Book of Rhymes: No Half Steppin' - Claude "Paradise" Gray & Giuseppe "" Pipitone

Posted On Thursday, December 22, 2016

"As you get up and dance at the LQ" - Public Enemy

Anybody who knows me knows I'm Philly born and breed but what I realized a lot of folk don't know is that I spent every summer from 3rd to 9th grade with my cousins in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. And ever since I saw Beat Street in '84, I would literally beg my cousins EVERYDAY to take me to "hip hop landmarks" like LL's hood Farmers BLVD. in Queens, KRS One's stomping grounds in the South Bronx, Delancey Street so I could go shopping like Dana Dane and of course Hollis so I could cop some shell top adidas like Run, D and Jay. But the spot that I would beg them the most to take me to was the Latin Quarters. Now, if you never heard of the Latin Quarters, it was probably the most popular hip hop club during the 80's. Yeah, you had the Rooftop, The Red Parrot, Union Square, the Roxy and the Disco Fever (and best believe I begged to go to all of those place too) but none of those spots could hold a candle to the Latin Quarters in my eyes. Now, the only problem was this is back in '86 and I was only 12 years old BUT I had already been DJing for 2 years. And there was no way in my 12 year old mind that I wasn't going to go to the Latin Quarters and battle Red Alert and knock him out the box and be like Double K in Beat Street and become the new in house DJ for the LQ! (yeah, I had a VIVID imagination as a kid) Now, the 2nd problem was there was no way my cousin who was 18 at the time was gonna be caught dead in the LQ with a 12 year old little kid. So needless to say I never got to go to the LQ and kick it with hip hop's elite or see my 3 fave groups at the time BDP, Ultramag and Stetsasonic perform or battle Red Alert and take over hip hop on Kiss FM but now 30 years later thanks to Wax Poetics I've got the book "Ain't No Half Steppin" on tap that paints the perfect picture of what the LQ looked and felt like back in the day!

"We went to the Latin Quarter and we got in free" - Slick Rick

First things first, I can't even begin to explain how DOOOOOOOPE this book is! I mean, I feel like Nas on "New York State of Mind" like "I don't even know how to start." I guess I'll start off with the tour guide Paradise (cause this book REALLY feels like a tour) who was the promoter for the LQ and the brainchild from taking it from being just a club to becoming hip hop's mecca. Paradise breaks down EVERYTHING about the LQ which makes you feel like you were there for every performance, fight, battle, etc. Not to mention that the pictures featured in the book are flat out BANANAS! Now, I like to think of myself of a hip hop historian and to say that seeing pictures of a young KRS, Scott La Rock, Just Ice & D Nice chillin' to a young Kid 'n' Play, (with Kid having a mustache), Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. & Rakim and a jherri curled Chris Rock made my day would be a huge understatement. Then the way Paradise breaks down the timeline of the LQ into chapters is beyond dope. He breaks it down the from the beginning days, the performances, the networking that went down at the LQ, those dreaded Brooklyn stick up kids, how the new era of hip hop was born at the LQ and how crews like Scoob & Scrap, Kid n Play & Heavy D & the Boyz got the bulk of their "funky dope maneuvers" from the LQ resident dance crews the IOU (who Scoob was a part of) & the JAC dancers. 

"I'm on my way down Latin Quarters to find two more freaks" - Scott LaRock

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I'm reading something and I don't learn anything new. Welp, with everyone from Paradise, Just Ice, Positive K, KRS, MC Serch, Kane and Superlover Cee to Kurtis Blow, Daddy O, MC Shan, Eric B, Ced Gee, G Rap and Chuck D all sharing their personal memories, I don't think there's anybody walking the planet earth that can read this book and not walk away learning something. In fact, every time I would read something about a particular artist I would literally have to throw on their music just to make the cypher complete so I could REALLY feel like I was there. And trust me, after hearing stories like how Melle Mell dissed Public Enemy when they 1st performed at the LQ to the infamous KRS vs. Melle Mel battle, how Laitfah was just a dancer until she saw Lyte performed and then decided she wanted to rhyme, how hip hop groups like Nice n Smooth, X Clan & 3rd Bass all connected at the LQ, how MC Hammer & Kid n Play both got booed at the LQ and how Philly crews like Jeff and Will and Cash Money and Marvelous both got record deals after performing at the LQ to how it was the LQ that banned jewelry to cut down on robberies at the club & started handing out african medallions, how anytime "Go Stetsa 1" and "Brooklyn's In The House" that somebody was getting robbed, how the OG 50 Cent and the Ft Greene posse made the LQ home after Union Square closed and tried to snatch Jam Master Jay's chain, the Bridge wars with KRS & Shan and how RoboCop and the S1W's almost killed each other, there's no way you won't be pulling out Criminal Minded, Paid In Full, Stetsa's On Fire and Ultra's Critical Beatdown to reminisce right along with me! You can cop Ain't No Half Steppin here!

5 outta 5 mics


  1. Great review! Thanks for the love, Spell my nam right! "Gray" with a "A" Lol

  2. My brother got this. Didn't get to read it yet but the photo archives were incredible.
    Peace to Paradise. And on another note I loved what yall contributed to hip hop with X-Clan.


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