By Todd Davis
’80’s Hip-Hop pioneers, U.T.F.O. [Untouchable Force Organization], comprised of Kangol Kid, the Educated Rapper a.k.a. EMD, Doctor Ice, and Mix Master Ice, are most commonly known for their classic hit single “Roxanne, Roxanne,” which spawned a succession of answer records. Following the release of their fifth and final effort, the lackluster Bag It & Bone It, in 1991, U.T.F.O. all but faded into obscurity — Or had they?
Rap Industry Dot Com recently tracked down the East Flatbush, Brooklyn, born, Mix Master Ice, nee’ Maurice Bailey, who just launched his own social networking website, M.M.I. Fan Nation, to find out all that he’s been up to in the past 18 or so years…
In the early days, what inspired you to deejay? What actually made you say, “This is what I want to do?”
In the year 1979, my eighth grade graduation dance had a deejay and emcee. I loved the energy and the vibe, plus Hip-Hop was starting to get airplay on the N.Y. radio. It was a new culture and I wanted to be down.
Initially, how did U.T.F.O. hook up with Full Force?
We all grew up from East Flatbush, Brooklyn. We [UTFO] were the best Hip-Hop group, and Full Force were the best producers in the ‘hood.
Back then, did you think that the whole “Roxanne, Roxanne” thing would blow up as big as it did?
I knew it was a good Hip-Hop record because all the right elements were there. But, because it was the B-Side of the single called “Hanging Out,” I didn’t think it was going to be as huge as it was.
Do you still keep in touch with the rest of the guys from U.T.F.O.? If so, what’s everybody else up to?
Everyone is still active. We all are working on individual projects.
What were some of your most memorable moments, those that will stick in your mind forever, as you look back on the “golden era” of rap?
(Just) the effect that the culture had on me and many people during the late ’70’s and early ’80’s; Watching Hip-Hop grow from the days of the block parties to the present day big tours around the world. I remember getting in big arguments with older people because they felt that we were just making noise and that it wouldn’t last. I guess I was right, because it’s still here.
For you, what were the tours like back in those days?
Lots of fun! We had some great fans and we inspired a lot of people worldwide.
How important is the deejay aspect these days, compared to when it first evolved? And, is it at all still relevant?
The deejay is still very important because the deejays help the artist to be heard in the clubs, radio and in the streets. I also feel the deejay was more relevant to the rap groups back in the days. There was less technology back then, so the deejay role was major.
I notice that you are a member on the advisory board for the International Disc Jockey Trade Association (IDJTA) — How did you go about getting involved with that?
Crazy Eddie, one of the founders, of the IDJTA reached out to me. I was honored and became a member.
Did you follow the ’08 DMC World Championships at all? If so, what was your take on it?
For 2008, the world title went to France with DJ Fly, and second place was DJ Slyce (from the) USA — Big up to Slyce for being an older battle deejay and getting this far in the finals!
What did it feel like to be inducted into the 2000 DMC Hall of Fame?
It’s one of my many awards that I will always be proud of. I was inspired by the pioneers that came before me, and I’m honored and blessed to have inspired many deejays that came after me.
I hear that you are now managing an R&B group called Rated R — How did that situation come about?
I moved to Columbus, Ohio in the mid ’90’s. They are some of the good R&B talent from the area that have been working hard for years. They reached out to me for management, and I’ve been working with them and getting them ready for the industry.
Are there any other artists that you are currently managing?
Yes, many artists from this area. There is a lot of talent from the Midwest.
What artists do you listen to?
I’m a true deejay at heart, so I listen to it all.
What is your take on the lack of sales, digital downloads, file sharing, and bootlegging — All the thing that are going on in music right now?
People are getting music for free due to mix-tapes and free down-loads — Artists will have to adapt to the times.
What would you like to see changed in the music game?
More balance in Hip-Hop. There is more ignorance being promoted than positive energy.
Do you like what VH-1 has been doing for the legends who paved the way with the VH-1 Hip-Hop Honors special(s)?
It’s cool. It’s always good when the youth can see and look at the past and where the culture came from.
Where do you see the future of Hip-Hop heading?
More globally and maybe to other planets! It will continue to grow because the youth are the future — They love rap music and they will continue to create new styles and new technology.
What’s next for you?
This summer will be my 29th deejay anniversary and my 25th anniversary in the music business. I’m also looking forward to helping other artists to achieve their goals.
Do you have any last words?
Thanks for the interview and the love! Peace & Blessings to all my fans around the world, my family, The CoreDJs, NerveDJs, IDJTA, Mixshow Blast DJs, Tools of Wars, U.T.F.O. & Full Force, All The Pioneers Of Hip-Hop — And, none of this would be possible without the blessings of The Creator!