By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
The five years since have been a blur of activity, as the Junkies have compiled a resume too massive to fully list -- but here‘s a handful of highlights: opening the Fat Beats record store (Babu, J Rocc), designing the industry standard PMC 05-PRO mixer for Vestax (Rhettmatic, Shortkut), musical director for Vibe’s late-night television show (Melo-D), DJ for Dilated Peoples (Babu), DJ for the Visionaries (Rhettmatic), mixshow coordinator for Power 106 (Mr. Choc), countless mixtapes, singles and production credits (all of the above). ”We don‘t know anything else,“ jokes What?!, a longtime party promoter and currently on tour with Dub Cat and Scientist. ”It’s just everyone‘s nature, just trying to do something.“
The Junkies’ greatest accomplishment has perhaps been simply to stay together. Hip-hop‘s competitive -- if not straight-up divisive -- atmosphere has decimated crew after crew of MCs, DJs and breakers over the years. And though the Junkies have seen a couple of people come and go, for the most part the core group has stayed intact for 10 years, despite all the projects each is involved in. Their secret to group harmony isn’t complicated: The Junkies began as friends and remain bonded through that camaraderie.
”These are my friends, who I‘ve gotten to know through thick and thin,“ says Rhettmatic. ”I’ve gone through a lot with these guys, and not to sound cheesy, but I would die for them.“ The other members pause at the weight of the statement before breaking into smiles. When asked what he appreciates about Melo-D‘s unique qualities, J Rocc says, ”His strong point is getting beaten by me in Foosball,“ and the table erupts in laughter. As J Rocc gets serious with his praise, it’s obvious that his admiration for his peers is heartfelt, even if coded in snaps and caps.
As this circle of friends embarks on its second decade, the immediate goals include building up Beat Junkie Sound, the crew‘s new record label. For a group who’ve basically earned their livelihood by playing records, the Junkies are now getting serious about making them. Any which way, the Junkies aren‘t behaving as if this is the golden time of their careers; it’s more like the first 10 years were just a warm-up.
”We‘ve definitely tried to spread ourselves around as much as possible,“ says J Rocc. ”As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, it‘s wide-open, man, sky’s the limit.“
The Beat Junkies‘ 10th-anniversary party happens at the Knitting Factory on Saturday, August 17, at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.beatjunkies.com.