BIOBorn Roderick Roachford by way of Trinidad, Barbados, Chip Fu came to the realization that music was his destiny during the late 70’s and early 80’s while stomping Brooklyn’s streets. He took pride in the fact that his big brother kept him around to teach the ropes of the neighborhood at a very young age, and he was also determined to use the opportunity to his advantage. Furthermore, Chip couldn’t have been in a better place at a better time in music history. Everybody kept talking about this new movement called Hip-Hop and Chip happened to be right smack in the middle of its emergence; observing and absorbing it all. Little did he know back then, his own future would come to include being recognized as one of Hip-Hop’s most active and creative participants.
At age 10 the brave hopeful managed to sneak into an underground sound clash party to prove his skills. As soon as it was discovered that he shouldn’t have been there Chip opened his mouth, earned his keep and ignited an internal fire that sparked his very own definition of history. The fuel to the fire came from a member of the group UTFO (Untouchable Force Organization) who’d seen young Chip perform at a birthday party a few years later. The experienced emcee made it a point to give the bright West Indian dreamer props. “Keep it up, you’re gonna do something with that gift one day.” Chip recalls of the conversation, “I remember feeling like I could run the world ten times over after he told me that.” Soon after UTFO released what would become their most known single “Roxanne, Roxanne” which is currently recognized as a Hip-Hop classic. Upon learning of the success of his impromptu mentor, Chip clutched his life-long dream under his wing, ran his hustle and never looked back.
LIFE AS A "FU"
To sharpen his wits, Chip began aligning himself with other like-minded individuals and professionals who shared his passion for music as an art form. This paved the way for his alliance with East Flatbush lyricists Joe and Lennox in the early 1990’s, and together they formed the Hip-Hop trio “Fu-Schnickens”. and Lennox in the early 1990’s, and together they formed the Hip-Hop trio “Fu-Schnickens”. Fu-Schnickens was composed of Chip Fu (Roderick Roachford), Moc Fu (Joe Jones), and Poc Fu (Lennox Maturine). Fu stood for unity and schnicken was a made-up word that meant coalition. The three friends from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, first gained attention after performing at a hip hop event at Howard University, after which the group was signed by Jive Records. The group's debut single, "Ring the Alarm," hit the top ten on theBillboard Hot Rap Tracks chart in 1992, which sparking anticipation for the group's debut album F.U. Don't Take It Personal and also inadvertently immortalized and ignited a new-found popularity for the original "Ring the Alarm," the signature tune of dancehall reggae singjay Tenor Saw from 1985, which the group sampled to create its track of the same name. Furthermore, with the hit singles "La Schmoove" (featuring Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest) and "True Fu-Schnick," the album reached the top 20 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and was certified for gold-level sales by the RIAA. In 1993, the Fu-Schnickens began work on its second album. The group recorded a fast-paced song called "What's up, Doc?" which featured a sample of Bugs Bunny saying his famous catchphrase. But the group could not get sample clearance from Warner Bros. so the song was shelved. Meanwhile, the then-rookie NBA star Shaquille O'Neal was a media sensation. In many interviews, he talked about his love of hip hop music and stated that the Fu-Schnickens were his favorite hip hop group. This prompted the group to contact O'Neal for a collaboration. O'Neal recorded a verse that was added on to the already-recorded "What's up, Doc?" with the group and O'Neal saying "What's up, doc?" to replace the Bugs Bunny sample. Although the group had not yet completed work on its album, the song was quickly released as a single to capitalize on O'Neal's popularity. The single was a top-40 hit in the summer of 1993, which briefly propelled the group into the mainstream. The group's second album, Nervous Breakdown, did not arrive until 1994. The group took part in a huge performance on the finale of The Arsenio Hall Show, alongside the likes of KRS-One, Wu-Tang Clan, Naughty by Nature, MC Lyte, Guru, Mad Lion, Yo-Yo, Das EFX,CL Smooth, and A Tribe Called Quest. Fu-Schnickens is also notable for its many references to martial arts films and Asian culture before Wu-Tang Clan, which eventually helped make such references popular in hip hopafter the release of their second album “Nervous Breakdown”, Fu-Schnickens made the decision to part ways in 1996 , due to irreconcilable differences
LIFE AFTER "FU"
Branching out on his own, Chip Fu hit the pavement as himself vying for recognition as an independent artist who was capable of holding his own. It didn’t take long for Chip to emerge on Nas’ “Where Are They Now” remix,and making guest appearances on albums with Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Queen Latifah, Mint Condition and others. As time went on, Chip began to understand the importance of possessing ambidextrous ability if he wanted to maintain relevancy in the game. “I just wanted to achieve balance in my work,” he says in discussion about his reasons for diverting more attention toward his own projects. Thus it was natural for Chip to create and release albums under his own record label and film production company appropriately coined BLAQ-INK,Inc. Through this endeavor the company released two albums as part of the “Stop Playin” mixtape series.
Although there were times where commitment to truth meant surviving the uphill trudge, Chip Fu’s key strategy to remain true to the art of Hip-Hop allowed for his future to take care of itself. As if his popularity had not already reached its head, Chip found himself in even higher demand as a guest artist working with the likes of Pete Rock, Tiye Phoenix, Vinnie Pazz, Ali Shaheed (Tribe Called Quest, Lucy Pearl, D’Angelo), The ARE, (Keyshia Cole, Lil’ Kim), Needlez (50 Cent & Ludacris), S1 (Kanye West’s Power), !LLMiND (Sean Price, 50 Cent), Apathy,
Beatminerz (Black Moon, Boot Camp Clik), Vitamin D, Black Milk (Monch), Sean Price, and others. Chip Fu’s contributions quickly garnered a loyal underground fan base, a group of followers who understood the value of his sound in a climate where music had become less than conducive to the survival of Hip-Hop’s origins.
The BLAQ-INK label plans to continue their work in re-establishing the heart of American Hip-Hop and Reggae through the release of Chip Fu’s forthcoming album series called “War Paint”. The title is based on the idea that with anything in life you must fight for what you know to obtain what is rightfully yours. Whether we want to take back the state of Hip-Hop or pieces of our very own lives, the application of warpaint is a necessary component of our heritage that must be preserved and applied if we desire to succeed. The album will be graced with some of the industry’s most refined producers such as Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Pete Rock, Khrysis, !LLMiND, TheATRE, Black Milk, Renee Neufville, and S1 to name a few.
In the meantime, the BLAQ-INK army continues to saturate the virtual realm with Chip Fu’s past and current work and in turn attracting a new age group of followers. Chip’s exclusive online release of “Love Me Sensi” accompanied by the official Youtube video attracted more than 350,000 unique hits in the first month in 2009. Despite the current success Chip still maintains other life goals, such as pursing his degree in physical therapy and obtaining a second degree mastery in Reiki. In 2004 Chip was in a car accident where he walked away from the wreckage while one of the passenger’s injuries left him paralyzed from the waist down. Chip, however, healed from his injuries and vowed to make a difference in the lives of those who may not be as fortunate. He is hopeful that his education and experience with patients will afford him the opportunity to work with Cancer patients who require physical therapy and mobility assistance.
As of now Chip’s work continues as an artist (with brand new music on the way), mentor and community champion. He stayed busy by building a workshop series that he has taught in Belgium and in Paris called MAATH, an acronym for Music Appreciation, Art Time and Healing. The workshops took off and he has been teaching students the intricacies of the music business along with recording techniques and how to become better artists and individuals. Chip states, "with all the knowledge of the industry I have it's best to share it and teach the next generation about it to help preserve the culture". Several schools and housing communities have activated the workshops and are happy with the results. The communities have seen a change in the kids and their approach towards the arts and how they have come together in their neighborhoods. Above all he hopes that people take away the following from his life and his work. “I want to be remembered for my contributions to humanity through various mediums. Not just one-dimensional. Sure, many of us are duplicated and imitated in our own form of expression, but it's only when we understand our personal purpose and reason for walking the planet that we in turn become untouchable. Fluid. Creative. That’s me. ”