The Real Destiny’s Child

DC cover

A revealing intimate capture of Destiny’s Child and the girl who would be Queen!

You may know Destiny’s Child as one of the most successful girl groups of all time but only a few know the whole story of their formative, peak and dissolution years. Relive the story of Destiny’s Child in their own words.

The Real Destiny’s Child provides a compelling look into the creative thought process behind The Writing’s On The Wall album. In addition to the things that consumed them individually and collectively at the time. This book contains never before heard revelations in an exclusive interview with the original group. It also contains exclusive casual photos, rare videos of auditions, rehearsals and unreleased songs.

Whether you are a Rowland Stone, a member of The Beyhive, an aspiring music group/soloist, an appreciator of good music or a music historian, The Real Destiny’s Child will be an educating and entertaining read.

The debut book from the acclaimed Behind The Music Tales series is now available in print for the first time.

For twenty years Harris Rosen self-published the national lifestyle magazine Peace! He has interviewed hundreds of composers, artists, actors and athletes, including the Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, Daft Punk, Eminem, Nirvana, Metallica, Chris Rock, Beastie Boys, and Aaliyah to list a select few.

In these pages you’ll discover:

EXCLUSIVE spring 1999 casual photo shoot with The Real Destiny’s Child

EXCLUSIVE extended interview with LaTavia Roberson, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and LeToya Luckett

EXCLUSIVE Director cut prints from the Bootylicious Remix video

EXCLUSIVE song-by-song breakdown of THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL by LaTavia, Beyoncé, Kelly and LeToya

Rare videos of auditions, rehearsals and unreleased songs

Now available in print and digital.

Kool Keith – Man of a Thousand Faces

Kool Keith is undeniably the most innovative and eccentric figure to ever pick up a microphone and rap; the George Clinton of Hip-Hop. 

Born in The Bronx, the birthplace of Hip-Hop, revered as the inventor of abstract rap and a Player from the day his legendary crew, Ultramagnetic MC’s, dropped their second single, Ego Trippin’, in 1986. Dominating the hearts and minds of true blue Hip-Hop artists, fans and critics alike on the crew’s highly influential Critical Beatdown in 1988 until their third and final offering, The Four Horsemen, in 1993.

Relocating to Hollywood, Ca, Keith flipped the script and returned as the heralded Dr. Octagon, a time traveling ET gynecologist and surgeon in 1995, appealing to the designer drug crowd and touring the world in 1996, eventually signing with Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks label. Referring to the project he recorded in a day as scrambled eggs with cheese and pepperoni. 

In 1997, Kool Keith the Player on a strict diet of sex, porn and the seedy side of Hollywood life, dropped the infamous Sex Style album on his very own Funky Ass Records. The label name an ode to the illusion of strippers. The cover featuring a relaxed Keith in underwear, boots and muscle shirt, posing beside XXX star Spantaneeus Xtasty. 

“Marilyn Manson, people think he’s dope. I want to be up there.  I’m up there. I’m next to Stan Beck. I’m bigger than Guns N Roses now. Fuck Nirvana. We just big. We are Rock; I’m Rock.”

Holding court on the phone for an hour back in 1997, Kool Keith discusses his storied career, Hollywood life, exposes rapper illusions, disparages sample happy Producers, and what he terms the Tracy Chapman effect of artists selling out their culture and souls to achieve success.

“I’m doing something different. I lived in New York all my life. New York is narrow minded sometimes. The Rego situation there and the mixtapes, its getting stagnant now. Those muthaphukkas is thinking an SP12 and a sampler is their life. I spoke to certain artists, and they know who they are, about drum machines and different types of things and they couldn’t understand my conversation when I started mentioning Moogs and Prophets and DX7s and D50s and different types of keyboards and equipment.

They couldn’t fucking digest it because those slow muthaphukkas didn’t understand. It’s not about an SP12 and a sampler. That’s a Charlie Brown and Linus setup. In Charlie Brown, Linus had that little fucking piano, and a lot of these narrow minded Producers should wake up a realize that they got to get up off that Linus type bullshit. Sitting down with that one fucking piano.

There’s a lot of other instruments out to use. It’s a bunch of Premier wannabe’s. I respect Premier, but it’s a bunch of Premier wannabe’s. They know who the fuck they are. They need to stop it and go out, read keyboard magazines and books, and realize and open their fucking minds to know there’s other music out here and respect other music.” 

Highly upset the evolution of his beloved Hip-Hop from streets, lights and culture experienced a cross pollination with farm and crop, “to calm America down”,  Keith rails against fantasy comical groups jumping around in colourful videos shouting out Mafia slogans. 

Citing consumer sellout plans, marketing schemes, sampling Producer thieves, and rappers who lease their own careers to illuminate a champagne lifestyle as Hip-Hop killers.  Keith illustrates how “fronting is real big in America”.

“When Rakim, when everybody was rhyming back in the days, we had our stuff made. We was wearing the Gucci stuff and everything was fly back then. All those groups had fly gear on but they didn’t rap about it. Now, its like, more rappers just rapping about what they wear and what they got and what they own.  It’s no more real skills on the mic. Its a lot of materialistic bragging. That’s like 75% of rap right now, so we have a problem.”

GangStarr – You Know the Steez

Gang Starr is one of the top crews to ever come out of the East Coast. Revered for their smooth jazz styled Hip-Hop, then that real Boom Bap. The duo of Guru and DJ Premier released four well received influential albums, No More Mr. Guy in 1989, Step In The Arena in 1991, Daily Operation in 1992, and Hard To Earn in 1994. Each album furthering their pioneering sounds and cementing Gang Starr as bonafide pioneers behind the classic NYC Hip-Hop movement and its trademark rough and rugged sounds. 

Following an extended break of three years, to work on other projects, the duo reformed and recorded the highly anticipated Moment of Truth, which was released in the Spring of 1998.. The album quickly sold 500 000 copies in the U.S. and is certified Gold. “You Know My Steez”, “Royalty” featuring K-Ci & JoJo, and the classic high energy cut “The Militia”, featuring Gang Starr Foundation members Big Shug and Freddie Foxxx led the charge.

During the extended break, DJ Premier produced and remixed a steady flow of straight classic tracks for Nas, Biggie, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, Blahzay Blahzay, Group Home, KRS-One, D’Angelo, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, and others.

Staying hungry, fresh and new, during this period he clearly defined his sound and rightful laid claim to being the top Hip-Hop producer in the world.

This interview took place onsite the legendary D&D Studios located in the heart of Manhattan, NY, in late 1997. Inside the very production room chock full of the studio gear he crafts the magic, and DJ Premier block booked until he he eventually purchased the entire studio in 2003 renaming it HeadQCourtterz. The slot is split with a Japanese journalist. The tape is unedited and the interview plays exactly as recorded in 1998.

DJ Premier defines who he makes the music for, its reach, his relationship with Guru, the thought process behind recording an album with Guru and banging out his patented boom bap for others. He breaks down the equipment inside the room, the influence of technology on his sound, discusses beat integrity, Jazzmatazz, the state of Gang Starr Foundation, the significance of money, and the business behind working with artists hungry for his beat magic.     

“Its love all the time. But if its an artist that I know made some sales and if they got they cheddah, even if they ain’t really seen much. I know the label made their dough and they went at least platinum, even if they were underground artists, I’m gonna charge them because they can afford to pay me what I deserve for my talent.

If they’re friends of mine, like M.O.P. I’m always gonna bless them with the way we work out our business. I’m negotiable. I won’t just charge expensive to everybody. Now I’m at a point where I can but I won’t with certain cats. Even Jay-Z. I give him a break because I knew him on a different level, so I’ll look out for him. A lot of people like are like’Damn, why you looking out for Jay-Z?’ Hey, I can do that.

Same thing with Biggie. Me and Biggie was cool as friends when we met him around his way, when we moved over in Fort Greene (Brooklyn). First time around I didn’t charge him nothing. It was peanuts for “Unbelievable” and he went double, triple platinum and all that, and I said, it’s time to put a price on that. He was cool, no problem. They didn’t argue it or nothing. And I wasn’t greedy. I don’t stick you up and be like I want a 100 thousand dollars and stuff like that.

We’re fair because we know fair business is what’s going to keep me hired, keep me in the game. And this is part of the politics of how to place yourself without being a sell out, and that’s how I do it. I like the way my business is run and I’m glad I’m learning more things about how to keep longevity existing in my life and in my career.”

Guru offered up the successful Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, in late Spring 1993, prior to the release of Hard To Earn. Stepping outside the Gang Starr arena while adding to his legacy by recording with the artists they sampled in the studio. A jazz rap mix with an all-star band, including contributions by luminaries Lonnie Liston Smith, Branford Marsalis, Ronny Jordan, Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers. The album met with critical acclaim and the band toured the world.

Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality was released in Summer 1995 with special guest performances by luminaries Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd, Ramsey Lewis, Kool Keith, Lady Patra, Jamiroquai, Branford Marsalis, Courtney Pine, Ronny Jordan and Paul Ferguson. It outsold volume one and an extended tour ensued.

The unique style and beats of DJ Premier manifested into a powerful  all terrain vehicle when coupled with the unique style, vocals and lyrics of the late great, Guru. A quintessential reality rapper, Guru approached and delivered his lyrical flow as one-on-one dialogue with the youth. 

This late 1997 one-on-one interview occurred in the D&D Studios lounge.

In it for the love and art, Guru speaks on the healthy competition between the old school and new school. While detailing the process of creating a Gang Starr album, he relays what keeps the duo working together and relevant.

“Respect for each others as individuals, as best friends, and mainly as artists for what we do in this career of Hip-Hop, of Rap. Its what we represent and what we stand for. Our philosophies are a lot similar and we have different styles. I’m more outgoing and vocal and he’s more laid back but we balance each other out. We used to be roommates, so we know each other well. It’s love there and we got each others back.”

He delves deep into the music of the day when discussing the state of Hip-Hop in 1997, the growth of his beloved industry and where Gang Starr fits into the scheme, and the significance of Moment of Truth.

But what about the love. How did Guru maintain his love for the art of Hip-Hop?

“That’s a good question. I maintain my love. It starts from a family and it spreads to individuals who have always supported me. To cats that be on the street that tell me, ‘Yo, keep doing your thing.’ ‘Yo, when you coming out?’ ‘Yo, I got all your joints.’ ‘You made my day ‘cause if it wasn’t for you there would be no me.’

The people that support and represent are the reason why I’m doing this. They put me on. Once I know that I stay humble and spread my love.”

The Real Eminem: Broke City Trash Rapper

I am a sick fuck. I’m a sick minded fuck, I think. I’ve got an imagination that’s out this world, I think. – Eminem

This book contains two exclusive in-person April 1999 interviews with Eminem and one exclusive in-person 2001 interview with D12.

The first Eminem interview occurred at 3:00 a.m. April 4, 1999 inside a downtown Detroit asbestos filled warehouse located directly off the notorious Mack Avenue. Eminem and crew, including a rare appearance by Royce da 5”9, were set to perform a homecoming show of sorts at a Rave on a bill with New York City based U.S. Techno pioneer Frankie Bones and Kevin Saunderson, legendary Detroit Techno pioneer, noted electronic music Producer, and revered member of the Belleville Three.

Earlier that weekend I had connected with international blogger/radio host/promoter Matt Sonzala, to attend the 28th annual Hash Bash on April 3rd in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the University of Michigan Diag. The annual festival dedicated to reforming marijuana laws within a proactive and positive setting, including activist speeches, music and vendors. As a long-time fan of Eminem, Matt was excited to join in on the scheduled interview. 

Eminem had just arrived back in his hometown Detroit after a two week European promotional trip, where he was constantly quizzed about the colour of his skin and what Spice Girl he would like to impregnate. We sat down at a long table inside the abandoned warehouse with him and key members of his crew and began to talk. Eminem spoke on what is was like coming up as an independent artist out of a city as raw as Detroit, the way in which his career and hometown recognition had flipped 360 degrees, the underground, his crew and being perceived as a role mode. However, with friends and crew present, and the responsibilities that exist whenever artists perform a hometown show, the interview broke up twelve minutes in when he declared “I gotta piss like a motherfuckin’ racehorse.” The crew took the stage with Eminem, Proof and Royce da 5”9 trading rapid fire verses and the crowd went wild.

I had met Proof during the ascent of his Dirty Dozen partner Eminem in February 1998, while attending the Fall/Winter Magic International apparel convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was assisting Detroit City urban apparel pioneer designer, Maurice Malone. Malone was an instrumental figurehead in the Detroit underground Hip-Hop scene as the man behind The Hip-Hop Shop where Eminem, his Dirty Dozen compatriots and countless other emcees carved reputations. Proof asked if I had heard of Eminem, stated he was named checked in a song, and produced his I.D. to match the name. We then touched base at Las Vegas Magic International shows in August 1998 and February 1999 before reconnecting, again, in April 1999 for the two interviews featured within this book.   

The second interview with Eminem and Proof occurred one week after the first one on April 10, 1999 over lunch inside the three star Primrose Hotel in downtown Toronto. They were set to perform a show at The Opera House that night and we were allotted time to complete the cover feature interview and a photo shoot. Eminem was relaxed, clam and open and Proof was by his side chiming in with comments and responses. He spoke at length on music as therapy, baby mama drama, underground Hip-Hop and white rapper stereotypes while establishing his true core.

The early years of Eminem are documented in the 2002 major motion picture 8 Mile. He earned his reputation within the industrial wasteland of Detroit’s underground Hip-hop scene. His daughter Hailie was born Christmas Day 1995; One thousand copies of the Nas inflected Infinite album on Web Entertainment were released on November 12, 1996 to little fanfare; He disappeared into a life of low end jobs, while experiencing deep psychological battles and wars with the mother of his child; He began his ascent by carving out an international reputation as a fierce MC on virtually every key underground Hip-Hop site fueled by his mixtape appearances and songs; Re-emerging a new man on December 6, 1997 with The Slim Shady EP on Web Entertainment. Five hundred copies were pressed.

A dark, angry, moody menagerie documenting his real life trials and tribulations, the EP had him poised to reach the next level. He traveled to Los Angeles and was awarded second place in the National Rap Olympics battle rap competition. A copy of the EP landed in the hands of Interscope Records President Jimmy Iovine, who played it for Dr. Dre, and a star shined bright in the midwest. The song that sealed the deal, “Just The Two of Us”. A skin deep dark and ugly manifestation of baby mother drama to the extreme.

EminemInfinite

https://youtu.be/4s9epKCKbec

EminemThe Slim Shady EP

https://youtu.be/dbqS-1Q9c8k

Eminem didn’t invent ill rhyming or the ill lower class mentality, however he had lived it, seen it, done it, and was now speaking on it for the world to hear. He was not a bad guy. Everything he wrote, rapped or spoke had been in the mix, in one form or another, before.

When he parachuted into Hip-Hop and Pop culture consciousness on January 25, 1999 with his omnipresent single “My Name Is” and Dr. Dre in his corner, Eminem polarized purists, pundits, and mainstream media all at once, commando style. Operating on different brain waves, quite possibly the result of a chemical imbalance, the sick, out of this world vivid imagination of Broke City Trash Rapper Eminem rapping on guns, knives, rape and murder captured the minds of a new breed of Hip-Hop fan. The Slim Shady LP on Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records/Web Entertainment followed on February 23, 1999 and immediately entered the U.S. Billboard 200 charts at number two. It went on to earn the 2001 Grammy for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance for “My Name Is” and sell over eighteen million copies worldwide.

During the period of these interviews Eminem’s life was racing one-hundred million miles an hour yet he managed to maintain a grip on reality by sticking with the crew he came with up consisting of Proof, Bizarre, Royce da 5”9, Porter, DJ Head, The Brigade and Manager Paul Bunyon, AKA Paul Rosenberg. Eminem firmly placed anyone else in his midst in the role of an extra, not to be trusted. He may have given the odd person a play but he steadfast refused to do anything of note for anyone outside of his core crew. 

These interviews deliver a raw twenty-six year old Eminem, the real Eminem as an angry young man eager to prove himself to the world and give them the middle-finger at the same time. These interviews deliver an Eminem solely concerned with representing himself, his family, and those he came up with in his time of need. These interviews deliver an Eminem who proudly declared he lived for the day.

The second part of the book features an exclusive 2001 interview with D12. It provide a first-hand look into the “Just Don’t Give A Fuck” mindset of the crew and choice background information on Eminem in the midst of becoming an international phenomenon.

CODA

Following the April 10, 1999 interview, Eminem and Proof were up for a Toronto trip. A few hours later, pre-show, they answered the door of room 911 inside the Primrose Hotel. A baggy was produced. Eminem asked what was inside, nodded his head, and then he and Proof each dropped two tabs of pure MDMA. Upon touching The Opera House stage, during the first song of the set, Eminem dove into the crowd and another tale in Toronto music history was born. Immediately following the show, he was whisked away in a private plane and flown to Los Angeles to shoot the dark comedy “Role Model” video co-written by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man, and co-Directed by Dr. Dre and Phillip Atwell.