West Coast Styles

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After signing to Def Jam Recordings, Boogie-Down Hip Hop collective CRU, comprised of The One Chadio, Mighty Ha [R.I.P.] and Yogi unleashed their one and only studio opus, Da Dirty 30, containing high profile cameo appearances from Anthony Hamilton, Antoinette, Jim Hydro, Ras Kass, The Lox and Tracey Lee, in June 1997. The thirty track collection produced a pair of charting singles “Just Another Case,” featuring Slick Rick, and “Bubblin.'”


First things first, last year (August 11th to be exact) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?

Firstly, RIP MIGHTY HA! As for your question, It means the culture I was born into is being celebrated and recognized for its progression and achievements globally. Being from The Bronx, where the culture was birthed, it hits different. It brings a smile to my face.

To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?

Never in a million years. As I touched on already, I saw it from its infancy and in my mind, as a young boy, I thought it was just something we did. In my world, graffiti all over the place was normal. The Jams in the parks were normal. Basically, it seemed like all of the elements were a normal way of life for us back then.

What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories during your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?

There are several of them, but without being too long winded one of them is the live Hip Hop tapes. I have an older brother and he would sometimes have those tapes in his possession. I listened to them on my own and fell in love with those tapes. I heard the Cold Crush vs. Fantastic 5 battle for the first time on one of those, Kool Moe Dee vs. Busy Bee, etcetera. Those tapes were EVERYTHING!

That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout the remainder of 2024 and beyond?

When it comes to Hip Hop, I just released a self-titled album, The One Chadio, on vinyl, CD and cassette. It can only be purchased by contacting me, via DM, on my Instagram page @realcru. At the moment, I’m working on another album and an EP. In the future, I will continue to support all elements of the culture and as an MC I will continue to release music, videos, etcetera.

Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?

I want people to get the true experience of that Golden Era Boom-Bap Hip Hop. There is room for all, but I prefer to release that authentic, quality, Boom-Bap. If someone spends money for my music, I make sure it’s high quality and their money is well spent.

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

MF DOOM…he was a true artist in every sense of the word and I love his work. A song would’ve been great, but I would have really loved to do an entire project with DOOM.

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Inside the Colosseum in Rome at night lit up with various lights. On the low, that’s a bar right there…Lol!

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?

Honestly, look at my CRU logo and there lies your answer. I’m happy to see some seasoned veterans in the game still doing music and shows. I’m also happy to see this new generation has, although in the minority, some heavy spitters that embrace the authentic way of doing things. On the other hand, I’m not happy with some of the music out there because it lacks originality. Another thing, the sexploitation in the culture is bothersome. I’m tired of seeing people shaking their asses half naked. It seems like they are heavily pushed instead of the women in Hip Hop spitting that real while fully clothed. I’m also not happy with some youngsters in the game today not wanting to learn about the history of Hip Hop and the pioneers of our culture. The history and pioneers should be held in high esteem.

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?

The key to my longevity, musically, is me having the desire to continue doing it. I don’t do it with topping charts in mind. I do this because I love creating art. What I do is audio and visual art. Obviously, the audio art is my music and the visual art is my music videos. The key is my desire to continue.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?

My favorite part is the creation aspect of it. I really love beginning with a blank slate and filling it in as I progress; especially, when I’m given an instrumental produced by someone else. My job is to elevate that instrumental to another level via my lyrics. That is always the goal. My least favorite part is and has always been the business side and having to deal with some people on that side that don’t respect the creationist and his / her process. That lack of respect has artists cranking out music at a rapid rate, but the quality lacks. It seems to be quantity over quality nowadays.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

The first piece of advice would be not to follow in my footsteps. Do better, especially when dealing with people on the business side. If the goal is to make a living from this, learn the business and forge relationships with people on the business side. It’s like when you put rice in a sieve. You do so, to filter out and get rid of the “dirty rice.” Keep the “clean rice” and engage in conversation with those people. Ask questions and then, most importantly, listen and soak in the information. Not all of the “rice” is dirty. Make sure you do your due diligence on your own as well.

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?

I don’t know. I don’t look too far ahead anymore. With so many fallen soldiers around me, I’m just grateful each day to awaken and be healthy enough to do what I need and want to do. I’m able to provide for my family and that’s the number one priority in my life. One thing I do see is more creation until my number is called or I am no longer physically able to do so.

In closing, I just wanna say thank you to those fans who support me. Also, follow me on Instagram @realcru and there is where you can purchase my audio art, as well as my merchandise. My album titled The One Chadio is available now, and look out for my next project titled Cold Flames. Peace family, and once again RIP MIGHTY HA!


The One Chadio [CRU]: Quality Over Quantity #HH50

The One Chadio [CRU]: Quality Over Quantity #HH50

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