DJ Shaggy C
Thunder Jam Alliance Biography
I was born in New Brunswick NJ, 55 minutes from Manhattan in light traffic. I had my
father and mother in my life as well as 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I was the oldest. The city was
ruff in the 70s and due to my father moving us across town to an area called Franklin, you could not act soft or you would be bullied for sure. I did not grow up in the projects and the schools weren’t
too bad, but nevertheless Jersey was no joke growing up.
In 1979 when I heard the Sugar Hill Gang on the radio for the first time I was just a young man
who had just arrived at my first duty assignment in the Air Force, Dover AFB Delaware. I was
hooked when I heard rap like that for the first time - now I know they were rapping in NYC even
before then. I began collecting records and I also bought a nice sound system with my
roommate Brian. I often went to clubs on and off base studying the DJs and songs that kept
people dancing and shortly after that I joined one of the top DJs in the area. First I was just
setting up and breaking down his large DJ set up as well as working the lights during the shows. I
later started playing early in the night before the club got packed while also practicing at
home after I got my own little DJ set up. In about a year I was good enough to move on and I
auditioned for the last of the three spots that the best DJ production in town had openings for, due
to him expanding his operation. I got the job and joined two more young brothers and we became
the "WTZR CREW". By 1981 I got pretty good on the turntables and me and my boy DJ Star
Child from WTZR branched off and started our own production called the "Rock Crew". So at
this time we honed in on our craft due to watching hip hop grow and studying the greats like
GrandMaster Flash and the top DJs and rappers of that time. We started rapping a little, and
got better at scratching at our shows on base throughout the PA. DE and MD areas. Go Go
was going strong at that time as well and I contributed being a DJ from Jersey that also did
shows in other states is what helped to enhance my versatility as a producer later in life.
In 1982 I was transferred to Yokota, Air Force Base Japan. Before long I hooked up with a
DJ from New York, (DJ Littlewood) who was spinning at the youth center. I soon became his
partner and rocked there for a short time. A couple of weeks later I met DJ Mr Tee, who was
also from New York and he had just won the DJ battle to spin at the main NCO club on base.
I hooked up with him and he heard me play and asked me to join his crew. So I did and I
brought my boy DJ Littlewood with me because he had mad skills and we became known as
the "Disco Enforcers". Our crew was hot , we played clubs on and off base in Japan for about
six months, but unfortunately DJ Littlewood had to leave because he got orders to be stationed
back to the United States. DJ Mr.Tee and I continue rocking shows for about a year and
eventually recruited another crew member DJ Big Ed who was also a good friend.
In 1984 I got orders to go back to the United States and that's when I was located at
McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington. Music was a significant part of my life so
shortly after arriving I hooked up with a DJ from Virginia who went by the name of DJ Server. He
played at the army base next to the Air Force Base I was stationed at and all around Tacoma -
they called it T-Town. He asked me to be down with him and that was my first DJ partner at
my new location on the west coast.
I soon met this brotha, DJ LA who played at the Air Force Base NCO Club's small lounge. We
became friends and I hung out with him when I was not playing with Server. One day DJ LA
referred me to the club manager, he reviewed my resume and I was then asked to take over the
Air Force Base NCO Club due to personal reasons with DJ LA stepping down. After working in
the small lounge for a couple of months I saw potential in the club and I talked to the manager
about letting me host an all-nighter in the huge main ballroom. I then put together a crew with
my good friend and roommate Brian (DJ Silky B), DJ L Hollywood, and DJ Brad. With the help
of Brian we designed the Thunder Jam Alliance (TJA) logo, we put out flyers and hung up
posters, old school style, all over town and that night was a major success bringing in about 500
people. In the early days TJA were DJs who all got along and no hate, most were in the military
and could only rock with the crew for a short time because they were sent to other bases. Shouts
out to former Thunder Jam DJs: Dj Chill Will from VA that I met in Japan rocked with us for a
minute, DJ Bear from Oakland, Skip (DJ Dr.F.G.) from Washington DC. Shouts out to DJ Don
from England, DJ Pablo from Texas, DJ Chico and DJ Larenzo that rocked with us through the
years. In 1991 (TJA) only had the core DJ squad that worked exclusively with my groups
including Server who would on occasion’s sing on tracks with my R&B team run by producer
Terrance Crutch. The Core DJs that scratched and recorded with (TJA) are all listed later, one
being my right hand man DJ Kassanova, my current production manager.
The Music scene in Washington in the mid 80s when I first arrived and into the 90s was
dominated by west coast style rappers and music. There was an east coast influenced hip-hop
scene but it was a little smaller, and besides the military brothas, a lot of the straight hip hop flavor
was in Seattle. T-Town was influenced by Los Angeles as well as N.W.A. The Northwest gang
scene had artists and small labels that they were promoting, some of which were pretty good. In 1986 I had my guys fill in on some of my obligations in the NCO club for a short time and I worked with High
Performance Productions. They promoted break dancing and rap shows and that was right up
my alley. With the great sound system I had accumulated over the years, me and a young DJ
called (M.O.D) Master Of Disaster ,who was already with them, rocked the music and sound for
all their events from T -Town to Canada,. My boy (M.O.D was a hell of a scratcher on the 1200s.
Eventually he left to go to Germany with his family. I continued to work with HP, with DJ
L.Hollywood and other TJA members and I had gotten pretty close with their leader Maurice.
Those guys worked very hard and they mastered the rap game and became recording rap
artists. They were soon signed to Nasty Mix Records, the same label as Sir Mix-A-Lot. I did
appear in two of High Performance’s videos on BET and learned a lot about the music business
through some of their experiences they went through. During this whole time period I worked
hard on my producer skills and got better and better. Overall the music scene at that time on the
West Coast had many artists, a lot of studios were popping up and a lot of rap shows were
going on at that time, it was really live!
In 1990 I turned my main focus to becoming a solid producer while still holding down the
club on base. I had previously acquired a mixing board, two drum machines, Roland 808 and
the Roland O1W and keyboards: ASR-10 sampler the Moog and a DAT machine. Music had
always been a hobby before because at that time I came from a musical family with my father
being a manager of a funk band in the 80s and my mother the Church choir director; my brother
was a professional bass player by the age of 18. I Played the drums since fourth grade and was
captain of the drum line as a senior. I had a love more at that time for Spinning records and
promoting DJ shows but things changed with my new determination to be a dope producer. I
started searching for talent and came across a talented young brotha who had mad battle rap
skills, my first artist, MC Rampage. I produced his beats and financed and recorded a few tracks
for him at local studio’s. A PSA we did made radio and TV commercials and he got approached by
another management company and against my wishes we parted ways. While working with
Rampage I met a talented rapper/singer Kevin McDaniels (we called him “Mac”). He was in the
army at that time and he became one of the most loyal TJA artist. Shortly after, Mac I acquired
two more singers Bags and Zig.
I was then introduced to one of the most powerful rapper I had ever met Big “Magnum Black". He was a solo artist but would collaborate with others like MC Chill and T-Dogg forming the group B.O.M. So after now acquiring all those singers and me at that time mainly being a hip-hop producer I was now in search for a funky R&B keyboard player to join my team. A friend in the Air Force I knew that played the guitar
introduced me to Terrence Crutch from Alabama. he had a local band (Maratcy) playing around
town and he was an amazing musician. Crutch also had an artist named TEA Esquire who was
currently singing with him and could also rap. After checking them out, I recruited both of them
and they became the start of the R&B side of the Alliance along with a lovely female singer
named Bernice. TEA Esquire then brought my next group to join the Alliance, four Muslim
rappers that had a deep message to be heard. They went by the name B.P.S. They had me
produce a track and record it in the Daily Planet studio immediately it was a single called "Scars"
and I had ‘DJ Kass’ assist with the scratches. They performed it at a local show a week later
and got a great response.
Following B.P.S, was my good friend DJ “Too Tough” from Jersey . He just got back from Iraq and
we hooked back up because we had talked prior to his being deployed. I told him about what I
was putting together and he brought me Travis, a powerful lead singer and we were later able to add
one more vocalist called “Short Dog” from Atlanta and with the addition of Mac and Zig we then formed the four man R&B group R.T.L. DJ Too Tough “Eugene” just a couple of weeks before had also just
brought me a very talented group, the Brothers of the Lost Tribe which included:
Quest “Q” who was a 5-Percenter from Queens New York, the other members were Hud a
amazing talent from Tennessee. Also, Majid from Jersey who was formerly with BPS, who had mad rap
skills, later joined the group in 1993. At that prior BPS show I met the next group to join the
Alliance: The Brand Nu Few, a friend to this day Mr. Wreck “Steve”, Baby Zulu “Mackey” and DJ
2 B-Real. Not long after one of the most prolific writers in the production “Shy-Lo” from
Jersey, was introduced to me, he teamed up with “Hiko” from California to become the
supergroup Red Dawn along with DJ Too Tough. One night a brotha that went by DJ RB Fly
approached me at my club. DJ M.O.D had told him to look me up and with the MC skills
he possessed he was our stage MC for all our live shows as well as TJA promotions.
I got out of the Air Force in 1992 and as the Founder and CEO of the Thunder Jam
Alliance, I went heavy and invested in my dream with this talented band of brothas, working
countless hours at my house and in the studio for the next couple of years. But in 1994-95
TJA went to another level with the final additions to the Alliance “Cal-Ski” one of our most
dedicated artist and my coordinator of the production, the talented MCs Duc from DC and Jazz
from Virginia known as the group (Dem Kids) with their powerful stage show along with DJ Kass
on the turn-tables. We was definitely excited to get two raw hip hop solo artists, Lee (Bionic) from
England and Zac from Washington. We also had featured solo artists in the likes of Rude Boy,
Trigger, Brain, all three from the Islands. I let all the artists, DJs and musicians know from the
gate TJA is a family, and my motto was always TJA For life.
I started off not pushing demo’s because of my first bad experience loosing Rampage after
I had paid everything including studio time, and developed him. I became a person who didnt
trust people in the industry and was careful with who hears our stuff. Let me share something that
happened during the same time period I believe. I was asked to do a favor and make a beat for this young girl group that came together just to preform in this Black History festival in Seattle by my wife’s friend who was one of the girls' mothers. I conducted practices and groomed them for the show as well as blessed them
with a hype beat. They came back from the show and everybody told me they and they were
the bomb. Well they signed with another production and did not even talk to me first. They could
have been TJA artists. Anyway I decided to just do my own album and feature all the artists I
had eventually brought into TJA at that time and try to see if I could land a production deal that
way. I had got the idea from DJ Marley Marl, for us being out their (I did not know about early
Wu-Tang-Clan then). So I invested in mad studio time in the belief the album would be good enough
for us to get a distribution deal at the least. Then we could put out all of my artists one by one
with their own deals.
So In 1992 I booked multiple block out sessions in one of the top studios in T-Town at that
time the Daily Planet with engineer Brent D, during which I introduced many of the artist to studio
recording for the first time, and as time went on we had a unique and powerful hip hop
sound.The owner of the studio liked what he heard. We had a meeting and we decided he
would help me get a deal with Sony Records because of the connections he had with them at that time. After a couple of month we finish the compilation LP and was advised the get it mastered In Los Angeles with engineer “Big Bass Brian”, the same studio Dr Dre and Janet Jackson tracks were mastered.
When the LP was complete, Big Bass Brian also liked what he heard and asked me if it was ok to send a couple to Priority records, so we did. After months went by with off and on communication with both record labels, maybe it was due to budgets I’m not sure, but the deals never happened. I still have the master of that LP locked away. I continued to work on new tracks with the rap artists and our R&B group (R.T.L). My artists were very talented and brought beat ideas and fat song concepts that, with my producer skills we were able to create our own dope sound.Thanks to Crutch, who had just landed a job at Outlaw Studios,I learned to engineer and Brent had become one of the top engineers in the north west and was now a good friend of mine. He would come over at times to help train and assist me until I was on point to record and mix the many artists that TJA now had in our production on my own.
During the early to mid 90s we completed multiple tracks with both the rap and the R&B side of
the Alliance. I worked hard grooming the artists and was able to get them into many shows
from Portland and up the pacific Northwest including Seattle and Vancouver Canada. During this
whole time I had been shopping demos of our music to labels and I attended many music
conventions one being the very notable Jack the Rapper that was held in Atlanta and Orlando. I
had multiple labels interested in us but maybe because of the many power house acts that
came out in the 90s, they had tough decisions and our deals seem to keep falling through. As
time went on I was still able to put together a power pack stage show and get the groups in the
Seattle BMI Show Case that only picked the best in the area to perform. You know,
it was the same thing as usual, people said we were dope. I gave out demo tapes and bio
packages that I put together but no solid deals came out of it.
So in 1996 with TJA made up of many artists from all over the US, for
different reasons including military or family issues, some wound up moving on, but we still had
most of the groups. By this time I had became manager of Outlaw Studio and I was an accomplished
engineer, so I had split my time between paying clients and TJA needs, because we
became a very popular recording studio with over 2000 square feet and three rooms in which
Studio A had a Two inch reel that I mostly worked out of. Thank God a friend name Val who was
also a producer introduced me to a talented DJ that went by the name DJ Able who also had studio
recording skills, and he became my right-hand man along with Crutch to running the studio. I
continued to run the studio with DJ Able. Also DJ Kass and DJ Strike who had now come
aboard to help with production on occasions.I was still spinning on base and working with the
TJA artists that still needed anything from me making sure they had copies of their songs and
instrumentals. Due to family reasons I had to finish up all final projects and I left Washington in
2001. It was time my wife and kids that supported me through all the years came first.
Eventually I went back to spinning but more on a limited basis, but my skills for
production had to come up with the times. I'm running the Mac Pc and new hardware.
At this present time me and many of the core Alliance members are still in touch over the years
and we have kept our Motto TJA For Life!