On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Cold Crush Brothers founder member DJ Charlie Chase.

Chase was pivotal in the ascension of Hip Hop back in the 1970s. A multi-instrumentalist and producer, he transitioned from being a disco DJ to one within the rap sphere once he fell in love with the evolved sound and noticed how much traction the newly minted artform was getting. Eager to generate his own impact in the space, he started working with emcees, the first being Disco Kid from Beat Street. From that inaugural moment, he went on to help found the Cold Crush Brothers.

Through the rest of the 1970s and 1980s, the group rose in the ranks of the music industry -- and even in pop culture through films like Wild Style. Because of their success, it didn’t take the Puerto Rican star long to start being recognized for his contributions to the scene, as he continued to emerge as a trailblazing representative who helped the genre reach a global level of popularity. These days, he’s found some time to reflect on how he reached legendary status and what it took to get there.

Below are nine takeaways from a fruitful conversation that covered decades of stories, wins and accomplishments that can never be erased. Check out the full episode here.

1. On the beginning of Hip Hop

The origins of Hip Hop dates back to the early 1970s. But Chase disputed the accuracy of that time frame early on in this interview. “People try to put a date on Hip Hop, when it started, and it's not fair to do that. Hip Hop was a culture that was already beginning even before [DJ] Kool Herc, when people were wearing the mock necks, the Kangols, the British Walkers, the Gazelles, the graffiti on the denim on the jackets. People were already doing that,” he said, adding, “The parties were just an excuse for us to get together.” On the note of making history in real time, he explained, “We didn't know what we were doing. We didn't know that we were [making] a culture. We didn't know that we were creating an industry. It was just something that we were doing.”

2. On dealing with prejudice within the genre

Chase was asked about his early experience of being Latino in a Black-dominated genre, to which he responded, “There was a lot of competition and there was a lot of smack talking. But really, the people who were being prejudice against me at the time [were] Puerto Ricans and the Black community because remember I told you it was all new.”

“Really all the animosity, and all the hate, and racism and stuff came from the older people. They didn’t understand it. They didn’t get what was going on. To be honest with you, I didn’t get what was going on. But whatever it was, there was something inside of me that just made me keep doing it,” he revealed.

3. On his stage name

The famed DJ landed on his stage name because of another pioneer in the rap space. He became a fan of Grandmaster Flash and took notes on the DJ’s impact and perfection of the Quick Mix Theory. “I saw what he was doing, and I was like, ‘Yo, I know that I can do this.’ So, I went back, and I started practicing and trying to get it. And I finally got it. I was mimicking what I was seeing,” he began.

“I said to myself, ‘I know that I’m gonna be good at this, and I know that sooner than later, I’m gonna meet with Flash.’ Now, there was a television show on TV called ‘The Chase’ and the way it started, there was a license plate that said, ‘The Chase’ and [the car] would take off. And when I saw that, that was when I said, ‘That’s a Charlie Chase right there because I’m chasing Flash.’ Flash was ahead of me,” he admitted.

4. On meeting Big Pun

The late Big Pun and Chase met only once. But in a special moment, they were able to give each other their flowers. Looking back on an old night at Jimmy’s Bar Cafe, the famed DJ recalled the interaction when he went over to show love to Pun. “I go over there, very polite. And I said, ‘Excuse me, Pun,’ and he’s annoyed. [He] turned around like, ‘What the f**k.’ I said, ‘Listen, I know we don’t know each other, but I felt that I really needed to introduce myself to you. My name is DJ Charlie Chase of the Cold Crush Crew.’ And he lost his mind. He got up, he threw his arms around me. He hugged me… He was thanking me, giving me all types of accolades and stuff,” he remembered. In conclusion, he declared, “It felt good to hear that coming from somebody [like him] because at that point, he was already successful.”

5. On DJ Kool Herc saving his life

At one point, DJ Kool Herc looked out for Chase in a way that the Cold Crush emcee will never forget. Around the 38th anniversary celebration of the aforementioned group, Chase was bent over in pain, and it was Herc who jumped in to save the day during the event. “[Kool Herc] threw me in his car, drove me at lightning speed all the way up to the Bronx… He drops me off at the emergency room,” Charlie recalled.

“The doctor comes over and examines me. Thirty seconds later, [he says], ‘We gotta take him to the emergency room. It's his appendix and it might rupture.’ They had to run me in. After that, the doctor told me, ‘You're lucky you're here. Maybe another hour or so you wouldn't be talking to me right now.’ So Herc, that's my brother. He saved my life,” he recalled.

6. On emcees surpassing the popularity of DJs

When Hip Hop was still in its early stages, DJs were the most popular figures within the genre. Eventually, emcees flew to the forefront. But how? Chase explained, “[Grandmaster] Caz was one of the instrumental people who was so gifted… I wouldn't say he's the first one, but I witnessed with my own eyes that evolution when I started seeing people like Caz get on the mic and started grabbing people's attention with his art, with his skill. And the skill was what catapulted the emcee in front of the DJ.”

7. On why he’s no longer a member of the Cold Crush Brothers

Chase revealed that he’s not an active member of the Cold Crush Brothers. While still showing love, he revealed his decision to walk away from the unit. “I didn't leave because I was mad. I left because I felt the group was being stagnant. They were too complacent. They were happy with what we did when I knew we could've done much more, and I decided [that] I can't do this with y'all, so I gotta go out and do it on my own,” he said. “I'ma always feel [like] a part of the Cold Crush Crew, regardless of whatever. I still support them, I still big them up and to this day, I do major shows, and I always give them a shout out. I always give them the credit.”

8. On the impact of Wild Style

The 1983 motion picture Wild Style had a tremendous impact on the genre of Hip Hop, according to Chase. “That was the movie that introduced Hip Hop to the entire planet. Because when Wild Style first hit, we were on tour and the first stop we made was Japan… By the time we left, there were already people out there dressing and guys trying to breakdance and all kinda stuff,” he said before delving into a story about an interaction with a fan. “He hits play on a boombox and he's playing a Cold Crush tape. What f**ked my head up is that this guy didn't speak a lick of English, but he's reciting all of the Cold Crush lyrics in English. That was the power of Hip Hop. That was the power of wild style,” he added.

9. On breakdancing in the Olympics

For the first time in history, breakdancing will be a sport in the 2024 Summer Olympics. With that in mind, the “Punk Rock Rap” hitmaker weighed in on one of Hip Hop’s pillars being featured on a global stage. “It's gonna be stiff and rigid. In other words, it's not gonna be a DJ cutting with guys emceeing. Like gymnastics, you have to meet a certain qualification. You have the benchmarks that you have to hit,” he said. “But, baby steps. Aye, we got in, you gotta be happy about it. So, I tell people, ‘Don't get your expectations too high because it's not gonna be what it is.’”