Listening to Roc Marciano’s recent appearance on the Combat Jack Show, I was pleasantly surprised to hear mention of the legendary 510 Studios, a Hempstead, Long Island-based recording space that was founded by Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Hank Shocklee and frequented during its day by such hip-hop luminaries as Leaders of the New School and Mobb Deep, as well as several other local artists, including Son of Bazerk, Sugar Bear, Kings of Pressure and Underground Brigade. Apparently, during this time Roc would also hang out there recording demos. I’d heard the place’s name brought up in interviews before, but after this latest reference, I decided to dig a little deeper. I was further surprised to see that despite the prestige of its founders and clientele, the studio is almost totally forgotten online. The only substantial source I could find on its history is the video below, a trailer for an “upcoming documentary” directed by Earl Holder, CEO of Peripheral Enterprises and the man behind Synthetic Substitution: The Life Story Of Melvin Bliss — not to be confused with Earle Holder, chief mastering engineer for Public Enemy and owner of Atlanta-based HDQTRZ Master Studios.
Seeing that the video was uploaded back in October 2010 and that the film still isn’t listed on IMDB (or mentioned anywhere else on the web for that matter), I wondered if it had ever been released or even finished. So I contacted Earl, who was kind enough to inform me that he had indeed “completed the documentary in April of this year, just before Public Enemy got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” All he’s waiting on now is a score, hopefully to be provided by Bomb Squad producers Eric Sadler and Paul “Omari” Shabazz. When a release date is set, we at TROY will surely be among the first to let you know, but until then the best we can do is enjoy the trailer and continue to ensure that 510 Studios’ legacy is preserved through our appreciation for the music that was created there.
One last note: though the studios have long since closed, the building itself remains standing. As a matter of fact, I work not far from there. The picture up top was taken during my lunch break.