David "Dangerous D" Roberts died in a trucking accident in 1993 while serving in the U.S. Army.

When Ron "G. Wiz" Butts isn't working as a carpenter, he is finishing up a documentary he filmed, directed, edited and produced titled Rink, about St. Louis roller-skating culture in the 1970s. He also cohosts an old-school hip-hop show called The Remedy, which airs at midnight Saturdays on KDHX.

All of them lament the turn that hip-hop took with gangsta rap and the current state of the genre.

G. Wiz and Early D outside Gus’s 
Fashions
Courtesy Ronald Butts
G. Wiz and Early D outside Gus’s Fashions
Tom "Papa" Ray is the co-owner of Vintage Vinyl. He funded two of St. Louis' earliest hip-hop recordings.
photos by jennifer silverberg
Tom "Papa" Ray is the co-owner of Vintage Vinyl. He funded two of St. Louis' earliest hip-hop recordings.
Captain G, a disc jockey on Majic 108, was an early supporter of the song "Culture Shock," St. Louis' first successful rap single.
RFT File Photo
Captain G, a disc jockey on Majic 108, was an early supporter of the song "Culture Shock," St. Louis' first successful rap single.
David “Dangerous D” Roberts died in 1993 while serving in the Army.
Courtesy Ronald Butts
David “Dangerous D” Roberts died in 1993 while serving in the Army.

"Hip-hop is going to burn itself out," says Chan. "There's too many people trying to do it, and a lot of those people are unskilled. There's too many one-hit wonders, and the powers that be keep promoting that bullshit."

Still, all were pleased to hear that James Weber had rediscovered a boxful of their old records in a pile of junk in the back room of Vintage Vinyl. It provided an opportunity for reflection.

"You wanna have something when you get older where you can look back and say, 'What did I do with my life?'" Wiz sums up. "At the time I did what I did for me, but now I look at it in a whole new light, and I know it wasn't a waste of time."

Adds Ray: "It's nice when circumstances bring something like that around again and make you say, 'Oh yeah, we were on the right track there.'"

Corrections published 10/24/08: As originally published, this story misidentified Tom Ray's tattoo. Additionally, a caption erroneously stated by which radio station DJ Charlie Chan is employed. The above version reflects the corrected text.
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