The first part of AllHipHop’s exclusive interview with Kool G Rap, the legendary lyricist told fans about his new album, his new business ventures and cocaine use in the Juice Crew.
In part two, journalist Gentle Jones delves deeper and talks to G-Rap about his near-deal with G-Unit, producing beats with Marley Marl and how he’s more reality rap than gangster rap.
Part III coming soon.
AllHipHop.com: What happened with that G-Unit deal?
Kool G Rap: 50 had called me one time and expressed interest in working with me, but it never materialized into anything. I’m not sure if he was going through something in his own life other than being a mega super star. We did chop it up and we spoke a couple of times. The reason the press ran with it so hard was because he was talking about working with me on some of the radio shows he was doing. He did a radio show with Tim Westwood in London and when he mentioned my name everybody in the station you hear them in the background going “Woo Hoo!”
AllHipHop.com: You’ve had a few different situations since Cold Chillin Records and I guess Rawkus after that.
Kool G Rap: Rawkus was like the re-emergence of G Rap time frame, I appeared on a number of features at the time and was kinda resurfacing after a 3 or 4 year hiatus period. It was like a brand new day again when I signed with Rawkus.
AllHipHop.com: Why was there a hiatus at that time?
Kool G Rap: It was Cold Chillin, it was finding the right situation again, putting myself in a position to create interest for another G Rap situation.
AllHipHop.com: So in hindsight which of these labels has done the most for you?
Kool G Rap: Cold Chillin’ created the G Rap legacy. That was a good time for Hip-Hop period, the time of Cold Chillin Records, Sleeping Bag Records. I mean Sleeping Bag wasn’t really in the same league with Cold Chillin’ because Cold Chillin became a name to be reckoned with. I mean it wasn’t on a Def Jam level, we was like the new kids on the block that was making a whole lot of noise and people had to pay attention, we made the world pay attention. Rawkus just tried to step in to maybe reinvent it, or resurface G Rap. They didn’t didn’t play as important role as Cold Chillin’.
AllHipHop.com: Roxanne Shante was recently in the news, did you ever suspect that she might not have a PhD?
Kool G Rap: I never really thought about it too much. I did kind of believe that she had some sort of degree, but I didn’t think that she had got a doctorate, because that’s what eight years of school? I figured maybe a bachelors or maybe even possibly a masters. I remember a time when Fly Ty said he was sending her to school.
“Marley Marl is incredible. Believe me; even with me bringing the records and telling him everything I wanted — because I already knew what I wanted to do — that doesn’t take nothing away from him.”
– Kool G Rap
AllHipHop.com: They said she was only enrolled in college for 3 months.
Kool G Rap: Wow, wow. I mean, I don’t know what she got out of that then. I don’t know what she would get out of going to school for three months, and then I don’t know what she would get from saying she got a doctor’s degree only to have it come to light in the end, years later, that she didn’t get a doctor’s degree. I don’t know what could have possibly come from any of that. But Shante is my home girl, I love her, she was down with my clique back then, and I have memories with her. She’s always considered family to me, when we see each other it’s all love.
AllHipHop.com: You know one of these days they are going to be talking about you in these colleges.
Kool G Rap: Kool G Rap is already mentioned in colleges. I was performing in Boston and this professor gave me all these signatures from all the students in his class that appreciate Kool G Rap and said he actually teaches about Kool G Rap in his music class in Buffalo, New York. It took me totally by surprise. He had this overwhelming respect and admiration for me.
AllHipHop.com: I have seen some cats give you credit for pioneering gangster rap or street rap. Where do you feel that style came from?
Kool G Rap: Some people did gangster rap, but some people did more what I like to refer to as reality rap. Ice Cube and them they did gangster s**t, said gangster s**t in some of they rhymes, but if you look at them as a total, as an artist Ice Cube was real positive in the s**t he was saying. He was like an activist. If you listen to Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, he’s like a pro Black activist pretty much. And Scarface did a lot of street s**t, but when he was with the Geto Boys they would also do s### like “City Under Siege” talking about how Reagan was in cahoots with Noreaga and all that s**t, so these dudes was dropping science, it wasn’t just “suck my d**k b***h, I’ll blow your f***king head off.” They had that element because that was the environment that they came from, but at the same time dudes was kicking real s### too. Some mental awareness s**t. You’ve got to look at an artist as a whole.
AllHipHop.com: So the day you recorded “It’s a Demo” was the first time you met Marley Marl?
Kool G Rap: Yes, Polo brought me to meet Marley and we cut “It’s a Demo” that night. They’d played it like immediately, when I cut the record everybody loved it so much they was pumping that s**t on the radio like 2 or 3 days later. It was like a hit record in New York. It went to other places too, but at that time Cold Chillin’ didn’t have a situation with a major. It wasn’t Cold Chillin Warner Brothers yet, so the record only got so far.
Kool G Rap – “Go For Your Guns”
AllHipHop.com: How long was it until you were being involved in the production side of your records?
Kool G Rap: Even from the beginning, even when I did my first album with Marley Marl I used to bring the records to Marley and tell him what to sample. Marley got the credit, you know “Produced by Marley Marl” but that wasn’t a big deal to me because back then he was the big name when G Rap wasn’t nobody at all. Even by me creating my own tracks he would throw his own little flavor and might take the track and make it what everybody loved. The only thing I didn’t do off the album was “It’s a Demo”, everything else I brought the records. On “Road to the Riches” I brought the Billy Joel record and I brought the break beat record that’s mixed in. I used to go to park jams when I was like 11 years old, that’s what DJ’s would be cutting so I already had a good idea of what the f**k I wanted to rap over. I would go record shopping and Polo was deejaying in parks then, he was like a neighborhood name in Corona, Queens. So when we linked up anytime I wouldn’t know the name of a record Polo would know, so I would buy the records and bring them to Marley like, “yo I want to use this, sample this with this, sample this with that.” Everything I was bringing in to Marley he wasn’t never disagreeing, he was as excited as I was to use them tracks. He never had a problem with none of my ideas. I was using all the stuff I loved since I was a kid.
AllHipHop.com: It’s amazing that you were working with DJ Marley Marl and weren’t even using his beats!
Kool G Rap: Marley Marl is incredible. Believe me; even with me bringing the records and telling him everything I wanted — because I already knew what I wanted to do — that doesn’t take nothing away from him. In my eyes, even when I was creating my own music, he was DJ Marley Marl, I was nobody, just a kid coming up with a little name. He was an icon. Look at all the great things he did: remixes for LL Cool J, the “Jingling Baby” remix, the “Symphony”, look at “The Bridge”; the “Check Out My Melody” remix with Rakim, those s**ts is incredible. Maybe I should have let Marley do some of the f***ing beats (laughs). I already had my ideas about what I wanted to do. Me, Kane, and Biz, we are three people that I know of that had a lot to do with they own self under Marley.
“Some people did gangster rap, but some people did more what I like to refer to as reality rap. Ice Cube and them they did gangster s**t, said gangster s**t in some of they rhymes, but if you look at them as a total, as an artist Ice Cube was real positive in the s**t he was saying. He was like an activist.”
-Kool G Rap
Kool G Rap: You know what track Marley and Polo did do together and I passed up and I gave it to Biz?
AllHipHop.com: Which one?
Kool G Rap: It was the beat for “Vapors”.
AllHipHop.com: Oh s**t. That was for you?
Kool G Rap: It was for me. Polo and Marley went into the studio and put the track “Vapors” together and Biz, when he heard the track, he begged me for it. He didn’t tell me what he had up his sleeves (laughs) but he was like “G, I will give you any beats you want, I want that beat.” And I wasn’t too crazy about it, it was too smooth for me and I was straight hardcore. I told him to give me the “I Gotcha” beat and I have him the “Vapors” beat. I never once regretted it because I wouldn’t have done what Biz did to that record to make it the record it came out to be.
Saigon and Kool G Rap -“P” – Produced By Just Blaze
AllHipHop.com: What about the “Symphony” beat?
Kool G Rap: When the beat was first made I wasn’t really that crazy about it. You know what it was, it seemed a little happy to me. And I didn’t like happy tracks. That’s the reason I had given Biz the “Vapors” track, because the sound was a little happy. Now I am very biased to the fact that it has a lot more to do with history and memory, so when I hear the track now I’m like “that’s that s**t!” (Laughs)
Back then when Magic and Marley was on the radio like that and our whole establishment being Cold Chillin’ Records and the Juice Crew, there wasn’t too many records that they would play from our clique that wasn’t hot. Any new sh*t that G Rap did, any new thing Biz did. I remember “Pickin’ Boogers” they started playing it before it actually hit hard, and when I first heard it I was like, “that s**t is crazy! Biz is crazy!” Same thing with Raw and with Kane I was like “Oh my god Kane done f***ing lost his mind on this s###!” It was just amazing to be involved with a team that everybody put out great f***ing music. Everybody was a phenomenal artist, Shan, Shante — I remember looking at Shante before I even got put on thinking, “wow, she really made a name for herself, this girl Roxanne Shante got a crazy name, and she has hot records and all that.”