by RiotSound contributing writer Todd Davis
Brooklyn, New York City bred duo Das EFX, comprised of emcees Skoob and Krazy Drayzy, literally exploded onto the Hip-Hop scene in the early ‘90’s as integral members of EPMD’s, then, super-crew, the Hit Squad. Their ground-breaking debut, Dead Serious , fueled by its lead single, “They Want EFX,” propelled the group to platinum-plus status, and established Das EFX as a musical force to be reckoned with. Their sound and style, which they oddly dubbed “Sewage” was both unique and innovative – a perfect combination of hard hitting beats and tongue twisting rhymes.
With the eventual dissolution of EPMD and its beloved Hit Squad, along with the shifting landscape of a fickle recording industry, it wasn’t long before the group eventually faded into obscurity. Although, as a unit, they went on to record and release four additional albums, the latest, How We Do, in 2003, Das EFX would never truly re-capture their since long lost fame. In 2006, Krazy Drayzy, now going by the less phonetically challenged moniker, Dray, left the team to embark on a solo journey of his very own. Recently we caught up with the veteran rhyme animal to find out where he’s been, where he’s at and, of course, where he’s going.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Welcome back! It’s been quite a while since the masses last heard from you, what have you been up to?
DRAY: Well, since How We Do, the group has split for now. I moved to Atlanta cut my dreads and started working on new songs.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Although a solid effort, your last group project failed commercially. Were you at all surprised or taken aback by the lack of success the record received?
DRAY: I was not at all surprised at the results of [our] last album. The indie label [UTR Music] we went through cut every corner there was to cut. They paid only one producer, if that, on the project. No magazine ads, no video, etc… plus, my head wasn’t in it.
RIOTSOUND.COM: There have been talks of a solo project now for quite a while now, what’s been the hold up?
DRAY: I didn’t know that there was any talk of a Dray solo jump-off, but that’s cool. It’s taking a while because I don’t want to throw just anything out. I already got the haters thinking I can’t do it so I can’t prove them right. Also, between my personal life, and finding the best beats, shit takes time. When I’m ready y’all will hear it.
RIOTSOUND.COM: From early on, were there plans for you to eventually branch out and pursue a solo career? And, is there a new recording home for you that will be releasing your forthcoming solo debut?
DRAY: [Actually] it was just a reaction to a bunch of actions on the part of others around me. Of course, at one point in my life I thought only of doing Das EFX shit, but that’s not reality. I actually prefer doing my own stuff now. I don’t have a deal yet but I will soon.
RIOTSOUND.COM: What caused Das EFX to disband in the first place? Is the break up permanent?
DRAY: I would say, yes, Das EFX is done for now. The reasons are too many and not important.
RIOTSOUND.COM: How would you describe the style of music that you are currently working on? How does it compare to the Das EFX sound?
DRAY: My new stuff is just that, NEW STUFF. My new stuff, I call it the “Hip-Hop Rock Star” sound. It’s way different from Das EFX. What fun would that be, if it was the same? I might not have another “They Want EFX” but I’m cool with that. I’m lovin’ my new shit and my old, and more importantly, new fans will love it [too], mark my words! I’m not one of those people who gets stuck in the past and don’t know how to move on.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Take it back to your early beginnings, when did music first enter your life?
DRAY: I was born in Jamaica, [and] came to The States at an early age. I fell in love with Hip-Hop right away. I’m a ‘70’s baby, so I done seen ‘em all damn near, from The Sugarhill Gang, to what’s going on today. I grew up in different parts of [New] Jersey, and always played in New York. I was wildin’ [out] in the ’80’s. If you know New York Hip-Hop, then you know what I grew up listening to. But once I heard [Big Daddy] Kane, I knew I wanted to rhyme.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Initially, how did you and Skoob hook up to form Das EFX?
DRAY: We met in ’89 in Virginia at Virginia State University. We did a few talent shows and won, so we got the idea to do some demos and got more serious over the next two years. By the time we met EPMD at the talent show in Richmond, Virginia in ’91, we were pretty much ready to make records.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Where did the name Das EFX come from?
DRAY: The “D” is for Dray and the ”S” is for Skoob. We always liked effects, or echoes on our vocals, so one day in the studio the dude working the board said “you guys really like a lot of effects [EFX]!” And the rest, as they say, is history.
RIOTSOUND.COM: What in your mind has been the biggest misconception about the career of Das EFX?
DRAY: People have short memory [spans]. Das EFX might be forgotten about but if they do remember us, that’s cool. We came out, sounded different, looked different, and a lot of groups bit [off us]. We were part of the Hit Squad, not the Def Squad, and that’s it.
RIOTSOUND.COM: What are some of your other aspirations outside of music?
DRAY: I’m working on starting a magazine and putting some websites together. I have big, big [future] plans.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Are you happy about the state of Hip-Hop today?
DRAY: No, not really. Hip-Hop sucks right now. But, on the other hand, it is feeding a lot of people and the opportunities are greater. So, if you can get in and make it happen, do you!
RIOTSOUND.COM: What do you want people to know about you that they might not necessarily get from listening to your records?
DRAY: I want people to know that there’s more to Dray than just Das EFX; and that music is in me, I can do it all.
RIOTSOUND.COM: What are some of the things you enjoy in your spare time?
DRAY: In my spare time I watch CNN and sports. I love football, baseball and basketball. I also love CNN news.
RIOTSOUND.COM: What would you say has been your biggest career highlight to date?
DRAY: My biggest highlight was maybe going platinum, getting the plaque and hanging it up in the crib, ya know?
RIOTSOUND.COM: Looking ahead, where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
DRAY: I plan on being a multi-millionaire from the moves I’m about to make…watch.
RIOTSOUND.COM: And, as for the immediate future, what’s next for you?
DRAY: As for right now, look for me poppin’ up with a new song here and there and maybe a video. No release date for the album as of yet but check me out at www.soundclick.com/dasefxdray and CD Baby if you want to buy some stuff I got floating around.
RIOTSOUND.COM: And finally, any chance of an official Das EFX reunion?
DRAY: [I’ve been doing] shows overseas with PMD and Skoob, [but] this is just a show thing, don’t get excited. Who knows though if there will be a Das EFX reunion. For now look out for the “Hip-Hop Rock Star”!
For more news and info on Dray stay tuned to www.MySpace.com/DasEFXDray
As of press time it was announced that after finishing up their European show dates, Dray and Skoob have decided to officially reunite. They will begin with a U.S. tour starting in late summer and have already reconvened in the studio to record and release a still untitled album which is due out in 2008. Stay tuned!