When It All
Began: The History of Fantasia Brooklyn Mobile DJ’s
This was a
story that was way long overdue. It had been sitting on the back burner for a
long time. I believe if you don’t tell your story no one else will. I do not
know if the other Brooklyn DJ’s kept documentation of their exploits. A lot of
the Brooklyn mobile DJ’s have gone unrecognized since that era of the Golden
Age of mobile DJ’s. And yes! Things were happening in Brooklyn as well as the
South Bronx. Hopefully my story will open up a new dialogue about the African
American mobile DJ contribution to the music industry. This story is also
dedicated to those great DJ’s of that era who I came to admire, be inspired,
and had a chance to play with them during our great tenure as Brooklyn’s
powerful mobile DJ’s. Fantasia came, they saw, they conquered, and DAMN! WE HAD
out as way to make some money for our young pockets grew into a much larger
quest. Let’s go back to the year 1972. I met my two high school buddies Larry
and Laverne aka Killer and Rapp3 in Abraham Lincoln high school. These were the
names which they called themselves at the time.
Killer had taken his name from the comedian Flip Wilson’s Geraldine
character’s boyfriend. Rapp said he could rap three ways. I guess he thought he could rap to a girl
three different ways to get to her.
I got the
name Chips from the Abraham Lincoln football team’s linebacker Ray Wiggins.
Actually, it was Mr. Chips taken from that movie of the time Goodbye Mr. Chips. Ray would always call
me Mr. Chips whenever I got the answer
right in social studies class, which was most of the time. Soon the rest of the
football team that made up the rest of that class started calling me that. I
liked the nickname. However, later on I just dropped the Mister part.
Occasionally someone on the team would be a wise ass and call me Mr. Tibbs.
It was Ray
Wiggins who inspired us to throw our own parties. He gave nice parties on Park
Place and Nostrand Ave over in the Crown Height section of Brooklyn. He also
played the music too. It was the first time I heard Magic Carpet Ride by SteppenWolf.
This is a precursor to a rather
long story. Basically my two high buddies Larry B aka Killer and Laverne aka
Rapp 3 started out as the Grandmasters. We wanted to give parties and make some
money. I was the DJ, Larry was the MC and Rapp was the Everything Man. We later
gave up that name because Flowers started to use it.
Rapp later quit the group. We
hooked up with Larry’s cousin Kool Dee from the South Bronx. When I met him it
was the first time I actually got to play on a mixer. My sister was dating
Lindsay at the time. I told him I had a DJ ensemble. I came up with the name
FANTASIA from off a shoe box from the Arrow Smith shoe store. Lindsay said he
would give us a shot. We scrambled to get equipment together. My girlfriend at
the time, Jeanie, helped buy me Jensen and Pioneer speakers. The Jensen had a
15' woofer, while the Pioneer had an array of 10' speakers. Kool Dee supplied
the mixer. Larry had the powerful Fisher receiver. I also supplied the BSR and
Needless to say our first outing
was almost a disaster. We were on stage with the late great Larry D at JIMMY’S
on 52nd St. We were so nervous we forgot to hook up ground wire for
the turntables. We kept getting this feedback through the speakers. Somehow we
got it together and got the butts bouncing. It would be a while before we were
invited to come back and rock Jimmy’s again. Every now and then Larry D would
let us jam on his equipment when he was booked at Jimmy’s.
Later on Kool Dee split and went
solo. Larry and I were left to get it going. Soon we met Jimmy Green. He had a
van. Transportation problem solved. We hit the Chitlin’ Circuit playing at bars,
weddings and house parties to raise money to buy better equipment. I used some
my college funds to get our first Phase Linear 700B. I loved that amp!
Every now and then Larry D would
let us jam on his equipment when he was booked at Jimmy’s. While we began
building momentum, we ran into Action Jackson at gig at Manhattan Center. Kool
Dee was using Jackson’s latest front loaded Gauss bat wing speakers with two 15’
woofers in each cabinet. The bass was amazing. We asked Jackson to design some
folded horn cabinets for us. He agreed.
Meeting Jackson and hooking up
with him helped take FANTASIA to another level. I had seen Jackson before with
Plummer and Gregg Myers. Jackson saw that we were serious and decided to partner
During that time Jackson took
our wooden 6’ midrange array cabinets and put them in Plexiglas enclosures. No
other DJs during that time had Plexiglas speakers. We were unique in this
regard. We received a lot of “Oohs and Aahs!” when people say them.