Mar 13, 2015

Kool G. Rap

It’s pretty easy for someone to talk about Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS and even LL Cool J when talking about Golden-Era hip hop. It’s also pretty easy for someone to not mention Kool G. Rap

Considering he was in a photo on the back of Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full album and easily Big Daddy Kane’s lyrical twin in the Juice Crew, he is the most underrated rapper in hip hop history. He may not have had lyrical God-like status, been a teacher or ruler, but he has the distinct honor of being the best MC to have never gotten his FULL props.

Interestingly enough, from 1995 to almost present day, Kool G. Rap may not have had an album worth talking about but his guest appearances on other artists’ tracks are stellar. Like most of his Golden-Era peers who struggle to stay relevant in this modern era, Kool G. Rap’s rep as an underground lyrical Don grew which could explain why so many contemporary rappers and producers reached for his verses.

Anyone knowledgeable about hip hop music would love to hear a modern day classic album reflective of his talent. We would also love for him to receive the accolades that have escaped him. I was informed not too long ago that Kane urged that Kool G. Rap be honored at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors. One way to help the cause is to get familiar with his work so that his name gets mentioned in any discussion on hip hop lyrical greats.  

One of the greatest and most legendary rappers I can write about is Kool G. Rap. I still have no word as to whether he is a VH1 Hip Hop Honouree but he will get the royal treatment on my Suite Delight radio show.

I still believe that with the exception of a handful of rappers, Kool G. Rap not being honored by VH1 cannot be tolerated. For as long as he's been in the game and the respect he has in hip hop history, something should be done. His lyrics are timeless, his influence on today’s rappers (whether they know it or not) has to be recognized. 

On a personal note, Kool G Rap’s verse on The Symphony, one of hip hop’s earliest and best posse cuts, is my favorite.

I managed to walk into a conversation I heard among two DJ/producer friends I know not too long ago. A discussion of golden era hip hop brought one of the two to state that Kool G. Rap's first verse in Men At Work is the greatest hip hop verse of all time. That is surely a subject for debate but the admiration for Kool G. Rap is not. Therefore, I was content in my decision.

From 1986-1988, one of my New York cousins gave me an audio cassette full of hip hop radio music.

I remember It’s a Demo being on one of them.

One of my earliest solo trips to downtown Montreal was to buy Road to the Riches at Sam the Record Man.

Pete Rock, along with Large Professor, did a remake of Truly Yours on his Soul Survivor release.

Stereo MC’s choosing Road to the Riches as a track on their DJ Kicks mixtape made me understand Kool G. Rap's greatness was acknowledged outside of the North American hip hop community.

Live & Let Die reinforced that Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo were locked into gangster rap for another album after Wanted: Dead or Alive.

I was disappointed a rhyme ripper like Kool G. Rap would choose the gangster rap door.

Ill Street Blues is the strongest single of the album.

What Kool G Rap does lyrically on Letters is nothing short of brilliant.

The On the Run remixes are standouts as well if you’re willing to chase the 12” single like I am.

For some reason or another, Wanted: Dead or Alive didn’t register with me like it should or could have.

Talk Like Sex naturally made an impact on me (!) and if it weren’t for those New York cassettes, Money in the Bank and Erase Racism would have really escaped me.

I had the chance to buy the CD only once over the years while music hunting but didn’t.

Streets of New York is a fantastic song but I really knew of it after 1990.

If I can come up with a theory as to why I didn’t reach for Wanted earlier, it was probably because I didn’t like his gangster leanings.

Back in those days, I was East Coast hip hop all the way and had little time to no time for West Coast.

At the time the pose on Wanted and even the title didn’t appeal to me.  

It would take many years for me to hear the album in its entirety and realize how good it is. I should have bought that CD when I had the chance.

As much as it may have been a case of wishful thinking for him to get VH1 recognition, a matter that was literally closer to home is Kool G. Rap not performing in my hometown of Montreal. I am sure there would be a lot of appreciative people in attendance. 

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