For those who do not know who Jam Pony Express is… Here is a small introduction from Ozone Magazine, from September 8, 2005.
The year was 1981, and the streets of Fort Lauderdale were like any streets in a predominantly black lower-middle class area. Crack cocaine was introduced, gangs and crews fought for territory, and this new hip-hop phenomenon filled the air. Yep, Royal Palm was like any other hood. But you know the saying; there’s always that diamond in the rough, that chosen one who had enough talent to make it out, offer hope, and represent the block. In this case, it was two friends who found their outlet through music, moving the crowd with two turntables and a mic. This is the story of underground legends who carved their signature in Florida’s music culture: Jam Pony Express.
We were just having fun, DJ Slic Vic reminisces, grinning from ear to ear. M.B. had equipment, and I had equipment. We battled each other, and the next day we was Borring Records. But borrowing those records led to rocking backyard parties. After finding the right chemistry, Victor Austin and Marc Brown started DJing together. People around the way started to call them the Pony Express DJ’s because they would pull up to a party driving the Pony Express delivery truck. Marc’s pops use to work for Pony Express, a mail carrier company way before UPS. I didn’t like being called Pony Express but it just stayed with us, Slic Vic remembers. Shortly after, Pony Express became Jam Pony Express. Victor Austin turned into DJ Slic Vic and Marc became Mr. M.B.
After a few backyard parties DJ Slic Vic and M.B. decided to battle the popular CM Express DJ’s, which stood for the Cash Money DJs. We didn’t win, but we got exposure and folks started to recognize us, DJ Slic Vic explains. They had made a name for themselves, and people began to notice their unique DJing technique. We were the first to regulate a record, says DJ Slic Vic. Regulating a record was unheard of during that time. When you regulate a record, you cut the record down to change the lyrics of the song; then you say something and have the record answer you back. It was this call-and-response technique that had the crowd going crazy (and can still be heard all throughout hip-hop today). After the battle, the parties came by the dozens. Everybody wanted the Jam Pony DJ’s to rock their parties. People looked forward to the weekends because Jam Pony would set up outside at Sunland Park, Oswel Park or 6th Street (better known as the Ugly Corner) and play the sounds of MC ADE, Beat Master Clay D, Afro-Rican, and Jiggalo Tony. It was all hip-hop to us back then: bass music, break beats, and funk, Slic Vic remembers.
By this time, Jam Pony had added members like Spider D, Diamond Dick, Big Ace (R.I.P.), Zeke the Panty Raider Freak, Sporty J, Amazing Hot Rod, and Sporty Shawty. It wasn’t until member and party rocker Loc Cool Jock joined that Jam Pony Express took their tapes to the flea markets. Nasty Jeff and Loc approached a man who owned a car and rim shop, who agreed to sell the tapes as long as they’d plug the shop. The tapes sold out of the store on the first day. From there, Jam Pony began taking tapes to different flea markets, or flirt markets, as they liked to call them. Jam Pony tapes began flying off the shelves at 79th Street, Opa-Locka, 183rd St, and USA One. They couldn’t keep a Jam Pony tape in there, DJ Slic Vic laughs, referring to the Oakland Park flea market in Ft. Lauderdale that sold the first Jam Pony tape.
People simply had to have their Jam Pony tapes. They were addictive, and people became fiends. Sales became so ridiculous that Slic Vic’s father built a door directly to his sons bedroom. Every time the phone rang, it was for me, says Slic Vic. Every time they answered the door, it was for me. My mom told me that as soon as I was old enough, I’d have to leave! At 18, he moved to the Parkway section of Ft. Lauderdale. He produced ten tapes a day: specialty tapes, custom-made tapes, and regular mixes, selling them for $10 to $25 each. He made a killing in the early 80’s. I was making about $500 a week just in Ft. Lauderdale, and $1000 every other week in Miami! The tapes quickly spread throughout Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, and even as far as Germany thanks to friends in the military.
But what made these tapes so hot? Why did everybody need a Jam Pony tape? It was NEW! They’d created a new style of DJing by regulating the records so precisely, with style and finesse. Jam Pony made DJ’s become entertainers, and the crowd wanted to be entertained. For example:
You might have even heard of Jam Pony Express and didn’t know it. Just listen to the hooks of some popular Southern songs, and there’s a chance Jam Pony came up with it first. To the window, to the wall! Check out the vinyl label above, copyright 1995, long before Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins had everybody screaming Skeet, skeet, skeet, god damn! Or what about, Hold up, wait a minute, let me put some bass up in it. Jam Pony! Feel the funk all in ya trunk. Jam Pony! All those Ooooo-kkkkks! and super-crunk Yeaaaaah!s on record? Jam Pony! They’re so influential and underrated when it comes to Southern hip-hop, it’s ridiculous. They’ve been Florida’s best-kept secret for nearly two decades!