Oxygen has been a part of Hip Hop culture since he was a short stack in the 80's back in Long Island. All these years and many many projects later he is still active and when he's not rocking the mic you can catch him wrecking the 1200's all over the country. I finally got a chance to holler at him and get the lowdown on his latest upcoming vinyl release. Let's go!
Darrell D- Ok, let's start at the beginning. Tell me about your early childhood.
Oxygen- I grew up in Long Island New York in a neighborhood where a lot of your notable rap artists are from. I grew up around Rakim, Groove B Chill, and Too Poetic. Poetic lived a couple of houses down from me. They were a lot of my influences for me being involved in hip hop. It was just something in the air at the time.
D- When did you first get exposed to rap music?
O- There were these guys that would set up on the next block from where I lived. They were called Fantasy Inc. They were my sisters age, 5 years older then me. They would bring out turntables and throw block parties. Some were dj's and some were mc's. My main influence from that group was one of my sisters best friends. His name was Greg Rawls. He let me touch his turntables for the first time. I was 13 or 14 years old. From there it was on.
D- Where did you go from there?
O- When I was around 16 or 17 we started Hype Sounds Productions. That was around 1988. At first it was a whole crew of us but ended up being just me and Cut Wizard Albee. He was a dj/producer and had all the early samplers, drum machines, and digital delays. That's when I first got real serious about music.
D- What did you guys create?
O- Our first song was called, "We Got The Hype Sounds". That was in 1987 and was the first song I wrote. That song went through a lot of remix stages before we got to the version that was actually on our demo tape. Then in 1988 we did "Mastermind's In Effect".
D- I first heard of you when I picked up the "Gone Diggin" 45 at Big City Records in Manhattan back in 2010. I had heard of Sputnik Brown but didn't own any of the music. How did you guys form?
O- Around 90-91, another guy from my neighborhood was a well known rapper by the name of Musa. Me and Albee met producer LB Bad. LB was working on beats for both of us. We were all friends and LB Bad had connections in the music industry. I eventually moved away to North Carolina. It was years before I moved back and Musa moved to Brooklyn and was still doing music. We kept in touch throughout the years and when I moved back in 2004, Musa and I reconnected and started recording. The song "U Havin Fun Yet" was the first song we did. It was the song that started Sputnik Brown because we weren't a group yet. Musa and his cousin Tres Best had another group call House Of Reps in 96. Musa and E The 5th were both school teachers in the city and were making beats and working on their own material. We all joined forces as one big family united and became Sputnik Brown.
D- What lead to your record deal?
O- This dude named Sucio Smash was friends with Bobbito and when Bobbito stop doing his radio show on 89.9 WKCR he gave that time slot to Sucio. His show was called Squeeze Radio. He invited us to his show and it was the first time our entire crew came together in one spot. We all knew we wanted to form a group. We came up with the name Sputnik Brown not long before we did the radio appearance. We did a freestyle on the air and thats when Sucio told us he wanted to sign us to his new label High Water Music. We were the first to be signed to his label. That was winter 2006. Then in July or August of 2007 the 3 song 12" was released.
D- "U Havin Fun Yet" is being re-released. How did you make this happen?
O- Demand. Out of the 3 songs on the 12","U Havin Fun Yet" got the most play from people and radio. For years lot's of dj's wanted it on 45 and it took me years to finally decide to release it again. One reason was because I didn't want to devalue the 12" version but now it's time to put it back out and give it new life. The 45 will also feature the instrumental version and the B-side has the song "Idealism" with me on the mic and Edan on the turntables.
D- How did you and Edan hook up?
O- Me and Edan got together for an in-store performance at Academy Records in Manhattan back in the day. I told him I never got to perform a lot of my stuff from the 80's so we came up with the idea of him cutting on the turntables and me rhymin, you know, on some hip hop flavor since it was going to be live. After the in-store, we went on tour in Europe and put it in our set. We recorded the practice session at his place before we did the in-store and before we performed it on tour, that's the version you hear on the 45.
D- When will it be released?
O- We are currently taking pre-orders for an early March 2019 release. Also, Jamille Records is releasing it and we will be doing our official record release at the Beat Swap Meet in Los Angeles on March 17th. Stop by the Jamille Records booth and i'll also be performing at the show as well so we hope to see you there and we'll have special colored 45's and other limited Oxygen merchandise exclusive for this show only!
Purchase the limited edition 45 here: