Filed under: Features,Interviews,Promos & Exclusives,Steady Bootleggin',Video Clips
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
The Constipated Monkey album was the shit when it first came out. V.I.C. was still rolling with the Beatnuts, and as a result they delivered some of their finest work for “Jorge of the Projects” to kick it over. Now Kurious is preparing a new album with MF Doom after an extended break from releasing music, and to whet our appetite he’s re-released his debut with a bunch of demos. I caught-up with Jorge a couple of weeks ago to find out what he’s been up to.
Robbie: Was CM Mob your first crew?
Kurious: Those are some of my friends, but it wasn’t really a rap crew. I started rhyming with MF Grimm and King Sun back in the days. Those guys are the ones who influenced me to start rapping.
Are you still rolling with Kadi, the man with the yellow hat?
Yeah, that’s my man. He’s chilling. That’s my boy, we grew up since babies together so I speak to him almost everyday and we hang out, but he does what he does. On this project he’s not with me, but hopefully I can drag him out for a couple of shows or something.
How did you end-up releasing your first album on Hoppoh?
Coz me and Bob grew-up in the same building together. But then when I was making songs and demos and stuff, it was either I go to Def Jam with Russell or go to Pete. Columbia wouldn’t give them a distribution deal unless I was on their label, so I went with them instead. Plus I had a verbal agreement with Pete, so I just stayed true to my word and went with them.
After that album we didn’t hear much from you. Did you pursue other things for a while or were you disillusioned?
Yeah. Just kinda pursued other things. I was still making music but wasn’t on a label or trying to make records and travel around. I was more just doing what I had to do to make ends meet – just working. I was managing tutoring programs for kids in the Bronx. I’m not a teacher but I just managed the programs, but I enjoy working with kids.
A lot of people would have heard you on Doom’s stuff. That song on Operation: Doomsday was crazy. How did that come about?
He called me up, because we would be together a lot, and he was like “Yo, I’ve gotta submit this record tomorrow. If you want, I need a verse from you or whatever.” So I just went to his house and laid it in the house, so that was cool.
What’s sparked you to work on a new project?
I’ve been wanting, for the last couple of years, just to do a compiled pile of music, like an album or whatever. Then when I got with the Amalgam Digital folks, that just put the lock on it. These guys can see my vision – they’re hip-hop dudes – so it was perfect. That kicks the project into gear. Now it’s a priority to do this, so that was good. That was all I needed.
So I assume that you’ve still been doing music over all these years, you just haven’t been releasing it in a commercial sense? Is that fair to say?
Yeah, it is. And also when you’re not doing it in the commercial sense, so you’re not doing it as much, but you’re still doing it. I’m always thinking verses and stuff, but you might go do a song a month, or a song every couple of months. Time will go by without you going into the studio, but you’ll still always be having all kinda rhymes in my head, and writing down verses and stuff.
Would you say that you’re going to be hitting people with the same type of flavor? Although that was a long time ago, so…
The content’s a little different, coz I’ve been through a lot more, and I’m a grown-ass man! I was a kid when that stuff came out, but a lot of it is similar. You can’t change – you are who you are – so some it is gonna be similar, but now you get to hear the grown version of Jorge, of that kid. I like it, I think it’s much better too – not that it gets better or worse though. It was what it was and it is what it is, I just feel stronger about it because this is where I’m at now.
Constipated Monkey seemed like a pretty personal record, as far as the listener felt like they got to know you on there.
Oh OK. This one should be just as personal. We’re coming with the re-issue first, then the second record. But the re-issue is cool ‘cause if you buy it from the Amalgam Digital store, you’re gonna get six of my demos. Songs that I recorded before the album – and around that time – that helped me get signed. Songs that have never been heard before. One of them is produced by Prince Paul, you’ve got Sam Sever, Stimulated Dummies, so that’s fun. That’s gonna be interesting.
Another track I really liked was “Leave Ya With This”, coz I was a big fan of the Mr. Hood album and I felt it when Subroc passed. That was a really nice tribute I thought.
Thanks man. That was cool. Yo, you really know you’re stuff, man. I gotta give it to you. You’re like thorough, man.
Are you happy to talk a bit about that?
Yeah, we can talk about that. What do you wanna know?
Just some of your memories of Subroc.
Aw man, that dude was incredible! He was brilliant. He used to come through…we used to kick it, man. He’d come through with Doom – he was real funny, very energetic…always. He just had a high energy, man.
That obviously affected Doom severely [when he was killed]…
I would have to imagine – that’s his brother.
…that’s an understatement I guess.
Each man feels his feelings on the inside, the way he does, but all I can say – just from being around Doom – I’m sure that’s something very strong to go through, but he handled it like a man, like really cool. He just seemed very strong about it. But of course when you lose your brother, that’s serious.
Is MF Grimm part of your new project?
Yeah, I got a couple of beats from him, he’s gonna have some production on there. The album’s only halfway, so there’s still room there if he wants to get on some more.
Have you got any other guest that you have in mind?
I’m trying to get a song with Joell Ortiz…Sadat X, I spoke to him recently and he said he wants to do something, so that could be in the works.
I don’t suppose there’ll be any appearances from my man Willie Scratch – “I got two tumors In my bloomers!”
Oh yeah! Yo, that’s funny man. Nah I don’t think he’s gonna be there.
You had some lines about dropping trips. Did you have any ill experiences on that tip?
Yeah, I did. I used to wyl’ out. Have a couple of bad ones too. [chuckles] But now I chill there, that was just for then, that was fun. But now I get my grown man drink on. [laughs] Various things, I haven’t had a trip in a minute. I mean I would do it though! If you ever get some, man, I’ll do it witchu.
[laughing] Alright, cool. So when you drink, what’s the flavor of the moment?
I like Jamieson, I drink the Jamieson.
No shit?! That’s my drink – Irish Whiskey.
That’s your drink too? That’s funny. I like Jamieson, straight-up, and then like a beer with it. I like that Stella beer – Stella Artois. That’s my shit.
That’s funny you drink Jamieson too. Look at that shit.
Yeah man, I keep that in the freezer. A neat Jamieson’s and sometimes chuck a little Caffrey’s in there. That Irish Draught.
What is that?
It’s kinda like a Guinness, but it’s not as nasty. It’s a lighter ale, but it has that same milky thing. I’ve got this bootleg of you performing at the Rock Steady Anniversary in the early nineties. Do you still do stuff with them?
No, I haven’t been to a Rock Steady event in a minute, but my mother lives right across the street from Rock Steady [Park], where I grew up. It’s in Jersey now so I haven’t been in a minute, but when I see my Rock Steady folks – I see Ken Swift all the time, that’s my man. I haven’t seen Crazy Legs in a while. R.I.P. to Buck 4 and Kuryaki. My man Doze, I see him sometimes, so shout-out to the Rock Steady crew.
Did you ever used to go bombing when you were a youngster?
Nah, I was never into graffiti. Some of my boys were, but my writing always looked like a little kid writing, man. I never had that skill. That would just look funny and shit so I stayed away from that. That’s good too, coz I probably avoided a lotta beef behind that. All that writing shit? When I was coming up? Back in the days it wasn’t sweet. [laughs] Dude’s would get into beef over that shit! Like a lotta my boys now, 80% of the beef they had coming-up was all graffiti-related. So that’s good, I didn’t need all that extra shit. Dude’s trying to take your paint, take your markers…mad coz you went over ‘em. Shit like that.
As far as the way you put your lyrics together, do you have a process for writing songs? You don’t strike me as someone who writes in the studio five minutes before recording.
That’s what I do! That’s how I did my whole record, man. The only song that I think I wrote some at home was “I’m Kurious” – I started it the night before. The rest of ‘em were all right in the studio.
Shit….you must be pretty nice off the head.
Yeah, I‘ve been known for that.
Who are you into now?
I don’t really buy as much rap these days, but I like some of those new artists out there. I like Jeezy, I always liked the Yonkers dudes – The LOX and DMX – I’m fans of them. Kanye, I just came from his listening party, his stuff sounded really good.
So when can we expect the new LP?
Be looking for that around the New Year. And the other acts here on Amalgam Digital too – Tash and Treach, they’re gonna have records coming. Look out for me too with the shirt company. I got all kinds of shirts, man. T-shirts, button-down shirts, polo shirts, baby’s, maternity – alladat. Shirts man, just shirts.
Kurious Jorge – “Live At Rock Steady Jam, 1996″
Powerule feat. Rebel, Johnny Jay and Kurious Jorge – “Young Stars From Nowhere”
Main One feat. Fat Joe, Joe Fatal. Prince Powerule and Kurious Jorge – “El Gran Combo”
MF Doom feat. Kurious – “?” video
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