We met when we were 14 – 1990 – fresh out of junior high school, and we met at the High School of Art & Design [in New York]. We were both in the same social studies class for that entire year, each semester. And that first semester, we knew each other because he sat probably like three spaces behind me. We were always cracking jokes, but we never really introduced ourselves to each other.
We always ran into mutual friends, I guess you could say. Cats that he knew and I knew.
There was this mall at our train station – 53rd and Lex., the first stop in the city on the E train. And in the bottom was like a food mall, they had different food shops: pizzas, bagel spots, all that type of shit. So when we would be going through there going home, Jax would just be in there chilling. Just doing nothing.
Sometimes he might come up and be like, "Yo, let me borrow 35 cent, let me borrow a quarter, let me borrow 50 cent?" You know how that shit is.
And I was like, "Yo, what you need that shit for, man? You ain't got your own money?" And he said, "Naw, I spent it, whoopty-whoop. I just wanna get a soda or some shit."
So, I always remember him from that.
Then there was a time I was like, "Man, why you always in here. Where you live at?"
He said, "I live in Queens, Rochdale Village."
I was like, "Why you staying here? It takes mad long to get back to Queens, back to the crib."
He said, "I don't wanna go home 'cause I have to wash dishes. My brother be trying to skip on me washing dishes so the longer I wait, the more likely somebody'll do the dishes before I get to the crib."
We were bugging off of that.
Eventually, we all just started chilling in there. Some days we'd stay long, some days we'd go home early. And that's how we kinda connected.
Then the next semester in '91, we were in social studies class again and that's when we really connected. We just started dissing each other. And I guess, looking back at it, it could be seen like we were trying to size each other up to see if we were worthy of each other.
We didn't really start rhyming till like the last year, like '93-'94. We always would rhyme, but it wasn't like, "Yo, we rappers."
He came up with his name Jax, and he was telling me about the Jedis. Jedis Always eXist – that's what Jax means. So he was always into the Star Wars shit.
In 1994, Jax and Flux came to Atlanta. Jax enrolled in Clark Atlanta University, while Flux attended the Art Institute of Atlanta. They began hanging with a like-minded hip-hop collective called N.E.B.L.O.S., and also formed a loosely affiliated crew called Allstates (because the members were all from different states), which also consisted of a pre-Gangsta Grillz DJ Drama, Mike Self, Spice and Rubix. Eventually, Jax got the idea to form an independent record label he decided to call Binkis Records.
Jax had gone home and he saw his people struggling, and he was trying to come up with a way to where he could kinda benefit and basically save 'em all. Just get enough revenue and money to save his people. And he came to me that year, it was '97, and he was like "Yo, I got an idea. I want to start a record label."
I was like, "Word, man. Whatever you wanna do."
He said, "I wanna call it Binkis Records."
The word itself came about from my man Spice. He had this word him and his crew used to say, called "boonkas." It was a sound-effect-type word. When some shit happened, you'd be like, "Boon-kas!" Me and Jax used to bug off that shit, and we started saying it. And once, we were on campus and we were joking and shit – me, him and Spice – and he was like, "Yo, I'ma come up with my own shit. I'ma say 'Binkis.'" So that's how Binkis came about, and that's why he came up with Binkis Records.
My peoples at N.E.B.L.O.S., when we told them about Binkis Records, they were like that's what's up. They had bought some upgraded equipment and they gave us the old shit they used to use – a 12-second sampler and a TASCAM 8-track. Jax had a credit card and he went and bought a system, one of them little three CD joints with the double cassette deck. We used that as the receiver and we were in that muhfucka trying to figure out how to work the shit. He stayed on Fair Street at the time cause he was still working at Marco's Pita. They also gave us a turntable, 'cause we didn't have one. So once we figured out how it worked, they showed us how to make beats with it. That's when we started just going crazy.
A homegirl of ours had some of her pop's records. She let us hold those records. I got all my old records from my pops and my moms. He got records from his pops and moms. And that kinda like started our collection. Then we started making beats. And once we figured out how to do that, we got ourselves a little cheap microphone and a mic stand and we started recording there.
I think we were fully set up in '98.
In 1999, an early Binkis song, "Beat You in the Head," won several demo battles on New York DJ/radio host Bobbito's CM Famalam show (WKCR-FM 89.9). After including the song on his Farewell Fondle Em (Definitive Jux) compilation released in 2001, Bobbito released two Binkis 12-inches – "Bullitt" b/w "Eyearm," and "Marquee" b/w "That's What I'm Talking About" – on his Fruitmeat Records label. As the underground scene in Atlanta began to bubble, Jax earned a reputation for being a prolific MC. By the time Binkis released The Reign Begins in 2003 (Day By Day Entertainment), Jax had already been releasing solo material since 2001, beginning with Observe and J.F.K., and continuing with the Sharp Images EP, Black Capitalism, The Sharpener mix CD, and Sharper Images in '07. He also made feature appearances on other projects during the same time.
Sometime around The Reign Begins album, Jax came up with [the meaning behind the BINKIS acronym]: Before Ignorant Niggas Killed Intelligent Songs. And I was like, "Shit, yeah, that's it." Because that's what we represented – before just all the glamour, glitz and superficial music became the staple of what people call hip-hop.
We represent all of that shit, all the "underground" shit where people are not talking about superficial shit all the time. They're trying to get points across. They're trying to uplift. They're trying to just have fun – not fitting ourselves into any type of stereotype.
So that's what that shit stood for. And that's not the only thing it stood for. That was just one of the things, but the fact that Binkis is and could be anything we wanted it to be, that gave us that much more freedom to be ourselves.
Man, we would be going through some turmoil or whatever [and] you would never really know that shit because we all kept each other's spirits up. Plus, the shit that we would find funny a lot of people wouldn't even be laughing at.
These are some of the things I'm going to remember about him. Anytime I see like a mascot, or a dude in a dog suit, or some shit like that, I'ma think about him 'cause he always laughed at that shit. That's his shit – mascots. He'd die off that shit. The fact that it's a dude in a suit and he's pretending to be real and making them faces. It's just shit like that, we'd always be dying. We could be dead broke and we'd be laughing about that shit. Laughing about how much money we ain't got, any and everything.
We'd crack up just to be living and enjoying each other, enjoying our true selves.
He'd get ideas from his dreams on a consistent basis. A lot of song ideas, like "Lamax," that was a dream. One joint on J.F.K., "Do Not Be Alarmed, I'm the Sandman," that was about his dreams.
He would have dreams where he was battling rappers, like well-known rappers, and they'd be doing some shit. Like I know he had a dream where he had to battle KRS-One. KRS-One was rapping and he had Jax's pops in a head lock and Jax had to battle him to make him release him. And he battled him and he was shrinking, like the more he started battling and winning, KRS-One would shrink.
"Underpaidslavery" – that's a song based off him working at UPS, for real. He got into that shit from my man Goldi Gold who was working at UPS at the time. He was looking for a job and he didn't want to come work with me – I was working at the toy store – even though he worked with me there earlier. But he was trying to get a job. So my man Goldi told him UPS is always hiring. So, you know, he went to UPS, got on, and he thought he wouldn't be there as long as he was but he just stayed on.
A wake was held in Atlanta for Jax on Friday, Nov. 7. Funeral services commenced in New York on Saturday, Nov. 15.
We always used to take turns saying, "When I die, yo, I want muhfuckas clapping. I want that shit to be a party, son, a celebration. I want breakdancers and all types of shit." So we always kept that in mind and it just so happened that he told his wife, "When I die, bury me in my Binkis shirt and hat." And that's how it just so happened. He had his Binkis shirt on, matching hat, jeans and the sneakers. That was our uniform – the Binkis shirt, black and gold.
That's how he wanted to be buried and that's what's up. Knowing how we are – as far as me, Killa Kalm and Jax – we always knew we didn't want to be sad about the shit. So we always were looking at it on that level. Like, it's sad he's gone but I know he wouldn't want us to be sad and shit.
It's just wild, man – all that happened while the [presidential] election was going on. That joint is wild. Also, you know, he passed saying those last words to his song – which was basically a little bio, a little four-line bio. Election Day, one of his names was J.F.K. – Jax Forever King. So that whole thing's just got stuff that's like, you could say is coincidental but it probably really ain't.
That's how it happened.
We can all come up with our own reasons on why, taking into consideration all those different levels of coincidence, persay. Even without those, you could make up your own reasons why. I don't know what the end result is because, for one, we're still living. What I do know has changed since is the people that know him and know us – Binkis – the real people have gotten a lot closer. And it just let's us know that straight up and down, a lotta shit is meaningless.
A lotta stuff that we think means something doesn't mean anything at the end of the day. And that's why when you're talking to people, they talk about his person more so than the music. Because that's what you get from the dude. It just so happens that he's nice at doing music, 'cause even without that he's still the same person.
As far as Binkis Recs the group, of course it's going to be different. I mean, a big piece of energy just escaped. It's here, but it's not existing in its own temple to express itself. So that whole part is missing and that's what we're going to miss. We'll miss him. But at the same time, we all are Binkis. So that's the continuation.
We're just going to continue on the path as far as our last conversation of using Binkis as a way to umbrella some MCs that may want to do something. And as long as we're here, we're still gonna do music so it's gonna go on until I die, until Kill dies, until we all die – or somebody else picks it up.
Killin it. So damn sexy
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…