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Garfield Baker on Miami Freestyle Scene: "Freakin' Bitches, Gettin' High, Gettin' Money"

Carol City's Big Ben and Garfield Baker at a Optimist Football Game.
Carol City's Big Ben and Garfield Baker at a Optimist Football Game.
Photo by Jacob Katel

Carol City, Miami, Florida, is the home of freestyle music. And a group called Freestyle originated the name, the sound, and was the first musical act from the area to make national and international hit records.

You may not recognize the name Garfield Baker, but he's the pen behind such hits as "Don't Stop the Rock," "It's Automatic," "Lookout Weekend," "When I Hear Music," and "I'll Be All You Ever Need" by Freestyle, Debbie Deb, and Trinere.

He remembers a time when money was so plentiful that "we had pitbull contests, where two girls would 69 each other by the pool, and the first one to make the other one nut got $1,000." Here's what he has to say about how he got started in the music business.

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-Debbie Deb on Being Replaced With a Body Double: "They Didn't Want a Heavy Girl"

"We come from Carol City. Freestyle," Baker tells Crossfade. "What I'm sayin', the first niggas that was makin' records from Carol City was us. I mean national records. International records. 'Don't Stop The Rock,' 'It's Automatic,' like Trinere, Debbie Deb, I wrote all that shit. I was a young nigga just writing that shit. I was just always a type of nigga that, I could write, y'know what I'm sayin', that's a gift God gave me. Music came to me natural.

"Music came to me from being in the park, being with this nigga. He got the Chevy with the music in it. We high. Boom. We listenin' to all the music, and shit, you just automatically absorbin' the shit. When we were jits, the DJs used to come out there, set up the music, they bammin', we high, we drunk, the music just gettin' in you.

"My love of music, it wasn't like I went to no performing art school and all that. It was just part of our way of life anyway. Nigga just loved music, know what I'm sayin'. Anybody ever smoked some motherfuckin' reefer and listen to some music understand what I'm sayin'. That shit just start gettin' motherfuckin' ingrained in you like, 'Damn, boy,' and hear all the little shit."

"So when I first saw niggas rappin', that was my open door to like, 'Damn, I know I can do that shit.' I ain't never been no singin' ass nigga or play no whole bunch of instruments and shit like that, so rap opened the door to my mind that I could do that.

"Once we peeped that and just started rappin', man, and we decided we was gon' fuck with the music, it's just like God put a plan together, 'cause the way the shit came together, it wasn't nobody 'round here really makin' music like that. It wasn't no record labels and shit. You tell a bitch you wanna make a record, they like, 'Man, you better go to New York.'"

 

Big Ben from M I Yeyo Music Group, and Garfield Baker.
Big Ben from M I Yeyo Music Group, and Garfield Baker.
Photo by Jacob Katel

"Then right around the same time some real niggas, some street niggas down here started a label, and just so happened when we went to them with our music, and the way we just clicked, it was like a natural match. We were young niggas to them, but they saw niggas had that swag, and that shit we tryin' to do this, so that just meshed and they put us in the game to do the music."

Garfield Baker.
Garfield Baker.
Photo by Jacob Katel

"The music just came out of the lifestyle we was living. Listen to our music, just listen to 'Don't Stop the Rock," it goes "I went to a party, and what did I see/The girls was wearin' leather skirts and see-through jeans/I asked the DJ to tell me what was goin on/He said Freestyle is havin' a freakathon." That's how we was livin', freakin' bitches, gettin' high, gettin' money, know what I'm sayin'.

"So we was just sayin', this how we livin', it wasn't no, we ain't have to make up no shit 'bout nothin'. What come out in my music shit, I really experienced. We really had money like that, really had girls like that, it wasn't nothin' for us to make up no motherfuckin' music. Almost all we had to do was just talk and that shit was gon' come out like what it came out like. "

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