Recently, the legendary lyricist with the signature lisp, Kool G Rap, provided an early sneak peak to HipHopDX of Riches, Royalty & Respect (tentatively due in April). From the preview he provided, the first new offering from G Rap since 2008’s Half A Klip EP is shaping up to be a career comeback on par with Raekwon’s renaissance last year.
With a new EP, Offer You Can’t Refuse, boasting a half-dozen non-album cuts in addition to the previously leaked “Sad” due in the coming weeks to serve as an appetizer to tide over famished fans until the springtime release of G Rap’s triple-R return to releasing long players (his first solo full-length since 2002’s The Giancana Story), the Corona, Queens native is officially declaring 2011 to be the year he reclaims his legacy as Hip Hop’s premier street poet.
In his quick Q&A with DX, G Rap reveals some salivating details about his forthcoming comeback disc. And additionally during the discussion below, “The Kool Genius Of Rap” shares his thoughts on recent collaborator Rick Ross, and why the man who designed the conceptual blueprint for Nas, Mobb Deep, Capone-N-Noreaga and countless other hood narrators believes you, the fans, are hypocrites when it comes to the credibility issues of today’s Rap stars.
HipHopDX: The last time we spoke was in early 2008 for your HipHopDX feature, where you walked through your whole career… And in that interview we did, you told me you were working on your next full-length, that would feature new production from DJ Premier to trail the ill “On The Rise Again” from Half A Klip. So how many Premo beats did you get for your new album – 12, 13? [Laughs]
Kool G Rap: I’ll be honest wit’chu my dude, I ain’t get none from [DJ Premier]… I got a Alchemist track, [“American Nightmare”], with Havoc doing the chorus. That’s one of the highlights on the album. Other than that, I really didn’t chase names on this particular project because I was getting so much heat from dudes that was in the trenches… I look for quality, or I look for that heat period, and if somebody in the trenches got that heat I’ma run wit’ it.
DX: What y’all talking about on [“American Nightmare”]?
Kool G Rap: Basically talking about chicks that chase dudes that get the money, and end up in bad situations because of that. And I’m giving like the scenario of one chick in particular – it’s not like it’s somebody in real life, I’m just giving the scenario of a chick that does that in general. And what’s the outcomes of doing that. So it’s like a short story. It’s a two verse song. It wraps it up real quick.
DX: You doing a grip of storytelling on the album…?
Kool G Rap: I would say it’s more concepts than storytelling. [“American Nightmare”], that’s like one story rhyme, [but] then I got another track called “Maggie.” If you was to listen to it, you would think I’m talking about a chick. But I’m really talking about white girl, which is that brick of cocaine. The way I’m rappin’, [it sounds like] I’m just [talking] about a white girl that I’m wit’. [Laughs] If you listen real close then you’ll get where I’m going at wit’ it. I got [another concept joint] called “Pillow Talk,” talking about a chick that’s wit’chu but she’s fuckin’ wit’ the next dude. And you know when muthafuckas start sleeping together they start doing that pillow talk shit, start revealing personal shit…
I got a track called “Pages Of My Life,” where I’m touching on certain incidents in my life from the time I was in diapers up to the time I was a young teenager. And the “Sad” track that I released is touching on a lot of different subjects. It was touching on the passing of my mother and father, the passing of close friends, the passing of my sister… What people [heard] on “Sad,” they can expect a little more of that throughout the album.
Then I got my songs just displaying my lyrical abilities…like “G On,” where I’m just going in lyrically.
Everything G Rap is known to do, I’m doing on this album. I always did shit like that. Like, even on my first album, [Road To The Riches], you got “Road To The Riches,” [and] riches are a part of my reality. Then you got “Men At Work” – it’s something just showing my lyrical ability. Then you got “Truly Yours.” That’s [a song] sorta like something grabbed from reality, and then exaggerated a little bit – ya know, just to make the rhyme hot, or to make the song hot… ‘Cause sometimes when you writing, you just do what you feel. You do what you feel from the heart.
DX: You know we love that “Ill Street Blues” though. That’s the shit we want, as much as we can get.
Kool G Rap: Oh no doubt! I’m taking it the “Ill Street Blues” direction. I’m taking it every single direction [on this album]. I really doubt if anybody that’s a G Rap fan, and familiar with the G Rap body of work, I seriously doubt if they would be disappointed.
DX: Now, you said these names that did the production work aren’t really known, [so] can we get the names just to give ‘em some pub?
Kool G Rap: Absolutely. We got niggas like [De La Soul producer] Supa Dave, [Philadelphia-based production duo] Level 13, The Insurgency, my man Leaf Dog, and my man Pokerbeats who contributed in an amazing way to this album to make it what it is, and definitely got that heat.
DX: How you find these cats…?
Kool G Rap: I found ‘em all through MySpace, and Facebook. I posted up a email for all producers to send tracks to, and these are some of the cats that sent tracks. And them shits is undeniable.
DX: You couldn’t of done this like 10 years ago…
Kool G Rap: Exactly! But now you can run wit’ it. So I’m taking advantage of all the new technology.
DX: So we talked about the beat-work. You sharing the mic with any other emcees this go-round?
Kool G Rap: Just Havoc so far. I’m waiting on Beanie [Sigel] to send something back, who’s phenomenal lyrically. And I’m also trying to reach out to Vinnie Paz [for “Scarface Snow”]… Vinnie Paz got a crazy underground following. And I’m what you would consider to be a artist that ruled the underground. Because I never hit that Jay-Z status, I never hit that Notorious B.I.G. status [or] was mainstream like that. So I’m a artist that ruled the underground but recognizable to mainstream artists. And this is why I probably get the [title] “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.”
The shit that I’m trying to get Beans on, it’s called “The Fix.” “The Fix” meaning like niggas is craving for this and we gotta give ‘em this, baby. They goin’ cold turkey without us [in the game] right now. They getting stomach cramps and all that shit.
DX: There is one name I’m kinda surprised that I’m not hearing: [Rick] Ross. I was expecting a sequel to “Knife Fight” .
Kool G Rap: I mean, it’s always possible. I will continue to work with Rick Ross for as long as he wanna work with me. But, he’s doing his thing right now, and I’m doing my thing. He’s doing his thing on a crazier level right now. But, I mean, that’s life. He’s a artist more of the present time, so I expect that, and I accept it.
DX: I just gotta ask, man, given your credibility within the culture, did you initially have any reservations about working with Ross given his credibility issues?
Kool G Rap: I don’t pay attention to all that shit. To me, if dude was a C.O. or whatever, dude was making a living. And I ain’t gonna get too much into this shit because I’m not trying to make a circus out of this shit, because I’m not one to promote controversy and I’m not one to try to down another man out there doing his thing. What I will say is, I don’t see a problem if he woulda just said, “Yeah, I did that, but I’m doing this now.” Rather than people trying to use that to bring him down, he coulda just came clean and just said it like, “Yo, I’ma real dude. I used to do this, but I’m doing this now.” So I would never try to down [him] for what he do or anything like that, I just think – Hip Hop is a game where people appreciate you when you’re more honest. This is a game where everybody holds you so accountable for being real. But the fanbase is fucked up too, because they supposed to be a fanbase that hold people accountable to being real so much but they let all these fuckin’ fake muthafuckas sneak right through the cracks. So I don’t be wanting to hear nothing about Rick Ross and all that shit. It’s a lot of fake muthafuckas that slipped right through the cracks, and get over. [They’re] talking that gangsta life but ain’t really – Let me tell you something, man, there’s no way you can be a gangsta and rap at the same time. You can’t have your feet in both worlds. It’s impossible. ‘Cause a gangster gotta be on the low. And a rapper has to be in the open. So it’s like, the two contradict each other. So anybody talking like, “Yo, I’ma real gangsta and I bust my guns,” you ain’t – yeah, you might bust your guns, but we’ll be reading about you soon… Or we’ll be hearing about you, “Oh, he gotta do time now.” Or, “Yo, he got killed. They killed that dude, that Rap nigga.” ‘Cause that’s what being a real gangsta is.
(December 30, 2010)
UPDATE: According to E1 Entertainment’s distribution records, Kool G Rap’s Riches, Royalty & Respect is planned for April 19, 2011 release.