From the streets of New York, many emcees have come and gone, leaving their own imprint on the music industry. But there are few lyricists who have pushed through the ages like Kool G Rap, who has been involved in the rap game for over 20 years -- his influence being shown through familiar names such as Jay-Z and Nas among many others.
Yo! Raps just had to catch up with the legendary emcee, who is preparing the release of his new album Riches, Royalty, and Respect. The album slated for an early 2011 release is the fourth album from Kool G Rap and the first since 2002.
Tune in to find out what Kool G has been doing to prepare the perfect project and why he is -- and will always be -- known as the moderator of Mafioso music.
How’s it going? Great to hear from you…
Everything is everything, my man.
How were your holidays?
It was pretty good. To be honest with you, I don’t celebrate too many holidays [laughs]. Just New Year’s and Birthdays, that’s about it. But I’m grateful to be here, man.
I feel you [laughs]. So what’s been going on lately? I must admit I was pretty excited to get a chance to talk to you.
The majority of my time has been used putting a new album together. I’ve also been concentrating on starting a few businesses so everything is good. But my main focus is my music. Me being an artist that has been in the game over 20 years, man -- it’s a blessing.
There has been plenty of buzz about Kool G Rap and your new music. Is there a set date yet?
Well, I definitely like the suspense that’s building [laughs]. But as of right now, we are developing concepts for the album so I’m looking at a late spring, early summer release. It’s right around the corner!
You originally had the album set for a 2010 release. What brought about the change?
I just felt like there were things that needed to be gone over a little bit longer -- it’s all about preparation. I wanted to take what I already had and continue to build on it to make the project something great once it’s released. I would much rather delay the drop date and take my time making good music than to rush and produce garbage.
Agreed. Still, with the delay, do you worry that fans will become impatient?
Oh, no -- not at all. I’m giving the fans an EP just to hold them over. I’m not tryna start 2011 with leaving people hanging [laughs].
I understand. So tell us about the album and where the title came from…
Riches, Royalty & Respect, man. That’s the name -- —it really just came from me reflecting about the things that I’ve always wanted in life, you know? I think every man in some way wants those three things. In some way.
Definitely. You’ve been around for 20+ years so we know that you have plenty of fans. What will fans hear with the Kool G of 2011?
It’s gonna be what they are used to. I mean, of course over time things change so the subject matter will have evolved. But as far as the sound, it’ll be Kool G -- streets of New York like it’s always been.
So with the artists that are out right now, did you feel any pressure to change your sound/style?
Naw, I would never change my style. Me being around for so long -- my style has probably influenced the artists you listen to. The J. Cole, Drake, Ross of this time, came from Jay-Z, Nas, etc. A lot of the songs coming from those guys -- they shouting me out for a reason. They’ve been influenced by me at some point.
Gotcha. So with the EP, who do you have working on it?
I got my man Domingo who produced the majority of the tracks. I really didn’t do too much work with outside production. Neither the album nor the EP will have producers you’ve heard of. I wanted the team to be made of guys in the trenches.
What singles are you most excited about?
I like Your Chick Chose Me and also In Too Deep. Pages Of My Life is another one. All of them were made with new production.
Do you find it’s better to go with underground talent?
It’s really a catch 22. It’s good because there’s so many outlets for new talent to be found. But then it can be bad because the game is so saturated today.
What do you think is necessary for someone who wants to last in an industry that has become saturated?
You gotta do work that comes from the heart. It has to come from the heart, not because you want the diamonds and girls. You have to love it.
Yea, man. I love what I do. There will be hard times but you gotta love it. It’s like the NBA -- some gonna make it and some won’t.
Well put. So as far as music, is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like?
Right now, Beanie Sigel is one.
I can see something good coming out of that.
Yea, I’m working on that now. I would love to do something with Jay-Z or Nas as well.
When it’s all said and done with the new album, what do you want listeners to get out of it?
That there’s a reason I’ve been around for so long. I have a real love for music -- my music.
About these other projects, how are you balancing outside ventures and your music?
It all comes together with dedication. I got an urban clothing line coming out and I’m really excited about it. There will be a shoe line in the works as well.
We definitely have a lot to look forward to with you, then. Fans should be excited.
Yea, man. Get ready for it! No doubt.
- By Jovan Bland