Chung King Studios started as a recording spot built in a restaurant in New York City's Chinatown in the mid 80's, and is now internationally known as a launching pad for such pioneering greats as Run-D.M.C., the The Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J. Eventually, Biggie and Nas would record there. Most recently, still a host for commercial success, Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga have recorded there as well.
Oh, the stories that could be told ...
Founder John King, who worked on many classic hip hop and punk records with Def Jam founders Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, sat down with Frank 151 to share a bit of history to which he's been privy. "I expected hip hop to be a cult item," he said. "And then, it just kept getting bigger and bigger."
He described how he and Simmons would take recording tape and wrap it around the mic stand to create a loop (there were no samplers back then). He demonstrated how his fingers were his drum machine. And then, he recalled how Wu Tang Clan's notorious wild boy ODB urinated on LL Cool J's plaque.
Wait. Run that back. "The vibe was never corporate … it was kind of family," King said, offering a preemptive disclaimer. He said he and ODB were sitting in the office one day, doing recreational drugs and "ODB had just done really well on his thing, his hair was doing the full ODB and stuff."
LL was supposed to join the session that day, but "he didn't come in."
As a result off LL's absence, King said, ODB "walked over and pulled LL's record off the wall and p---ed on it." No clean up occurred. "I still have the record with p--- all over it."
Wait. Loop that. "I still have the record with p--- all over it," he said. "It's at my house."
So there's that. King also explained how rap is not hip hop and how he blames the West for introducing gangster rap into the fold. "Shame on you, West Coast." he said.
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(Photos from left: Bob Berg/Getty Images, Jason Merritt/Getty Images)