This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with DJ Scratch, a DJ who may have gone on to become an actual member of N.W.A if he had not passed up an opportunity to work with Eazy E out of loyalty to his friend Candyman.
Also Known As: LaMont Burnett, King Scratch
Before the Photo: Scratch was part of a tight-knit clique that includes Sir Jinx, whom he was friends with, as well as Candyman (bottom right in the Posse photo) and Tupac's future producer, the late Johnny "J."
In the Photo: Scratch didn't want to have his photo taken because he hadn't had his hair done properly but was persuaded to jump into the shot by Eazy E, who said Scratch looked like part of the Ruthless Records gang.
"The picture was going to be taken later in the day, and we all had to get Jehri curls done and all that. Dre called early and said, 'We're gonna take the picture,' so I wasn't even going to get in the picture at all. I jumped in the car and I took Jinx and Candyman down there," Scratch tells me. "We went up there, and I wasn't in the picture. I actually had another camera, and I was just snapping them. And Eazy was like, 'Come on, get in the picture. You look Ruthless. Get in the picture.'"
"I look like a fool. I've got on two different types of pants and crazy hair and glasses and all that, but Eazy kept being like, 'You look Ruthless. Come get in it, come get in it.' So I jumped in."
After the Photo: Scratch says Eazy E once asked him to be his DJ, but he refused, out of loyalty to Candyman. Candyman had a huge hit with "Knockin' Boots," which went to No. 1 on the Hot Rap Singles and No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, but he proved to be a one-hit wonder.
"Eazy wanted me to be his DJ, but I didn't want to leave Candyman, because I was his DJ and he was my MC. Then Candyman's thing blew up too. But then Candyman's stuff fell off, and Eazy and Ren's just kept going up," Scratch says.
He has no regrets though: "Everything happens for a reason."
Now: Scratch lives in Barstow, California, which is between L.A. and Vegas. Scratch says it's a place where he has a house that's "nice and cheap and big." He's a family man with children and grandchildren.
Scratch has recorded some new music, which you can hear on his MySpace page. He also started a company that does merch for other musicians.
"Tru West Entertainment: We do everything. We do the video editing, posters, the MySpace page, web pages, everything. It's a one-stop shop. Once you come in, you don't need to go nowhere to get your CD covers designed. You don't have to go nowhere to get your T-shirts done. You can just bring all your money right here."
People Don't Know: Why DJ Scratch changed his name to King Scratch.
Another DJ Scratch, an associate of the late Jam-Master Jay became prominent as a member of Long Island hip-hop group EPMD right around the same time Scratch was starting to come to the forefront with Candyman and N.W.A.
"[DJ Scratches] were coming out the woodwork. So I was like, okay, I'll change. But I was the original Scratch. I was doing it first. I've been DJ Scratch since I was 14. I used to do parties and my system would piss out on me, so people would say, 'He DJ's all right, but he scratches better than anything else.' So that's where I got the name from,"
People Don't Know: Friends of Johnny "J" Jackson, who is most famous for producing all Tupac's biggest albums, don't believe he committed suicide by jumping off the top tier of an L.A. prison while serving time for DWI, as California police allege.
"Somebody killed Johnny. He didn't kill himself, I know that," Scratch says. "At his funeral people were saying all sorts of false things, like he was platinum at the age of 16. At 16, he was working at McDonald's. We didn't hit platinum until the Candyman thing, when we were, like, 21."
Check out the other installments in the Posse Project Here: