Filed under: Purple Snow
During the rollout of Kanye West’s Yeezus album last June, Spin Magazine sorted through the government names of Kanye’s 67 credited conspirators (among those, our own beloved Norman Whiteside for use of Wee’s “Aeroplane” on ‘Ye’s “Bound 2”). Having just acquired the proofs for our Purple Snow pre-order bonus item, we looked at our reproduction of “The Twin City Rapp” and found a similar stew of unrecognizable names on T.C. Ellis’s 1985 tribute to his hometown(s). Who was “The Mystery Sax Player”? Who was “The Rich Kid”? Nearly 30 years since David T.C. Ellis roll called the Minneapolis Sound (starred in Prince’s Graffiti Bridge, founded the High School for Recording Arts, etc) we quizzed him on the 22 members of his own “Twin Town Production Crew.”
T.C. Rapper – Presiding
Chi Ellis– That’s my sister. Chi is short for Charlnitta.
Dwight Dotson – He was one of my OGs back in the day. He used to finance me, hold my shit together.
April Givens – A dear dear friend of mine. Her grandfather was one of the first Black millionaires in Minnesota. They started the Willows nursing homes, and were the first to integrate Black & White nursing homes in Minnesota.
Mark Miller – A local hip-hop DJ on KMOJ. I used to consult with him, see what he thought of my music.
Charles E. Crutchfield III – He was my partner. He was like a brother to me. Actually, now he’s a world-renowned dermatologist. He owns Crutcfield Dermatology.
Graham the Soundman – Everybody in the whole Twin Cities knows Graham. He’s a sound man that worked with everybody: Flyte Tyme, Sue Ann, Prince, Joey Kareem. Now, he’s actually the chief sound engineer at the Capri Theater. That’s where Prince played his first show after getting signed to Warner Bros.
Scotty – I think that was a friend of mine. Scotty… Crews! A big football player. He was kind of like some muscle that used to hang around.
Yvonne Powers – I forgot! I can’t remember who she is!
Tabitha – Oh yeah, Tabitha was this hot chick I used to play around with.
George Stephenson – He was some more muscle I used to hang around with, also good friends with Timothy Lynch, the guy who was rapping with me on “Twin City Rapp.” He was a body builder and a weight lifter. Now he’s a judge in Ramsey County.
Tim Lynch – He’s the other guy rapping on that record.
John Rivers – Of course (John Rivers played all of the instruments on “Twin City Rapp” -ed)
Paul Kielb – He did the graphic design. He’s worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry.
Tom DeVange – I can’t remember
Mike McCoy – Not sure.
De Vir – This guy (J. Fred De Vir), he was like a legend in the community. He was a forensic sound engineer, but he had a recording studio in his basement. See, Joey took all my masters. All I had was a cassette, and I was doing shows with that. De Vir remastered the rhythm track and then I re-did the vocals. This dude was so old. He was like the FBI’s consultant for wire taps, but he had all this high-tech ass equipment.
Bobby Battle – Oh, Bobby Battle! That was some more muscle, and a friend I used to hang with real tuff. He grew up in the neighborhood. He was kind of the guy I would stick with once Prince got all his body guards. Everyone in the hood knew me, so I would just crash through Prince’s shit and I would come through with the real thugs, and all of Prince’s guys would just fall back.
Mystery Sax Player – Man who was that? That’s weird. That’s somebody I had a close relationship that was part of my clique at the time and I can’t remember who it was.
David Adams – I can’t remember him either.
The Rich Kid – You know who that was don’t you? That was Joey Kareem! By the time I got the record out, Joey had basically just took my masters and I didn’t have shit to work with. I wanted to blow that record up! I knew when I did the record it was special because I knew hip-hop was on the way. I’ve always been a hustler of culture. I was trying to tell Prince and them. I was like “You can control the whole fucking industry! You should get ahead of this! Everybody is on your dick!”
D. J. Cowboy – Oh yeah, man. D.J. Cowboy, he s a legacy in the Twin Cities. He lives in Portland or something now. He’s been out on tour with Prince in Europe; he used to do all the after partys. He had a birthday party when we were all kids, and he was dressed like a cowboy so we call him D.J. Cowboy. He was in Graffiti Bridge and my video, “Miss Thing.” I went to his house as soon as I came out the studio with “Twin Cities Rapp.” I woke him out and got him in my car and we started listening to it and he was like, “Damn.”
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment