And my girlfriend, Sunny, she dated Curt.” Maria continues to wax poetic about lessons learned during her time spent at Record King Audio, as well as mentioning her loose association with one of Harlem’s most beloved and notorious gangsters in passing.
may have set the foundation for Jay Z’s career, but outside of its spellbinding lyricism and immaculate production, one of the most memorable moments came courtesy of a woman named Maria Davis.
On the album’s seventh track, titled “22 Two’s,” Hov incorporates the words “two” and “too” in various fashions and although his precision is to be admired, the main draw is the feisty host featured at the beginning of the song, who introduces herself as Maria Davis of Mad Wednesdays.
After assuring the crowd that they’re in for a good time, Maria spots Jay in the audience and commands him to “put that champagne down and kick a little freestyle.” But Davis is the one who steals the show, delivering the classic line “Who’s smoking reefer” when she apparently smells weed smoke in the air and proceeds to admonish the crowd after Jay’s impromptu performance.
When the supposed culprit gets vulgar and insults her with a curse, Davis promptly orders the club security to escort the disorderly patron out of the venue before paying homage to Jay Z and continuing on with the show without missing a beat.
She’s still doing art, and she works in a prison, and I go visit prisons for her so we’re still family.” She also began looking for work to make ends meet, eventually landing a job at Record King Audio, which she considers the place where she first got her feet wet in the business of music.
“I worked in Record King Audio on 125th Street from 1978 to 1979 and it was run by two brothers, Curtis and Neil.
These days, Davis still does her Mad Wednesdays sessions and had a massive one on November 11 at The Shrine in Central Harlem, during which she celebrated her 56th birthday, as well as twenty years of living with AIDS.
“It’s an experience and they never experienced what I bring to the table,” says Maria in reference to Mad Wednesdays. Born Maria Antonnette Davis on November 13, 1959 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Maria and her mother would move follow her father and move from Cincinnati to New York City in 1962.
“Well, you know, nobody knew who the hell he was so he was just a regular Joe Shmo to me, he wasn’t Jay Z yet,” Maria says when asked of her earliest impressions of The God MC.
“But he was on his way ’cause they had they own label and I was a part of all of that.” Although she will forever be tied to Jay Z, Davis isn’t one to live in the past.
Patti Labelle.” In terms of interests, Davis mentions partaking in a good old fashioned game of the dozens as her main hobbies as a youth. And I did a lot of that to cover up the sadness of me missing my father ’cause we didn’t get to see our father a lot so being a clown kind of masked some of the sadness I had inside.” That penchant for wisecracks often landed her in trouble among the faculty at PS 49, but Davis looks at her hijinks without an ounce of regret.