Welcome to Kronick Magazine
Covering Hip Hop, Skateboarding, and other facets of Urban Life start gallery archives guestbook links



TERROR SQUAD
LOVED AND FEARED
interview by Meshack Blaq
photos by Crocodile Dun

Is it greater to be Feared than Loved or Loved than Feared? Taking the name Terror Squad at face value, the first part would ring true. But if one went a little deeper and actually spoke with any of the members including Fat Joe, Big Pun, Cuban Link, Triple Seis, Young Prospect, or Armageddon they'd be hard pressed at finding an ounce of hatred in these guys beings. Hangin' with these gentlemen on two separate occasions at Jimmy's Bronx Cafe only left Kronick all the more bewildered. Seek within and find the answer as to why Terror Squad is both LOVED & FEARED.
KRON:
How and why did you choose the name Armageddon? And what does that mane mean to you as an MC?
ARMAGEDDON:
Ahhite, back in high school I was extra wild an' shit. Niggaz would start rhymin' in the lunch room, and I never made no noise back then, but I'd be around. So they was just treatin' me like a regular Rapper and ain't nobody really seen me rhyme. Then one day I just came out with some wild shit, Man. And this Kid was just like, "Yo, that's Armageddon right there!" And Niggaz just started sayin', "Yea, that's Armageddon right there!" I ain't know what it meant at the time, Armageddon. I went and looked it up and thought that's one Helluva name right there. And the Kid, God bless his Soul, he died. I just kept the name since. I mean, to me it means what it means. The word Armageddon is Armageddon. Ain't no gimmick behind it or nothin'. I'ma try to kill a track when I'm on it. Basically that's it.
KRON:
How did you become affiliated with Terror Squad?
ARMAGEDDON:
I been Terror Squad for maybe 9 years now. I met Joe when I was about 15 or 16. I used to go up to the studio on my block at Jazzy Jay's spot. That's where I used to like to be, and I met this Kid that does album covers and artwork. So he invited me up to see his work and met Jazzy Jay an' them. I started sittin' in on the sessions. I didn't really care about the artwork anymore. I was into the sessions like, "Oh shit! I just saw them makin' music!" Plus I was with the older Kids and that's where I met Joe. He always thought I was this Kid's little Brotha that brought me up there and he would always ask me, "How's your Brotha?" And I never kicked a rhyme for Joe until like a year later. He didn't know I rapped and he asked me if I wanted to be on a promo track. That was back in `91 or `92. From there I was open! I started tellin' Kids I was gonna be a Rapper. And I been down since.
KRON:
Before Pun?
ARMAGEDDON:
Yea, Pun came later on. We went to see Pun at a couple of talent shows. Joe took me `cause he heard Pun was nice! And I told Joe that in my opinion he was madd nice! So Joe put him on first `cause the public was bitin' for him. And he was the golden goose; he set it off in terms of paving the way for the rest of us coming after. I don't know if I would have been able to do that.
KRON:
So, what does the term Trizzie mean?
ARMAGEDDON:
Triz?
KRON:
Yea, what's that? Is that like an inside thing with the Terror Squad?
ARMAGEDDON:
Nah, Everybody know what Trizzie is. Anybody who listens to the records knows! Triz is like slang for train. Runnin' the train. You know? They just chopped it down from triznathanielthon to trizznain, to trizzie to triz. (Just then his nervous Publicist taps his shoulder and whispers something in his ear. Guess we hopped the wrong turnstyle! He gives her a hard stare and says) Nah, ain't no secrets! That ain't no secret. Everybody know what triz means.
KRON:
How do you feel about the success you guys have had in bringing the whole Latin flavor to the Hip Hop table?
ARMAGEDDON:
Everybody asks me the same question. The Bronx is known for the Latins having a big impact. And we make noize for the Latins and all that, but I'm Black. So I know that's gonna kill it because everybody thinks the whole Terror Squad is kinda Spanish. But I'm Black. I just grew up with Puerto Ricans and Joe is my People's, but I get it all day. They come up to me all day sayin', "Hey, Represent Boriqua!" Or they think I'm Dominican. I tell `em I Represent T.S. , but I'm Black. We're not just confined to one ethnic group anyway.
KRON:
How do you feel about the new respect you guys brought back to the Bronx?
ARMAGEDDON:
I don't think we ever left, I think maybe Niggaz just forgot because it wasn't in the media for a long time. But everyone around here and in New York know we Represent for the Bronx. When they see us, they show us nothin' but Love.
KRON:
(Just then Joe & Triple Seis enters Jimmy's) Joe, let me ask you to take it all the way back to Flow Joe. What was your vision and how much of your vision have you achieved in the Hip Hop Game?

FAT JOE:
Pretty much, everything. Now I just gotta create new goals, Man. I learned as a maturing process that dreams and goals are supposed to be movable, not like brick. What I mean is when I first came out, I wanted be known as a Latino Rapper who did his thing and made a dent in the Hip Hop Game because I thought Latinos were misrepresented in Rap. Since day one there was always Black and Latino. And I never knew where the Latinos disappeared to. I never understood how there wasn't no Latinos in Rap no more. When it started, if you do your history, it was a Latino and Black thing. So I don't know what happened and that was my goal when I started. Then my other goal was to be respected for my lyrics by lyrical Rappers. Once I feel like I'm comfortable for a second, I try to move my goals. The worst feeling to me is comfortable. Once I notice I'm feelin' good about myself, I can create a new goal. That way I can keep us movin' further.
KRON:
How did you come up with the name Joey Crack? Illegal Business?
FAT JOE:
Nah! That was my name since I was like 13 or 14. In the classroom I used to be like the class clown. And I always stayed in trouble. And everytime the teacher would tell me to erase the board or write somethin' on the board; when I would get up, the crack of my ass would show. So people started laughin' and they was callin' me Joey Crack. "Yo, Joey Crack!!" And it just stood with me. You know?
KRON:
What's the foundation or origination of the Terror Squad?
FAT JOE:
It started out back in the days when I was the youngest member of the Terror Squad. It started out as a graffiti crew and breakdance crew. Gizmo and Cosmo who are both dead today, may they rest in peace. They made me the president of the crew when they grew up and didn't wanna do the graffiti crew no more. They was tired of doin' graffiti and shit like that, but I was only like 13-14 and I had the flames in me so they gave me the title. And these were like my idols and role models so I always just wanted to glorify the name Terror Squad. When they gave it to me I promised to take Terror Squad to another level. So it turned into a street crew for awhile where we was just runnin' wild in the streets, fuckin' up parties, doin' a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And everybody in the Bronx knew who Terror Squad was before it turned into the Rap thing. So when I got into the Rap thing, I just thought that this would be an even better way of glorifyin' the name by turning it into a Rap crew.And as far as Armageddon and my Man Keith Nutt, they were the first Rap members. My Man Keith Nutt be disappearin'! He's still down but he's just nowhere to be found. Then I recruited Pun, Cuban and everybody else and that's how we formed Terror Squad. When I met Pun I just knew he was incredible. He was so big, yet so swift with them lyrics. He don't even take a breathe and he can spit half a verse. I knew he would just shock everybody in the world. I knew this was the muthafucka we could put out and have open up the doors for everybody else. And thank God it happened like that.
KRON:
Back in the day you were affiliated with Diggin' In The Crates. With this new project of theirs on the horizon, what's your current affiliation with D.I.T.C.?
FAT JOE:
Diggin' In The Crates forever, Baby! It would be no Terror Squad if it wasn't for the Diggin' In The Crates crew. Bottom line! If it wasn't for Diamond, I would've never gotten a record deal. He took me and made demos with me, took me to record companies. I owe a great deal to them. I think Terror Squad is like an offspring of Diggin' In The Crates. We're the annex or something that emerged from that. D.I.T.C. is the seed and T.S. is the flower. That's why I got pretty much everybody from Terror Squad on the D.I.T.C. album. `Cause it's no difference to me. That's the foundation and we gotta pay homage.
KRON:
You're the kind of artist that I would compare to a politician because you make diplomatic moves. Even in the videos you show community based type of activities. What role does politics play in this Industry?
FAT JOE:
Well a lotta this shit is fuckin' political and if you ain't got a plan, you won't be able to grab it. A lotta this shit is just skills with the mouth. If you ain't got that; if you don't know how to politic shit, then how could you take it to the next level. Some people don't know how to speak to people. That's the reason why some people did not make it in Hip Hop; `cause they didn't know how to speak to people. Fat Joe could be a very violent Nigga on the streets if a Nigga test him. But at the same time I can be a very articulate, punctual person when I go up in a marketing meeting with a buncha radio executives and shit like that. You just gotta be a people's person. That's why I think Cuban Link got it `cause he's a people's person. He got that extra thing to him that'll make people like him. Some people are too quiet or shy. But he got what it takes to deal with people.
KRON:
Ever think of running for political office after Hip Hop? And how important is community to you?
FAT JOE:
Definitely! It's sad that you say that because I did a benefit right here at Jimmy's for that hurricane that destroyed Haiti, Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico. We raised $300,000.00 to give back water, medical supplies, food, and whatever. I feel like I am a people's person and a leader of our people. And at a time where we need it most is when Niggaz gotta show their truthfulness and step up. So we raised that. I also go to between 30 and 60 schools a year to talk to the kids and let `em know about teenage pregnancy and how Real it is out here for Blacks & Latinos. We're like fuckin' endangered species and like the prey in this big fuckin' concrete jungle. So I give the kids the reality. Some schools don't even want me back `cause I keep it so Real. I feel like it's important for me to go touch `em and embrace `em as somebody on that level who they know came from poverty and livin' on welfare with two outfits in a whole year, and shit like that. It's important that I speak to them rather than some white middle-aged guy who's gonna tell `em some shit they can't relate to. I think it's important for me to go out there and reach them. And as far as politically, I'm thinkin' in 8 to 10 years I wanna go for Bronx Borough President and take it to that next level. And just help my People's. Be fair to everybody, `cause I don't hate white people. But I have to take care of my own, and it's certain things that our community needs that we don't get responses to.
KRON:
So what's the story with FJ560 clothing?
FAT JOE:
One day we were in the Bronx at the shopping district. It's sorta like the Slauson Swap Meet where everybody in the community would buy school clothes and Easter clothes and stuff like that. One day I was goin' shopping and noticed it was a lotta Black & Hispanics workin' there, but when you looked behind the counter you would see a lotta Koreans or white people. You would never see a Latino or Black owning the business. So I felt like the wool was bein' pulled over our eyes. We think this is ours because we got four or five Black kids workin' in the store. But when you look behind the cash register, there was nothin' but other ethnic groups besides US ownin' our shit! That's why I opened up the store which is called Half-Time on 560 Melrose (In the Bronx). So then a lotta young Black & Latino kids was comin' up in the stores showin' us designs for t-shirts and jackets. When we looked at it and thought about how a Tommy Hilfiger won't go for a young designer who didn't go to school and all that, it just took us into another phase where we wanted to put the young Latino & Black entrepreneurs who had Dope designs but wouldn't get seen anywhere else, into play. So we started doin' t-shirts and one thing led to another, now we got a full line with leathers, sweaters, boots, and jeans. We got it all right now and it was developed from the Ghetto on up. That's the only way to put it.
KRON:
What about the Thicker Than Water movie you did with Mack 10?
FAT JOE:
As far as all that East Coast shit West Coast shit, you know Fat Joe is New York and everybody knows it. Ain't no way to hide the shit. I went to a couple of the events where they was havin' showcases at seminars, and a lotta West Coast Niggaz would try to floss. So I got in and out of different shit with Niggaz. And sometimes fights would break out or whatever. And all that shit was ignorant. Then when Biggie and Tupac had died and Farrakhan called that Power Summit at his house in Chicago, all the Rappers got to talk about whatever gripes and beefs they had with each other. And I didn't understand how Ice Cube had been to New York a million times and had the Love of New York, but did that Westside Connection shit. He's one Nigga `til this day that I don't understand what was his shit. `Cause he was down with F.O.I. and Farrakhan and all them. He's a smart man, so why divide the Black people when we should be puttin' this shit together. So I never understood his role in the whole shit. `Til this day he's still the Nigga that ripped down the Apollo the most EVER!! So I primarily went to ask him personally. I mean, I wanted a smart answer from a smart Nigga. This man evolved into a major business giant. So we talked and that's when I met Snoop and everybody. There were a bunch of East Coast Players and a buncha West Coast Players, and we got to talk to each other for a while. Niggaz jus noticed that a lotta times it's just the media tryin' to bury us Niggaz. Fuckin' shit up by twistin' what one Nigga said, then twistin' what another Nigga say; and they makin' the shit fucked up. That plus the lack of communication on our part. So that's when I met Mack. He was with Ice Cube and W.C. and we couldn't really bond because I had just confronted Ice Cube. So from there we told everybody that we'll never have problems with each other no more and we should work as one. From that day on I never heard a Nigga disrespectin' the East Coast or West Coast, EVER. Like Niggaz is stickin' to they word `til this day. That's somewhat like a Gang Truce or Hip Hop Truce. After that Mack called me to be on a song. I did it for free and put Pun on it as a gesture to let people know. After that he asked me to come out to L.A. and do the movie. I knew that would show everybody that Niggaz can come together and do they thing. That's pretty much why I went out there. I was out there for two months with them, and they embraced me and treated me like a Brother. I Love them Niggaz because my people was there and there was never ever an altercation of any sorts. Whenever I go back to L.A., that's the first Nigga I call. When he comes to New York, he can run with me to the clubs and everything. He can't come to New York and get sneezed on! He got to feel as right as I feel in L.A. when he comes to my town! Ain't nobody tryin' to disrespect the Don out here in these streets.
NEXT PAGE >>



ABOUT KRONICK
CONTENT © KRONICK MAGAZINE, All Rights Reserved