Funkmaster Flex: Hard to Earn Part One

For the last decade, Funkmaster Flex has certified himself as Hip-Hop’s biggest DJ. From the club dates, to the primetime radio shows, to five Gold albums, as well as branding and marketing, Flex has paved a path to a higher plain. His reputation for quality has sustained him as one of the top ears in […]

For the last decade, Funkmaster Flex has certified himself as Hip-Hop’s biggest DJ. From the club dates, to the primetime radio shows, to five Gold albums, as well as branding and marketing, Flex has paved a path to a higher plain. His reputation for quality has sustained him as one of the top ears in Hip-Hop, having given an early boost to many of Hip-Hop’s brightest stars now.

Led by Ray Benzino, Flex’s name has been tossed around liberally in allged payola scandal, a claim the DJ denies. Funkmaster Flex responds to Benzino’s comments in no uncertain terms. In looking at his career, his albums, and his passion for classic cars, and Flex analyze the career of the DJ in question. With brutal honesty, Flex admits to slighting friends, and the tempting offers he’s received. Regardless of money, Flex’s comments ensure that with his A&R background, respect remains hard to earn. So what’s up with this Car Show album?

Funkmaster Flex: I always had the Funkmaster 60 Minutes of Funk Volumes and The Tunnel album. This is the Funkmaster Flex custom car and bike show tour. I got 50, Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, Olivia, the complete Dipset camp, Nas, Xzibit, Fabolous, Mannie Fresh, David Banner. I got a lot of new artists too. I got Papoose, Maino, Stack Bundles, Paul Cain. Two thirds is known big dogs, one third of the album is upcoming New York talent. Why a car show album?

Funkmaster Flex: I wanted to be different. I’m not going to do the mixtapes anymore. I got five and all of them went Gold. I’m happy with that. I want to do something new. I’m really into the cars. Man, I don’t think I’ve ever had an interview on before, to be honest. I go to the site a lot. I hope you would.

Funkmaster Flex: Yeah. When I do something though, they report on it. They report on it accurate. I’m not going to front, because n***as be fronting. It’s accurate. Looking at the album, Why Koch? Your previous joints came through Loud Records and Def Jam?

Funkmaster Flex: Cam’ron was instrumental in making me feel good about Koch. I didn’t really know much about them. And then Cam told me about them and explained it. Def Jam was pretty organized. I was very surprised on how organized Koch was to be honest. I expected it to be run like mad house independent. On top of that, Koch used to be in the old Profile records office. I used to do A&R at Profile records. To walk in that office 15 years later, I almost caught a tear. In regards cars, I heard the 71’ Charger is your favorite car.

Funkmaster Flex: I’ll tell you what, I have one of those. The Charger is my first muscle car that I got, like ten years ago. So it’s got a special place in my heart. I have a 70′ Chevelle that’s pretty tough. I got a couple of Fords. I got a 67′ Ford Galaxy. Ugh, let me think. Let me go through my Fords first. I got two 69′ Mustangs, a 76′ Torino, a 71′ Torino, a 66′, 67′, 69′, 70′, 71′, 73′ Chevelle, two 68′ Camaros, two 69′ Camaros, a 65′ Impala, a 63′ Impala, a 69′ GTO, a 69′ Charger. I just copped a 69′ Nova today. That’s what I’ve just been doing all day, making sure this wire transfer goes through. Check cleared?

Funkmaster Flex: Yeah, it’s a relic, but I’ll make it something. I got a few Cutlasses. I got a 72′ Cutlass, a 70′ Cutlass, a 72′ El Camino, a 2005 and 2006 Mustang, a 2005 Expedition, a 2004, 2005 Jag, and a 2006 Charger. How do you feel about Dodge reintroducing the Charger?

Funkmaster Flex: Um, a Charger is not supposed to have four doors. That’s the part that’s never sat well with me. The new Mustang, I think, is the new muscle car of the last two years. It captures old style of muscle cars. Who do you think has the best style in regards to rapper whip game? Quality not quantity.

Funkmaster Flex: Wyclef [Jean]. He came to my car show with a monster truck, the Maclaren, he had some motorcycles spinning. It was like a carnival. The kids loved it. He started the monster truck [and] the kids went crazy. You sure it wasn’t a lease?

Funkmaster Flex: [Laughs] I don’t know. It wasn’t mad expensive. He had stuff that you had to know where to get it. You’ve been DJing on Hot 97 for a long time; a lot classic stuff has popped off on your show. What’s the illest on air moment you’ve ever been apart of? The Roc-A-Fella hour long freestyle session was historic.

Funkmaster Flex: G-Unit freestyle session was the craziest. Disgusting. Tony Yayo rocking to “You, Him, and Her” was so crazy. The first time The Lox came to my show was crazy. Ma$e too. I have different things for different reasons. In 92’ meeting Run-DMC while they were promoting Down With The King. I’m a big Jam Master Jay fan. That was nuts to me. How about the time you had Nore, Canibus and DMX freestyle. That was ugly.

Funkmaster Flex: Let me tell you something, Martin, Pun was downstairs and security wouldn’t let him up. Fat Joe brings that up to me all the time. He was calling me like, “Yo we downstairs, the guard won’t let me up”. That was crazy. None of their albums were out yet. They were all new. Biggie and Craig Mack was a key moment. That was my biggest show. I had other favorite moments. My best moment might be a little awkward, I don’t know. Hammer was one of my favorite interviews. I going to be real honest with you, Martin, I’m ashamed of one thing. I’ve only told a few people – so you getting an exclusive. Hammer was a friend that I didn’t embrace. Meaning, you know when you meet somebody and you know you get along with real good with this dude? I knew me and him would get a long good. The jokes he would tell, me and him had the same sense of humor and everything. Sometimes he would call, and I’d be ashamed to answer or ashamed to talk to him. I fronted on him. You got industry on him?

Funkmaster Flex: Yeah I went industry on him. And I really enjoyed his friendship. I think I told him recently, like a couple of months ago. Like, “Yo Hammer, I was really digging you, I didn’t reach out to you enough.” When I met him, he was past he past the “Pumps and a Bump” madness. He came to the radio show and I played a club with him, he was so funny. Like the way he was treating chicks, the way he was moving. He was king of generics; he was generic to dudes in the club. I was like this dude got a little style; he ain’t a slouch!