I could really write in his style. I wrote my part and his part and then I vocaled my part and then did his part on another track and tried to do my best imitation of him so that when I gave him the tape he would be able to learn his part and differentiate it from my part. So that’s how the whole mocking thing came about. When it was done Marley was trying to gas me like yo you should leave it like that, it would be ill because you kinda sound like him and people would think its him but it’s not. I was young, I’m like yo Marley if you say that’s hot then let’s run with it. So that’ how it really came about, it was me doing his part but it was meant for him to come back later and do those rhymes.

H: Looking back on your Juice Crew days what’s the craziest story you can remember?

Ace: It was pretty uneventful. I was kinda new to the whole fold because a bunch of them got to know each other and had been doing shows together. By the time I got down with it Kane and Biz was mad cool, Craig, everybody was cool and I was the new guy, so it was me trying to warm up to them and get to know them. The first time I met Kane was at the photo shoot for the Marley Marl in Control album back where we were all by the plane. That was the first day I met him and Biz, so you gotta look at it like we were taking a photo being presented as Juice Crew, but there were guys there I hadn’t even met yet because I was that new to it. I was trying to think if there was any outrageous story, there was a lot of weird things that happened on the trip we took up to upstate NY to shoot the Symphony video, but certain things that happened on that trip are probably not some things I should mention. There was some actual drama that went down and I don’t want to air anybody’s dirty laundry.

H: Who came up with the whole western theme for the Symphony video?

Ace: I’m pretty sure it was Marley and the cat who directed it, I’m pretty sure his name is Lionel Martin if I’m not mistaken. We didn’t have any say so in that. They just told us we were doing it up in a dude ranch and you can’t tell from watching the video, but it was cold as hell. It was straight up winter. There was snow outside of the indoor part that we were shooting. They had to have these giant gas heaters blowing hot air in between takes and you had to see thirty people crowding around the heaters trying to stay warm. I would estimate the temperature was in the teens. It was shit cold and the director kept saying don’t look cold. The other reason they had heaters was so the temperature could be high enough where you couldn’t see our breath when we was rhyming.

H: Did you feel like you were big time doing that video?

Ace: Nah, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. It was my first time doing a video, I didn’t think far enough ahead like this is gonna be on TV and people are going to see it. I was just doing it and you just stop like how did I get here? I was just enjoying the moment, but I wish I would have taken more pictures or had a video camera. There are so many vintage things I’ve experienced and at the time I didn’t realized how valuable it would be and encapsulate it with pictures. All I have is what’s in my head, but the day my memory goes those things will be gone.

H: What are some of the things you learned dealing with Marley and the Juice Crew?

Ace: The things I learned from Marley are really studio related, how to record, how to put songs together, [and] how to make stuff sound good. I paid attention, I watched, I didn’t know how to turn a button, but I listened and absorbed everything that he said so when it was time for me to go out on my own and produce, how a record sounded was really important to me and that was based on being around Marley and watching him do it. I was sitting in the room when he mixed “The Boomin’ System” by LL Cool J. I got to see first hand what mixing a record was about. I got to see him mix my record, but he was really intensely trying to mix this record and make it sound huge. I applied those little tools to some of the later records I did. Kane and Biz were probably the two biggest influences on me in terms of [my] stage show and performance demeanor. When we used to do shows, when I say we I mean cats in the hiphop industry, it was a big competition. It was who could tear things down the most. It ain’t like that no more, dudes just get up on stage they just say their little hits and they be out. Busta is the only guy to me who is a throwback guy. When he hits the stage he is trying to outdo every other artist on the show and that’s how it’s supposed to be so the crowd is getting their money’s worth. I see dudes get on stage and they don’t even break a sweat. I can’t imagine being on stage and not breaking a sweat, dudes just don’t give any energy. I got to watch Kane and Biz on many occasions rip clubs apart and to this day there are elements of my show where it’s like an ode to the shows they did. I’ll take a small segment of a routine they did and flip it some other way. There is a little piece of a Biz show, there is a little piece of a Kane show, I got a little ode to Gangstarr in my show. These are all people that I watched in the 90s that had an influence on me and that’s really where I learned my showmanship from, how to get onstage really give energy and have a crowd enjoying what they are seeing.

H: Do all you guys from Juice Crew still keep in touch and hang out?

Ace: I did a show in Raleigh, NC about three weeks ago, that’s where Kane lives now, so I gave him a call, he had something to do so he didn’t make it out to the show, but it’s like that with me and him. I bumped into Craig at a Booya Tribe release party. He is thinking about getting into my Madden Tournament. I do one every year with a bunch of guys. He was in it a few years back so he was thinking about getting back into that. The guys I haven’t spoke to in a long time are G Rap and Shan. I spoke to Shan back in 98 because we did the Will Smith video “So Fresh” and he invited the whole Juice Crew down so that was a reunion of sorts because a lot of dudes hadn’t seen each other in a while. I hadn’t seen Shante in a while. I see Biz every now and then. Me and Biz were in touch because he is working on a new album and I was gonna help him write some of his stuff, but that guy changes numbers like people change socks. You in touch with him one second and call the number back next week and it’s disconnected, so it’s kinda hard to stay up with Biz because he is all over the place.

H: Tell us about the collaboration with the Brand New Heavies on Delicious Vinyl what was that experience like?

Ace: In terms of making the record I didn’t really get to collaborate with anybody. It was the type of thing where the album was basically done, they said we got one more beat do you want to do it. There wasn’t no choice, no meet the Heavies in the studio and try to formulate. [It was like] this is the beat take it or leave it. I actually first met the Heavies at the video shoot. It was a cool project to be on and that song opened up the door to be on Delicious Vinyl and start a new chapter in my life when I got signed by that label.

H: Looking at the albums you released off of Delicious Vinyl, “Slaughtahouse” and “Sittin on Chrome” a lot of people point to you as a big influence as far as really conceptualizing a project. What pushed you to make sure your album told a story or had a specific format? Would you come up with the concept first or develop it while you were making the songs?

Ace: I usually developed it as I was doing the album. Some of the ideas I would have in my head, but they couldn’t come to form fully until most of the songs were done. Once a certain amount of songs are done I get an idea of where I want to take the story and how the songs on the album fit into what’s going on in between the songs. That’s generally how I’ve done it. As far as why tell a story ever since high school I’ve been into creative writing. I took mad creative writing courses in high school and college so for me writing those scenarios was fun. I try to make an album that I want to hear. Its easy to string together fifteen songs and slap a label on it and throw it in the store, but from me being a fan I’d like a little more so I try to give a little more.

H: Why did you put the remix of “Jeep Ass Nigguh” on “Sittin on Chrome” without switching up the lyrics?

Ace: It turned out to be a whole new song though because of the way I did it, it ended up having a life of its own. Honestly, the song that I sampled for the “Born To Roll” beat was KnowledgeMe. As a kid I really liked that record. We were in St. Louis record shopping and bumped into that record for .99 cents and I bought it just cuz I liked the record. I got back home and decided to listen to it and was like this shit sounds a lot like that shit niggas be flipping down south. It had the original Roland 808 kick and snare. At that time west coast was murdering and I was like I bet if I spit some rhymes to this old school ass beat I bet niggas would think it was some old down south west coast shit and not even know the origin of it. It was really me wanting to let cats know you can call something west coast or down south, but everything originates from somewhere and that “Knowledge Me” song was a straight up and down East coast record on Def Jam. Russell Simmons is on the flip side talking on the record. For me I was trying to throw a history lesson to people by flipping that beat, but I didn’t expect down south to wild out the way they did. Once I did the remix and listened to it I was like I could really see me sneaking this past a couple of dudes and I wound up finding a whole new set of fans that never heard of me. I was doing interviews at radio stations and they were asking me how it felt to have my first record. You got kids that didn’t appreciate the remix. Kids have recently told me that they didn’t like the remix they liked the original, but you got people out in certain parts of the country that would hear Born to Roll and that’s they shit. It’s a totally different record you have to view them that way.

H: I was reading in one of your interview that you went to University of Rhode Island. How did you end up out there of all places?

Ace: I played four years of high school football, so coming out of high school you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t at least Division I-AA material. I wanted to go on to the next level and play football I knew that much. So I first began to search for schools based on whether they were I-AA or not. I applied to a couple of schools in North Carolina, Western Carolina, Appalachian State, about five or six schools, then my mother explained to me how far away these schools were from New York and that if I wanted to go to these schools it would be a situation where I couldn’t come home on 3 day weekends. I’d just have to be up there. So I sorta re-aimed my efforts at northeastern schools and started looking into what I wanted to study. My mom gave me this big ass book called the Barron’s Book of Colleges and made me do this scientific formula to decide how to pick what school I wanted to go to where I had to consider class size, location, major, population, SAT scores, etc. You had to see all the paperwork I had trying to figure out all this stuff. Based on all of that Rhode Island was the school and I was in the boondocks that next fall. I didn’t know what I got myself into, after the first year I wanted to transfer to Howard.

H: What was your experience there like?

Ace: I went in as a chemistry major and I took my first couple of chemistry courses and calculus and shit, but I wasn’t really big on math. After that first semester my chemistry teacher was like if you don’t like math chemistry is not where you want to be, so I changed my major to marketing after the first year. My mom talked me into sticking it out. She said if I didn’t like it sophomore year I could consider transferring. I was just home sick and it was a major culture shock. There was only a handful of black students and they didn’t really mess with each other like that. A lot of them didn’t speak or anything, within that small community that we had we didn’t really fuck with each other like that and all that to me was wack. By my second year I got to know some cool folks that were friendly and I was able to find some flavor up there that’s really what it came down to.

H: After you graduated from there what was your next move?

Ace: The same year I graduated was the year I officially started recording with Marley. While I was in college I won a rap contest in Queens over Christmas break and first prize was studio time at Marley Marl’s crib. When I won that contest it took me an entire year to actually meet up with him and get him in the studio. I graduated that year and that summer I recorded my first demo at his crib.

H: Before you dropped your last album “Disposable Arts” you were kinda on the low for a while and I heard you weren’t interested in doing much recording what changed in your life that made you want to step back up and put out another record?

Ace: I took about a year and a half off. I wasn’t doing any recording I actually started trying to get more behind the scenes producing and stuff like that. I even did a resume and was interviewing at a few record labels to get that first little entry job to just go hard behind the scenes. Then I got a phone call from Jazzy Jeff out in Philly, he was putting together an album and he wanted me to be on a song. I rode out to Philly and I went to his studio. It was real cool he had about three rooms with equipment in them and about five producers working in different rooms. The creativity, the vibe, and that family of producers that he had got me going. These were some cool guys. There was no hard feelings towards each other it was just all love. You just go room to room and it was like when you finish with them come in here I got a beat for you to check too. It was a real good, creative, positive vibe and I left there with a real good feeling and right after that I went overseas to do a little 15 show tour in Europe. I hadn’t been over there in six or seven years and I went over and did a bunch of shows in England, Scotland, a couple of dates in Italy, and a couple of dates in the Netherlands and [got an] overwhelming response and love from people. The day I stepped foot in New York City I placed a call to my man Filthy Rich from Yosumi and said yo I want to do an album man. I just came back and realized there were still people that wanted to hear my voice on a record and that was all I needed. In my head it was like nobody really cared so why am I wasting my time in the studio, but once I saw that there were a few people out there who wanted to hear some music it motivated me and that was all it took.

H: I was listening to that album today and it was really well put together especially the way the skits connect everything, but a few songs stood out. I wanted to first talk about “Dear Diary” where you touched on the fact you didn’t feel like anyone cared about your music. What made you want to really speak on those feelings on wax?

Ace: It was basically what we were talking about me just reaching a point where I felt like people didn’t care. People weren’t checking for me, it didn’t matter if I made another record or not, so why do it. All of those thoughts were going through my head and when I came back from Europe I pushed all of that to the side. When I made the “Dear Diary” record all I was trying to do was let you into my head to know where my head was at that particular point and time.

H: The other song I wanted to mention was “Acknowledge.” I remember hearing about that and how it all started with you coming at High and Mighty and I heard you were supposed to do a record together. I was wondering if it was difficult to talk to them after that because you kinda lit them up on that joint.

Ace: We didn’t actually do the record we were talking about it though. I haven’t really dealt with them after that. One of them called me and he explained to me that people misunderstood what was being said on stage [and] cats was giving you props and not dissing you. When he told me all of that I was basically like if what you saying is true then it’s my bad and I told them I would apologize on the radio. I went up to Hot 97 to do Future Flavas with Marley Marl and Pete Rock and I told everyone what the situation was and made a public apology to them on the radio and that was pretty much the end of it after that.

H: You also came at the Boogieman and you guys battled at Lyricist Lounge. Do you want to battle him again?

Ace: Nah, I think there is nothing for me to really gain. There was nothing for me to gain in that situation, I should have probably left it where it was at, he made the record I made the record that should have been the end of it. There was no motivation for me. I wasn’t excited about doing it. I really just felt like I was kinda roped into a situation where I had to do what I had to do whether I was prepared to do it or not. I had to step into that arena. The only thing I would have done different is to prepare differently. As much as I’m saying nah and all of that if I was ever in the club and he ever tried to call me out or say anything ridiculous on stage it would be instant. After that situation I vowed to never be unprepared again. That was right after I finished doing my album and other than the rhymes I wrote for the album their really wasn’t nothing else in my brain so I was going off the top and going off the top is one of those hit or miss type of things. It was miss night for me and he was spitting writtens so it worked out really well for him because he was spitting rhymes he had memorized.

H: I did an interview with J-Zone and one of my questions to him was how did he get you to talk about money hungry hoes on the song “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” and he said he didn’t have nothing to do with it he just gave you the beat and you came up with the whole concept. So what made you decide to focus on that subject for the song and will you be working with J-Zone again?

Ace: I’m hoping he’s gonna provide some music for me for the new album, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that. The way I write sometimes I’ll be driving in the car and I’ll just think of a line that has nothing to do with nothing and for the last year or so I have been compiling little lines about that subject not trying to even write a song just little one-liners. I started putting them together and when he gave me that beat that’s what immediately came to me in terms of what I felt like the song should be about. Then I just went back into my archives and started finding some of those one-liners about money hungry chicks and those few one-liners opened the door and my brain just started working.

H: What’s the new album you’re working on now and what’s the concept you are going for?

Ace: I can’t really get too deep into what the concept is. It’s one of those things I don’t like revealing too early in the game. In terms of the album I have about five songs done. It’s coming along nicely I’m gonna have a track produced by Spinna on there, a track produced by Paul Nice, and a track from Explicit the same kid who did “Acknowledge.” I’m looking to have The Beatnuts on the album. I’m trying to get Talib Kweli not sure if it’s possible, but that’s something I’m going to work on, Ed O.G is gonna be on there, [and] some of the same cats from the last album Punch and Words, Strick, Apocalypse, and Jean Grey will be on there on some level. I’m just gonna try to put together another good quality album.

H: You mentioned Punch and Words what role are you playing in their career right now? Are you getting into some artist management?

Ace: Not officially I’m still in the recording capacity. I feel like that is going to be a door that opens up at some point. I never really saw myself doing management specifically, but I’d probably be good at it. To whatever level that I can help these guys on their career path and not make some of the mistakes I might have made I’m there for them. They call me for advice. I got a few years on them in terms of experience in the game and then I brought Punch and Words with me on the 2001 Disposable Arts tour. We were out in Europe a whole month and Strick was with me as well. Those are just guys that are talented to me and deserve to be heard. I don’t have any specific direct plan on how its going to all pan itself out, but to whatever level they want me in there careers I’m there for them.

H: Style wise and personality wise how have you changed as opposed to when you first came into the game?

Ace: I think I’ve just matured. I reached a point where I can accept who I am where I am and what my place is, my role is and my historical relevance is and just move on. I’m looking beyond rap and music and just living and enjoying life. I think for a while there I thought I was enjoying life, but I really wasn’t. I took my first vacation in 2000. All those years I had never taken a vacation. I’ve been many places, but it was always for the purpose of music. So for the first time I took a vacation and I was like wow this is what enjoying life is about.

We’re gonna finish this up with a bunch of random questions so here goes

H: Eminem named you as one of his biggest influences when he received a grammy. How did it feel being acknowledged on such a big stage?

Ace: It was unexpected, but it was cool. I heard that he was a big “Slaughtahouse” fan and then I met him at the Up In Smoke tour and he invited me to the concert and he told me that he was a “Slaughtahouse” fan and back in the day that’s all he used to play but a lot of times when somebody says that it doesn’t mean you are one of their influences so when he started naming rappers I really didn’t have any sense that I was going to be one of the people named. But it was cool because I was probably the only obscure name that he mentioned. He mentioned a lot of household names and I’m sure people were like did he just say Masta Ace? To me if an artist says a name that’s really obscure like that among a bunch of well known names it’s a good chance that they mean that. If he had said Kwame I would have to believe it because for him to say Kwame on TV he must have really liked that dude.

H: Did you peep the ODB special and if so what did you think?

Ace: I taped it man. All I can say is that’s entertainment. That’s vintage entertainment.

H: What’s your take on the Kobe situation?

Ace: Dude is stupid. There’s plenty of dude’s with gorgeous wives who slip up. He’s gonna get propositioned, but he has to be smarter about the way he carry himself and he has to be a better judge of character. What keeps guys out of trouble in a lot of those situations is being smart enough to recognize a psycho chick or a chick that would try to blow your spot up. He probably went straight for the ass, didn’t try to feel her out and see where her head is at because if he had any kind of conversation with her she would have displayed some of those psycho tendencies. I don’t know all the details of what went on in that room, but it’s kinda clear to me that she kinda had it in for dog. I’m having a difficult time believing he was stupid enough to try and rape her. If he is that stupid then he is lost.

H: You’ve always been about the ill systems with heavy bass what kind of system is Masta Ace rolling with now?

Ace: My taste for big retardedly loud systems has faded away. I got a van right now with plenty of space in it I could put a million speakers in there if I wanted to but it’s not something I’m really that interested in doing. It’s weird because I could remember when that’s all I cared about and it was nothing more important. I’m not that kid anymore.

H: If someone redid one of your songs would you consider it an honor or a rip-off?

Ace: I’d probably consider it an honor depending on who did it and how they did it. Sorta like how Missy did the MC Lyte record, she did it in a real cool way that you could tell she was paying homage as opposed to just borrowing. For the most part I wouldn’t consider it a rip-off I’d just hope they would do a good job with it.

H: I heard they put you in a Madden game, did they hear you were a big fan and decided to put you in there?

Ace: I won the first celebrity tournament that the Source Magazine had thrown and based on winning that tournament word got around the industry that Ace is into it and real serious with the Madden shit. It was actually my relationship with Ecko at the time that made that happen because I was on the Ecko team. All the guys on that team were rated 99, but the first year they put me in as a punter and I wasn’t feeling that.

Date: November 10, 2003