Enunciating with knowledge from the golden era of hip-hop, where Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh were rapping in the burrows of New York, Buddha Monk found his rhythm.
"Really, my brother got me into music. I was a DJ first,” says Buddha. “He would tell me not to touch his equipment when he left, but I would do it anyway. Fast-forwarding—I would DJ for a while, everywhere, locally, just different places around the world."
Buddha Monk is original versifier from Wu-Tang Clan Brooklyn Zu. He released The Prophecy (1998), Unreleased Chambers (2008) and The Dark Knight (2013).
Ellery Chambers (Buddha Monk) and O.D.B grew up together in the same neighborhood, Brooklyn, New York. Naturally, they frequented many of the same places.
“The people I was throwing a party for happened to be ODB’s cousin. He walked over to where I was. We both were shocked to see each other. He asked me to let him get on the turntables, so I let him, and he started scratching. I grabbed the mic while he was scratching at the party. That’s when he knew I could rap. From there, it was just magical. From there, we were touring different states and countries. Back then, they only paid you fifty dollars a piece to perform. I was already doing my thing in other ways of getting money."
The rapper describes himself as an enterprising person who always had a plan to get to the dinero. Once he jumped on that mic that evening, it was on and poppin after that.
Buddha believes in old-school promotions, marketing, and not this new age stuff.
“We need to leave the internet alone. People need to go back to putting the posters on the corner, spraying their logos on the corner with a stencil and everything, letting them know when the album is dropping as well as the CD. They need to stop calling CD’s cassettes. A mix tape is not a 12" MP3. A mix tape is a cassette. We need to go back to certain things. That’s the reason they still make radios with the cassette players. I’m convinced that they want to bring it back slowly. People miss that. They miss holding the Wu-Tang CD in their hand or the Usher CD in their hand. They were happy to see that artist, and get that autograph. If you see Buddha Monk, and you have his CD in your hand and you want him to sign— I’ll sign it. You’re wearing a J Cole shirt, and you want me to sign my name on the back of that shirt because you don’t have a CD or picture. We don’t have photos anymore. Record labels don’t give that stuff out anymore. The promo is the stuff that helped hip-hop be recognized. We fell off because we trusted the label to find a better way when we already had the way. They didn’t make the formula. We already had it. We had the software. Now, they think that everybody is supposed to pay attention to the internet. However, it’s the crash course on that. If your phone dies, and you lose all your information, you’re shot dead. You will need to buy another phone,” clarified Buddha about his disdain for the marketing aspects of the music industry.
Buddha said you won’t ever find him on Backpage pushing music. Never. We don’t want to see you on Backpage pushing music, Bro. We don’t.
Seriously, if he couldn’t do music though, he wouldn’t be living.
“Music is my passion. Do I have majors in other stuff? Sure,” he says calmly. “Am I super intelligent? Do I have a college degree? Sure. To be honest, I don’t think I would want to do anything different except to spend time with my kids, and still say, “sorry,” to my kids mothers who thought it was more being on the road and messing with women than for me to go out and get this money so I could provide for my kids. It was strenuous hours and times with me not being at home. This one moment, on this blog interview, I’m saying that I apologize. I will say another thing… I didn’t give up because no one understood my purpose. In this industry, you have to find somebody in this relationship or in this industry, which knows what it takes to do this. They are doing the same thing as you. When, I say doing the same as you, I mean, time, money, and hours. When you see each other, either you will be happy or you will dislike that person. If you can’t stand one another then don’t be with each other. If you can’t find peace with that person, get out of that relationship. Leave them alone because they will never understand what you do."
That was two-for-one knowledge from the rapper, whose often-speaking knowledge and being the embodiment of the divine name… Buddha Monk.
It’s important for Buddha to keep the culture of hip hop buzzing, but he also wants to mesh his music into this generation, where it’s appreciated.
“Let me explain something to you,” Buddha spoke coolly. “I seen a lot of artist make promises about their music, and then when you hear it, it sounds like the last five songs they did. With me, I’m trying different genres. I don’t want nothing like the same stuff that’s out. Sometimes, I don’t even want my music sounding like Wu-Tang. I just want people to respect good music. In order for you to say that, you have to come out your world and test other worlds, or just stay in your lane especially if you don’t know how to perfect your lane. A lot of people nowadays, they take too many risk and they don’t even hear their own voice. Their confidence is shot to a million because people are telling them that they are good, but once you give them constructive criticism, they can’t accept it. I’ve given people tracks and they couldn’t even rhyme to it. Their versatility sucked.”
Buddha is convinced that the industry is muddled with people that are more concerned with the portrayal of being something major versus actually being a stand-up industry professional.
According to Buddha Monk, he’s working on some heat.
“I did an album for my son, it’s called, “EBG.” The acronym for the song stands for “Everybody Gets It.” It’s my son, nephew, and my grandsons. I have another album called the Zu Police. The Juggernauts is the mixtape. It’s getting ready to come out. We also have Buddha Monk: I am Hip Hop, and that’s the name of the album. That project is the old stuff that I’m doing. I have an R&B album that I’m doing. It’s called, “I Am Ellery Chambers.” On the album I Am Buddha Monk, you’re going to get a lot of hip hop out of it. You will also get me singing hooks here and there on different songs. That’ll help everyone prepare for the big transition into the R&B project. Rhythm & Blues is where I first started before doing the rap. I was already with a group called Flamboyant. We used to do shows with Boyz II Men and a couple other artists in the industry. The R&B joint is called, “Ride.” Unbelievably, it’s all me. I’m singing R&B.”
Buddha is a man with layers of harmonious mystery. Not only does he bless the mic with lyrics still reminiscent to the Wu-Tang days, but he’s on his Bluesy modus, and that’s an attribute that he credits to his mom.
“The funny thing is that mother played so much different music, that I wanted to watch Kung Fu flicks, but I would hear her in the room enjoying those grooves like Michael Jackson, Lady of my Life. I would sing along while walking through the house. You get to keep experiences like that in your heart. My mom was just like that. Every time she would cook or she was in a good mood. My mother was mostly in a good mood all the time, because she had good kids. She didn’t have to worry about us. I thank God that she’s still here with us. She’s about 76 years old. She’s still alive."
Writing and performing music is Buddha’s passion, without question.
“I think my calling is music, but eventually, there’s always a call where God needs me to do something special for him. The minute he tells me that, I’m out of here. I’m going right where he needs me to be, and doing what I should be doing. Right now, he knows where my passion is.”
Buddha’s wealth resides in the lyrics.
“I think I’m rich because of music. I’m rich in music. I’m talking about, how people have billions of dollars. I’m the billionaire in music. Every time I drop a song, I feel as though I’m lying in a bed of Gold. I’m rich in the heart and I’m rich in the mind and soul. I’m pretty well-off in real life, too. I have 8 kids and they are straight. I’m doing real estate and other things. I spent a lot of time away from them, but when I pass on and transcend, they can always show who their father was and what he did. There is nothing more inspiring to a kid than knowing that their parent is a Hall-of-Famer. I’m just glad that I’m still doing what I’m doing and I got to perform with one of the greatest entertainers of all-time."
While legacy is important to Buddha, he stretched his limbs into other areas to fulfill that objective. He penned a smashing manuscript based off his friendship with O.D.B., called The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol Dirty Bastard.
You can catch him performing in Worechester, Massachusetts. Definitely hit iTunes , Spotify and chambermusik.com to sample Buddha’s sounds.
Follow him on Facebook here.
Change Now Changing 2007
Got's Like Come on Thru
The Prophecy Album 1998