THE BEGINNING

I’LL BE BACK: Reef Younis investigates what pop stars do next. After all, there comes a point in everyone’s life when you need to grow the hell up. No. 7: Terminator X and his giant poultry

terminatorx

In a different life, a more revolutionary-minded Norman Rogers promised to ‘Fight the Power’, ‘Bring the Noise’ and ‘Countdown to Armageddon’ amidst a slew of other politically-charged, pun-based Public Enemy album and track names.

Better known as Terminator X, he was the man behind the decks on some of the most influential hip-hop albums ever made – from ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back’ to ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ – right through Public Enemy’s incendiary challenge to white America.

In the end though, it didn’t take millions to hold Terminator X back, just a motorcycle accident that shattered a leg, and growing discontent with the greed and cutthroat nature of the music industry. After a handful of solo albums in ’91 and ’94, and a decade of helping soundtrack the societal rage of the black community, Norman relocated to a 15-acre farm in North Carolina.

Finding solitude in an out-of-the way location on his family’s ranch, he quickly turned his hands towards a different purpose: raising African black ostriches. Swapping turntables for talons proved to be surprisingly profitable with a typical ostrich commanding around $1,000, yet despite farm life earning that scratch, retirement didn’t stick, and Farmer X was lured back for his first album in sixteen years. Well, almost.

The apocalyptically-titled ‘Judgement Day’ hinted that the reasons he left music in the first place were neither forgiven nor forgotten: “The music industry corporate executives destroy these sacred elements that Hip Hop and Rap were developed on,” the album release said, “Judgment Day is here to counter the chaos and mayhem that the current state of Hip Hop has caused to besiege our community.” Determined to reinstall some of hip-hop’s lost arts, ‘Judgement Day’ got shifted in the calendar and never saw the light of day. Instead, Terminator X moved onto the airwaves with his own radio show.

“The original Hip Hop has been lost to the music business,” he said in an interview last year. “It was done out of love of Hip Hop music and culture. The DJ was one of the most important elements of Hip-Hop. Now, DJs in Rap music are almost irrelevant.”

It makes a second comeback as unlikely as the first but as a man who was once at the forefront of a musical movement – even with all those years on the ostrich farm – he was never going to stick his head in the sand.

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