"There is absolutely nobody on radio as funny as Dre and I are."
——Ed Lover


An exclusive HITS mix show dialogue with Ed Lover and Doctor Dre

by Ricky Leigh Mensh

Ed & Dre. Dre & Ed. Icons. There’s no other way to describe ‘em. They’ve broken more ground in the music business via TV, radio and tha streets of tha world in tha past-goin-on-20 years than tha fukkin’ ‘94 earthquake did in L.A.—times a thousand.

You already know about their exploits on MTV, Hot 97 and now, WWPR in New York City. Ed & Dre have made us laugh our collective asses off and also made us think and talk about stuff most in their position would’t touch. They’re a rarified combo on commercial radio in theze days of "liner- card readers."

Gotta confess… I love ‘em, personally and professionally. They’ve been nuthin’ but good to this here DJ for many, many years and have been huge in building the foundation for what has become the mix show community. They saw to it to put a mix DJ on Hot 97 back in ‘93 when they started doin AM drive there. It wazn’t fashionable to mix in tha morning at the time. They didn’t see it that way.

With their new syndication deal, they’ve given tha mix show DJ yet another chance to shine. Their show is packed w/many other features, of course, that only tha legendary duo can put forth. Every chance I get to spend w/’em, I’m tha better for it…except during football seazon.

Has your return to morning drive in New York City been what you were hoping it would be up to this point?
Ed Lover: Actually it’s been more than what we expected. It’s just been really crazy in a good sort of way. The audience has been very receptive to what we’ve done in the past as well as the new stuff that we’re doing now.
Doctor Dre: Can’t complain.

Tell us what’s going on with your syndication deal.
Ed: We did a syndication deal with Super Radio for The Jump Off with Ed Lover and Doctor Dre, featuring eastern champion DJ Cut (WWPR) , New York’s own DJ Mr. Vince and L.A.’s DJ Mr. Choc (KPWR). It’s a program director-less mix show, so we do anything we want. It’s pretty much Dre and I, with a Top 10 countdown, two-way ghetto news, battle of the beats and the "Jump Off of the Week."
Dre: It’s a mix show surrounded by some flavor that we created.
Ed: We have 10 U.S. stations and and five overseas, dawg.
Dre: Right now, we’re as big as Michael Jackson is in Bucharest. We’re doing our damn thing… You know how we get down, man. We don’t do half-ass shit...it’s either all or nothin. We’re just trying to do our damn thing, cut out our little piece of the American pie.

The competition is pretty heated out there now. What are you bringing different?
Who the fuck else got a syndicated radio show that’s as funny as me and Dre? Nobody... There is absolutely nobody on radio as funny as Dre and I are.
Dre: Put this in your big-time city magazine. Let ’em know that the Ed Lover and Doctor Dre show is the real thing…I gotta go cuz massa got us on the phone again. He says the rates is goin up and the time gotta go down.
Ed: Dre and me bring that humor that nobody else can match. We like to have a good time...and that shows in our radio show.

How will it be different from your old morning show?
Well, me and Dre get to keep all the money this way. See, with the morning show, we gotta pay too many other muthafuckaz... Cut and Choc and Vince… We give them niggaz a sandwich and Snapple… That’s all they get every week. Me and Dre keep all the money
Dre: Now you know massa got a good eye on that morning show. You cannot be in there messing with his music, but on this show, we PBS… We gets ta play what we needs ta play.

Is that why you chose to work with Super Radio, rather than, say, Clear Channel?
Ed: Well Super Radio came to the table and Clear Channel didn’t. Big up to Clear Channel for letting us do our thing, though.

What’s your perspective on the state of the music business?
Dismal… It’s incredible how many people are losing their jobs. It’s cause and effect. The cause is you’ve been putting out too much bullshit…and the effect is dismal sales. We have to get back to A&R executives and putting something behind great artists. There are too many throwaway groups getting signed. People get to a point where they get tired of being fed garbage… Sooner or later they want to eat for real.
Dre: It goes back to two things. The music business is missing A&R and artist development. There’s no artistry, nobody taking that risk or going a little further out there…We have to get away from what I call this instant success theory and pattern.
Ed: The image shit is overblown. You go out and spend almost $20 for an album and you get one or two good songs. The reason why technology is so prevalent and adding to the pains of the music business is because now people make their own tapes. If people would make great albums, they wouldn’t have that problem.

I’ve said this a long time ago and I’ll say it again and it’s not a hate thing. I hope people don’t take it out of context, but when Puffy is a hip-hop star, there’s something wrong with rap music…and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s not a hate on Puffy… It’s just that the way it is has changed. Now it’s OK to buy your lyrics from other people—that takes a lot out of the creative process. The music was based on the talent of you sitting down writing your own thing. It was based on Jay-Z and Biggy standing on the corner having to memorize their rhymes because they couldn’t write them down. That’s talent…There’s no talent in me finding an image that can dance and look good to the young girls and get somebody else to write for them. That doesn’t require talent.

I’m watching Eminem perform in front of the Roots at the Grammys, one of the great live hip-hop performances I’ve seen and once again, I ask myself, "Why can’t we see hip-hop presented live more that way?"
Ed: You know what the biggest problem is? And you just said it yourself. What you don’t know, will hurt you. Also, guys don’t know how to perform. You cannot just go from a studio to a stage. It doesn’t work. You have to go through the knocks, the bumps, the bruises, to understand how to capture an audience. How to talk to an audience. How to be around an audience. How to make the audience come and listen to what you’re saying. To know how to open with the right song and the right energy. That doesn’t happen any more. It hurts when you don’t have a Michael Jackson around. These kids just go, "Who cares?" It’s about what I’m doing, It’s about what I got, yo, I could ProTools this and make it go. We make substitutes for talent. We got ProTools and programs that help you sing better, but we won’t take voice lessons. We have samplers and computers, but we won’t practice turntables to learn how to DJ better. We don’t have music libraries, we have iPods. So you don’t even dig to find hot R&B or hot this or hot that. So you don’t even understand, when certain artists come out with things, where it came from.

Do you still hate me ‘cause my Skins took half of your Jets’ good players?
Dre: Uh, not at all ’cause we’re going to kick your ass. You don’t know who we picked up. I was very happy we got to unload those players on you. We needed some salary cap room for some better players. Then we need to bring the real talent in. When we go to the Super Bowl and you guys once again ch-ch-choke in the playoffs, we’ll talk about it.

Jets, one Super Bowl victory. Redskins, three, OK? I think you have some catching up to do.
That’s right, but until the Redskins honor my friend Doug Williams with a statue in front of RFK Stadium letting everyone know he was the greatest quarterback in Super Bowl history, I don’t have anything for the Redskins.

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Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
No, not that one.
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