DJ Stretch Armstrong Remembers Jay-Z & Big L’s ‘7 Minute Freestyle’ (Pg. 2)
DJ STRETCH ARMSTRONG
KCL Radio was like Big L’s home base on the radio, especially since the station was in Harlem. It was pretty much an open door policy with Big L, so we felt comfortable with him and a lot of those [Harlem] dudes. As you can hear on the recording, Bobbito refers to Jay-Z as “your man.” I’m not sure, but that had to have been the first time Jay-Z was at the station, otherwise Bob wouldn’t have referred to him as “your man.”
I remember really enjoying what was going down. Through the tenure of the whole show, obviously a lot of MCs have come through, but the difference between when it’s a Jay or a Big L compared to some guys not on that level, it’s something that you can feel. What was that, like, a 10-minute freestyle? L and Jay could’ve been doing that for hours and we would’ve had smiles on our faces.
The beat was Miilkbone’s “Keep It Real.” It’s funny though, because Funk Dubious was also on that show later on that night and I gave him the Biggie “Who Shot Ya?” beat to spit over. Just this morning I was listening to it, like, Are you serious, Stretch? You really gave Funk Dubi “Who Shot Ya?” but you gave Milkbone to Big L. I could’ve had Jay-Z and Big L spitting over “Who Shot Ya?”—how much iller would that have been?! Milkbone is not exactly an artist that people cherish. [Laughs] The beat is hot, though. You can’t front. But “Who Shot Ya?” may have made them black out more.
If you see the blogs, people are talking about “Big L got him.” It didn’t even resemble anything close to a battle. They were just two brothers kickin’ it and chillin’. Everything surrounding it was pretty much unmemorable, though. Obviously we had many, many moments like that.
Bob actually kept a diary. He would come home no matter how late it was after the show—at six in the morning he’d be writing in his diary what happened at the show, his thoughts, recollections. That’s why Bob is a really great resource for actually mapping out all of the bigs who came up and whatnot. I was trying to find some of the old recordings that I don’t have, including the first time that Biggie was on the radio, which was on our show. No one has been able to get me a recording of it.
I think obviously this particular segment is getting so much attention because Jay-Z is a megastar and Big L is a legend that died before his time. There were certainly many, many incredible segments on par with that. I’m not trying to take away anything from these guys. I regret not being able to remember more. —As told to John Kennedy
**Tune in to WKCR 89.9 FM in NYC tonight (Oct. 21) as Stretch & Bobbito take to the airwaves for a one-time reunion radio show celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their radio show.**
UPDATE: The Official 20th Anniv. Video Recap