Kool G. Rap: Gems From A True Hip Hop Legend [Exclusive Interview]
He continues to explain how the importance of creating music for love rather than money helped keep him active all of these years. “G. Rap wanted people to recognize him for his talent. That was always my main drive. It was never the money. The money became an issue years later because when you’re growing up in this game now you’re not a kid no more. You’re a man and you start making families and stuff like that. Now you have to pay the bills and what you dedicated your life to it has to work for you. But that was never my main thing; my main drive. My main drive was I always wanted to be acknowledged for what I was capable of doing.”
“The soul of music ain’t there no more . . . the soul left”
Winding down to the end of our interview, I asked Kool G. Rap what he was most proud of and most disappointed in regards to Hip Hop’s evolution since he first embraced the culture as a way of life. “I’m proud that unlike so many other genres of music, Hip Hop connected all the different racial barriers. It bridged the gap between races, it bridged the gap between countries like no other form of music did. And its staying power. A lot of people feel like Hip is dying or its dead. The essential real grass roots of Hip Hop has died and has been moved into an underground music genre now.” He explains further, “You got what’s going on in mainstream Hip Hop now, or rap, and then you got the grass root Hip Hop, which a lot of new artist today consider “boom bap.”
Continuing to describe his greatest disappointed in how Hip Hop has evolved he opines, “I think its been diluted where they made it where lyricism isn’t important. It’s more about imagery and swagger and talking about what you got. That’s why the soul is not into the music. The soul of music ain’t there no more. Where is that feeling that Al Green gave you when you listen to Al Green records or Otis Redding when you hear the fucking soul come through the recording? That is not there no more. You just hear good voices, good production, but the soul ain’t there — the soul left.”
After reflecting on Hip Hop as a whole, how does a legend like Kool G. Rap, who happens to be a rapper from birthplace of Hip Hop, New York City, feel about the brand of Hip Hop coming out of New York right now? “I think that New York had a lost generation. I think in the 80′s era, the crack era and all that, we lost a generation of kids and now those kids don’t identify with their roots no more. They don’t identify with that; they don’t have nothing to really cling to to give them a sense of self so they try to imitate and emulate the artists they see. And right now who’s popping is the South and they’re going to emulate that. And they’re going to emulate the other things like the gangs and all that.” He continues to give examples of this phenomenon, “You got New York rappers that’s basically trying to rap like they’re from the South because they’re following that trend or that style of music because they have no sense of identity no more. This is why they don’t respect their O.G.’s. When I was coming up the youngsters respected the O.G.’s in the hood. We lost all that. So when we lost that we lost a generation of young rappers; they’re going to come up and do what they see everyone else doing.”
He closes by stating whose responsibility it is to revive New York Hip Hop music. “I think that responsibility is on every rapper that comes up out of New York. Like, have a sense of pride of where you’re from. Every rapper, every DJ is responsible.”
Riches, Royalty, Resepct drops this April and G. Rap says you can expect his classic story telling, lyrical acumen and the traditional Hip Hop production that made his previous projects classics to propel this release. Make sure you go out and cop that when it drops.
Photography by Scott Church
For interview requests please submit your inquiries here.
If you have any thoughts feel free to comment below or hit me directly on Twitter –> @UptownPrinceMAL