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Rap duo

For the Record

Quiet Lives

True to Tradition

Eclectic Tastes

Selected discography


Das EFX appeared on the rap scene in 1992 with their platinum-selling album Dead Serious, which combined elements of hip-hop and hardcore rap with a novel, stammering vocal style and quickly established the East Coast group as versatile, freewheeling, and original. Their diggity stylein which they infused lyrics with the words iggity, diggity, or wiggitywas unique to the band and was relentlessly mimicked by other hip-hop musicians hoping to cash in on Das EFXs early success. The lyrics in Das EFXs first album have a whimsical, imaginative sound to them that is further underscored by heavy bass lines, unpredictable pauses, and a playful delivery.

Das EFX is comprised of Skoob and Krazy Drayz. The duo released their debut album in the spring of 1992 and expanded the delivery of words to stuttering triple-time syllables. Dead Serious went platinum in 1992, a fortuitous milestone for a debut. Their second album, Straight Up Sewaside, was released in November of 1993 and featured a more traditional hip-hop sound with unexpected breaks and stops.

For the Record

Members include Skoob (also known as Books; born Willie Hines, November 27, 1972, in New York) and Krazy Drayz (born Andrew Preston, September 8, 1971, in New Jersey). Education: Skoob and Drayz attended Virginia State University.

Entered a rap contest judged by EPMD bandmembers and were offered a recording contract, 1991; released debut album, Dead Serious, EastWest, 1992; founded music management company Young & the Restless; toured 16 cities and appeared as guests on television shows, including Late Night With Conan OBrien, Arsenio Hall Show, and Black Entertainment Televisions Video Soul and Video LP, late 1993.

Addresses: Record company EastWest Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019.

Skoob, or Books, was born Willie Hines and was raised in the middle-class section of Brooklyn known as Crown Heights. Drayz, born Andrew Weston, grew up in Tea Neck, New Jersey. The two met at Virginia State University while both were studying English literature. The duo later attributed their flippant, bouncy hip-hop sound to the fact that they were in Virginia, far from the musical influences of either New York City or Los Angeles.

Quiet Lives

While at Virginia State University, Skoob and Drayz entered a rap contest in 1991 in Richmond that was judged by members of the East Coast hip-hop group EPMD. Skoob and Drayz, who looked to EPMD as role models, felt confident they would win the contests $100 first prize. Though they lost the contest, Skoob and Drayz were offered an EPMD-brokered record label deal with EastWest. They accepted on the spot and chose the name Das EFX, a shortened version of Drayz and Skoob Effects. Drayz and Skoob both left Virginia State University and started working on their first album, Dead Serious, never suspecting the LP would blossom into one of 1992s best-selling rap and hip-hop records and go platinum.

In 1993, a year after Skoob and Drayz moved out of their Virginia State University dormitory and released their first album, they bought a house together in suburban Long Island with a pool, gym, music preproduction studio, and basketball court. They felt they would rather live together than apart, which was a testament to their solid friendship. Although two young bachelors with an enormous house in Long Island would be expected to host massive parties, the twoas a rulenever threw parties in their home. They shunned crowds in favor of close friends, their production crew, current films, television, video games, and a peaceful, reflective solitude.

Das EFXs unique style was immediately imitated by other hip-hop bands who had heard the Das EFX demo tape long before Dead Serious was released. When the debut album turned out to be wildly successful, even more imitators cropped up, stuttering in the jerky manner invented by Das EFX. Discouragedand as a result of this blatant pilferingDas EFX dropped their signature diggity sound after their first album. Straight Up Sewaside, their second album, was less groundbreaking in terms of style and more heavily focused on clear narrative.

True to Tradition

After the release of Das EFXs second album, Spin magazines Dream Hampton wrote, Das definitely packs plenty of West Coast bass, [but] theyre East Coast hip hop junkies first, keepers and lovers of the tradition. The duos emphasis on narrative style on their second album is a choice usually associated with hardcore, LA.-based rap musicians. This focus is generally less important to traditional East Coast hip-hop artists, who favor a novel, freestyle presentation and a unique lyrical signature. Although Das EFX experimented with the heavier bass notes and emphasized the narrative of the hardcore hip-hop sound, they remained close to their creative freestyle roots.

Jim Farber of the New York Daily News wrote of Das EFXs second album: Confronting a hip-hop world crammed with too many fake gangstas, glitzy sellouts and flimsy gimmick acts, Das means to unearth old-school traditions. The Boston Globes Ken Capobianco noted of the duo on Straight Up Sewaside: They dont break new ground here. Rather, rappers Krazy Drayz and Books firm up the foundation they laid down on their debut.

Das EFX is also true to longstanding, faithful friends: their production team, Silent Scheme, which consists of Derrick Lynch and Chris Charity, was with them when they started out in 1992. Their road manager, Anthony Blitz Butler, is a former Virginia State University student, and their original manager, Dennis Wade, has been with the duo since they first set out to record an album. Das EFX remain close to former EPMD members and other hip-hop musicianssuch as KRS-Onewho had been role models for the duo.

Eclectic Tastes

Skoob and Drayz are inspired by a wide range of music beyond the hip-hop and rap realm and cull their riffs from favorite rhythm and blues, jazz, reggae, dancehall, and classical music pieces. Some of the other recording acts sampled in Das EFX songs include Kool & the Gang, James Brown, and the Beastie Boys. Das EFX eventually founded their own music management company, the Young & the Restless, and handle an assortment of new talent, including a group of female rappers from New Jersey called Twice the Flava.

Das EFX often explores pop culture and television in a lighthearted, loose manner, alluding to television icons, memorable commercials, quirky consumer products, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, actor and filmmaker Woody Allen, and cartoon character Woody Woodpecker. Their single Kaught in Da Ak is a dark, vivid narrative about a gas pump attendant who becomes a robber. Another single on their second album that describes a tale of crime and deceit is Undaground Rapper. Creem magazines Marie Elsie St. Leger commented, Das EFX has learned that the most important thing is musical integrity. And fat beats.

Das EFX has managed to recreate the English language in their music in a jubilant, tongue-twisting, seamless style, avoiding the bitterness or harshness associated with hardcore rap. Their reference to sewaside simply meant they did not stray far from the traditional underground hip-hop movement after the success of Dead Serious sewa is a term for the underground. The duo also chose the single Freakit to introduce their second album because freakin styles means to experiment in every direction; this is precisely what they intended to do on their second album to dispel the notion that they were a one-style (diggity) wonder.

Das EFX toured 16 cities in late 1993 and traveled from east to west to remain visible. They also appeared on NBCs Late Night With Conan OBrien, Black Entertainment Televisions Video Soul and Video LP, and the Arsenio Hall Show.

Selected discography

Dead Serious, EastWest, 1992.

Straight Up Sewaside, EastWest, 1993.


Billboard, January 11, 1992; February 5, 1993; February 15, 1994.

Boston Globe, November 25, 1993.

Creem, March 1994.

Details, February 1994.

East Coast Rocker, March 18, 1992.

Entertainment Weekly, July 17, 1992.

New York Daily News, December 12, 1993.

New York Newsday, November 29, 1993.

Rap Masters, June 1992.

Request, May 1992; February 1994.

Rolling Stone, May 28, 1992.

Slap, March 1994.

Source, November 1992; January 1994.

Spin, May 1992, February 1994.

B. Kimberly Taylor