When it comes to the origins of New Orleans old school hip hop the wet Boys Sporty T, is, as they used to say back in the days, down by law! As a founding member of the Crescent City infamous Ninja Crew, Sporty helped paved the way for many of today’s young rappers who are now enjoying tremendous success on a national level, including Mystikal, Master P and his arch foes Cash Money, whom he started battling on wax back in the early 90s when he was an artist on the now defunct Big Boy label. In addition to being a hardcore underground rapper, with battle-ready lyrics, Sporty also was one the NO’s most prolific bounce artists, who churned out a string of bounce hits under the Big Boy label.
A dynamic performer and a gifted lyricist, blessed with a quick wit and a sparkling personality, Sporty had a way of making you laugh even when he was ripping you to shreds with his harsh words. In addition Sporty was one of the hardest working men in New Orleans hip hop, in the last four months he released four, count them, four albums. They are Sporty T, Look What I Got; the Wet Boys Six Ft. from Home and a collection of his greatest bounce records entitled Sporty T present Bounce Kings Vol 1 & 2. Recently Sporty T was shot five times in the back. From my last report he was in critical condition. It's a shame because the last time I saw him, he told me that he was squashing all beef that he had with Cash money and that the next Wet Boys album was going to be straight rapping.
A couple of years ago I met Sporty at a local Pizza Hut for a brief interview where he gave me insight into the history of New Orleans rap. Here is that complete interview presented publicly for the first time. Please join us at Down-South.com as we pray for Sporty’s speedy recovery.
Sporty, give me a brief rundown on how you started out in hip hop?
Aiight, this is how it was. I went to LC Ford up until Senior high school. I played symbols. This was like 1983-84. This was like coming of the summer when rap really blew up here in New Orleans, this was the summer when Run DMC had it’s like that and the other song that was on the other side…”Sucka MCs. This was during the time when Slik Leo’s Live From the Famous was just burning rap music just like New York used to do it. I’m from back in days when Masters of the Turntables, New York Incorporated, Denny D…. Rockers Revenge with DJ AC. When I used to see New York Inc. That was DJ Mannie Fresh and Denny D and DJ Wop. Me and Mannie…. We go way back.
As for how we got started in rap, It was like one day we were in the band room and beating the beat to Sucka MCs on the table. There was this guy named Larry who started rapping to the beat and I ain’t never heard nobody do it live before and I was like damn. For the rest of the day I didn’t do nothing but try to write a rap. That next day I kicked a little rap for them and they was like damn, It was good.
Once I did that, me and Gregory D from the same neighborhood. Greg played in the band too, but he went to a high school called McDonald 35.
This is the Gregory D of Gregory D and Mannie Fresh?
Yeah, that’s him. Let me tell ya, Gregory D. didn’t really start getting with Mannie Fresh until after me and Greg broke up our group.
After hanging out in the neighborhood, I found out that there were a whole lotta rappers in the neighborhood. I remember one of my potnas told me that Greg raps too. So he put us together. Come to find out that Greg was rapping a little bit longer than me, cause all I had was this one rap so I couldn’t get inside the circle without kicking the same thing. So after that me and him, we started a group called the Ninja Crew. It was me and Gregory D and we had DJ Kenny D and we added another DJ by the name of DJ Danny D, who is DJ Lil Daddy right now. Basically it was us four and we was like tearing everything up. We’d just go around the City and win every rap contest and talent show, we was winning everything.
Weren’t you also responsible for putting on UNLV’s longtime rival Partners in Crime?
Yeah, I open the doors for a lotta people…..Partners in Crime is one of ‘em. I didn’t put them rap game, but I was the first to put them on wax. I got them signed to Big Boy Records. I put Gregory D on a record to. I got the deal with Foresight Records. They had Shi D, Gigolo Tony and MC A.D.E. I got the deal with them I put Greg on the song and that made the group. Now, if you interview him, he might tell it like that. But it was basically me, I put everything together. We recorded our first record like in 1986.
Okay tell me, how did this beef start between you and Cash Money?
Aiight this how it was. Cash Money….I always knew Baby and Brian. Ma and Baby went to the same Jr. High School. I knew them and his brother L who got killed, rest in peace. I knew Slim because we used to march in the band together at Gauche’. Slim probably remember when I first started rapping back in the day. So basically everything was straight. They opened up a record company and T-bone our producer was the producer for the first UNLV single.
So basically when I was trying to put out my tape called Ya Need A Key To Get In. But I didn’t know the business, so I had to ate that. Baby and dem was opening up a record company and I ain’t gone lie, I went and hooked up with him a couple of times. That was back when he had the artist Kilo G. So I let the rap alone, I was doing other things. I got back into the rap game back in 93. At this time Cash Money had gotten a little bit bigger because they had Kilo G, Pimp Daddy, CMW, UNLV and they had Lil Slim.
They were like a straight bounce label at that time, except for Kilo G. He was on some gangsta stuff, but they were like a straight bounce label.
Me and this guy named Charles Temple, the guy who started Big Boy. We were like potnas, one day we was at a gong show, I used to hate bounce because I was a hardcore rapper. Well anyway T. T. Tucker used to always come around these gong shows doing bounce and I’d be like man, I can’t stand his music. It's stupid, it’s weak. It ain’t saying nothin’. Then the Everlasting Hitman did a song that night. He was like my lil’ potna, When he came I started appreciating it.
What about Juve?
I gotta give him his props, I gotta give props where props are due. Juvenile came out with a song "Bounce for the Juvenile." When I heard Juvenile, that made me want [Bounce] bad. Because all the rest of the bounce artists were all right. It really was the music that had everybody going. But it was like dumb music to me. But when Juvenile came with Bounce for the Juvenile. He was like kicking lyrics with it. His bounce lyrics wasn’t like everybody else bounce lyrics. Most of them would say everything three times and move on and Juve came with the story telling with bounce. Then he had a good producer at the time, DJ Precise.
And what really made me want to do it is that I saw Juvenile and Precise performing in the Big Easy and Juvenile got off and I was like yeah that's what I want to do right there.
At this time I did a bounce rap and Charles was like we gone record this. That was the first single on his label. But before I did that, I think that I was rapping at a gong show and Baby walked up to me and said that he wanted to put out a record on me. I went back to Charles and said that man Baby and Slim is gone put my record out, you playing. And he was like, naw, we gone do it, so I just left baby and them alone. But we were always cool. Cash Money was cool. They were like if you need anything just ask us.
As time went on, my single got hot., hot, hot. I had sold about 4,000 copies and coming outta New Orleans…..This was during the time when we were first trying to put New Orleans on the map so this was some big shit. Once my shit started getting hot, Charles started wanting some more bounce acts so I starting recruiting some. One day I was at a show and I saw Misdemeanor rapping and he saw me riding in a rental car and all that and he wanted to be down. So I bring him to Big boy. He pulled me to the side and said he didn’t think that Misdemeanor was tight enough. I kept telling him he was tight, but Charles couldn’t see it. It wasn’t until he heard Misdemeanor and his potna Kangol Slim that he realized how tight they were together. Now they used to be down with Cash Money also.
So that’s how the beef started it was all about P.I.C. [sic] ...
They say it all went down when they were at a concert one day ---now all of them were with Cash Money then. Now UNLV was on stage while P.I.C. [sic] were standing up there in the first row and UNLV went to chanting everybody jocking UNLV’s style, why is every one jocking UNLV’s style and they were pointing at them while they were saying it. So they all fell out and P.I.C. [sic] was looking for a new label. When Charles heard ‘em together, he signed them and P.I.C. [sic] put out this song called Pussy In the Can, which was dissing UNLV.
So is this where all the beef started between the two camps?
That was the forefront of all of the Cash Money/ Big Boy thang. Cash Money had the city for a while and then Big Boy had the city. When we came, we just took over. Now we got Partner In Crime and UNLV going at each other on wax.
Okay how did you guys get into the beef?
Okay UNLV did a song called "Show Them Muthafuckas What You Made Of" and I was the first one to rap on the song and I came like hard and everybody was like damn. Then Big Boy, they had a little falling out. Everybody left the label except me. I stayed around for awhile. Then I left and that's when I really started going off on Cash Money. I started my own record label and dropped my first record called The Saga Continues. Then Cash money dropped the BG’s True Stories and on that album Lil Wayne said “Sporty I thought you was hard, but you don’t want none of this.” They was talking about the way I was going off the on Show Them Muthfuckas What You Made Of. He was giving me my props, but he was still saying that we don’t want none of Cash Money. But at the time, I was out there doing bounce music I wasn’t studying them. By now I wasn’t even with Big Boy, I was like why the hell they dissing me, That’s strike one.
Then I had a little incident where I had gotten shot and I had shot somebody after they had shot me. It was a self-defense thang, But Tec-9 had put out an album called Straight from the Ramp. B.G. was on this song called Represent where you From Saying “I roll with niggas with glocks, choppers and Mac 11s / while yall tryin’ to get a rep off Club 57” That was talking ‘bout me because I was shot at Club 57. This was before B.G started doing his own thing. So he was like dissin’ me. That was Strike Two, I took that one and didn’t retaliate.
And one thing….I’m being real with you when he came out he was tight. Everybody thought that he was Magnolia Slim (NKA Soulja Slim) back in the days.
Okay, so what happened between you and Juve. You all used to be partners back in the day?
I’ma get to that. Hold on. Basically, I had left it all alone. But then I had got back with Big Boy.
This was when Cash Money had just release Juve’s Soulja Rag, which was the tightest thing out in New Orleans and he had a line on the Album where he said the Big Boy headache-giver. When he heard that he got sick. Charles looked me dead in the eye and said man we gotta mess with that song. But the album was tight and I wasn’t with it, so me and Charles had a fallin out over that. I called baby after that and told him that I wanted to hook up with yall ‘cause now I wanna go off on Big Boy now. So Baby came got me one day and we went to the studio and all of us was in the studio….Me, Mac from No Limit and all of them….Juve was up in there recording. We all talked, but they wasn’t really talking ‘bout nothing’. So I left.
Me and Big Boy was still fallin’ out. One day he came to me and said what’s up. I told him man, I did everything for you, I put everything together and this is how you show your love. You showing everybody else love. You aren’t showing me nothing. By then I had recorded a song in response to Soulja Rag. I let him hear it. A few days later he called me and said I want it. I told him that if he wanted it that it was going to cost him.
What was Juvenile’s and your relationship like at the time?
Man at the time me and Juve, we was tight. Juvenile used to come kick it over there by Big Boy. I used to see Juvenile over at Big Boy house. We used to sit ‘round the pool and kick it, ya know. So everything was cool. Juvie was cool….me and i was cool. I’d see Juve, he’d holla way across the street. “Sporty.” We’d dap each other off when we see each other. He just got caught up in the mix because of two thangs. (One) he was Cash Money and for two it was 'bout some money with me. Plus you supposed to keep it real. Juvenile and Partners In Crime was cool. All of us was cool. So while I was in the studio with Cash Money that night, they listening to the song the Drama Squad (a Big Boy recording act) made dissing Cash Money. After they listened to the song Baby was like you hear them, ha. Juve said yeah, they going off on my peoples, I’ma go off on them and in the back of my mind it ain’t supposed to be like that.
You ain’t supposed to let these people here make you turn your back on your boys. That ain’t the G Code, that ain’t sticking to G Code. If your boy is y’ boy then that’s your boy. Can’t nobody make me turn against T-bone. If we gone fall out it's gone be for some stuff me and him did. That’s strike three. You see Juvenile old school like I’m old school. But once he did his people like that…..that just wasn’t right.
So you recorded the You Ain’t No Soldier record, to diss him?
At first I wasn’t dissin’ him. I was just was cool. But big boy was like ‘hey bruh, how much I gotta pay ya to put that song on a tape. But push came to shove, it was all about that money. That’s why Juve says on 400 Degrees “Baby let me get the keys to the rover truck/man lets get this beef shit over bruh/bitch what/I’ll bust ya ass up/ don’t even go there woady/ I’m ready to mask up/ I heard about the money/that was some nice change/ for the right price I’ll bust the right brain.” Now all you gotta do is replace Woady with Sporty and you’ll see how he been dissin’ me.
Well, in all fairness to Juve, couldn’t that passage be coincidental?
Then how do you explain this part? My people play me, we ain’t getting’ down no mo’/that ain’t spose to be/but that’s way it’s gone go.” When he say my people play me, he talkin’ ‘bout me. Then he said: “You hated Soulja shit/that why you sold, you was a bitch/Now you running with melon/must not wanna get it split.” I’m glad the tape recorder running because I can quote yall on everything they talk about on me. Cause I know what’s going on. they know what’s going on. All that: “beef, I don’t discuss/ Woady outta line, woady get his head bust.” Who they beefing with? They ain’t talking about No Limit.
Because No Limit wasn’t really worrying about them. Ain’t nobody wanted to diss em until I dis ‘em.
I don’t know what it is, but for some strange reason, they got all these other supposed to be hard assed niggas scared as fuck to fuck with ‘em and other niggas need to realize that I bleed just like you bleed.
My gun holds the same bullets your gun holds. They got some niggas over there whose shady/ they the type of niggas who try to put 9 millimeters in the 380. They got some niggas over there who don’t know nothing ‘bout it. As far as music go, I respect them as an artist, but I’ll hurt ‘em as a foe, if it ever came to that.
by Charlie Braxton.