Kool G. Rap

Hip Hop Icon Series

card_koolgrapKool G Rap is an original member of the legendary Juice Crew and by all accounts the godfather of hardcore hip hop with his thugged out lyrics and mafioso imagery. When you think of G Rap you think of the legion of artists he’s birthed including the likes of Eminem. Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, Mobb Deep, Ghostface, Raekwon, Big Pun and many others.

Halftime: What made you move to Arizona?

Kool G. Rap: I had family out there that was number one. Number two, I was living in flushing Queens before I moved to Arizona for like six years and I’d say for a good part of the six years I wanted to move out of New York in general just because I wanted to see other shit. G Rap’s not a nigga that want to be at the place to be. I was never like that. I was never always at the clubs or shit like that. I always liked to be low key. At the time I moved to Arizona everybody was moving to Atlanta and I didn’t want to move to Atlanta where everybody was going. I wanted to do my own shit. I had heard from a member of the family who had been to Arizona and they said it was nice. They was really blowing up the shit, so I got curious and went out there and I saw it was everything they cracked it up to be. So I contacted a real estate agency out there, they took me out shopping, I found something I fell in love with and I ended up staying out there.

I heard AZ has a decent hiphop scene.

Kool G: Yea, but you know what when I moved out there hiphp was really on a small scale and I don’t think hiphop had crossed all the borders yet in 95. The nigga’s that really took hiphop across the board was Biggie, Tupac, Jigga and this was before all that. I lived there about six years [and] later on in the years hiphop really grew out there and was real big. I seen it go from one stage to another, but at the time I moved out there shit wasn’t really booming with hiphop. You would only hear certain cats like Coolio and Cee-Lo, niggas that had records that broke that market and were able to exist in Arizona.

Why do you think Tupac and Biggie left such a deep legacy behind and what is it that makes people get emotional as soon as you bring up those two?

Kool G: Biggie represented a lot of niggas and the same thing with Tupac. By those two guys feuding it was bigger than them they divided the nation. That’s why you have so many emotions behind it. It’s not a Tupac and Biggie thing, it’s an East Coast-West Coast thing, it’s a West Coast-Dirty South-NYC thing, it’s a gang related thing. It’s so many things that got mixed up between that feud that created so many emotions because these two cats, whether they realized it or not, represented so many other people.

There is a big thing now, the 20th anniversary of Scarface. Why is Scarface so significant in hiphop circles?

Kool G: Hiphop is based on the streets. The streets are always going to be related to hiphop. The Scarface movie was a reality for a lot of people. So many people are crazy about the movie Scarface because they can relate it to so many places in they hood. The movie came out in Corona’s and Jackson Height’s prime (Both in Queens). Jackson Heights was considered the drug empire of the United States at one time. All the Columbian and Dominican cats were out there and at the time the movie came out this shit was going on. So it wasn’t like a movie to me, it was like they were depicting what was going on in the hood. Along with my hood a lot of people related that to their hood. That’s why they hold the movie so dear because they seen the shit with their own eyes. The 80’s was popping for the cocaine empire. It made Al Pacino an icon in the hiphop industry because he killed that role.

We hear you’re a mob movie connoisseur. What fascinates you about them and what’s the best mob movie ever, excluding The Godfather?

Kool G: It’s the unity and the loyalty and the brilliant minds that structure this kind of organization where it would take federal agents years and years to figure shit out and put the pieces of the puzzle together to get a whole picture to understand what their dealing with. It’s not like these guys are wild at random. It took brilliant minds to make organized crime, where people can live lifetimes being a leader of a crime family and some of them never went to jail. That’s crazy to me because we was always taught you do crime it catches up with you one way or another, but some of these men die of old age in their bed. The best mob flick (in my opinion) would either be the Last Don or Once Upon A Time in America and I think Once Upon A Time in America might be a little above The Last Don.

Are you feeling the Sopranos at all?

Kool G: I feel the Sopranos, but I don’t think it’s everything people say it’s cracked up to be. I wasn’t watching the Sopranos for a minute. The shit was airing about a year and a half before I even started watching one episode. People kept talking and talking about it so I was like I gotta watch this shit, maybe there is something in this shit that I ain’t catching. I started watching it every time I caught it on cable, but the shit don’t really hit me like that. You can’t describe the Italian mafia in a TV series. It’s like a soap opera. The violence ain’t there. It’s like a watered down Goodfellas.

How did you come up with the idea for the ‘My Life’ Video?

Kool G: To be honest I didn’t come up with the idea. The ‘My Life’ video was Phillip Bagwell. He directed it and came up with the idea for that video. I wasn’t really satisfied with it. I had to reintroduce myself to a lot of people and that wasn’t the kind of video I was looking for. I did videos like that in a movie format since my career started. I didn’t want to do another movie script video.

But the basic idea was that you were supposed to be faking your death in that video?

Kool G: Yea, everyone is under the impression that G Rap got killed and then I show up and everyone is fucking bewildered like they seen a ghost. That’s definitely not the way I want to portray myself. A lot of niggas did certain shit [and] their life turned out to really be that way. If it was my idea I wouldn’t have portrayed myself as being dead and then pop back up on the scene like that. Slick Rick did a song about shooting niggas up and crashing into a tree and that shit really happened. For that song I was telling the label let’s get treatments from a lot of different directors and let’s go with the hot one. But Rawkus was a label that threw a dick in they mouth with the quickness. If you had a name and a little buzz behind you Rawkus was sucking a nigga, so I couldn’t really fight them. They spent close to a half million dollars doing a video that really got no airplay and [didn’t] have people going crazy. Back in the days [I had people going crazy] with the forty thousand dollar video I did for ‘On The Run.’ His shit caught everybody.

Speaking of ‘On The Run,’ how come the beat on the video was a different beat than on the album?

Kool G: I did the original track. When I did the track for ‘On the Run’ it was the first time G Rap was producing. Even with my first album I bought the records and told Marley what to do, but this was the first time G rap was doing tracks for himself without a well-known producer. I think I might have been second guessing myself. I had Sir Jinx go over my track because he was a more credible producer to me. I let Jinx go over a lot of my shit, but Jinx watered down a lot of [what] I did originally. A lot of shit that I did that sounded hard, [but] Jinx added strings and a lot of keyboard effects and it didn’t have the same potency. A lot of people that heard the original shit said that to me like, ‘the shit was hot the way you had it why you let that nigga fuck it up?’ I knew I wasn’t a producer and I was second guessing myself which I shouldn’t have done because I should have just known I know what sounds hot to my ears. When I finished doing the album with Jinx I came back to NYC and hooked up with Trackmasterz before they ever did anything with anybody because I didn’t feel like I had any singles that were G rap singles. So I did ‘Ill Street Blues’ with them, they remixed ‘On The Run,’ and for the video they used the remix version. That’s how that came about.

How did you get down with the Juice Crew?

Kool G: I used to listen to the Juice Crew like I can’t wait for my turn. I got the link up with the Juice Crew cuz I was cool with Eric B at the time and he introduced me to Polo. I was telling Eric to put me on because they had ‘Eric B for President.’ They was like one of the hottest acts in the country. They was touring everywhere off of a fucking single. I was affiliated with Eric B so I was like hook me up. I was a neighborhood known rapper and Eric felt me and hooked me up with Polo, who was the neighborhood known DJ. Polo had a relationship with Marley because I think they went to high school together. Polo ended up bringing me by Marley’s house to do a demo. The demo we did just turned out to be the first single, ‘It’s a Demo.’ That’s how I got to be apart of the Juice Crew because once I did the shit at Marley’s house I guess Fly Ty, Mr. Magic, and everybody heard it and felt the shit. Nobody even came to me like we want you to be down with the Juice Crew. I was just part of the Juice Crew without me even knowing.

I read an interview with you and the guy asked if it was true if your original verse on the Symphony was over twenty minutes long and you just said ‘Yea, that’s true.’ So we here at Halftime had to ask what the hell is up with that yo, cuz that’s crazy.

Kool G: Haha. The original verse I did for ‘The Symphony’ was the verse that’s there with the first verse of Men at Work that I did on the first album. That was all one long verse. So when I did ‘The Symphony’ I said that whole long shit and the reels ran off at Marley’s house in the studio. I ended up having to shorten my shit down, so I just used the first part of the verse, cut the rest off and used it for ‘Men At Work.’

Did you just zone out on that one?

Kool G: We talking the days of lyricists. So when I was writing back in the day I was writing as a fucking lyricist and I wasn’t stopping short of 16 bars. In those days, you proved your point to where there ain’t no argument after that. It’s undeniable, like he’s that nigga he don’t give you 16 bars, he give you 50 bars. I was writing in that attitude every time I wrote.

I also have the ‘Raw Remix’ you did with Kane, which is like the sickest joint I ever heard. It sounded like you two were trying to destroy each other and the track. A lot of people have talked about an unspoken rivalry between you and Kane. Did you go in there like I’m about to show Kane what lyricism is all about? How did that track come about?

Kool G: Let me tell you what happened. This is a time when G Rap is just getting into the game. I got a few records under my belt, but I ain’t prove to the world that G Rap is a fucking force to be reckoned with yet. I’m constantly making ammunition and I just had wrote a crazy freestyle before I got called to the studio. I didn’t even know I was doing something with Kane. Marley just called me into the studio one day. I come in the studio and Kane is there, the newest member of the Juice Crew. He started rhyming over his ‘Raw’ track and he had already did the ‘Raw’ record. And I think the ‘Raw’ record is out of this world. I’m like this nigga fucking murdered this shit. So I come into the studio and Kane is doing another rhyme besides the ‘Raw’ shit over his own beat and now they want me to rap on it. I’m like boy am I prepared. I just finished writing some shit just in case a nigga tried to ever call me out. That shit was right on time for me, so I just spit the shit that I just wrote. It wasn’t for Kane it was for anybody, but I guess with the attitude that I wrote in laying that shit down on the ‘Raw’ track with Kane it came out like me and Kane might be getting at each other. Everybody thinks me and Kane had a rivalry, which it might have been, but it was never a rivalry like me and Kane knew we was going at each other. It wasn’t a conscious thing, but I think it was a competition thing. We never battled we were down with the same click anyway. If anything we would have teamed up against KRS-ONE. Back in those days I don’t think it would have needed a team, I think Kane or I could have went at him directly. I am not taking anything from KRS-ONE either because he’s phenomenal, but we was equipped to go at him or defend any attacks.

Ace told us that you and Kane was arguing over who was going to go first. Did you want to go first or last or what?

Kool G: I don’t even remember. I didn’t even know what we was doing. This was another time I was called into the studio at Marley’s House. I went by Marley’s house, he had this track playing and I didn’t even really like the fucking track to be honest with you. ‘The Symphony,’ one of G Rap’s claim to fame and I didn’t even like the track. Anyway I came into the studio and I seen everybody there and I didn’t know what the fuck we was doing and Marley was like we gonna do this track. So the only thing I had was that long ass rhyme I told you I wrote. I don’t recall any arguments of who was going first. I probably just don’t remember. I didn’t care if I was going 1st, 3rd, last, I was gonna get my point across. It’s not about who goes first it’s about who everybody wants to listen too. If that was the case it would have been a big thing about Kane going last. Back in those days I didn’t think nobody was hotter than me.

How did you come up with the name Kool G. Rap?

Kool G: I’ve had the name Kool G. Rap since I was about fifteen years old. I’m thirty-five now so that gives you an idea of what I’m saying. I was a fifteen year old nigga rapping listening to Cold Crush Four, Furious Five, Crash Crew, and Force MCs before they became Force MDs.

I didn’t know their name was originally Force MCs.

Kool G: Yea, them niggas was rappers yo. Mercury, Stevie D and all them niggas was rappers man and they was nice. They wasn’t just average, they was bananas. Them niggas battled Cold Crush Four and all that. Grand Master Caz was reputable for his lyrics back then and they was battling up against niggas like that. Then they switched they game up, became Force MDs, and started making slow songs and love ballads and all that shit. They had crazy routines and I grew up listening to that. These were the days I made the name Kool G. Rap for myself. The name was Kool Genius of Rap and I didn’t want to prolong the shit, so I just shortened it to Kool G. Rap. The letter G ain’t got nothing to do with my real name or nothing like that.

A lot of people have said between your first and second album that you turned into a gangster rapper, but in an interview you said that the life around you changed and your lyrics reflected what was going on in NYC. What were some of the things that changed in your life that really shed light on why your lyrics became more violent?

Kool G: When I made ‘Road to the Riches,’ G Rap made an impact on the hiphop listening world. Everywhere I went I started meeting niggas. I got new relationships with different people because everybody is crazy about G Rap and I met a lot of wild motherfuckers. Being affiliated with a lot of wild shit going on just changes your whole aspect on things.

Speaking of meeting a lot of wild people what’s the craziest thing that has happened to you in your career?

Kool G: I can’t really single nothing out. A lot of shit happened, but nothing totally off the wall. It wouldn’t be nothing out of the normal. I mean I guess I wasn’t blessed enough to maybe have a fan like Jay-Z or DMX might have had where they could really say some crazy shit. I never reached that peak. I ran into niggas on the road, I met niggas on trains going places [like]’Yo I’ll die for you’ this that and the third, I had my incidents with girls, but it’s nothing out of the normal.

Hold up, dudes coming up to you saying, ‘I’ll die for you?’ Yo that’s not normal.

Kool G: If that happened to me I’m thinking that happened to Jigga like a hundred times.

Nah, you need to explain that man.

Kool G: This was after my first album. I made ‘Road to the Riches’ and we was on the train going to do the next performance and I met this Italian kid. This is when G Rap first realized he had Italian fans. He met me on the train like G Rap yo I fucking love you, here’s my numbers believe me I will fucking die for you. I will murder niggas for you.

Wow, what did you say to that?

Kool G: I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I was blown away by the shit. That never happened to me in my whole life. This shit was fucking shocking to me. I’m listening to duke in amazement. This dude was dead serious you could see it in his face, his expressions, everything. He was really trying to convince me that he would really do this.

Was this a grown man?

Kool G: Yea, he was older than me. I’m like 18 at the time this guy had to be about 25. This was a grown ass man. He let me know he was Italian and everything.

That’s crazy. Going back to your first album I heard some people from the gay community tried to sue you over your lyrics on ‘Truly Yours.’

Kool G: Nah, they didn’t try to sue me, but what they did was boycott me and ban me off the radio. The first single on the first album was ‘Road to the Riches.’ The second single was ‘Truly Yours’ and I said something about gays on there. I wasn’t really talking about gays, I was talking about a fictitious character, but the gay community got mad at me. They boycotted the radio station that was playing my shit out in Cali and Warner Brothers had to pull records off the shelves. The shit really hurt me bad because I believe that first album would have went gold. Off the first single alone I was already at 250K and the second single would have took it all the way there. I would have had a gold album under my belt. The next situation I got would have been better, there would have been more money involved, and they would have did more because they would know this is a gold selling artist. Since I got messed up from the beginning it was just a chain reaction.

Is that something you kept in the back of your head when you were writing lyrics, that some people may take things you say out of context and possible cause problems for you through boycotts etc.?

Kool G: When I was writing I wasn’t even thinking like that. All I knew was street shit. I didn’t think there would be gay activists boycotting my shit. I wasn’t thinking political like that. But when you get older you get wiser and you know there are certain things you can’t do and survive in the game that you’re in and bashing the gays is one of them. That’s like a white person right now saying nigga. It’s over for them. Look at the shit that’s going on right now because of [what Rush Limbaugh said about] Donovan Mcnabb.

What is your take on that situation?

Kool G: I was just catching pieces of it on the news and I don’t know what Rush said in detail really, but I just know whatever the fuck he said was offensive because I mean everyone is bashing this motherfucker.

With the Rush Limbaugh thing and Al Sharpton and the NAACP boycotting Nelly’s Pimp Juice energy drink do you think the black community misdirects it’s attention to these types of things when there are much bigger issues to be considered?

Kool G: I definitely think that. Since they was trying to boycott gangster rap I felt that way. When they was doing that shit back then I thought they could be doing better things besides trying to boycott Ice-T, Tupac and G Rap albums. [That] made Warner Brothers not want to drop the next G Rap album. Cold Chillin had to do it independently. I thought they could have been doing something more productive than picking on motherfucking rappers. I don’t care what kinda rap you write, if you taking the time to sit down with a pen and paper you’re doing something constructive. There’s a lot of niggas out there that ain’t gonna take the time to sit down with no pen and paper and write shit. They gonna rob another motherfucker that got what they want. That was real crazy to me for black people to be attacking black people, the black youth at that.

It pisses me off because when they do boycott the stuff they don’t even know what they’re talking about or the people’s names they supposed to be boycotting. If you gonna be mad at least know who you’re supposed to be mad at.

Kool G: If that’s the case go to blockbuster video. There are a million people with guns on the covers and all that shit. It’s a million white actors doing that shit, why aren’t you boycotting that.

Yea like with the whole pimp juice thing, if you have such a huge problem with pimping go stop pimps. Who cares about a damn energy drink? I’m like be happy he even got a drink out.

Kool G: Exactly, it’s not like it’s the rappers that started it. Rappers are like a mirror to their environment, they only reflecting what’s going on around them. How you gonna kill a reflection by breaking the fucking mirror. You got Roc-A-Fella and Sean John companies, look at all the progress we made from this rap shit that people criticized so much. This shit created jobs. And everything we doing now is still on a small scale. I want to see a black organization put satellites up in space and run networks and channels. I’m starting this program called the Million People’s Empire Club and this is exactly the cause for the thing that I am starting. It’s a ten-month program and I am trying to get a million people to put $111 every month for ten months into this corporation and it will be something owned by the people. At the end of ten months with a million people donating $111 that’s over a billion dollars and that’s what it cost to put satellites into space. And even if it ain’t for the satellites, with a billion dollars you can put up ten major hotels or supermarket chains. There’s no limit to the shit you could do and this would be the first casino or whatever we do owned by the people and not by some major corporation. It’s gonna take a lot of work to get a million people, so it may take more than ten months to get it started reaching out to people and making them aware. But it’s a good idea because you spend that money doing nothing. You go to the movies and eat at a restaurant with your chick the same night and you practically blew 100 dollars. So this is telling people take one of those days out of the month where you don’t do that and put it to something that will generate income for you every month. We just registered the website yesterday, so it is still in the very early stages right now.

What’s the most drastic change you’ve seen in hiphop since you’ve been rapping?

Kool G: The fan base. I mean the shit is fucking ridiculous now. We didn’t have this when we were coming up. It wasn’t this worldwide acceptance of hiphop to this degree. They accepted Run DMC and the Fat Boys, but they didn’t accept the grimy shit that niggas like G-Rap was spitting. There was no radio support for that or nothing. Another thing that changed is that niggas ain’t really lyricists no more. These new cats that’s coming up they just doing it because they see other people doing it. We was doing because the niggas that made us want to do it were real lyricists. That made us want to be real lyricists too. There was no such thing as a video. When you talked that millionaire shit, you was just rapping. You didn’t think no shit like that was possible. A mansion and a yacht? That was some cartoon shit. Now the shit is a reality and these kids today is just rapping for that. It ain’t from the heart or the soul. It ain’t from nothing genuine.

On ‘Live and Let Die’ instead of Side A and Side B there was a Terror side and a Horror side and on the inside cover you and DJ Polo got a picture in front of a mural that says ‘Universal Rest In Peace.’ What does that stand for?

Kool G: That was for my man that got killed on the block. He was standing on the block and got caught up in some drama and they shot him up and a bullet went through his eye and killed him. So the niggas from the hood put up a mural on the wall, so I took a picture in front of it because that was my dude. Me and him used to be on the block together before my records and all that.

‘Live and Let Die’ was wild. ‘The Train Robbery’ was one of my favorites. Were there any lessons behind the record or were you just rapping?

Kool G: We just did that to be rapping. All my early records, I was just doing shit that impressed me and that’s what an artist should do. Do shit that suits yourself first before you think about pleasing a million other motherfuckers. When you write your first rap before you spit it to anybody it’s because you feel like that shit is hot first. You amazed yourself first. That’s when you have the guts to say it to your friend and somebody else after that. So, all my early records I was pleasing myself doing shit that I think is hot. Then when you start getting mixed up with major companies, you gotta be more mechanical and more record making, song making, and chorus making conscious.

Did you ever get your money from Bell Biv Devoe for jacking your vocals for ‘Poison?’

Kool G: Never got my money man. They tried to pacify me by giving me a five-second flash in the video. G Rap really wasn’t on top of his B-I like that. I wasn’t really a business minded person at that time. I just wanted to spit lyrics. This is what separates me from a lot of niggas today. When I came into the game it wasn’t about the money and trying to bling bling and all that stupid shit. This was because this is what I really wanted to do. This shit was from the heart. I wanted everybody to be aware of what I was capable of doing. That’s why a nigga’s business might not have been tight at that time because that wasn’t my main concern. I could have gave less than a fuck if I ever got paid for a record. I just wanted people to hear me. That’s what counted more than anything. It was fortunate for the labels that I was with that I was in that frame of mind.

I peeped you had Gorilla tattoo on your arm. With everybody getting Chinese letters, panthers and lions what made you get a gorilla?

Kool G: At that time we were going by the name Black Gorilla Family and I got the name from the American Me movie, but I didn’t know the Black Gorilla Family was still as active as they are. Once I found out this was some active shit we didn’t want to take they name in spite that would have been disrespectful. So, we changed the name of our shit. But back then it was the Black Gorilla family [and that’s why we got the tattoos].

We call this next line of questioning bullets. It don’t make any sense. It’s like you being in the hot seat. The category is gonna be ‘Which Would You Prefer?’

Colt 45 or Kool Aid?

Kool G: Kool Aid

Hummer or Lincoln Navigator?

Kool G: Lincoln Navigator

Ice Cream or Sherbet?

Kool G: Ice Cream

Chicken or Beef?

Kool G: Shit, that’s kinda hard right there. I love chicken, but I love steak.

Aiight we’ll just say both for that. Who would win a fight 50 Cent or LL Cool J?

Kool G: LL

Gary Coleman or Lil Bow Wow?

Kool G: Haha Bow Wow

Who’s the best beatmaker to you Kanye West or Pharell?

Kool G: I’d have to say Pharell

Who you think is funnier Jamie Foxx or Chris Rock?

Kool G: Jamie Foxx definitely

If you could learn any language which would it be?

Kool G: Spanish

Who’s your favorite old soul R&B singer or group?

Kool G: Can I say more than one?


Kool G: Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin. Those two are the epitome of soul.

These aren’t bullets, just a couple questions I was thinking about. Have you ever recorded a track that was so ridiculously violent that you was like ‘Damn I can’t even put this out?’

Kool G: Never. The more violent it is the better.

How did you, Kane and Biz come up with the idea for ‘Racism?’

Kool G: I came up with the idea for that song. This was at the time when Yusef Hawkins got killed out in Howard Beach. This was like me letting my emotions about it come out in record form.

What do you feel is the most significant thing to happen in your life when you was down with the Juice Crew?

Kool G: Just being apart of the Juice Crew being around Mr. Magic, Marley Marl all the way down to Fly Ty and all the different artists I was around. I was apart of hiphop history just being affiliated with those surroundings. Just being apart of it in general was the most significant thing. There couldn’t have been an incident that was more significant than that.

How do you think you have influenced hiphop in your career?

Kool G: It’s not that I even think, I know I influenced hiphop to the greatest capacity because what street niggas were there before G Rap? None. Not on the east coast. It might have been a nigga named Ice T 3,000 miles away that New York wasn’t hearing about and he wasn’t really that graphic. I didn’t hear any ‘Riker’s Island’ songs at that time, but I give it to Ice T he was doing some gangster shit. He was the closest to that level after that N.W.A, but as far as the east coast I remember Milk is chillin, Giz is chillin, Dana Dane, and the Pee Wee Herman. I don’t remember niggas talking no street shit. The only nigga that came close to being blatant street before me was Melle Mel when he did ‘The Message’ because that was kinda hardcore right there. But he didn’t run with that style. When I caught it, I ran with it. Right after ‘Riker’s Island’ I did ‘Road to the Riches.’ The next album I did ‘Streets of New York.’ What’s more blatant than that? And to this day street rap is what rules. Everyone says you gotta make commercial songs, [but] those songs are street commercial songs. All 50’s shit is some street shit. Jigga’s shit was some street shit. Biggie’s shit was some street shit, they just learned how to do it in a commercial manner. It’s that particular style of rap that rules to this day and in my opinion it’s always gonna rule.

What do you feel best describes you as an artist and as a person?

Kool G: Back in the days I would of said Donald Goines of rap. I would probably still say that, but there are a hundred of them now. Right now the best way to describe G Rap is the only nigga from my era that can make songs with new niggas right now and people in the street will be like how you let that nigga kill you on your own shit. The nigga that shoot down your fucking hero. That’s probably why a lot of niggas won’t do songs with me, but I aint saying no names. You’re not gonna get on a track and fucking destroy me. Be happy if you get a little edge and I don’t really remember that occurring too tough.

How did you and Nas connect I heard one day Large Pro played you a tape of him back in the day when he was like 12?

Kool G: That’s definitely how I heard about Nas. It was through Large Professor. Large Professor knew about him first and he was telling me there was a young cat out in Queensbridge that was fucking crazy. [He was] like he could be the next G Rap or Rakim. Then I was like yea aiight [whatever], because that was a hell of a statement back then. But when I heard Nas I seen what he was talking about. Me and Nas got cool as the years. [It] went on to the point where I had a studio in my house and I had Nas laying a track or two. I was shopping the shit around trying to get him signed. I took them to Def Jam, they said yo he sound too much like G Rap, and they didn’t want to sign him. I know they regret it to this day, because a lot of the same people are still at Def Jam and they fucking remember even though they not saying nothing. My man was just saying that in interviews Nas says that G Rap was the first to shop my shit. I took it to a specific person at Def Jam that’s still there today. That pass up was crazy right there. Nas is a legend. He is one of the niggas I call the hiphop greats and I don’t give everyone that title. Out of all the rappers that there is there might only be ten that make it on the great list.

You know you gonna have to list them right.

Kool G: Ok. I’ll say Kool G Rap, Rakim, KRS-ONE, Big Daddy Kane, Biggie, Jay-Z, Tupac, Nas, and LL no doubt.

We did an interview with A.O. from And 1 Basketball and he said that if Jay-Z ain’t the best something is wrong. What do you think about that statement?

Kool G: Jay-Z is the best to do it in his time, but what about Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz. These were some serious niggas. They was the epitome of what they did. Melle Mel was fucking bananas. Him, Grandmaster Caz, and Kool Moe Dee. Fuck all that Wild Wild West shit Kool Moe Dee did, that nigga did some real crazy shit back in the days [like] when he destroyed Busy Bee Starsky. Moe Dee was crazy. But there is one cat that niggas never talk a lot about named Silver Fox. This cat would have killed Moe Dee and Melle Mel back in them days. That’s the cat that G Rap got his style from. He was like the main inspiration behind G Rap. I heard him spit and he was killing everybody and [heads] back in those days agree with me. He was with a crew called Fantasy Three back in those days and they got mad cuz Crash Crew bit them and made the song called, ‘Crash Crew Rocking on Your Radio.’ But they got the track from Fantasy Three and when they blew up with the track Fantasy Three made a dis record called, ‘Biters in the City.’ Silverfox was like the head of that group. That nigga was fucking terrific. His flow was just futuristic and that’s where LL got his shit from. Me and LL even talked about it one time because Silverfox introduced me to LL back in the days before LL made his first record. LL was like I’m fucking with Russell Simmons and Def Jam and I’m about to take over what Run DMC doing and all that. He was like a little dirty bum nigga. He had a dirty kangol on and a dirty shirt, but he was nice. He didn’t even make ‘I Need A Beat’ yet.

Whatever happened to this cat Silverfox?

Kool G: I seen him one time after I started making records and he said he was a chef. I guess the rap shit ain’t work out for him and he started to do other things. His name not being known is fucked up. This cat is what started niggas like G Rap and LL and G Rap and LL started a bunch of other motherfuckers who started a bunch of other motherfuckers. They know Kool Herc, but they don’t know the breeder of street rap. He planted the seed for that shit.

You say you one of the only few from your era that can come out now and kill young cats on their own track. What do you do to keep your skills sharp?

Kool G: I just stay mad competitive. I don’t trap myself in my own little world and constantly relive ’86 and ’87 over and over again everyday of my life. It ain’t like I’m a nigga from back in the days that don’t like anybody now. You got a lot of [cats] who were incredible back in the days and don’t like heads out now, but there are nice [MCs] out now. It just keeps me inspired just like before I started making records. So every time I come I got that brand new fire in me and that same hunger because I’m not trying to live off of what I did from ’86-‘˜88. Every time I write it’s like I’m new trying to get into the game.

I saw you got the new album out called ‘Click of Respect.’ Who’s in your crew and tell us a little bit about the new album.

Kool G: I’m a tell you like this that album is really a compilation album. The Five Family Click was birthed in the process of doing the album. It’s not like we had the click already and we decided to do the album. So this might be the first and last Five Family Click album you ever hear, so go cop it now. The hiphop beatles have done it one time and that’s it. The main focus right now is Kool G Rap and Ma Barker with a new energy and a new hunger.

The last question is on your Rawkus situation. I heard it went real sour so explain how everything went down because your album was on the shelf for two years.

Kool G: This is the deal with the Rawkus situation. These niggas lost their distribution and financial backing and instead of telling me about they just pushed the album back and was telling me other shit. I had to find out through the streets that Rupert Murdoch wasn’t fucking with them no more and that Priority wasn’t distributing Rawkus Records anymore. That’s why my album wasn’t being released. By my paperwork my project had to be marketed and promoted with a million dollars and they weren’t able to do it without their financial backing. I had to wait for them to find a whole new situation to release G Rap in the manner they agreed. Matter fact I’m sitting here with the head A&R from Rawkus at the time. What was you saying Mike? Haha

Haha. You just blew up his spot.

Mike: It was a fucked up situation. G’s an artist and those guys weren’t carrying themselves in the proper way dealing with a visionary and they made excuses, lied and fucked the whole shit up. They were kinda blaming it on him. So when he went into the studio he didn’t go with the backing of the label. It was us and them. You go into the studio and the people that’s supposed to be backing you aren’t supporting you. [Instead they’re] telling you ‘You’re not young like Jah Rule or sexy like Nelly’ and I’m quoting that. When they tell you that you go into the studio and sit there like damn my people don’t even support me. It was a real tough situation. But the shit that he’s doing now is reminiscent of some old G Rap shit.

Kool G: And that’s not from my mouth, that’s from the dude that Rawkus hired to do A&R.

Mike: I was hired specifically for G Rap’s album, but I ended up doing the Big L album in the interim.

Kool G: And we’re both not at Rawkus because of the same fucking situation. Rawkus ain’t drop neither one of us. They didn’t fire my man and they didn’t drop G Rap. This is some real shit. My man walked out on Rawkus with his check. I walked up in Rawkus with some fucking goons [like] either let me out and pay me or pay me and keep me, then pay me again to do the next record

Which label you on now?

Kool G: We on our own shit Igloo Entertainment. This album we’re doing now is a collaboration with another independent label called Blaze Entertainment. It’s a hot album.

Date: November 12, 2003