The Stool Pigeon meets one of hip hop's unsung heroes, DJ Spanish Fly" />

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808 State Of Mind: Proto-Crunk Originator DJ Spanish Fly
The Quietus , January 25th, 2011 04:08

Phil Hebblethwaite, Editor of our big sister paper The Stool Pigeon meets one of hip hop's unsung heroes, DJ Spanish Fly

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Ever hear the one about the pioneer who had the imagination and did the hard work, yet never got the props or money? It's not exactly like that with DJ Spanish Fly, but you can't deny a man his hardcore and his story hasn't really been told — not outside of Memphis at least. He does get his shouts there, especially from the city's most successful hip hop group, Three 6 Mafia, who were making a clear point when they flew him out to their adopted home of Los Angeles to drop a verse on 'First 48' — a Memphis legends track from their 2008 album, Last 2 Walk.

It's the internet, however, that's truly forcing catch-up on this neglected originator. A series of raw and innovative mixtapes that DJ Spanish Fly cut in the late-80s and early-90s have found their way online in recent years and they're blowing people's minds. "The MP3 dorkosphere got Memphis on lock," one blogger writes, and it's about time. As the total absence of any Memphis artists from last year's VH1 Hip Hop Honors: The Dirty South proves, the largest city in Tennessee is being written out of the rap history books, despite being the home of crunk.

Ask DJ Spanish Fly to define the early Memphis sound and he'll say, "It was a wicked, 808, slow, dope groove," just like his own music. Add to that his scattergun, repetitive lyrics, heavy basslines and gangsta lean and you pretty much have a definition of early crunk. No one could claim that Spanish Fly invented the genre (he certainly doesn't), but he made a significant contribution to its formation, not least by introducing an essential track to Memphis — 'Drag Rap' by New York group The Showboys. It's from there that the triggerman beat is taken, which also became an absolute staple of New Orleans bounce.

There's more. He says here that the buck jump dance — later known as gangsta walking or jookin' — took shape in the club he first DJed at, Club No Name. Now, because of YouTube, jookin' has gone global and the incredible video for Janelle Monáe's breakout hit, 'Tightrope', featured three Memphis jookers.

DJ Spanish Fly, real name Antonio Kimbrough, still performs in Memphis and for years he had a slot on the local hip hop radio station, Hot 107.1. You sense, though, that we're about to hear much more from the self-named "granddaddy" of Memphis rap (he's 40)...

...The full version of this article is available in Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Music Anthology. Buy it now in the Amazon Kindle store.

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Willy Gump
Jan 31, 2011 1:36pm

How can you talk about the Club-Noname without giving Ray The J his props.You know the king of the nightclubs in Memphis the decade of the 80's&90's. He named the Club Noname and the Ganster Walk. He did all the radio commercials and was the first dj in Memphis to Produce TV commercials.He gave you your break. Played all the local rappers songs in the biggest clubs before the radio station would.You must have amnesia if you forgot Ray The J.You are falseflagging if you try to take all the credit without giving Ray The J his props. The man packed out the biggest clubs in Memphis for 20yrs til he moved to Las Vegas.He played Juicy J/ Eightball & MJG/Skinny Pimp/DJ Squeeky/ And Your songs when most of you guys were high school. Come on man Memphis nightclub business will never forget Ray The J he was a Legend!

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Willy Gump
Jan 31, 2011 1:49pm

Ray The J also wrote and produced his own TV show and showcased local established artist that couldn't get their songs on the radio and played local rap artist videos on his show "The Ray The J Show" on UPN 30.Come on Spanish Fly you were a helluva mixer dj but Ray The J was "The Moter Mouth Of The Dirty South" He was the first one to let you mix on the radio "The Budweiser Club Noname Hot Mix" How can you not give Ray The J his props.

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B.J. Redbone
Feb 9, 2011 4:24pm

S/O to Ray the Jay and DJ Spanish Fly, Dem niggaz break bread together fool.

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Feb 11, 2011 6:52pm

d j spanish fly is one of best entertainers in memphis,his music productions are ahear of the class-his rap game is on time,and i think he should get millions for part in the music world however he never got sign or promotions like many of us that put it down we never get our money-this industry is large and we put out the best music and often are overlook-yeah ray the j had it going on but you cant take another dj skills,we all are going for the number 1 spot to get paid,when its all said and done-money talks.
im king j in chicago and i am a north memphis musician turned music producer and i got alot of my music insights from spanish fly oh word- kjco king j records 2011/12

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Da truth
Apr 5, 2011 10:14am

DJ Spanish Fly, Stay humble & Love bruh!!!!!!!

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Frances Smith
Feb 19, 2012 1:33am

I enjoyed reading the article as I was wondering where he was the other day S\O to RaydaJ as I so enjoyed plenty nights in the club listening to the music and gangsta walking FLY SEND ME ONE OF THE OLD VOLUME20 lol

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