MC Craig G started his recording career back in 1985 with “Shout” on Lawrence Goodman‘s Philadelphia-based Pop Art label in 1985, before “Droppin’ Science” for Marley Marl and releasing two solo albums on Atlantic before he took the independent route. Despite being initially known for his freestyle skills, Craig has since refined his song-writing abilities and dropped his latest project at the end of last year. We talk about Queensbridge, the Juice Crew, working with Marley Marl and his involvement with 8 Mile.
Robbie: What sparked you to start rhyming?
Craig G: My older brother was in a neighborhood rap group, they were called the High-Fidelity Crew. They did a party for my sister – this was in Queensbridge – and they had left the equipment there overnight, and decided to bring it back later the next day. So I just started messing with the turntables and acting like I was an MC. I just liked how it felt and from there I just started practicing and practicing, but I didn’t even write my first rhyme until my first record. I used to freestyle everywhere. I was 8 or 9 nine years old when this happened.
What was the first park jam you went to?
I had to be home by the time it was dark, so I was there but I didn’t get to see the real live action. The ill MC’s in the neighborhood wouldn’t even crack the mic until nine o’clock. I used to get a little charity rhyme during the day, but nobody really cared, they were still getting it ready. The party jumped-off about an hour before the shooting started. That was all you needed to know! [laughs] If they started shooting, you was like, “They was rocking right before then! Damn, man!” Just hood shit. (more…)
Amazing footage of Ladies Love Cool James rocking a school gym. “Mommy, what’s a super sperm?”
Youtube user Kodiak Starr writes: “LL Cool J at age 17 and DJ Cut Creator perform live. 1985, Colby College, Waterville Maine. 5 months before Radio was released. My dad tried to get RUN DMC, but could not afford them, so Def Jam told him he should bring up LL Cool J”.
You can also catch a painful rendition of “Memories” at the 19 minute mark.
Check out this new LP from Unkut fam LEX and Polarity (aka Debonair P). The vinyl is already sold out (only 100 were pressed), but you can grab a digital version here.
Debonair P: Way back in 2005 I sent a beat CD to a talented MC from Queens NY named LEX. Over the following few years I spent thousands of hours on the songs we recorded for an album called ‘Hennessy and 76th’ (the street names we lived on in Melbourne and NY at the time.) While the album was finished in 2009, I am really happy to finally be making this material available to the public on wax.
MC Shan was an original member of the Juice Crew All-Stars, perhaps the greatest collection of MC’s ever to claim membership in the same crew. His QB anthem, “The Bridge” served as the unwitting catalyst in the Bridge Wars, following BDP‘s humiliation at the hands of Juice Crew founder Mr. Magic. Citing the numerous mentions on Nas‘ Life Is Good album as the inspiration for his return to releasing music, MC Shan has just released “Let’s Bring The Hip-Hop Back,” insisting that he’s not interested in pandering to the younger audience. We discuss diss records, Mr. Magic and the story behind his “The Bridge” over at Complex.
Here’s the long overdue conclusion to the Geechie Dan interview (from six months back), where he talks about hanging out with battle legend Mikey D, his involvement with WBAU radio, the ups and downs of LL Cool J‘s career and trying to get a deal and missing his chance to become a professional MC due in part to the lure of the street battling scene.
So why did Mikey D have a record going at LL and accuse him of biting his style with the Kangols?
Geechie Dan: When Todd was in our neighborhood, he was wearing fisherman hats and tight jogging suits and headbands. When he was hanging with Mikey D, I definitely think he took some of his style. The way how he rhymed, and his image? I think he borrowed a little of that, ‘cos Mikey D always had Kangols. He had every color Kangol back then. Red Kangols, sky blue, black.
And Mikey was the number one street MC back then?
Mike was the number one guy back then. From ‘83 to ‘87, ‘88 – Mikey D was the man. Mikey Destruction, they labeled him as such. He was on a lotta underground tapes. His level of rhyming was right up there with LL. I met him in front of Pop & Kim’s, we drunk about six 40’s that night, he just get rappin’. I was like, “Yo, you remind me of Todd!” He was like, “I know Todd. I gave him the LL name.” He was like “I taught him” this and “he took my style” that. He was making up rhymes about him on the spot. The more he was drinking, the better he rhymes! I’ve never come across an MC that gets better the more they drink! (more…)
NORE has reverted his rap name back to P.A.P.I and dropped a track with Large Pro in the process. Nice to hear him over a good beat again.
Tragedy Khadafi: Me and Capone wind-up meeting, and we started building on the concept of starting a group. I initially wanted him to be a solo artist, but he kept saying, ‘Yo, my man’s about to come home. His name is Papi, I wanna start a group with him’. From that point on, we started building the whole Capone-N-Noreaga thing.
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. (more…)
While Self Induced Illness and Clarified Butter had some great songs on them, it wasn’t until this years Respect The Fly Shit that Meyhem Lauren really hit his stride as far as establishing a comprehensive sound, courtesy of Harry Fraud and Tommy Mas. With a wider range of tempos, Meyhem was able to break out of that ‘stuck in one gear’ flow that sometimes induced fatigue in the listener in his earlier work. (more…)