Grand Royal - Beats, Booty, Bass
Indiana Tick In the Temple Of Boom
Words & Images By Rennet Salcido
Before I committed, I decided to drop a call to Derrick. On the phone, we hit it off right away. He was way cool, and very excited that I might come down to "III Town" and check the vibe. It was obvious Derrick would be more than just a tour guide. The man had mad history, and mad fucking clout! This man was a Bass Booty Legend! Back in '87, he was part of a group called Afro-Rican. They dropped a hit single entitled "Give It All You Got," which still gets mad play at Booty clubs worldwide (and appears on the current chart comp Booty Mix 21. Now, not only is he a member of the Hi-Town DJs, but he also has his own production team by the name of "Collective Works," and his own indie label, Hip Rock. Apparently, booty shakers are down with DIY too!
I got the sense this man had his shit together and made very calculated moves. One smooth Mother Fucker. He then said, "Yo Tick, If you gonna roll, I need to know one thang...Do you drink?" Something in the way he said that made me know I was in for some ill shit. I replied "No doubt," and he said, "Well, then we gonna have a good time!" Derrick asked, "Boy, do you know the measurements?" (meaning the size of Booty I was about to see), and elaborated on the kind of shit that was on point with the Spice Channel (which by the way, had been cable-blocked by my father Poppa Tick many moons ago)!
Lastly, he requested that my hotel be changed from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. "If you want to fully feel what the Bass scene means to a Hi-Town DJ", he insisted, "then you must stay in Ft. Lauderdale." He said he and his vehicle (which he claimed had an ill system) would meet me at baggage claim.
It was on! With the faith of GR on my shoulders—after The Minister had me sign a waiver acknowledging that Grand Royal would not be responsible for any diseases contracted — I rushed home and packed my flyest gear. From my black Kangol to my leopard striped briefs, would represent my hood like Tupac.
On the flight, I worried my drinking skills would not be up to par. I figured I had a good five hours before I landed in Miami, which was plenty of time to get my drink on. This was a serious Jedi training session. By the time I landed, I was pretty faded, yet confident that I could uncover the "Art of moving butts".
Now the only visual I had on Mr. Derrick Rahming was off the cover an
Afro-Rican twelve inch, where he sported a mohawk with lines drawn up
the side of his dome. At the baggage claim, I picked up my gear and scoped
for the legendary Afro-Rican, noticing a very tall Puerto Rican gentleman
glaring at me. I made eye contact with this gold-toothed Brother Marquis-looking
gentleman and quickly thought I was about to be bitch slapped on some
As I followed the large gentleman out of the air conditioned airport and into the humidity of Florida, I witnessed an incredible sight. I saw the most illest vehicle ever: an airbrushed black astro van, the windows, absolute pitch black from the most incredible tint job I have ever seen. The license plate read "HIP ROCK."
My large friend, named Alex, guided me toward this vehicle and slid the back side door open to reveal a wall of speakers—forty two, I later learned. I got in and extended my hand out to shake Derrick's, and was instead handed a blunt and a Samuel Adams. He welcomed me to his "Bass Ship" and before I could even think, he stepped on the gas and my head hit a speaker. It was fucking on!
My crash course in ghetto-gonzo kicked in, and I wasted no time in rocking the first of my four vital tools, the mighty Dictaphone, towards my hosts. Derrick is a very stylish yet modest African American male: "I hate when people introduce me as Derrick From Afro-Rican. My friends just call me Dee." Right from the get go he had a "been there done that" attitude. He spoke about growing up in Ft. Lauderdale, his early days with Afro-Rican and how his life has come full circle with Hi-Town DJs. He has a steady girl and always gives props where props are due: He said a Mr. Matt Young was responsible for the inception of the DJs and mentioned his partner Tease. Derrick explained that Hi-Town DJs is not your average Booty group. Tease is from Hawaii and they have a style called "Soul Booty." Both Derrick and Alex—an ex-New York hip hop DJ and very close friend of Derrick's— declared Miami to be off the hook!
Derrick let me know right from the get go that people in the Bass scene party hard, but that a Bass party is not a rave, meaning that Bass kids have cleaner fun. "Yo Tick, when you actually go to the clubs you'll see for yourself," he said. "I can only speak for myself and my crew, and we love to party, but we all take our business seriously!" Now that he is in the prime of his Booty career, he explained, he spends most of his time these days bouncing from one studio to the next. "I'm in the performance environment, so I don't see much of this."
"These kids come in to clubs and want to shake their ass!" he exclaimed. Some kids may rock drugs, like in any scene, and he made it clear that some of the things I will see may seem unbelievable at times, but the majority of these people are bumping and grinding in just a natural mack daddy sex mode.
"My boy DJ Laz throws the bomb booty club," Derrick said. "You want to see butt ass naked women, we go there!"
"Do girls get butt naked on stage?" I asked.
"Butt ass naked!", Derrick declared. "Even on a bad night, It's always a peep show. Sometime you see a girl with real short shorts, she might not pull them off, but she'll turn her ass to the crowd, and give them a peek at that pussy!"
"You got to love Florida!" Alex crowed.
"You see, at strip clubs, it's girls with boob jobs," Derrick continued, "and they don't show you shit. But then you go to a Booty club, it's the next shit!" These men are Professional Party Animals.
While they kept the beer and other flavors coming, Derrick continued bumping booty tracks through all forty two speakers. The sound was amazing! I felt as if I was about to be ripped to shreds....as if I was going through warp speed. Derrick broke it down to two central elements: beats and booty. He lowered the music and told me to get ready. He bumped what he called "Bass", which he explained had very little vocals. It blared right in my ears and I screamed "Daaaamn!" Then he bumped "Booty." Booty had more vocals.
To Rahming, it's a whole different ball game in Miami. He said Miami Bass is now a culture, and Florida is now the undisputed home of booty. It's not like Hip Hop, on some East coast / West coast bullshit. "This is the East Coast, but we are South East."
Both Alex and Derrick informed me that they were mad hip hop heads back in the day. "I grew up in Staten Island," Alex said proudly, "people would ask if I ever heard of the Wu-Tang Clan. It turns out they lived a couple of blocks away." Alex used to spin a song called "All of Puerto Rico" by Afro-Rican, a track later used in the movie soundtrack for The Substitute. "I honestly thought Booty music was wack," Alex admits. "I was a Hip Hop DJ and loved old school. What got me into Miami Bass, was how they (the girls) danced to it. I remember going back to New York to a club called Booby Trap. After seeing what I saw in Florida, I stepped to my boy who was the DJ and said, 'Hang it up, cuz this ain't it!'"
"Florida women come with some shit?" I asked.
"Yo!" says Alex, "I could not even crack a hard-on with the girls in New York after seeing what the Booty girls were out in Florida." Alex then met Derrick through his sister and they have been road dogs ever since. "I once saw Derrick rock the greatest show ever," he said, "with Afro-Rican at the Miami Arena. There was 1300 peopIe strong!"
Derrick explained that the Hi-Town DJ's make a living having fun! He
broke it down like this, "I take Bass serously, it puts food on my
table and pays the bills, I have to take my shit seriously." He is
also a firm believer in consistency. "I want to be a consistent artist,
you can count consistency with every success story with all the best teams
We continued to discuss business, parties, sex and Bass on our way to South Beach. Truly, a conversation for men of the nineties. I told them about a girl I met in L.A. "This giri was named Pauline. Finest girl I ever seen," I said, not realizing the Booty music got to me. Derrick displayed the ability to freestyle booty Bass style to anything I threw at him. "Shit Tick, that's a hook right there, I just might use that for a song!" As we cruised around, we bumped Hi-Town hits like "Ring-A-Ling," "I Got Money," and "Do You Wanna Ride," we guzzled the finest beer, and peeped the finest women in all of Miami. Each Hi-Town song, he explained, is about every day life. "Ring-A-Ling," for example, means "Gimme a ring if you want some dick," Derrick said with such enthusiasm. He was also very pleased when I knew verses of his tracks. The vibe was going great.
Now from my Bass Ship view, I observed mad girls in many colors and sizes. We drove down the strip and the ladies be jocking. When Derrick asked if I knew the measurements, he was not fucking kidding. Fuck Crockett and Tubbs! These guys came correct!
My high was cut short though when all of a sudden Alex and Derrick noticed a police officer behind us. "Uh Dee," said Alex, "There's a cop right behind us!" Derrick replied: "He saw me, didn't he?" Putting away the party favors, Alex said "I believe he did!" The Tick had to add fuel to the fire, speaking into my Dictaphone: "We are getting pulled over now." Dee looked over his shoulder and shook his head.
As we were confronted by the police officers, Derrick switched into "Marvin Gaye smooth brutha' mode". He began to talk to one officer and told him I was "a buddy from LA in town, I was just showing him around, and we just barely cracked open the beers." At this point, I was shitting in my pants and clutched my emergency numbers just in case I was to be arrested. Especially when Derrick straight out said "Go ahead and check out the car." Luck was with me: one of the officers apparently had done body work and Derrick let him scope all the special features of the Bass Ship. The officer looked at his partner and said "Damn would you look at this shit!" With the rims glistening under the warm Miami sun and the air brushed body kicking, the officer gave in. "Just empty the beer, guys," was all he said. We thanked them, and the Miami PD let us pursue destiny.
We cruised to a spot called Coconut Grove where all the high class honeys kick it, and stopped into this dope little joint called "Cafe Tu Tu Tango", where we had an all-you-can- eat-buffet. What more can you want? Good food, great beer, cool company, and a bomb vehicle that gets jocked everywhere you go. I even witnessed an attractive woman walk up to the Bass Ship and ask Derrick where he had his body paint done on his car. And: "Are you a musician?"
"Yes, actually I am," he replied.
"How come I don't know you?
"You will. Just remember Hi-Town DJs!" he snapped.
"I have a beautiful singer form Australia, but he does not do Hip Hop." ("Now let's hope she doesn't mean Ben Lee," I thought)
Derrick responded, "That doesn't matter. You think all I do is hip hop?" He asked if she had a demo and how many songs it contained, took her number, and we were off.
We then checked into my hotel, the Ft. Lauderdale Doubletree. My room was the fucking bomb! It had a living room, a balcony, and a kitchen. We chilled there very briefly and partied a little bit before we broke out.
Derrick informed me that if I was to experience the true spirit of Miami Bass, I must attend a strip bar. Not just any strip bar, but the tightest strip bar in the Bass scene, Ecstasy. Derrick insisted, "You could never fully understand Bass until you witness black pussy shaking to Bass."
I entered the almost entirely African-American club, rolling with a very large Puerto Rican kid and a Miami Bass living legend. I was safe like a kitten, and I was treated like a king! When they found out I was a reporter, the owner of the club gave us the best table in the house and sat with his arm around me (I think, just to let everyone know I was OK). Hinies (ass) and heinies (Heineken beer) were in effect all night. I was entertained by a very gorgeous woman who honed in on our table. She was in her early twenties, had very long, firm legs, green eyes, and dark skin. She kept rubbing her thighs and her cleavage was busting. When Derrick's music began bumping through the speakers, she then masturbated and shook her booty uncontrollably to the sound of Miami Bass. Another more plain, but fully buck, African American girl even got so ill as to stare right into my eyes, proceed to stick her finger in her vagina, then her mouth and then her rectum, in that order! All the while, Derrick (ever the businessman) is just going off about elements of Bass.
"The Bass is not an East Coast thing, it is a South East thing!" He claimed he possessed the gift to actually know a girl is Southern by the shake of her ass. He could tell the girls who fronted and the ones who really were down for Bass.
"Can you really tell?" I asked.
"Hell yeah, Tick. See that girl up there rubbing up against that pole? Look at the way she shakes that ass." Up and down, pelvic thrusts. Up and down. Not the Real Thing, but an incredible stimulation. Uh, simulation. "No girl from out of town can do that," Derrick continued. "It's a Southern thing!" We then bounced to a club called Zippers, hosted by DJ Laz, a very respected figure in the Bass scene who also hosts radio show on the commercial FM station Power 96. As we rolled into the parking lot, the attendants recognized the infamous Bass Ship, and apparently all knew Derrick. They guided us in for a landing, and gave us the prime spot right at the very front of the club. Being that he is who he is, Derrick convinced the doorman to let me in (free of charge) with the second of my tools, a very special camera dubbed "the dick cam," with a special stealth scope on top! Of course, we continued to get treated very well. As we strolled into a club that was one thousand persons strong, my attention was instantly thrown to Laz, who yelled to the crowd that "Afro-Rican was in the house!" The whole crowd all looked our way and cheered wildly. I was introduced to Laz by Derrick. "This club ain't for the timid!" Laz warned, as I rocked the Dictaphone fora quick Geraldo trip:
Tick: What's this club all about?
No doubt. The man was a great host—I had unlimited Long Island Iced Teas all night. I took the third of my special tools out, the trusty steno pad, just looked around the club and let my hand go off in a rage! I wrote:
"There are more ladies shakin' their booty here than I could have
"Look at this shit!" said Alex. "You won't see shit like
this anywhere else."
Immediately, Alex was in Mack mode. The man was poetry in motion and continued to grind and peck this woman on her cheek and neck. All the while a very disturbed gentleman stood by and watched. The gentleman turned out to be a very special male friend of hers. However, he did nothing, as his future wife continued to pump up against Alex to the sounds of Bass! Song after song, Alex continued to break this woman's very will!
"She's here with her fiancee," Alex told me a bit later, "but she is down to get ill! He was about to leave the club, and she said 'I can never forgive myself and ran off crying."
Mad drama! A potential marriage broken up by Bass!
I then spied this very attractive Cuban girl with a great smile dancing wildly with her friends. I approached her, asked her name, and she said "Lisa," in the most slurred speech I have ever heard. She let me conduct a very short Q & A:
Tick: Howya doing!
Yo, this girl definitely knows what she wants. "These kids really
get off grinding each other" I noted to another Bass DJ named Mark-E-Mark.
"Dancing Booty is sex with the clothes on," Mark replied. "The
"This is what Derrick had been talking about!" I thought. Club Zippers was on point. I looked at Derrick and as faded as I was, thanked him for what I had seen! He informed me that if I wanted to experience real Miami Bass Booty, the place to be was at Zippers in his home town of Ft. Lauderdale. I was in good hands. Zippers was truly in a Bass Temple.
At about four in the morning, DJ Laz called us up to the stage to stand
by him and witness an actual booty contest. Laz had about seven young
girls step on stage to compete for a prize of one hundred dollars. The
girls all differed in race but all were gorgeous. The elimination process
was truly a Battle Royal. Each would shake
The contest broke down to two finalists, a Puerto Rican girl who was
tall and slender, and a kind of big boned Cuban girl. Laz dropped the
Bass for a winner-take-all! Both contestants started to get naked and
shake their rump. It was a game of sudden death, and it was all about
heart. Whoever wanted it more, would vibrate their ass hard enough, to
blow out all in their path. Though the tall Costa Rican girl was far better
looking than the small Cuban girl, it was the Cubanita who stripped butt
naked and began to throw some of the most death-defying moves I have ever
seen. All the while, I am letting the "dick cam" cut loose,
snapping shot after shot (in bozack-vision) while, to the average observer,
it looked like some kid holding a camera to his crouch and tilting slightly.
Laz: "In a couple of hours I have to host my morning show.
I think I might even squeeze in fishing after the club!"
Derrick dropped me back at the "^ hotel, where I got only a couple of hours sleep before he called me in the morning to go jet skiing! The man's energy was phenomenal! I represented also, and told him that I could sleep back at my Grand Royal desk. It was on! Unfortunately, I could only make it as far as the beachside railing before getting queasy.
Later Sunday afternoon, Derrick came around the hotel again to pick me up, with his girlfriend in the car. Not the Bass Ship—he decided to roll in his more stealth mack mode Jetta.
He complemented me on the fact that I was able to keep up with him and his partner, and now insisted on me calling him Dee. We cruised the beach strip and spoke more about Bass history.
You see, we—the rest of the world outside Florida—really don't know shit about so-called Miami Bass. It got it's name because it's founders, 2 Live Crew were from Miami. But my man Derrick explained that if you go to Miami and hit up a club in search of Bass....you end up with a club that plays thirty percent Bass & booty and the rest of it Spanish disco rock. Why you ask? "It's for all the Ricans," he said. I.E. Costa Ricans, Puerto Ricans, etc."
We rolled to his home, a nicely furnished but fairly low-key arrangement set off mostly by a shelf full of trophies, I think related to motors or music. Then we met two of his associates for lunch at a spot called the Macaroni Factory. The two gentlemen who joined us, Max and Tony, are in a hip hop group, The Coalition, signed to Dee's indie label Hip Rock. These guys were mad cool, originally from New York, had history to them, and Tony even once rolled with the infamous Lost Boyz. Talk about luck, I get to party with the man Saturday night, now get to see a Bass captain do business up front the following day.
"The person I admire the most in this world is Russell Simmons," Dee told me, dropping science on radio and retail promotions. "It's one thing when you talk to a DJ to play the record, but it's very different when you can make someone pull out their hard earned money to pay for that Bass track! It's business getting them to buy the record!" Then at the same time we both yelled out "Retail!" And gave each other a soul clap. He also claimed it was mainly white males who bought Booty—females like to grind at clubs but won't step up on the retail end
After lunch, Dee took me down to meet the other half of the Hi-Town production team, dubbed Collective Productions. These men, Mac Jones a/k/a Q-Maq and Richard Martin a/k/a Rick Keys, are responsible for banging out all of Hi-Town's up tempo booty quake beats. Both Keys and Q have no formal music education, but are very schooled musicians nonetheless. They've been in the game seventeen years and love Booty music. Keys is a very talented individual and can play by ear; Any time Dee hums a rhythm, the man will mimic it on the Yamaha. "I love the thick fat sound of a moog!" says Keys. "Thick fat sound provides thick fat tracks!" Mac prefers to use a vintage SP 1200. As for Max and Tony, they would like to keep real to hip hop, but life is a green thing, like Papa Tick used to say. Max also looks beyond Booty to someday release an ill B-Movie entitled "Attack of the Killer Fetus".
The Collective Productions office/studio was neatly furnished and decorated with Booty posters—even a Luke "It's Your Birthday" poster! —and pictures of hip hop's greats. I stayed there for a while sipping on brew and watched the beginning of a booty track take place:
Max a/k/a Masta Mind brought in a dusty old seven inch from the mid fifties. It was then sampled, looped, and played over by Q and Keys. Then Dee would fuck around with a hook, and have Tony and Max write some verses. "I love analog sound when recording booty," Rahming exclaimed with all sincerity. With Dee and his boys having all their verses done, and the rest of the team with a skeleton of a beat put together, Dee made a call to his nephew, "Six One." He tells him to meet us at another studio, Hollywood, because he wanted to lay the tracks down that night.
Hollywood Studios was more impressive—This joint had a lounge, kitchen, and a bedroom! Six One shows up with his girl, Max shows up with his girl (also a rapper, by the name of Blaze), Anthony shows up with his future booty-shaker year-old son. As the track came together, the session became buck fuckin wild! The process of recording booty is just having mad fun. Everyone wiggled their ass, dropped verses, and had a great time. Tony and Max taught me a method of smoking a blunt called "catching a ghost"-it's where you inhale smoke and then exhale into your nose and inhale again. Max told me to "get used to the heat," which could have double meaning.
They finished the track at five in the morning. No sleep again for the Tick.It's all good, though, because I didn't have to be at the airport until four p.m. So Dee and I spent the rest of the time cruising the beach, talking about booty, and eating at this fly spot called the San Francisco Burrito Factory. Imagine, coming thousand of miles from L.A. just to eat a burrito!
Well, it was time to say good-bye to Florida and to the Hi-Town DJs. As we drove to the airport, I handed him the last of my four tools, Grand Royal Magazine Issue four.
I believe my coming to Florida was destiny. Not only did the magazine staff own an Afro-Rican twelve inch prior to knowing my guide, but Dee and I shared a mutual experience. Earlier this year I had attended the Gavin Conference, where I had dinner with a gentleman named Sway from the world famous Wake Up show, syndicated radio. Sway told me about the time him and his buddies went to an ill strip club. One of the dancers jumped on his buddy's lap trying to turn him on, but to no avail. The dancer began to become irate and started humping him, wondering why he was rejecting her juice! His only reply was that he had a girl back home. For some reason, on my way to catch my departing flight, we realized we both knew Sway and I decide to tell Dee the story. Dee laughed and said he was a part of that story because he was the guy with Sway at the strip club!
Now that I was back in the airport, I put everything in perspective. I learned so much about this Miami Bass king: He liked fast cars (about 150 miles per hour), fast moving women (at one point in his life), he was a business man, a producer, and an artist. He cites Russell Simmons as a role model, and a piece of paper that Kurtis Blow wrote his lyrics on for a Hi-Town DJ track, as his most prized possession. Talk about keeping it simple! Dee my man, you all that and a bag of chips! I gave Dee a big one-love, playa to playa shake and he said, "Yo, Tick, if you ever come to Florida again and do not look me up, I'm going to open up a can of ass-whupping!"
Now with the lack of sleep, and all the drama my body had been through, the thought of going home took me over. I suddenly noticed this "Jeff Spicoli" looking surfer kid standing by himself. I asked if he was from LA. When he replied yes, I straight up hugged the man!
Then I boarded the plane and sat next to this guy who resembled Kato Kaelin. The guy told me he had an incredible experience—not in Miami, but in Peru where he went on a "spiritual pilgrimage to the ancient temples." He said the leader of his group claimed to be an E.T.! He said that energy flowed through him and he began to cry, for he had feeling of abandonment. As if he was left on this planet a long time ago. He spoke of hallucinogenics and Shamen. But I was unfazed. I began thinking of all the similarities between our stories: I, too went to a temple—a temple of Bass. And tears of abandonment nearly came when I was pretty faded at Zippers and wondering what would happen if the Bass Ship took off without me.
To put it all down, if I was asked to do it all over again, would I do it? From what I saw first hand, I would hop in the front of that Bass Ship bus like I was Rosa Parks! Those motherfuckers were ill and had party time on their mind like Tracey Lee. It was such an ill vibe I can still hear the Bass, smell the clubs and see rumps shake when I bink. Check baby, check baby, one two! I learned about Bass, the process of making it .and the way it is marketed. It could be said there are a lot similarities of to punk rock. It's not a black thing, it's not white thing, it's a green thoing. I also saw this scene through an alien perspective and foundshit is worldwide—just wait until Japan and Germany kick it with the hi-Town DJs. I can only encourage those with strong brains and bumpers to partake in such a journey. So if you really want to see the bass up close, look up hi-Town DJ Derrick Rhaming and tell him the Tick sent you!
Disclamer - this article was jacked lock stock and barrel from Grand Royal issue Live 5.
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