Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Uptown's Lounge

They don't make nightclubs in Richmond like this one anymore, it lasted long enough to become a legend. Nightspots in the city now suffer short lifespans, shutting down and opening up within a few months. Most eventually fail, leaving empty husks that drag down the city's landscape.

Ivory's Uptown Lounge was the place to be in the late 1980s. I recall riding four deep in a Chevette with my high school friends, looking at the line of beautiful people that stretched down the block, counting the years until we could stand among them. Hell, Prince ate breakfast their once.

Once I started getting into Ivory's, I wasn't there for fun. It was always business. In the early '90's the club started to book rap artists for concerts and its dark basement became a second studio for our show. We talked to groups like The Pharcyde, Wu-Tang Clan, MC Lyte, Pete Rock and many more. About half of our trips to the club were fruitless, with lazy artists and their duplicitious road managers leaving us hanging at the last moment. (They'll get their own post.)

My best time at Ivory's was on a Wednesday evening, right after the show. We walked in the club to interview a slew of rappers set to perform that night. After a few minutes, I noticed something strange, they all acted like the knew me. I was really thrown off by the sudden recognition and I kept thinking it was an elaborate joke. Somebody told me later that they had been watching our show during sound check and enjoyed it.

This confirmed what Dre and I already knew. We were doing something right.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Word to the 3rd

3rd Bass had just split when MC Serch hopped on The Source Magazine's concert tour. Serch's stay on the tour, like his solo career, was brief. During his performance in Richmond, Va., he reportedly remarked that one of the members of The Almighty RSO looked like Humpty Hump. After his set, members of RSO (a group that included future Source publisher Benzino) allegedly chased Serch from the second floor to the door of the club, where he got off with a warning.

Since then, Serch has been an employee of Wild Pitch Records, the president of a marketing company and now a reality television host. Rumors of a reunion with Pete and Daddy Rich linger but they haven't brought 3rd bass home.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Forgot about Dre

When I think about the failure of Wavelength, I'm comforted by the thought that it wasn't all my fault. There were others to share the blame. One of those people is Andre. He appeared at the studio after the third program and quickly became part of the show. Dre was a music producer, a record store worker, and a self-described "hip-hop junkie" who wasn't shy about expressing himself. Yeah, he was a problem.

He brought constant chaos, interjecting and interrupting my scripted wit with extraneous comment and opinion. Some days, it was hard to cast a complete thought. It was a odd chemistry that was combustible at times, but kept things interesting.

In an effort to contain him, I gave him a quarter of the show to do with as he pleased. He dubbed it "The Breaks" and brought on a parade of local rappers, producers and artists for interviews. It was integral part of Wavelength, but it didn't keep him in check. He never seemed to run out of things to say.

Dre drifted away from the show after our public access run ended in '96. How much did I miss him? When Wavelength debuted on broadcast television a year later, I brought in someone to pretend to interrupt me.