Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Can You Dig It? Vol. 13: THE SOULMAN
Name: Phill Stroman aka THE SOULMAN. I’ve also been known as Phill Most Chill, but since this is a beat digging article, we won't get into my random rap alias.
Claim to Fame: Back in the 90's I wrote the "World of Beats" column for Rap Sheet magazine. I’ve produced a few indy 12"s over the years and sold records to most of the top hip-hop producers in the 90's at the Roosevelt and Marc Ballroom Soul Record Shows. I’ve also put out a bunch of break/sample mix tapes and CDs and done my thing on the internet with the World of Beats site and my latest, That Real Schitt blog.
Representing: I grew up in Connecticut, about a half hour from the Bronx, NY. I've been living in Philly since the mid 80's, so I rep Philly to the fullest these days.
Years in the Game: It all depends. I’ve been in the Hip Hop game, mostly as a spectator, since 1977 -78 (although I was buying a few breaks even back then). I started getting hard into copping break records around 1984. There are different levels to it, from record buying to break record buying to digging for beats to going hard at copping everything possible. As any vet will surely attest, when you get to that high level of attaining records, it's nowhere near the same thing as what you were doing when you first got into it.
Best Digging City or Town: Baltimore. Philly used to be real dope back in the heydays of diggin'. New York is the best if you're just shopping and not really diggin' and trying to find rare shit for $1.00. There’s probably no place that has records like New York, but you usually got to pay for them.
Most Prized Piece of Wax: My original Wildstyle breaks record that was used by Grand Wizard Theodore in the movie and my own Phill Most Chill acetates from 1989. You're not gonna get much rarer than those records.
Favorite Album Cover/s: The Sheba Baby soundtrack. Ain't much out there that’s gonna top Pam Grier in her prime.
Dollar Bin Miracle: Too many. I guess the most recent might be the Crashers' "Flight To Jamaica" / "Skank" 12" on Capo and Lee Moses' Time and Place. Damn, I can't even remember them all. There have been a ton of them.
Total Records Owned: It's been as high as 20,000, but today it's probably closer to 10,000. I really have no idea. Once you get to a certain level with records it's, “Just too damn many.”
Best Digging Story: One time I was in this big warehouse that probably had about three million records. There were records everywhere. It was just me, the guy running the warehouse, and this older lady digging through all these crates and boxes. So the guy running the place steps out for a minute, and the lady comes over to where I'm digging at. I hear her say to me with some kind of a European accent, "Excuse me, would you like some of this before I finish it?" I look up, and she's smiling at me while holding an album cover with lines of coke on it. I'm like, "What the fuck?!?" I tell her no thanks, then she's like, "It's some good shit, you don't know what you're missing" and proceeds to hoover the rest of the cocaine up through a dollar bill.
Just when I thought I'd seen it all, she starts in with the small talk, asking me where I'm from and if I'm married. She starts telling me about her love life and I'm like, "Oh shit, I can see where this is going." She tells me she's been having dreams involving sex and records and she's hoping to make them come true one day. "Maybe even today" she said while giving me the eye. Then suddenly, a midget came into the warehouse riding on a unicorn! Man, that was probably the wildest digging experience I ever had.
In case you missed the links at the top of the article, make sure to visit the World of Beats site and That Real Schitt blog. That Real Schitt blog is a hip-hop historian's dream come true.