This week Necro and Kool G Rap have unleashed their hardcore manifesto Once Upon A Crime on the world under the guise of The Godfathers. The project fuses gore-master general Necro’s brutal beats and no-holds-barred rhymes with veteran New York City gangsta rapper Kool G Rap’s still-furious flows. It’s not for the faint-of-heart and lily-livered. In celebration of the release, we got Necro to drop a historical tribute to the Kool Genius of Rap. While you indulge in that, stream the new project below.
When did you first hear Kool G Rap’s music?
The first time would have been watching Video Music Box and it was “Road To The Riches.” As kids, we were very big Billy Joel fans — somehow Billy Joel invaded our world, him and Hall & Oats — and I’m pretty sure I recognized the sample on the song [from “Stiletto”]. And just the fact that he was rapping a lot of criminal shit. I don’t think I fully understood that he was rapping multi-syllabic rhymes yet, but I recognized the whole rapping in court and mentioning shit like John Gotti. I thought it was pretty cool.
When did you first start to really understand G Rap’s music?
It was when I started listening to “Wanted: Dead Or Alive.” I remember being blown away by that. [Raps] “I’m wanted dead or alive/ I stalk the New York sidewalk/ All the girls hawk, but I don’t stop to talk.” I thought that was cool, the way he was talking about how the girls look but he don’t stop for them. Then he’s going on and talking about walking around with a “nine on my waistline/ Got 16 shots and I don’t waste mine.” That was pretty cool. And he’s talking about rocking Ballys, wearing nice shoes, while shooting people! It was some real gangsta shit.
I was so young I didn’t fully understand the gangsta shit, ’cause he was really kinda rapping movie shit; it was a mixture of the ‘hood and the movies. Some of it was thug and ‘hood, some of it was from gangsta movies. I was living drama at the projects, but I didn’t go through anything gory — in the projects everything was pretty much cut and dry. But G Rap was crazy and he would say a lot of crazy shit that I would end up living.
Like when he rapped about black army suits and Timberland boots and rolling like troops, he’s talking like going up with like an army against people. I would eventually do that. We’d get dressed up in black, and the whole idea was being mysterious so nobody will recognize you — he takes that and incorporates it in that song.
You mentioned his use of multi-syllabic rhymes. From a technical point of view, what do you appreciate most about G Rap?
G Rap was probably the most technical because he would intertwine all the words, even more than Rakim and [Big Daddy] Kane. KRS-One was dope, but he was a little more straight-up and he got off with swagger and knowledge, and Kane had more metaphors, and Rakim would intertwine but G Rap did it even more like he would rhyme “killing” with “felon” and keep going and it would all intertwine. I don’t think anybody was fuckin’ doing that. Whether it’s Big Pun or Nas or Jay Z, any of these rappers that salute G Rap, we know instantly that the first person they heard doing that style was G Rap. There’s no questioning.
How would you sum up G Rap’s influence in the hip-hop world?
I think it’s evident when you see what people have said about him. The biggest example is Eminem saying he’s an influence and recently he mentioned Kool G Rap during a Sirius thing on favorite rappers. Then there’s Jay Z saying he’s like G Rap in his prime. You’re talking about two of the biggest motherfuckers on the Earth for hip-hop that are saluting G Rap. They’re not mentioning Kane or Rakim — I don’t know if they did or not — but they definitely mention G Rap.
A guy like Big Pun, rest in peace, he got on his knees and kissed G Rap’s ring when he met him. A guy like Necro, you know what I mean, this is the only collabo I’ve done with another MC outside of my camp that’s important enough. And there’s Nas — when have you ever really heard Nas go back and forth with anyone besides [with G Rap on] “Fast Life”? He did it with AZ, but as dope as AZ is, it was more calm and friendly with him and Nas. But when Nas goes back and forth with G Rap, they’re both at the same level lyrically and they’re almost like challenging each other line for line. Nas never really had that — if anything, Nas sonned his competition with “Ether” with Jay Z, so G Rap is the only one that’s even capable of being on Nas’s level. Prodigy said it in his book, he heard G Rap and he wanted to start rapping.
You see, when it comes to all these really good rappers and a lot of them are from the East Coast and they’re really lyrical, and they all salute G Rap. G Rap is like a king and someone we all love from our side. I’m sure people love him out in California and the midwest, but we all salute him here in New York.
What was your first meeting with G Rap like?
It was unreal for me. I got to really meet an icon. I’ve met KRS-One and taken a pic with him, but it wasn’t like that situation where I could talk to him. I did catch KRS-One staring at my jewelry, that was kinda cool. But it was totally different when you’re meeting someone and they can work with you. Meeting G Rap was fuckin’ insane. He had already agreed to work with me but we hadn’t met yet — he was down to work based on me being the label owner and the business being handled correctly and he’d heard my name and all that.
Part of me is egotistical and I have a lot of pride–for most people I don’t give a fuck–but this is G Rap so I wanted him to like me. I let him know that I know of his music properly, not like someone who’s going to front. He knew he was dealing with someone that understood his shit. And me being from Brooklyn, and him being from Queens, we were able to relate to each other–a lot of my best friends and my goons are from Queens. Brooklyn and Queens always got along more than Brooklyn and the Bronx. We agreed on a lot of things and the vibe was real cool from the beginning.
A lot of times I meet with people, they don’t like me or they love me. It’s one or the other. For example, we’re sitting in Applebee’s and we’re drinking Hennessy, ’cause that’s G’s thing, and the waiter kinda looks like a member of Depeche Mode and I’m an abusive type of person and usually it’s for the sake of humor. I believe there has to be a victim for all comedy. So I was abusing the waiter and that was making G Rap laugh. It was like, okay, this guy has a sense of humor. He’s not looking at me like I’m an immature white piece of shit, he’s laughing, he gets the humor. G Rap is buggin’ out.
He’s like me in a lot of ways and me and my people, we’ll flip in a minute: One minute we’ll be goofy and joke with you and the next we’ll flip on you and punch you in the face or really get dramatic like it’s a real problem. Not everyone’s like that, especially in the industry, but a lot of quote-unquote street thugs and gangsta-type people are wise-asses but then we’ll also get very serious. We’re gangsta enough to be wise-asses but the second you think we’re sweet, it’ll get serious. G Rap is like that too and we clicked almost instantly.