Filed under: Features,In The Trenches,Interviews
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Concluding from Part 1, the Chill one breaks down the demise of the original Flavor Unit, touring overseas and his first MC name.
Robbie: How do you feel about the different versions of the Flavor Unit that came out? Do you even care?
Chill Rob G: [laughs] You know the Flavor Unit kinda got away from me man, after Latifah hijacked the name “Flavor Unit” and ran with it. We all just kinda sat around and said “OK, that’s cool.” [In a dopey voice] “As long as we still down”, like we really had no say. It really didn’t go down the way it should have, I guess we all should have all taken a vote. But what happened was Latifah and Sha-Kim went out, incorporated the name, and then they called a meeting and told us “OK, we incorporated the name. We own the name Flavor Unit”. And that’s not the way you do it! But that’s the way they did it, and since we was such a tight unit – since we were all so close – we figured that there would be no problem. But it was business, and that’s just not the way business is supposed to be conducted. You don’t do things like that.
Then on the Roll Wit The Flava album the only original members on there were Latee and Apache. The rest of them were new guys.
It was a whole ‘nother thing. It was a whole ‘nother level. I actually went in the studio and recorded a verse on “Roll Wit The Flava”, but they took it off. They said there was some beef with Wild Pitch. They said Stu Fine wouldn’t allow it or something.
Were still under contract with Wild Pitch or was it a single album deal?
No, I had a multi-year deal with Stu Fine, but I didn’t want to record with him anymore. After we had that meeting and he tried to offer me such a small amount of money, I was really disgusted with him. I didn’t want to talk to him anymore – that was that. He really destroyed our relationship with that.
I remember Double XX Posse made some comments in The Source that they were the first to really represent Jersey, and they were downplaying the contributions that you guys put in.
I went to school with them too. I just spoke to Ray the other day. Ray’s the lead rapper from Double XX Posse.
I think they split up now. I think Ray’s calling himself Spotlight right now. I mean he’s a big ol’ pimp, man. He’s out there doing his thing. Back then a lotta egos were flying around, but I don’t really give a fuck about it.
How long did Ride The Rhythm take to put together?
About five months.
You also had that remix of “Court Is In Session” with Soulshock.
I didn’t even know Soulshock when we made the album. “Court Is In Session” was a twelve inch that I went on tour with. I went to Europe with the Jungle Brothers and I didn’t bring a DJ with me, but I met Soulshock once I got out to Europe. That kid was nice!
Was that the tour you did with Dave Funkenklein?
That’s right. Wow! You remembered that? You do your homework, man.
Was that your first time touring overseas?
That was the first time, when I met Soulshock. We was out for about two and a half weeks. We went out to Amsterdam, Germany, a few different cities in England…I think that was it. Soulshock was my DJ for the whole tour – it was me, Latifah, the Jungle Brothers and True Mathematics.
Are you still in contact with guys like Latee and Apache and all of them?
Mostly just Mark, Double J…I speak to Lakim once in a blue. You know, guys are spread out. People like Latifah, Latee and Sha-Kim – who was our manager back in the day – I can’t see them ’cause they moving. They’re always on the move.
What’s Double J up to?
He’s doing pretty good now. He’s got a little store, and he sells CD’s, DVD’s, and he owns a studio, and he’s producing a few of the cats in Jersey City right now – some of the young upcoming dudes. So J is still doing it, he’s very much still involved.
Your lyrics always used an extensive vocabulary – you were putting words out there that a lotta people weren’t really using. Were you a fan of guys like the Treacherous Three when you were growing up?
I used to listen to Treacherous Three, Spoonie G, I used to listen to Kurtis Blow. As far as really being inspired by who I really liked, I would say KRS-One, Rakim and Chuck D. Then when I started hearing what NWA sounded like, I was like “Wow! I didn’t know we could talk like that! I didn’t know we could go that far with it.” [chuckles]
Before that, no one was really cursing that much on record.
Not to that extent. You might get your point across with a little “Fuck that”, but when NWA came along it was like “Oh! We can really just loose!” [laughs] That was all cool.
Did you check for much LA stuff at the time?
My main concern when I listen to a record – the thing I really listen to, since I write lyrics – is that I want it to be lyrical! I want it to say something funky, put the words together slick for me, make me listen to what you sayin’. Today, a lot of the stuff is not really creative – period. Everybody’s basically saying the same thing, they’re just refrying it over and over. “I got a lotta hoes, and they all like to suck my dick, and I wear a lotta gold jewelry and diamonds, and look at my teeth! Lean back, lean back, lean back…” Everybody’s saying the same thing. Let say this though – I’m not mad at nobody, ’cause I feel like if you can make the record and you can make the money? Then by all means – please do it. This music is gonna take care of itself. It’s gonna change eventually, so you might as well squeeze it for every lyric you can get out of it. If you can say “I blew my nose, and I liked it”, and you can sell a million copies saying that? Then do it! ‘Cause tomorrow somebody’s gonna say something that sounds real slick, and they’re gonna forget all about you blowing your nose, so you might as well get yours while you can get yours.
What kind of career did you pursue after rapping?
When I left the music my first concern was “I got no money”. I had money when I first left, but time was slipping…slipping…into the future, so I had to get some income comin’ in. I didn’t want to sell drugs, so I had to get the first thing available, and that happened to be a security job. So I did that for maybe a year or so, and I was working at this place called Newport Mall in Jersey city, and so a lot of people went by and saw me there and weren’t even sure if they were seeing me there! “Yo, that can’t be Chill Rob G over there, is it?” and that kinda thing. So maybe that was embarrassing for other people, but I was fine with it. I didn’t give a shit, I was eatin’.
The video for “Let Me Show You” must’ve been a fun shoot.
Oh man, that was real hype. I had to go downstairs and change clothes like once or twice, and the chicks were down there changing and they were really free with it, man. They didn’t care, they was like “Could you hold this for a minute?” “Could you tighten this up for me?” Oh man, I seen some things that day!
The last thing I wanted to ask is were you ever in a group when you were younger, or were you always a soloist?
Wow…let me see…the earliest group I was in, we used to call ourselves the Royal Rap Crew. It was four or five MC’s and two DJ’s, and Ray – the guy from Double XX Posse – was one of the DJ’s. We had this girl named Kim-Ski and it was three other guys rhymin’ besides me – so I guess it was five of us.
Did you have some old style name like Royal Rocker Rob or something?
I was calling myself Killer Bee back then. This was way before Wu-Tang came along man, I was the first Killer Bee. I’d never heard of Wu-Tang in Jersey City, I was Killer Bee back in the day.
From watching the Saturday morning kung-fu flicks?
Nah, because my name is Robert so my nickname is Bobby, so I was like “You can’t call me Bobby, man. I’m not “MC Bobby”. Let’s come up with something doper than that, let’s be Killer Bee!” [laughs]
The songs you did on [45 King’s] The Cat Jams were fairly recent, right?
Yeah, but you know what? I just kinda did that just to be doing something. I was in Mark’s house, he put some beats on and asked me if I could still rhyme – so I just started rhymin’ – and then he said he think he can sell that to Aaron Fuchs over at Tuff City, so then he did. Again, I wasn’t really recording to put out something. I guess in the best world you should always put out your best effort, so I’m not trying to make no excuse, but it is what it is, man.
So do you plan on putting out some new stuff? Or are you just doing it more for your own enjoyment?
I think I’mma get serious and put out another album. Me and Mark been talking about doing that. I was at his house the other day and I told him about your website and everything. He said he might be interested in doing an interview, so I gotta double check with him. But I think we are gonna go ahead and make another record. We’ll see how it goes.
Both of these track were produced by my man Data outta Red Hook, Brooklyn for Funkden productions he’s the same dude that did the production for “Players Play”, and “Niggas Draw Heat”…I wanted to do more stuff with duke but we kinda lost touch cause I moved down south for a while and when I came back son was nowhere to be found.
Chill Rob G – “Miles 2 Go”
Chill Rob G – “Red-E Or Not”
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