On July 23,2016 Main Source’s debut album ,”Breaking Atoms” celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The group was comprised of rapper Large Professor and two D.J.’s, K-Cut & Sir Scratch, all hailing from Queens. I had the opportunity to sit down a week later with D.J. K-Cut during my visit to Toronto and talk with him about this masterpiece and the legacy of Main Source. K-Cut has been a busy man these days and life after “Breaking Atoms” seems to be treating him well. When he’s not at home being a family man, he’s DJ’ing his own monthly gigs and doing shows with new artist KiKi Rowe. He’s also kept busy on the production side throughout the years by doing songs for Big Pun,Ice-T, Queen Latifah, as well as Madonna. On this busy Carabana weekend last month, K-Cut sat down with me to go over “Breaking Atoms ” from top to bottom.
Q: How did you get started D.J.’ing?
A: Well first thing is like screwing with my mom’s turntables. It starts from going on her turntables and just messing around listening to old breaks and reggae,calypso, and stuff like that. Pretty much being a fan of it and also growing up in New York we had Red Alert and Chuck Chillout and all those guys so that kinda like inspired me to D.J. and stuff like that,it really inspired me for D.J.’ing.
Q: So you grew up in Queens or Toronto?
A: I grew up in New York, see a lot of people think that we’re Canadians, we are Canadian born but I left Canada when I was like 3 years old, you know what I mean and went to New York. So basically I grew up in New York,went to kindergarten & high school and all the stuff in New York City. So, uhm that’s pretty much the history right there. I moved back to Toronto after Main Source broke up and so that was the official like “Yo!” Imma move back to the city..which is now the “6”.
Q:What age did you start D.J.’ing?
A: Probably when I was like 14.
Q: Where does Sir Scratch fit into this picture?
A: That’s actually my brother,so we actually started at the same time. D.J.’ing and messing around with my mom’s turntables and basically we had love for the same thing and that’s pretty much where that came from.
Q: So your mom managed the group?
A: Yeah, my mom was the spearhead of the finance. She financed the whole developing of Main Source, getting us in the studio and she basically put her whole money into the whole history.
Q: So you have you and your brother. Are you guys Main Source?
A: No, Main Source started…how Main Source started was basically a friend of mine who’s Large Professor’s friend,me and him were friends in high school. This is John Bowne Highschool in New York and we basically used to cut school, go to Green Acres Mall, hang out, watch chicks, and do cool stuff. And one day I was telling him that I was trying to put a group together, he was like I gotta a dude that’s dope. I was like who’s that? He was like yo my man Paul Juice, at the time Large Professor’s name was Paul Juice. I was like cool, let me see who he is. So basically then he introduced me to Large Professor. So from that, I basically took Large Pro over to my house to introduce him to my mom and brother. My mom and my brother were like the A&R,” we wanna see who this guy is, if he’s for real” whatever,whatever…. So I was like cool. Boom! So Paul came over, which his name is Large Pro. So when he came over to the crib he brought Neek the Exotic. So Neek was supposed to be in the group. It was supposed to be all of us, so Neek didn’t want to join in the group or whatever. Uh, basically Paul stuck around, my mom funded the studio and basically put the whole thing together.
Q: How did you get your Wild Pitch deal?
A: The Wild Pitch deal started from actually my mom putting out singles, right? So she put out “Think/ Atom” and after we put out “Think/Atom” we started getting a little buzz on the radio station. Marley Marl started playing the record, Red Alert started playing the record, and Pete Rock started playing the record. So from there it was like lets release another one. So my mom sent us back to the studio, we came up with “Large Professor ” and “Watch Roger do his thing “. So from there my mom started doing the marketing thing where she started hiring marketing people to market the record around the country. So basically from there it was like we were getting a huge buzz. Back then, uh we did a vid for “Watch Roger do his thing ” and it started getting a lot of play on this video station called “The Box” right? So from “The Box” and us being played on different stations, people started to call my mom and inquire about the group and stuff like that. So we basically said, you know what? Instead of doing like the whole major label thing, let’s just go independent. So we decided to go with Wild Pitch because Wild Pitch was like, they had Chill Rob G. and they had like the power. (They had) Gangstarr at the time, so we thought that would be a dope fit. At the time that was like the street buzz, so we said you know what… let’s just rock with them. So we settled with Wild Pitch and so from there it was like boom! The rest is history.
Q: So did everybody have a specific job duty? Maybe somebody went to get samples…
A:It starts like this, in our group it was like everyone had hands on in terms of like the music. Large Professor would come through and bring samples and bring like structured beats or whatever. Like pre-done beats and stuff like that and we would all go in the studio and we would all have a hand on it and say let’s add this, let’s add that. You know what I mean and let’s put that together and that’s pretty much the magic of Main Source “Breaking Atoms” you know what I’m saying because we all had something to say about the record. It wasn’t like one person produced it. It was like bits and pieces, like I’m not going to take away what Large Professor did. He brought a lot to the table in terms of the beats. You know I brought stuff to the table. I did “Peace is not the word to play”. I did “Fakin’ the Funk” you know what I’m saying? It’s like a collaborative effort in terms of building an album so that’s where that came from. So it wasn’t like Large Professor was the man of the group or whatever, we all had input on doing the “Breaking Atoms ” record. You know I’m not trying to take credit away from anything or anybody, this is what it is.
Q: Right, I think a lot of the times we don’t get your side of the story….
A: As you can see in the background I’m a family man. I let people say whatever they want to say. Now that I’m older you know what, I started talking out a little more about the group and how it started. And even with the name “Main Source”, I came up with that name and even Large Professor said it in one of his interviews. In fact he said it in his interview with Ali that I came up with that name so I had a major part of putting the group together. My mom had a major part of funding the group, so Main Source wouldn’t have been Main Source if my mom hadn’t funded the group or bring us to the studio. And another thing, even with Main Source coming together like we had Paul C. which was the engineer that did the first two records right? The dude that basically mentored Large Professor, I found Paul C. I told my mom we gotta check this dude Paul C. because friends of mine were using him and making beats and producing stuff for them so I was like we gotta go to . So that’s how that happened, so again it’s a thing of like Main Source was a collaborative kinda thing and we all had input on everything we did. So we had joint ( )on what needs to get done or how we’re gonna do it, you know what I mean?
Q: Did you always stick to D.J.’ing or were you going to be rapping in the group?
A: When you’re growing up in New York, you always want to be a rapper. So, I wasn’t skillful like the other M.C.’s but I always wanted to be a rapper but that wasn’t really my thing. My thing was pretty much being behind the scenes, rocking turntables, and being on production and coming up with loops and different interesting stuff that creates the magic that people dance to so that was my thing.
Q: Let’s get into some of these cuts here. “Snake Eyes”… What do you think about when that song comes up or somebody asks about that. Do you remember, making the beat or…..
A: I remember when Large Professor brought it, he come over my house and he brought the beat and I was like “Yo that’s crazy!” He was like we’re gonna do this record. And uh, I don’t want to even get into what it was about because Large Pro could probably tell you or he might not tell you what the whole thing was about. It was something personal that happened to Large Pro and he basically wrote the song “Snake eyes”. But back then I was like this is incredible and we went into the studio again,Libra Digital, and put all the other elements to it to make it sound the way it sounds. That’s “Snake eyes ” right there man…..
Q: “Just hangin’ out”….
A: “Just hangin’out”….. I love that record man, because the title is what it is. Large Pro would come over to the crib, or I would just go hang out with those guys. It was like a whole bunch of friends just hangin’ out on some like,”yo let’s just do what we gotta do”, again it’s like one of those records where it’s just like it really hits home because at the time it was like a really great record & it meant a lot….
Q:”Looking at the front door “, one of my favorites….
A: Word?! “Looking at the front door”….. how it makes me feel, that was the first record that pretty much gave us the mainstream success in terms of being underground. We had “Think/Atom” & “Large Professor “, “Watch Roger do his thing “. This was really the first record to break us in terms of people knowing we are. That record means a lot to me in my heart.
Q: “Large Professor “…..
A: “Large Professor” Awe man, that’s a crazy record ’cause actually that record was my grandfathers record, it was a reggae record that we picked out of my grandfathers collection and basically we took it back to New York and basically came with that record. I thought at the time like yo, let’s just name it “Large Professor ” because the stuff Paul was spittin’ it kinda fit that record. So we just took, uhm cuts from “Think/Atom” and just cut that up “Large Professor ” and did it like that man……
Q: One of the most important songs and the most relevant to this day ,”Just a friendly game of baseball”. That was an analogy for cops and young black youth, so was there a particular experience that happened back in the day?
A: Yeah, I mean again… I don’t really like talking about lyrics but what in terms of what it means to me, it definitely has a play on how police brutality in New York at the time as a black person coming up you know what I mean? How they treated certain youths, you look a certain way or they might be up to something they shake you down. In terms of lyrics, Large Pro had an experience so he’s the dude really to shed light on those lyrics. In terms of what I feel when I think of “Friendly game of baseball”, I think of how cops treat us back in New York. You could be driving a dope car and they’re like “he’s a drug dealer ” and ” let’s go pull him over” and that’s how it works.
Q: Things are even worse nowadays,so that songs very aptly titled. So when I listen to it I’m like these guys were way ahead of their time. This song was like 25 years ago…..
A: Yea crazy…..
Q: “Scratch & Kut”… Pretty much self explanatory but what was your mind set going into it?
A: It was basically a record where we wanted to do our kind of anthem, you know what I mean? A collage of fusion of music and scratching and stuff like that. Again, like I’m a D.J. so I like having that kinda like flawless ill beats & cuts, stuff like that. That’s what hip-hop is all about. So yea, we just kinda wanted to throw that up on the album.
A: Uhm again, things that were going on in New York, kids killing kids, like it’s just crazy so Paul wrote that record in terms of that. I made the beat so the beat was like, Paul heard it and said we gotta do something to that so it was just the rough sketches and we went into the studio and put the whole thing together. So I mean the lyrics is self explanatory. Everything that he is talking about I feel and you just said it, it’s current to what’s going on today. So you know it’s just one of those things I feel it’s all reoccurring, you know what I mean? What happened in the 90’s and what’s going on now.
Q: “Vamos a rapiar “
A: “Let’s Rap”? Oh yeah… that was one of our favorites. Yea, Pete Rock did the uh, actually put the whole thing together.
Q: Is that right?!
A: Yea Pete Rock! We just went in and basically fixed it up and put all the elements to it. But yea, Pete Rock blessed us with that one.
Q: I did not know that….
Q: “He got so much soul”
A: Again it speaks for itself. Large Professor the soul brother, he’s a dude that loves shopping for breaks and he’s just into what he’s doing. So it’s what it is, I love that record man…
Q: “Live at the BBQ”…. Before I ask you what you think of this record. So, you had Joe Fatal,Nas, & Akineyle. So how did you guys pick these three out of everybody that was out? These were basically unknown artists at the time, so how did you pick these guys?
A: Uhm, they was always around us and the funny thing about it Large Pro was working with Nas at the time when we were doing the album. So they were always around us so it was like we got the last cut for the record, literally it was the last cut because Stu Fine (label owner) was like you guys need another record and we were like oh what do we got to do. We were done with being in the studio because we were in the studio for a minute piecing records together, mixing them, stuff like that. So he was like y’all need another record, so we said yo let’s loop up this record and that record was done on the same day.
Q:Wow, so you was in the studio I take it? So when you were looking at these cats did you know Nas was going to be that dude?
A:Never. It was one of those things like this is the last cut, let’s put the crew in there you know what I mean and make the record. And I never knew it was going to be one of those things where everyone’s like ” Yo! Live at the BBQ” it’s like one of those hip-hop anthems which I didn’t even know it was going to be one of those. So it’s a blessing… it started Nas’ career ,it started Joe Fatals’ career & Ak’s. I’m glad it did and right now we can celebrate this album because we got legacys continuing from what happened with “Live at the BBQ”. It’s a good look man, it’s a special record right there man.
Q:” Watch Roger do his thing “. Was that the first single?
A: No, that was the third single. Matter of fact, we did “Think/Atom”. But that was the third major release independent, which my mom put out. These records to me are special records because they were our first records when my mom put em’ out. So these are dope records I feel like it started us, these are what started us,”Think/Atom “,”Watch Roger do his thing “,& “Large Pro”. Those are the records that are the foundation where this other stuff came from.
Q: So when you put the album out, did you know you had a classic on your hands or were you just happy to have an album out?
A: Put it like this,we wanted to be like everyone else, be in the game and basically put great music out there. And because at the time it was like there was cool stuff coming out. But we had something to say, we had something that we wanted people to see. So it wasn’t a thing where we were going to have the classic album for 25 years, it was just one of those things where it was just like let’s go out there and see what happens. And it made history and I’m proud of it and it’s one of those things where we can sit and talk about it 25 years and it’s a good look.