Kool Keith is the Greatest Rapper Of All Time. From Ultramagnetic MCs’ first album Critical Beatdown in 1988 all the way up to his latest albums, Keith has had a huge impact and influence on the culture of hip-hop and on music and style in general. So jump on your favorite search engine, do your research and play some of his shit as you read this. Kool Keith performs on Mon., Nov. 13, at the Teragram Ballroom. This archival interview conducted last fall for the release of Keith's Feature Magnetic by the Koreatown Oddity a.k.a. Dominique Purdy. " /> L.A. Record


November 10th, 2017 | Interviews

Kool Keith: A lot of cats can’t give you that information, like, ‘When I was in the studio one time with such and such she was singing, and to the world she looked good, but she was fucking up and they had to use a lot of effect machines on her.’ It has to be something that artist told you, like, ‘We just gonna say nothing about it, but you know, they couldn’t sing for shit back then. We fixed them up, but to the world, people think they the best singer, you know?’
I feel like that’s a skill Roc mighta got, too, from that convo. He’s mentioning all these detailed, colorful things, like the car he’s in, and then like I say, ‘You’re not unique, you’re no Kool Keith.’ And he’s mentioning names, like, ‘I’m chilling with a girl who looks like Meagan Good,’ or some kinda random line.
Kool Keith: Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah—like he put the color in it. Like you say, ‘I’m sitting in the beige Bugatti with the brown interior, Louis Vuitton.’ I remember me and Kay Slay had a good conversation, and he asked me, ‘Keith, how many cars you got?’ I says, ‘Slay, I got everything. In the raps I got every fucking car out there.’ He’s a cool person, and I had him dying. ‘Kay, I got a Bugatti, I got the Phantom, I got the motherfucking ‘ari’s, the Corvette—in the lyrics I got all that shit. In the lyrics I got it all. Hummers, I got the fucking H2 … anything and everything in the lyrics.’ [laughs] People gotta feel you have everything. You can have one car or something, but you don’t have to be like, ‘Well, I’m not gon’ rap about a Bugatti, I’m not gonna rap about the Maybach.’ That’s just—you painting pictures! Man, paint pictures out here, paint pictures.
I feel like you made it cool to talk about sexual things that was weird to some people, like on ‘Girl Grab’ you’re like—cuz it’s funny and a visual—you said, ‘Yo, you catching hay fever, you been sucking balls upside down with white sneakers.’ [laughs]
Kool Keith: And see, like me, I can tell chicks, like … I write this sexual shit, I don’t care. Like a rapper don’t wanna say nothin’ like, ‘I’ll let your chick sit on my face,’ like, they aura is, ‘I’m supposed to have this bitch suck on my dick.’ But I might say ‘I’ll let your chick sit on my face.’ But it’s still fly, cuz you like, ‘The chick is fly, I make a bad bitch sit on my face,’ but it still sound good both ways, cuz bitches say you freaky, and it can go all kinds of ways.
Right—like they don’t wanna tell you the stuff that’s normal. And when you saying like, ‘A vagina worked outta shape, I can’t see much, I got your dime dropping low shitting a hockey puck.’ [laughs] That’s a visual of what you’re doing. But some chicks, they don’t have they shit all pretty. Some chicks got the hamburger looking pussy, and I don’t like the hamburger look too much, though. You know what I’m saying? It’s like, you being honest, though. I think a lot of rappers hide so much in their emotions, but they can’t express it, either. Like you said—I think a lot of dudes can’t really express stuff.
Tim Dog—did you hear about when he faked his death or whatever?
Kool Keith: That’s what I heard, but I was with Tim, and people said Tim really passed cuz he had sugar or something —but I kind of believed it because he’d have made a call by now. He was in Atlanta, Georgia, when all this stuff happened, but … you know, he woulda really called by then. He woulda made a call.
You saying he is really dead?
Kool Keith: Yeah—I know he woulda called. He wouldn’t have hid it that much. I know him. Tim woulda called by now. I think what it is … he got sick and like you said, went through some complications and he was staying in Atlanta eating well. He had a thing when he was conning the women and stuff like that. He didn’t rob anybody physically with a gun. Tim was like a great business talker, and he can get a person and invest in things with them—very good with investing—and he did some truthful things with the things he would do with his music. He did some honest things, and I guess he said he needed money to press up records—which was honest—and I think people feel it was a bribe. It’s not a bribe. He did this stuff. I guess he probably didn’t give the ending money to the person. I mean, you look at the videos, you look at the song he did, ‘Iconic,’ he got all that stuff: ‘I’m gonna get the Phantom tomorrow and this and that and we gonna shoot a video.’ And he got all that stuff. Tim was always surprising, like sometimes you’d doubt, ‘Oh, you ain’t doing nothing.’ You know, when I was in Atlanta, he was a recreational person. You know, he was a rapper—you know what’s a funny story? What’s the girl that game under TI—that was his artist one time. Iggy Azalea.
That was Tim Dog’s artist?!
Kool Keith: Iggy Azalea was Tim Dog’s artist. I’ve seen Iggy Azalea in Tim’s house saying ‘I wanna be a rapper!’ Like she had a accent, she definitely had an Australian accent, and Tim used to keep his artists—he had Ill Flow, he had a lot of good artists. Rappers, he had singers, he had another cat that was a dope singer. Tim had a lot of artists under him. He always had like a boot camp, and he treated his artists like a boot camp. I call Tim the Black Hitler. I would come down there and Tim would have his artists, and he’d make his artists do strict things and have strict rules with some of his artists. There was another artist there, Ill Flow. He was cool. Ill Flow would hang with us sometimes. Sometimes Tim had strict curfews and stuff, like ‘Everybody go to bed, make your records, you ain’t coming with us to the mall,’ and I used to feel like, ‘Tim, why you so hard on all the artists?’ ‘Yo Keith, this is my artists—don’t say nothin’ to my artists.’ I just felt like they feel like they talking to the captain, and he’s the Hitler, so I’m like … Black Hitler. Iggy Azalea would tell me, ‘I wanna rap, but Tim is so hard on me. He thinks I’m garbage and I wanna rap.’ He would tell her, ‘Go back and sit down. Go do something.’ I don’t think he had no idea she would blow up. She didn’t have the flow or nothing, she was just a little girl. I always told her, ‘You know, keep up what you’re doing, keep the faith,’ and she said, ‘Thank you, thank you truly, Keith.’ We had little battles in the house—we’d do little battles with anybody who was more on her level. She had more of a baby style, like, ‘I’m coming to the top’—she was still in her pre-stages, like, ‘mat’ ‘cat’ and ‘hat’ verses. She’s a nice person, but she ended up going out there in Atlanta and hangin out, and went over to the Grand Hustle organization and I guess they put her on. They wrote for her and stuff and fixed her image up and marketed her to a point. You never know, and there you have it—you got Iggy Azalea.
Nobody knows that—that’s crazy! People will trip off of that.
Kool Keith: Yeah, isn’t that something?
Who are some of your favorite comedians,? Have you been watching comedy these days? Because all the verses are like—you’re just a comedian to spit. I know back in the Ultramag days you guys used to be bagging, and you probably made a lot of people cry off of weird stuff you’d say about them.
Kool Keith: Well, I was in high school, and I was a snapper. I was like the top snapper. I used to get off of school and go to different projects and snap. People would have you meet the top snappers, like you’d meet the top snapper across town—it was almost set up like the fight with the freestyle battles, you know what I’m saying? But you would go bag on somebody. It was me and this guy named Steve Martin who was like a top snapper in the world. We was the top snappers. We’d go snap on somebody in Manhattan—they had Doug E Fresh’s friend, King Superior, and he was good, and Flavor Flav was a snapper too—we used to have ‘your mother’ jokes, like, ‘Your mother don’t got arms, she only got one arm here and a body part missing there.’ We had a lot of rude kind of jokes, but they were funny when you’d hear them the way people would tell them, cuz they’d say different scenarios to them: ‘Your mom ain’t got fingers but she wanna play piano,’ you know, stuff like that. Sometimes you do it visually in the street and show how you doing it. That was the funny part. You did the visuals to it. So Ced and them knew for years I’d go all around New York to the top—I had a chance to run to the top snappers. Like they’d be like, ‘You need to go against Harry Harry or whatever from the Bronx River, he got jokes,’ and we’d be like, ‘Let’s meet up. Bring him over here; we can go over his way, whatever, bring him over.’ And we did that a lot.
That’s how we used to be in high school—we’d call it bagging. We used to bag a lot, and when we’d hear the music, it was like that—like when you’ll say one fucking guys sneakers on there look like hot dog buns or something like that.
Kool Keith: Like if a nigga really came over you, you gonna look at him for a while so you can study. Like, OK, this nigga’s fucked up: ‘First of all…’ you might point it out, like, ‘First of all, let’s talk about those fucked up shoes!’ and your niggas would be on the fucking floor. It’s like you really had to have everything together—you made sure your sneakers were new cuz like you say, you gotta block out stuff that they can see or something. They constantly looking for something like— you’d be like, ‘Nigga, right now your shoes is TALKIN’!’ You know? People would be on the floor, like … you really see the nigga’s sneaker open in the front, you know what I’m saying? If you come in to bag on somebody, you gotta make sure you put on brand new shit. These niggas will come any kind of way because back then you had good niggas, but they didn’t have money to buy clothes, but you can hit them more with the shit they had on. But that was a thing, too. They go by what you had on, you better not be wearing some fucked up pants. Like anything that looked wild, the nigga’s looking at you as soon as you come. ‘Okay, I’m gonna look at this nigga really good. Alright, it could be a turtleneck or something.’ Or, you know, like lint or something. You got a sweater with lint on it. He gonna really use that shit later.
I remember somebody like trying to say something about my shoes or my shirt or something and it was like a homie that had one ear that was obviously smaller than the other, and I just went straight to that ear and everybody just died. It’s over.
Kool Keith: Yeah, if you got a fucked up eyebrow or something, they’ll catch something. They’ll catch something like you said: ‘Hold up. This nigga talking to me with a eyebrow that’s halfway fucked up,’ and them niggas will see it and it’s fucked up, and that shit just have niggas on the floor. Some wild shit—like a nigga can look at your hand like, ‘First of all, nigga, you cannot talk to me with hands that dry,’ and then they look at the niggas hands and they be dry like that, and I tell you, everybody be on the floor. ‘They say this nigga’s hands was white! They so dry this nigga’s hands is white! They don’t even match his body!’ And you look at the nigga’s face and then his hands and they be ashy white. And them niggas be like, ‘Come on, firstly you can’t talk to me with ashy hands like that.’ And then some niggas would say somethin’ so corny that it’s funny. Like, you know, you’ll have a guy say something corny—
Yeah, we laughing at him because he said that—like, why’d you even say that?
Kool Keith: Like this shit is so corny that it’s funny. ‘Nigga, look at how you cut your hair … look at the back…’ Then you get on the nigga’s barber. The shit was deep, though. Like I had Steve Martin, he was the nigga that looked at your clothes. You wear fucked up sneakers, anything that can help—like high waters, pants that’s real high, you fucked up. The niggas are gonna get you. And they illustrated, too—they walked up to you and pull your pants up and say, ‘Look at how high these shits is!’ And they reach down and display to the crowd, ‘First of all, these shits is very high right now.’ [laughs] You know—it’s unexpected, though, and that’s what makes it funny, because you like, ‘OK, this nigga is gonna attack on me right now that I can’t see.’ So you gotta make sure your clothes … like if you wear a snorkel and it got dog fur on it, they be like, ‘You got a real nice coat, I love your coat and all that shit,’ and they might set it up slow. ‘You got a very nice coat on, you got a very beautiful coat on, but what’s all this dog fur shit on it?’ [laughs] King Superior was good like that. He used to roll with Doug E Fresh. He’d look at something like, ‘You got that big ass coat but you got tiny little buttons on it.’ [laughs] They would get detailed. They look at detail stuff. Just detail. They don’t know that commercial comedic—that shit is only at a certain point for corporate America.
When you watching something, and you’re like ‘I want to look at some funny shit,’ what do you watch?

Kool Keith: When I look at funny shit—I was watching the other day, this guy, he had like a skeleton twerking. He had a skeleton twerking and it was wild. He had him rubbing his butt on the floor. I just seen something wild. I just look for bugged out shit, shit that make you laugh—
You ever thought about making a movie?
Kool Keith: I want to do the movie. I need to hook up with a good director, I want to do a dope, different kind of movie. I want to do two movies: my movie, and I want to do a movie with Boogie Down Productions.
Would you want to play yourself?
Kool Keith: I could but it might be different—I give people the story but it would be real true. A lot of stuff a lot of kids that could probably relate to.
That might make a difference—if you did play you. Like Richard Pryor with JoJo Dancer.
Kool Keith: I’d probably do in and out parts. Me and then falling back to that person as a kid, and different things, and me and stuff. And a metaphor for me back to that.
We gotta make that happen!
Kool Keith: You got a Tyler Perry connect? For a movie—I’d think Tyler Perry could relate it better. He did a lot of touching movies. Remember when he did Temptation and other stuff? I want to have a touchy stuff too. The hard times and the real shit. I don’t want people to ever think it was peaches and cream. I want to show people wild shit like you actually coming home from the studio, and seeing a homicide when you get to your block. Shit like that. You see yellow tape and a body with a sheet over it when you get home to your area. I want to show like real shit and have people see like ‘fuck that rap shit and this shit.’
That would be dope too! People will really trip off that.
Kool Keith: Yeah—like they see what was going on away from the music. Like people don’t see it just like, ‘Oh, you guys just became Boogie Down Productions.’ You see real stuff. You see the hard times, shit like, ‘Wow, them niggas didn’t really get on like that easy.’
What kind of advice would you give yourself before you put out Critical Beat Down? Like you could tell your past self ‘Yo, you should do this.’
Kool Keith: I wouldn’t hang out as much. I probably would be more conserved, more business-wise. When I hung with Scott [La Rock], he was more business-wise. He would go to parties with a briefcase in his hand. Before I was in the movie, I couldn’t see it from the outside.
The way you talk about the industry itself, you know: ‘this kid, what do he know about a funky beat, telling me to rap over it? … Why you all—the A & R sitting over there looking at me like you know about it.’
Kool Keith: Even some of my friends be like, ‘I got a meeting,’ I tell them, ‘Good luck, you gonna get some popcorn and some Sprite!’ Those meetings have always been about popcorn and Sprite. And people will say, ‘You was right! They offered us some Coke, Sprite, and blew smoke up our ass.’ An A & R meeting today is really—I mean they don’t got companies like that anymore, a lot of them, but a lot of those meetings is like you ended up going in there not even talking about your own album. You go in there and he’s talking about his stuff he got coming out on his label, and he turned your shit off, and next it’s like, ‘Wanna Coke? Wanna Sprite? Wanna popcorn?’ Like they popcorn-ed out your meeting. The system—that stuff seemed like it was made to popcorn you out. ‘I’m gonna waste your time. I don’t know how you got down here, I don’t know if you paid for parking, you mighta spent money on gas, you mighta come across a bridge and spent $15, you mighta drove from ten miles away, mighta drove from way upstate New York.’ They don’t know. They just got you in a meeting, offer you apple juice, popcorn. And people was like—to give you a soda is something big! I guess they got a refrigerator full of shit to shine you off in a nice way.
‘Man, we gotta get rid of all these sodas.’
Kool Keith: Yup. It seemed like it was pre-set up for the next group coming in, and the next group’s gonna come in, they got a case full of soda and popcorn, bunch of big boxes of microwave popcorn, just to be nice. ‘Oh I went and sat in Columbia Records, I got some popcorn.’ Even though I signed a lot of deals, I had the most record deals—I’m looking out for the average kid. His manager go in there, and you get popcorn. And that’s the same way with animation things, films, you go in there presenting a movie—that’s why you got to go in there with the right person, the person you really want to speak to. But you go in there, like for movies, pitching a TV show, they got popcorn and everybody got a soda to offer you. And I’m thinking, ‘Is that the corporate fuck-off everyone has?’ I know it’s being hospitable, but I’d rather you—you don’t have to give me nothing to tell me you ain’t trying to work with me, basically. I can go outside and buy me some Twinkies and a pizza and a coke myself. You ain’t gotta turn me around in a nice way. It’s like you setting somebody up. ‘Let’s pop some popcorn and drink a Sprite and—hey, I got another meeting in ten minutes, it was nice knowing you guys and you got a Sprite and a Coke!’ It’s like a smooth turnaround. That stuff took me out the most.
I can feel going along with you in the journey, in albums, when you like, ‘I wanna talk to my fans, the people who don’t know what I been going through.’ You like set them up and then you tell us all these things cuz people don’t know the other side of the game. They just know the image of the rapper. And all the stuff he’s doing that you do like, but not how it got that far. They don’t know—they know, ‘I got the album.’ They don’t know what you gotta do to get the album mixed, and get it out, and get the artwork correct, and this dude didn’t like how you did this, and you gotta get this thing back.
Kool Keith: They wasn’t there. They just think all that shit came completed. They wasn’t there through that hard time: ‘I gotta go mix it over, I gotta change the vocals, I’m waiting for somebody to mail the vocals, I ain’t got it yet.’ They just got the album in one complete piece. People take that for granted too. So that’s a big thing too. And in general, a lot of stuff that I did in the past, I didn’t feel no regret. I put a lot of material out there in the universe. It’s funny, I got this album out, and I gotta maintain this concept of the 14 songs. I feel like making something else! Something new again. Like you said, something two hours ago is old or something. It looks like that, but you can’t take it like that. I feel so over-creative and overwhelmed. My creativity sometimes gets frozen, and I feel like — just because you make an album, you gotta promote the songs, and you gotta go to radio stations, and you gotta play something of all the songs of the album. But you really want to play other brand new stuff. Your mind gets so overwhelmed. So it’s a hard challenge for the artist. You’re ready to play a brand-new exclusive! But people don’t know that—they don’t know that you feel like doing another fourteen songs. I’m ready to do another fourteen of some other shit right now. But you gotta hold yourself cuz you gotta retail that out to people.
You are on some other shit by the time that album comes out.
Kool Keith: The people are on that, but you’re like, ‘Well I didn’t finish—I already drunk two bottles of the Moet, and now I’m drinking some Don Julio shit now over here, I’m good. There’s a graveyard of these other bottles.’ That’s how it is in music right now, and that’s the pain of how you gotta restrict yourself. If I didn’t have a little bit of control, I’d probably put out more shit on top of this and you’d be like, ‘Wow, what album is that?’ But like you say—you gotta respect your own projects at some point too. You don’t want to bombard it, but sometimes your mind plays tricks on you and you be like, ‘I need to make fourteen—put out something I got, pick out fourteen tracks I got revved up to go on something else.’ It’s hard. Your anxiety kicks in again: ‘I gotta work these records, I gotta work these records’ and you’re so overwhelmed with rap naturally. Like some of these artists, they come out with records and they content with them all the way to the end. I go out and listen to Sirius XM and hear how other people are doing they stuff, but I don’t hear nothing too different. I’m pretty much right on time, right in there. Some shit is too future. Like ‘Super Hero’ is one of the most distinctive production records I’ve made. It was like kind of industrial rebel, like rap and EDM and all kinds of shit combined. And space and air pressure, it sounded like people landing—you could imagine them big ass Marvel comics guys, they come down with the space shoes—when you see like Silver Surfer landing, they put the little sound effects. It seemed like a realm of that. I got a lot of songs—I got a lot of different shit. Different from everything I made in the past and in the future. That has its own element away from the whole album. That record was me and him, like a soundtrack for a big movie, the X-men—
It’s big, that’s why!
Kool Keith: So that song, for me, it didn’t sound like no rap record. It sounded like a Marvel Comics record. It don’t sound like a record you roll a blunt—it sounds space aggressive, like aggressively space and future. It’s hard, and like a futuristic funk record, but it’s real metallic. It’s big. You could see motherfucking Gambit throwing fire at someone.
What were you doing when you made that beat?
Kool Keith: I put an element through it. I put it like me and him are floating. That shit sound like we floating in there. The background seems like me and him are battling. Like we landed on two planets throwing meteorites at each other. That’s what it sounds like, like me and him are throwing meteorites back and forth at each other. I’m floating around, he’s landing, he throw something, I catch it, I blast back off. And people fighting—on buildings, on trucks, throwing a car at you —it sounds like that. You got the air pressure all through it, you hear that air all through it. It sound like air craft flying around. So I set that element up like that.
How often do you make beats?

Kool Keith: Every other week. I make a lot of beats, and then I keep them, and then I listen to them, and then I come back. Some beats grow like an embryo. Some beats seem like they ready to come out. Some beats come out futuristic, and some beats, I keep like ‘I’m never gonna put this out.’ Sometimes you enjoy the fact of having some beats of your own to listen to, and then you put raps on them, like, ‘Wow, this just sound crazy!’ The industry could never imagine how funky— even in the south, you hear stuff that Future and them be doing, all kinds of funk, you hear trap stuff that sounds funky—you got people that make funky stuff in general. It’s funny how artists are. I think a lot of artists got all kinds of tracks but some producers only got sweet tracks. And them some got sweet tracks mixed with a few dark ones, and then a couple light ones, and then some people got all rugged shit all the way through. I think I’m like that—all rugged shit all the way through. I gotta lot of hard shit. Like when I did like ‘Fine Girl from High School,’ but it still had a mean bassline. It still had an element of you talking to a girl, but it still had ‘bum bum bum!’ You could still hear the Frankenstein in it, but it’s sexy. Like something Jodeci could sing on. Like you know how when you still used to see a public announcement come out, they came out with slow jams, the niggas having sex with the floor and all that. It still has the element of eroticness to it, but it’s like hard erotic. And I think that’s what people forgot how to make—hard erotic shit.
It made me think about on Black Elvis, ‘The Master of the Game.’ With those drums—they’re all hard, but it’s got that smooth top on it, and when you come in it, the flow is like—
Kool Keith: If it’s light, it’s gonna be light, but a nice light. But like you said when you hear ‘bum bum bum,’ it’s still gotta creep to it. If it was Jason walking around in the dark, it’s like a creepy story but a girl could hear it riding around—you could ride around in a Cadillac or something and turn the corner—‘bum, bum bum bum!’ It’s still sensuous.
I like the songs where you sing the hooks—it reminds me of the Four Tops, or the Delfonics.
Kool Keith: Some artists would never meet that element of funk in their life. Like if you did a track with Beyonce or something, you would never meet that element. Like if my daughter was a singer, I’d probably put that background behind her. The stuff I did in the past was all custom made, and people never got to experience that because they rapped to beats that were made for everybody. Like 90% of the people in the industry got beats that were shopped to everybody. Like Mariah Carey turned it down, Bruno Mars turned it down, you know—they rapping on them kind of beats.
Second-hand beats.
Kool Keith: Beats that was shopped to the world: Rihanna took it, she liked it, or Adele heard it and she ain’t want it, and Shakira heard it and Jennifer Lopez, and Justin Bieber heard it and he liked it. They’re rapping to a strain of beats—like they all smoking one strain of weed that’s passed around. They doing everything one way. So they don’t get a chance to zone in on somebody making custom beats and something exclusive, like ‘Wow, he made this shit for me. He’s coming in the studio making this one especially for me.’ Their beats are hanging out on the shelf: ‘Fetty Wap didn’t want that one, and Tiga heard it but he didn’t want it.’ A lot of them singers, they just getting the element of what’s out already on the market. So the beats are already commercially shopped. And passed around by uncustomized producer. Even Pharrell is probably not as exclusive no more. They lost that exclusive privacy beat-making thing, so it’s not coming from nowhere. See back in the day, those artists didn’t — remember, Ohio Players never gave the Whispers beats.
Right—it was like ‘this is our shit.’
Kool Keith: Like everybody had their own sound. Kool and the Gang ain’t do beats for Earth Wind and Fire—what kind of shit is that? That beat shit only started with rap—that’s why we came from the last of the artists making beats for themself. The industry destroyed that when they did it to Kool and the Gang. Remember ‘Celebrate good times come on!’ That’s when I knew Kool and the Gang was over. Those were big records for them but they watered the Kool and the Gang’s tradition down. You know, ‘Jungle boogie—jungle boogie!’ All the funk stuff. They took Kool and the Gang and watered them down. That’s what they did in the music industry. That’s why a lot of girls could never be funky—like Mary J. Blige —
—they got Mary J Blige doing fast food commercials now!
Kool Keith: —like Mary J Blige and all of them, they ain’t never got a chance to be on something really funky. Like a funk person made it. They never got regular producers and stuff. They probably never experienced getting on something that is so different.
It’s like almost once you get watered down, you feel like you can’t even go into that type of music.
Kool Keith: Like you said, they never would ever make it to the funk shit. They’ll never make it to a level—even the girls that are good, like Ashanti and them coming up—they sing good but they won’t never ever really get a chance to work with somebody that was funky or something. They won’t get a chance to ever work with Slave, even though a lotta of the members of that group passed. I guess back in that funk time, they was on drugs and stuff. I wanted to meet them, and like you said, they won’t never meet a lot of those dudes—they never meet someone who is funky. They might see Bootsy and stuff, but they don’t let Bootsy play a bassline. All the girls sing on the same type of tracks. I knew Tracy Chapman wasn’t funky, but I never knew the industry would water down a lot of Black women.
You see artists being any type of thing that’s entertainment, you see the people who get stuck—what’s the thing that’s keeping you to naturally flow to something different?
Kool Keith: I just naturally feel youthful. It’s like this guy, this man, he’s like 63 years old. I see him downtown. This guy can tell you who the latest rapper is. Not even a commercial rapper—he could tell you like, ‘Yo, Showbiz and AG working on something! ’‘Buckshot, they from Brooklyn!’ He’s up there in age but you never know a person that had that knowledge like that. He knows a rapper. He knows underground, overground, commercial, he knows all Vanilla Ice to Pitbull to Rick Ross. His whole demographic across the board! I took somebody to meet him and they bugged the fuck out. If you see him on the street, you’d be like, ‘This man don’t know nothing about no fucking rap,’ but he’d have the most deepest conversations. I can’t believe for the age though! He don’t got a high tech phone, and all these niggas got high tech phones—people showing off with the iPhone, and this nigga got a flip phone. How he getting knowledge like this? But you got motherfuckers who got the best notifications and work for the city, and chicks in the hospital working dope ass—in delivery rooms, and they got the best phones, walking around with scrubs, and that bitch don’t know the latest shit out. Bitch probably don’t know that Queen Latifah is an actor or something. She probably think Queen Latifah still made ‘U N I T Y.’ I’m saying, to me, it’s handicap too. Some people are old! I don’t wanna get where I don’t know nothing no more. That’s fucked up.


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