1. J-Zone's “Rugged Neva Smoove” Appreciation Post... and the Mystery of “1-5-4-F*ckin’ 5”

    j-zone-MOP-appreciation

    As one of six people in the universe who actually prefers the original version of M.O.P.’s 1994 hit , “Rugged Neva Smoove,” to the DJ Premier Remix (shout to Choimatic), I’ve sworn by the ghetto mosh-pit theme song for 19 years - from the opening sawed-off shotgun snares to the synth-laden fade out. When your debut album is titled To The Death , what better a way to start out than what really sounds like death on wax? DR Period’s album version of the song really sounds like the rap alternate to Guns-N-Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle,” a song that would’ve ended up playing through the opening credits of Lean on Me had it been around then. I could just see the teacher being carted off on the stretcher with blood oozing out of his skull when Billy Danzenie states: “From Monday, though mothafuckin’ Sunday, M.O.P. will be bringin’ the mothafuckin’ gunplay.” The video would make any hooligan proud.



    I’ve always felt To The Death , Onyx’s All We Got Is Us and Group Home’s Livin' Proof were the final soundtracks to New York’s House of Horrors era, and horrifying local references are what have catapulted M.O.P. to the top of that list. The shout outs in the liner notes of To The Death read like a prison yard nickname roll call, and half the appeal of rap music is references to extremely nefarious local people and places that nobody besides the rappers themselves and the people in their neighborhoods are aware of. And when Danze drops a local reference that happens to be the hardest line in the entire song, you’re left scratching your head, yet feeling tougher than you probably are.

    “I represent the 1-5-4-fuckin’ 5!”

    Ooh. They even sampled it at the end of “Brownsville,” on their next album. When my father refers to M.O.P. as “the 1-5-4-fuckin’ 5” group, that indicates the line is officially a rap classic. But what is the 1-5-4-fuckin’ 5? A gang? A housing project? A fish market? A senior center? A Herman’s Sporting Goods location that has since become a loft? (M.O.P did wield baseball bats quite often back then.) It’s most likely an address, and you can tell by the way Billy says it that lots of bad things happen there. This was pre-Internet and pre-GPS, when you could really put your address on a rap song and not worry about it being retweeted to people who may want to kill you. But as large a borough as Brooklyn is, there’s probably a 1545 on every major street. So one day when I was feeling ambitious, I narrowed it down to five major streets in or near Brownsville, fired up the ’01 Passat and went on a mission to find the address that’s so dangerous Billy had to put a “fuckin’” in the middle of it to paint a clear portrait of the mayhem.


      JOIN J-ZONE ON HIS MISSION TO FIND THE "1-5-4-fuckin’ 5"»


    #5. 1545 Atlantic Avenue.
    Interfaith Medical Center.

    Although this is a bit north and west of M.O.P. territory, the Interfaith Medical Center is a strong candidate for being the 154 fuckin’ 5. As one of the general area’s medical facilities, M.O.P. surely kept Interfaith in business judging by songs like “This Is Your Brain,” “Blue Steel,” “Guns-N-Roses,” and “F.A.G (Fake Ass Gangsta),” where the death tolls and numbers of people in need of medical assistance rise with vigor. Billy and Fame’s brand of Dinkins-era New York violence and mayhem definitely had the emergency rooms at 1545 Atlantic doing quite well, thus making Interfaith one of their business partners and worthy of a shout out on a song. NEXT»

    #4. 1545 Kings Highway.
    Fruits-A-Plenty.

    Nah, son. Both Fruits-A-Plenty and M.O.P. deliver, but the former delivers something good for your health - the latter does not. NEXT»

    #3. 1545 Flatbush Avenue.
    HSBC Bank.

    Although Billy and Fame never bragged of having riches (they went the opposite route, really) the HSBC bank on Flatbush Avenue could possibly be the 154 fuckin’ 5. “Heistmasters,” a cut from To The Death, chronicles M.O.P. robbing a bank, suggesting that the HSBC was their stomping ground on payday. But snitching on oneself is dumb, and M.O.P. were not about to leave any subtle clues. You can scratch this one off the list. NEXT»

    #2. 1545 Fulton Street.
    M&P Enterprises Print shop.

    Aha! Now we’re getting close! 1545 Fulton Avenue is more Notorious B.I.G. territory – and although Big Poppa and M.O.P. were tight, this address is a few miles away from Brownsville. But Goddamnit, the awning says it all: M&P Enterprises. M.O.P Enterprises would be a dead giveaway, so they got slick. M.O.P. will handle all your printing needs should you need them. There’s only one more address to check. If it doesn’t check out, M&P Enterprises is indeed M.O.P.’s 154 fuckin’ 5! NEXT»

    #1. 1545 St. Marks Avenue.

    Fuck it. Why not go right to 1545 St. Marks Ave., the street M.O.P. have repped in every single song (and one album title, Marxmen Cinema )? What’s the cross street? Saratoga Avenue, another M.O.P. staple. This shit was fun, but I think we have a winner. 1545 St. Marks Avenue, in the heart of Brownsville, is on the corner of Saratoga Ave. Visit at your own risk; from Monday through muthafuckin’ Sunday. Salute M.O.P., one of the greatest rap duos of all time.

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  2. You might wanna peep...

    • http://twitter.com/wboothe Wayne Boothe

      6 people? That number might be a bit high.

      I do appreciate a good unpopular opinion and lyric decoding so props for this post.

      Also, those photoshops are hilarious.

    • Paul Pawl Pall

      I think the fact that the embedded video is of the Premo remix is a sign from the universe that you are WRONG!! Great post overall though. :)

    • J-Zone

      I couldn't find the OG version on YouTube with the video! It exists but alas...nobody likes it.

    • Paul Pawl Pall
    • J-Zone

      Incredible. Thank you.

    • head band stank

      “1-5-4-F*ila’ 5”

    • 최MATIC