Dec 31, 2008 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Born Jerrod Blackmon, his stage name is Mazaroddi, The Beat Grinda, and he’s the leader of Crime Street, a Syracuse septet honored as best hip-hop group at the second annual Upper State Independent Awards on Nov. 8, at the Palace Theater.
Crime Street won the Indie from a field of eight nominees including Felony Set, Mashtown and Chrome Infantry.
Besides Mazaroddi, the award-winning group features Rasheem Blackmon a.k.a. Jig, Jahdal Williams a.k.a. J-Streetz, Julian Daniel a.k.a. Jay Read, Rick Johnson a.k.a. SOS The Rebel, Tim McViegh a.k.a. Viegh and Miss Shy Oliver a.k.a. Shy.
“She’s the R&B side of the group,” Mazaroddi said. “All hooks and melodies are sung by her.”
For instance, the song Whenever I See You features Shy singing about the emotions that spill out whenever a certain someone sees this special girl.
Two other Crime Street songs also helped haul in the Indie Award, Ride Out a street clubby anthem, and Whippin,’ a tale of a day-long adventure in a Cadillac.
“This is really just a few,” Maz said, “but I think these were the ones that set things off.”
Two decades of effort
Mazoroddi’s rise in the city’s hip-hop scene didn’t occur overnight. He has been toying with beats since the late-1980s and later became a rapper with a small local crew called M.O.C. He also flipped records for DJ Rapp Skii of the Koolin’ Out Crew.
The untimely deaths of two crew members, J-Fred and Cris Millhouse, caused Maz to backslide somewhat, but inspired by his son, Jig, he resurfaced in 2000 and attended the School of Hearts Ministries for production. His first attempt to create a full-length album imploded, but Maz bounced back by producing two R&B singles, Baby Boy and Afraid of Love featuring Shyeta Oliver.
“Afraid of Love was requested and played at local bars and clubs,” Maz said. “Then in 2005, with high intentions, I tried to bring two rival gangs together through music with a disc called Hood 2 Hood.”
He followed that effort in 2007 with Final Call and reached a peak last May with Unfinished Business, featuring a bountiful 22 tracks.
Respect and respectability
“Things really started to bloom in 2008,” Maz said.
Crime Street started performing live shows at places such as Funk N’ Waffles on the Syracuse University Hill and also appeared at Club Rebel in midtown Manhattan. A few of the group’s recordings received airplay on Z-89’s Ear to the Streets show hosted by DJ Runnamuck at 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
And then in November, the group won its Upstate Indie Award.
Mazaroddi’s Crime Street Studio in Syracuse is a non-profit facility, where he hopes to nurture future award-winners. He sees music as a viable path from the chaos of the streets to respect and respectability.
“No kid or no one was ever charged for the works released from the studio,” Maz said. “I did it from the heart and to keep city youth off the streets. I want to be there to help them with their dreams.”
Contact Maz via myspace.com/mazaroddimusic. He also has pages on Facebook and OurStage.com.