Filed under: Features,G Rap Week,Oral Histories,The 00's Files,Web Work
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Here’s a look back at the ill-fated marriage between Kool G Rap and Rawkus Records that I put together for Red Bull Music Academy Daily:
Here’s a look back at the ill-fated marriage between Kool G Rap and Rawkus Records that I put together for Red Bull Music Academy Daily:
DJ J-Ronin talks to G Rap about his legacy, his old school influences, meeting Big Pun, his friendship with Grand Daddy I.U. and more. Plus KGR mentions that his next LP is titled Hustler’s Bible.
G Rap just directed the video to this feature he did a few months ago. Apart from the Conservative Rap Coalition violation that is Spesh‘s bedazzled t-shirt, this is good stuff.
Complex compiled a list of who Rap InternetS consider their favorite rapper dudes (and dames, as it turns out). I did my duty as a CRC representative and explained why KGR is the nicest on mic devices and all that stuff, because clearly no one else was going to.
When I heard that Kool G Rap was performing in Philadelphia last Saturday night, you know I was getting there no matter what, especially considering how often I’ve argued that he’s the greatest MC of all-time. Just so happens that this performance was also the first time that G had performed with DJ Polo in seventeen years, and I got to capture it all on camera. Here’s footage of KGR performing “The Realest”, “Take ‘Em To War”, “Road To The Riches”, “Ill Street Blues”, “Fast Life” and “The Symphony”.
More Tony Touch action, as Action Bronson and Kool G Rap get down over a Statik Selektah track.
This has to be the first time that G Rap and Large Pro have shared microphone duties since “Money In The Bank.” Ayatollah on the beat, DJ Dutchmaster on the cut. Queens Reigns Supreme!
Following on from Part 1, Kool G Rap discusses his discography following his debut, the “Cop Killer” fall-out, the failed session with the Neptunes and why Queens isn’t soft because it has trees.
Robbie: When did you begin work on Wanted: Dead Or Alive?
Kool G Rap: Maybe a year later, after Road To The Riches got released.
How was it going from working with Marley to Eric B. and Large Professor?
It was great. Me and Eric was close, and I looked-up to Eric B. and Rakim as a group. I was just as much a fan as everybody else. Nobody can deny their music.
Did you ever discuss making a song with Rakim?
We talked about it but it happened to never really come into place. Me and Ra’s from different areas – Ra’s from Long Island, I was from Queens, so it wasn’t like we bumped into each other all the time. I would only see Rakim if he would come to Queens to fuck with Eric and them.
Kool G Rap is the greatest MC of all-time. He may not have achieved the status of LL Cool J, the fame of Jay-Z or the impact of Notorious B.I.G, but he took multi-syllable lyrical techniques to new levels in the late 80’s, paving the way for rapper’s such as Eminem and Big Punisher, while his street-level narratives laid the foundation for Nas and Mobb Deep. Ever since I began Unkut Dot Com in 2004, the Kool Genius of Rap was at the top of my bucket list of rap veterans who I wanted to interview. Eight years later, after countless failed attempts and having spoken to many of the people he’s worked with in the studio, I finally got to spend a couple of hours picking the brain of the great man himself. What better way to round out 2012?
Robbie: What sparked your interest in rapping?
Kool G Rap: Hip-hop in general. At the time it was being birthed in the streets and circulating through the five boroughs. It started in The Bronx but then it started circulating and eventually hit Queens. It was like “love at first sound.” [laughs] It was both sight and sound, because I loved everything about it. The sight of a DJ mixing on two [turn] tables – this was something new to me, I was a kid. Me just experiencing it in general, everything I seen and everything I was hearing at the time. It was like an instant love. Hip-hop seems like it had a tendency to do that, even with the kids generations after me being a kid. Hip-hop makes people gravitate towards it, especially the youth. With the hard drum beats and bass lines and stuff like that, it’s a genre of music that automatically attracts people.
Remember, before Unkut was jocking Roc Marcy, we were Stanning for the Kool Genius of Rap….
This came out a couple of weeks ago and seems to have been completely ignored…by the way, Riches, Royalty & Respect is out on 2xLP for those of you who still have those record playing devices. Directed by OdaGiant & Eddy Duran.
Some new G Rap in anticipation of his next album. That ALC/Havoc snippet is worth the effort at least…
Taken from the next KGR LP Riches, Royalty, Respect, which I believe will heavily feature Domingo on the beats.
Kool G Rap – ‘Sad’
Grown Man Rap 2.0? Lifted from Reef’s new LP with production team Gunz-N-Butter, Fight Music.
Reef The Lost Cauze feat. Kool G Rap & RA The Rugged Man – ‘Three Greats’
This dude stays busy.
Statik Selektah feat. Lil’ Fame, Havoc & Kool G. Rap – ‘Do It 2 Death’
Thanks to Nah.
Let’s connect, politic, ditto…I’ve got to be honest here and say that this is the best news since Ced Gee announced he was working with Grandmaster Caz. How about getting Alchemist to produce the whole album?
As time marches on, hip-hop is now at the stage where there are a significant number of rapper’s in their 30’s and 40’s releasing new music. No big deal, right? Except that now that internets record labels can release your album with a promotional budget of $50, all these characters who might have been left on the scrap heap back ten years back are allowed to release new albums! The ? Remains…is this a good thing? Let’s examine some of the flood of new rap records made by dudes who probably have kids old enough to make their own songs….
When 4,5,6 collaborator T-Ray declared that, “G Rap is the realest. Nas, Pun, Raekwon – all of them owe their styles to him. He’s like the Muddy Waters of hip-hop” – he summarized exactly why the Kool Genius of Rap continues to influence the style and technique of today’s finest rappers. By combining a wicked sense of humor (‘Operation CB’) with flawless brag rap credentials (‘Kool Is Back’) and a gift for engrossing narrative (‘Streets of New York’), G Rap proved to be far more versatile than his contemporaries during the eighties and light-years ahead of other gun-talk rappers through-out the early nineties.
Wondering what Eric B. has been up to since Don’t Sweat The Technique? After he released his self-titled solo album in 1995, Eric focused his energies on a number of lucrative business ventures (including a chain of restaurants), which in turn offered him the opportunity to set-up a community center to help local kids stay out of trouble. He’s recently established the Eric B. Music Group, and has teamed-up with Brooklyn native Avion for his return to the rap game with for their first single, ‘Hit The Floor’.
Robbie: What’s the story with this new MC your working with?
Eric B: Name’s Avion – 25 years old, good kid. Has a different kinda style – fresh and innovative. It’s like the stuff I did with Eric B. and Rakim, it’s Eric B. and Avion. I overseen the whole thing, put the whole thing together, did production with a whole bunch of new producers.
How did you discover him?
I’ve been looking for a while for somebody unique, something different, somebody sayin’ something than the regular stuff that everybody says all day. One of these guys – name’s Tim – he bought to me and said, ‘Eric, I’ve found a guy, man. He’s from Brooklyn…has a unique style’. Then we got in the studio and met and just started working.
Can you discuss your community center work?
I have a community center in Newark, New Jersey where we have boxing – boxing is run by Larry Hazzard, the New Jersey State Boxing Commissioner. We have karate over here that’s run by the Assistant Police Chief – Eddie ‘Fruitkwan’ Brown. We have a computer lab here, and I run the studio. So the kids come in and get their homework and stuff done, then they go to the various programs from there. It’s a joint venture we did with the Housing Authority.
Just to give the kids something to do and keep them out of trouble?
Exactly. They had a lotta violence in Newark, New Jersey. Just to keep the kids straight, keep in school, keep them out of trouble.
Sometimes there’s more to being a legendary rapper than classic records. You might have heard Silver Fox on one of the three 12” singles he released as part of the Fantasy Three, but his legacy runs a lot deeper than a mere mid-80’s footnote. Having established a reputation as formidable MC through battling at parties and clubs all over New York, this Grant Houses resident from Harlem would soon go on to mentor two of hip-hop’s greatest lyricists – LL Cool J and Kool G Rap. Considering that the lyrical techniques Fox passed onto Kool G Rap were adopted by everyone from Big Daddy Kane, Big L to Nas, it’s clear that his influence is still being felt to this day.
Robbie: How old were you when you started writing rhymes?
Silver Fox: I was an old head – I was 21 years-old. When I started, the only people older than me were Melle Mel and them. I had went to Alaska in ’75, when hip-hop had already started – but I wasn’t really into it then. I was into the Funk era – Brass Construction, BT Express. When I came back, I went back to the projects where I grew-up at. Then I see these guys out here with these turntables and this music and stuff, and they were swiping the electricity from the lamp posts. I was like, ‘Man, what are these guys doing?’ It was amazing to me. So I came out there and I listened to ‘em, then I went to the crib, wrote a rhyme down and I came down the next day like, ‘Yeah! I got it!’ And it was butt! I mean my rap was pure garbage! I made some ol’ Mickey Mouse rhyme – and I mean that literally! My brother snatched me off the stage like he was saving my life – like somebody was throwing a bomb at me or something. He grabbed me, ‘Nooooooo!’ He literally took me off of there. My brother Wes, he took me in the staircase and he’s like, ‘Man, I don’t know what you was doin’, man – but that’s not it! That was garbage.’ I was like, ‘Well, OK. How is it done then? What you think I should be doing?’ One of them type of numbers, right? So then he started bangin’ on the staircase, going, ‘Boom-bap! Ba-boom, boom-bap!’ And he started going, ‘The W-E the S-S-U and when I be on the mic I play it real cool/They call me Wessu, so I’m tellin’ the tale – the bad, bad brother that likes to throw down!’ I was like, ‘I’m the R-E double G-I-E…’ At first I was calling myself Reggie Reg, but then I found out that somebody else name was Reggie Reg. There was three of ‘em. So now I had to think of another thing. There was a thing for the Audi ‘Fox’, and it was the silver edition, and they called it the Silver Fox! I said, ‘Oh man! That is bad! I like that, man’. So now I was Silver Fox. Now I’m writing, I’m spending all my time writing and writing and memorizing. I got this crazy memory, man – things just stay up in my head, like books and stuff – so all these rhymes, I just started memorizing.
Attention all G Rap stans – straight from Marley Marl‘s master reels – and via DWG‘s incredible Juice Crew EP – I present to you a never-before heard slice of KGR brilliance from the Road To Riches sessions. In case you needed a reminder of who the GOAT of rap is….
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – ‘I Declare War’
Krohme feat. Kool G Rap, Chino XL, C-Rayz Walz, Sean Price and Hell Razah – ‘Goon Opera’
That ‘Murder Goons’ break gets another go-around.
A couple of KGR burners to finish off the week, as Freddie Foxxx‘s vaulted LP from ’93 finally gets a release courtesy of Fat Beats. Not only does this include the version largely produced by S.I.D., but a bonus CD of the original demo versions produced by the D.I.T.C. crew as well! Included on this disc is a lost track with G Rap entitled ‘Cook A Niggaz Ass’. G ended-up using this verse on his 4,5,6 album since this got shelved, but shit’s crazy regardless. On the current side of things, the Kool Genius also gets busy with Sha Lumi for ‘NY Freestyle’.
Freddie Foxxx feat. Kool G Rap – ‘Cook A Niggaz Ass’
Killa Sha & Kool G Rap – ‘NY Freestyle’
For the final part of our interview, Dr. Butcher offers a behind-the-scenes look in the creation of the first Main Source album and Large Pro’s The LP. Now based in Texas, Butcher just released new music with an artist called Understanding on the vocals, and is working on an album of instrumentals for the Vintage Vaults series for Domination Recordings. He also works with Rob Swift on jingles, TV commercials and video games such as NFL Street.
Robbie: So you just did a new 12 inch?
Dr. Butcher: They just did a digital release while I’m putting together my instrumental album. I don’t want to do just a straight-forward, ‘One beat, two beat, three beats’ – just instrumentals, and I think every producer does that and that’s boring. I’mma try to do something a little different and piece it all together. It’s vintage old tracks, and I want to find a way to introduce that to the world where it’s not sounding like I’m some 90’s producer living off the nineties sound. I’mma mix it in with 2008 Dr. Butcher, kinda like telling a story using old tracks and stuff. It should be interesting.
Is that you rapping at the end of [G Rap’s] ‘Jive Talk’?
[bursts out laughing] Yep. That was us clowning around in the studio one day. We were sitting in the vocal room – Large had just put the beat down, G started rhyming and Large was sitting on a chair with a pair of drumsticks, and then he started tapping the drumsticks and we were just acting stupid, acting like old school rappers, making all these grunts in the background. We were just joking around and I was like, ‘Alright, let me just say some old rhymes and stuff’ and then I just started rhyming. And they kept it on the song! I rhymed a lot longer, but they kept the first maybe eight bars or something and faded the song out. It was the funniest thing ‘cos Stretch Armstrong would hold these contests, ‘Can anyone guess who that is? The ghost rapper at the end of the G Rap song?’ G told me that one day Biz Mark said, ‘Who’s that dude on the end of the song? I wanna sign that guy!’ Everybody was asking G who I was…even Eric B! But at the time I was more into the deejaying and then the producing, so it never went anywhere.