Hip Hop Loses a Key West Coast Pioneer.. RIP Roger Clayton of Uncle Jamms Army

 

RIP Roger Clayton

 

Just got word this morning that yesterday one of the key architects  and pillars for West Coast Hip Hop passed away.. We’re talking about Roger Clayton aka Mr Prinze of the pioneering legendary crew Uncle Jamms Army. This is the 4th pioneering figure the West Coast has lost in the past few years. It was just last week folks buried Danny ‘Fut’ James who ran the influential Impact Record pool dating back to 1982. We lost Michael Mixxing Moore and  Skeeter Rabbit within a month of each other 2 years ago. We also lost Mixmaster Spade. Here in the Bay we just lost Mr Fantastic aka Melvin to a heart attack. It’s a shame that these important figures were never honored before their passing outside of LA.

Losing Clayton is major. It like losing one of NY’s main architects for this culture. It would be like NY losing Afrika Bambaataa.. Not only did Clayton and Uncle Jamms Army bring a unique West Coast sound and style to the game, because they were also party promoters who did those legendary dances at the LA Sports Arena, they were also responsible for turning LA folks onto the emerging rap from NY..They used to also bring out acts like Run DMC, Kurtis Blow and LL Cool J to name a few..

One of the things I think has never truly been appreciated and acknowledged about West Coast Hip Hop was the Mobile DJ Culture that was its cornerstone.. Many like to think that folks out here picked up the game from New York. Such is not the case. Cats were hustling and doing jams with massive sound systems all throughout the 70s.. from LA to the Bay it was not usual to see DJ crews with comic book cartoon like names. In the case of Uncle Jamms Army they were inspired by Parliament and George Clinton.. Their roots were funk music and the crew included legendary folks like Bobcat, Egyptian Lover, DJ Pooh. Battle Cat, Joe Coooly, Chris the Glove, Alonzo Williams and the groups only female member Silky D. Before Uncle Jamms Army  there was an earlier crew formed in 1978 called Unique Dreams Entertainment which included Clayton and childhood friend Gid Martin.

These cats early one were known for rocking 4 turntables at a time and mixing records flawlessly while executing what eventually became known as LA’s fast scratch. Uncle Jamms army proceeded the Beat Junkies, KDAY Mixmasters and other better known West Coast DJ Crews.. These were the architects.

As Clayton’s partner Egyptian Lover once explained to me, they had been listening to Prince, Kraftwerk and Parliament and that’s what got them off and running.. Later on they came upon what was cracking in New York and naturally incorporated it and upheld it..The fact that Uncle Jamms Army was able to pull off these massive parties from all over a gang infested city and keep the peace needs to be celebrated the same way we look at the early Kool Herc and Bambaataa parties as being able to do the same thing..

The fact that Clayton and Fut died within a month of each other should not be lost of folks.. Fut with his record pool was main reason  folks in LA introduced to music from all over.. Fut was the supplier, Clayton was the presenter.They will be missed..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kLY747G1pQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3IGJAVtMZQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s0V4YnKhFk&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y3rUl7KAjc

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Comments

  1. Thanks for putting this into proper perspective. As a West Coast DJ in the 80s I met Rodger while opening and promoting a club on Crenshaw. He was way ahead of his time.

    We just reconnected through Face Book little over a month ago. I was planning on seeing him this Saturday in the IE and didnt make it. I wish I had.

    Davey D, thanks again my brotha for this article. You never appreciate things until they are gone forever. West Coast just lost a true Prince.

  2. What did he die of?

  3. Charlene (Chapman) Fontenot says:

    I am a former follower of Uncle Jamms Army, from Alpine Village to CSULB, to the LA Sports Arena, etc, and afterward having breakfast at the local Dennys in whatever city the JAM was in. Roger was a BADDD Dj and will be missed>

  4. Wow my Friend is Gone!

    I can’t stop crying. I just found out and I can’t believe he’s gone. I just talked to him last week and we was suppose to hang out. He was a cool friend, father, mentor, buddy and person.

    I just met him about 2 years ago but use to go to uncle Jam army when I was young. I’m so glad i was able to meet him, learn from him, love him and roll out with him.

    Dang i’m going to miss my friend. He always checked on me. I wish I would of checked on him. So, please pray for his family and kids!
    RIP my friend Roger!!!!!!!

  5. Peace,Love&Respect to Brotha Davey for this article! When I got the call in minutes of his death, I did not want to believe my friend was gone! In shock, I dropped the phone and broke down crying. I just lost my dear friend “Fut” now, I”m hit harder with another bullet. For me,this is the end of 31 years of friendship, He was a True Pioneer of Promotions,Deejaying , Stage Perfomer and Record Business. He made me the only female of Uncle Jamm’s Army and never replace me. I Thank God , I was able to tell Roger while he was living “Thank you ” Without him I would not have share the same stage with Whodini, Ice-T,New Edition,
    Atlantic Starr,DreamTeam,RunDMC ,Bobcat,Egyptian Lover & more that Roger has brought West & East together many times on one night ! And later he
    promoted R&B Legends too!
    My heart and prayers goes out to his entire family.
    To West Coast …. We May Have Lost Another Great Pioneer but His Love, Friendship and Works will be in Our Hearts & Minds Forever!
    RIP Roger

  6. Man,
    we were just hanging out a couple of months ago at the dj mix off. RIP my brotha. To all of my brothas out there, don’t let these legends legacy die. We must keep bringing up their names as we live on. If you’re producing or doing anything in the music business, always remember to thank these brothas for opening doors.

    In GOD we trust.

  7. Hrvoje Grahovac says:

    Davey D,
    I’m a fan of old school sometimes new school hip hop.
    When I learned about the wc hip hop scene in the 80’s, man I became hooked to it. All I got to say is, Roger Clayton and Uncle Jamm’s Army are the greatest. Their shit is the best thing i ever played. Too bad that the West Coast lost another great pioneer but his part in the history of the West Coast hip hop scene will never forgotten.

    HG out.

  8. OMG!!! Just heard about Roger passing on the radio. Roger was a true friend. Will be miss. My prays goes out to his family. RIP!!!

  9. Craig Schweisinger says:

    Picked this up off of Google, thanks for the update. I first met Roger Clayton when I opened Skateland, U.S.A., Compton back in the mid 80’s. He was a crazy fucker, but sincere and honest about getting music out to inner city kids. He was the one of reasons Skateland, U.S.A., Compton became the “Birthplace of WestCoast Hip Hop” without a doubt. We had some great, truly great times putting “Friday Night Jam’s” together and showcasing amazing young artists. I will miss Roger Clayton!

  10. WHY IS IT THAT EVERY TIME HIP HOP HISTORY IS MENTIONED (ESPECIALLY WEST COAST) THE L.A. POSSE IS EXCLUDED. SOME PEOPLE JUST DON’T DO THEIR HOMEWORK…SMDH!!!

  11. …DWAYNE “MUFFLA” SIMON, AND DARRYL “BIG DAD” PIERCE BRIDGED THE EAST WEST GAP, WERE THE 1ST WEST COASTERS TO HIT DEF JAM, WERE ORIGINAL UNCLE JAMS ARMY MEMBERS, DISCOVERED SOME OF HIP HOPS MOST POPULAR ARTISTS (LADY OF RAGE, PHAROAH MONCH AND PRINCE POETRY OF ORGANIZED KONFUSION, BIG ILL OF ILL AL SKRATCH, MONIFA, MC BREEZE, AMEL LARRIEAUX…………….

  12. OMG!!!! I was looking Roger up to ask if he would DJ my daughters wedding. RIP. Remembering Unlce Jams Army days.
    Keisha aka Bananas

Trackbacks

  1. […] あまりニュースにもなっていないのですが、それだけあまり重要視されていないということでしょうかね。 ちょっ と分かりにくいかと思うので、ニューヨークで例えてみると、Grandmaster FlashやAfrika Bambaataaがこの世を去ったようなものです。Uncle Jamms Armyは西海岸を代表するパーティプロモーターとして、当時Run DMC, Kurtis BlowやLL Cool Jなど招いたり、西海岸HIPHOPのパイオニアとして重要な人物で、そのことについては、あのHIPHOP歴史家、Davey DさんのHip Hop Loses a Key West Coast Pioneer.. RIP Roger Clayton of Uncle Jamms Armyという記事で詳しく書かれています。 […]

  2. […] scarce on the co-founder of one of LA’s original and greatest mobile disco crews. Predictably, Davey D has one of the best around. Everyone from Egyptian Lover, to Rodney O & Joe Cooley, to Alonzo Williams of the World […]

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