Nineteen ninety-seven  you met Aja.$$I did.$$All right, this is your wife, [HistoryMaker] Aja Graydon.$$Um-hm.$$And, tell us how did--you all met and what happened.$$Well, I met Aja, I went to New York [New York]--there was a loft that The Roots had at the time where they were doing a lot of their production and jam sessions and things like that. And, they had--I guess, Aja had reached out to them or her record label at the time had reached out to them about writing some songs for her. So, she had come to town to, you know, check them out and see what their production and things like that was. And, they brought me up. When I got there she was there with another guy, it was this other guy, Eugene [Eugene Hanes], I believe his name was Eugene, and he was there to help her to write the songs that the--her label had sent. But, I was like The Roots' guy. You know, like The Roots felt comfortable with me being the guy to help her out with the songs. So, that was kind of a little conflict. There was also this thing like where the dude had written like some risque song for another artist, which we definitely did not see Aja going in that directions. And, so, we were all kind of concerned. "Well, do y'all want him to write one of them kind of of songs for her because that ain't gonna even fly on The Roots production," which was weird, you know. Again, not disrespecting him in any way because, you know, he, he made his money, he did his things, and you know, he got a hit song. But, it definitely was not the kind of hit that I felt like this girl, who could really sing, who was really awesome, would be into. But, I, so I, when I got there again, I, I remember she sang a Donny Hathaway song or something like that, and I might've sang a Donny Hathaway song. And, you know, we just had a mutual respect for each other's voice immediately, and we kind of hit it off. And, I don't know what happened with Eugene, but somehow he got filtered out. And, she just started coming to Philly [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] and New York, and Philly and New York, and Philly and New York, and we just started working on songs for her and her project. And, kind of one thing led to another and we started liking each other, you know what I mean. And, you know, of course, we have both been in those kinds of situations before. You know, you work in close proximity with people, males and females, somebody gonna like somebody, you know what I mean. But, it was more than just liking her when we really started to realize how much we had in common and how similarly we thought about so many different things and just, we was connected. And, we were connecting a lot more than the music was connecting. And, I think that we were both in similar places in our life, as well, that we had been music for quite some time, even though we were young people, and had not had the success of the music that maybe we had thought we going to have by that time in our careers. And, again, even though we were young, we had been doing it and been around stuff and people and da, da, da, da. And, we connected from there and it was just like, well, maybe music is not what's going to take us where we gonna go. And, we started thinking about our relationship and hooking up and like the seriousness of that. And, like, maybe you--we're just on this path to meet each other kind of thing and get together. And, then we'll be a collective and then we gonna retire the music and just get the picket fence and get a regular job and start raising some kids, you know. 'Cause mom [Delica Dantzler Sulaiman] always use to say, you know, not just her mom [Susan Knox Graydon] or my mom or whatever, just, "You might need a regular job," you know, that whole thing, that music might not wa- work out, you know. Those kinds of things were always in the back of your mind. And, so, because, I think our love and our affection for one another and as well as this connection was so strong, it was so strong that it made us feel like, you know what, "Let's think about us and stop thinking about this music so much." And, we put our music on the backburner and got married. And, I got a regular job. And, started leaving music alone. I really thought that we were, I don't know if I thought completely we were leaving it behind or we were abandoning it--abandoning it or something. But, it was just like, the purpose of life felt like it shifted to family life at that time, you know what I mean. And, it wasn't as hard to say goodbye to it as I thought that it was going to be for that time. And, we rolled with that, and we had a son [Aquil Dantzler]. And, like I said, I started--and we got married, had a son, and I started working a regular job, you know, selling appliances (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well, what is it--what did you do? You said, you sold appliances?$$I--yeah, I was, I was an appliance salesman. I end up being a manager at an appliance store. It was called American Appliance [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. You know, the funny thing is it's right down the street from this business that we're in today [Media Shack, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], you know. Less than about a mile or two down the road. And, all here of businesses (laughter), they've all been on this block. So, it's so interesting to me like the other part of my life, you know, where I have to have another business outside of music in some way, you know. Not have to, but I do, you know. And, I've had stores, and now I have this place. And, but, they've all been on that road to Amer- towards American Appliance (laughter).$$So, what, when did you all get married? Nineteen--$$Nineteen ninety-eight , September, 1998 we got married.$So you were focused on music completely; and when it was time to graduate, was there anything significant that happened in school at Overbrook [Overbrook High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] that you were a part of before we graduate you?$$Significant what like--well, yeah. I mean at, my first show (laughter) at Overbrook was a talent show and I sang (laughter), I sang 'I Wanna Sex You Up' by Color Me Badd. And (laughter), I came out on stage, I had a little cane and a nice suit on and I went to sing and all of the girls went crazy, and it was like, this is it. I'm not going backwards. I ain't playing that saxophone. I ain't playing the clarinet. Nothing el- I'm just--I'm a singer. I know I can do this. This is it, you know. And, I went to school not too long ago to do a career day or something like that. And, was talking to the kids from that stage and just telling them, you know, that feeling. It's just like I cannot believe that this was the training ground for everything that I'm doing now, you know what I mean. And, it was this moment here that made me have the conf- or that gave me the confidence to do this. And, it was like, from here on out, like, I'm going to do this, and I know it. And, that was my first time performing (background noise) as me, you know, like in front of everybody. Like not in a group, not on a cho- you know, in a choir, and my voice can be low and you don't hear me da, da, da, da, it's like, it's all me. And, everybody's focused on what I was doing. It was just a great feeling. And, then later I would sing, 'It's Written All Over Your Face' ['Written All Over Your Face'] by The Rude Boys another time. And, you know, some of my other guys did--the musicians and stuff and we would play and go and do other high schools and stuff and put on our little show. And, then all the girls would go crazy and we would be singing the popular hits of the day and (laughter), it was, it was nice. It was, it was a good time.$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Good times.$$So, were you were in a group in high school?$$I wasn't in a group, per se, but there was a group of musicians who were, who was around me, Little John Robert [sic. Lil' John Roberts], Jermaine Childs, and Damon Bennett, and Lawrence Pitchburg [ph.], and Alfonzo Jones [ph.], and Hayward Hamilton, not Hayward Hamilton; Hayward [ph.], I can't think of Hayward's last name, I'm sorry. But, just different guys that was real good and you know, they would play the music and we would go around. But, we wasn't concentra- like, we weren't a name or a band. It was just, we was a group of guys who just really liked what we did. And, whenever we could find someplace to do or rehearse and practice, and da, da, da, and then show people what we was doing, we would do that. It just, it's kind of like jamming, you know, just jamming together. We like to jam together.$$Okay.$$I didn't get to a group 'til a little later on.$$Did you consider going to college?$$I venture to say, not venture, no, I did not think of going to college. I think that by the time, by the time I was graduating high school, I was hell bent on music, music, music, music, music. I didn't think I needed anything else. I really didn't think I needed anything else because it felt as if I was making it already. And, you know, you go to college, or what it seemed like at that time, you go to college so you can get a degree so you can go make it. And, I'm like, "Look, I'm already making it," you know. That's what it felt like at that time, you know. Unbeknownst to me how much time that goes in between the time of you making it, you know what I mean. And, different skillsets that you might've needed to have to fall back on in case things don't work out that I would have done differently, possibly now, if I had it to do over.