Kurupt Looks Back At The Major Beefs Of His Career In “Unsung” (Video)
This week, the Unsung series aired its episode dedicated to Kurupt. The TV One program examined the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania upbringing of Tha Dogg Pound co-founder. Kurupt admits that Rakim is a leading Rap influence in his lyrical style and enhanced vocabulary. The biography follows Kurupt’s move to California, and subsequent joining of Death Row Records, forming Tha Pound, and working on several classic Hip-Hop albums.
By 1998, through filing bankruptcy, Kurupt was one of the first high-profile artists to leave the label. The MC did so apparently without incident, as Daz remained—and Kurupt featured on many songs even after establishing his own Antra Records imprint distributed through A&M. It was as an indie that Kurupt released one of Hip-Hop’s most vitriolic diss records, 1999’s “Calling Out Names.” The hidden bonus track on Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha attacked DMX, Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, and others—welcoming all to step up.
In Unsung, they examine that Kurupt’s concerns over infidelities between fiancé and Rap star Foxy Brown with DMX prompted the song—which appeared to reignite the coastal tensions, even though Kurupt grew up close to New York City.
“I was dealing with people [who make their living] on the mic, so that’s where I dealt with it. Anything in life—whatever the stage is, you deal with [enemies] on that stage,” remembers Kurupt of the Fred Wreck-produced song. “I don’t recall [Foxy Brown] ever saying anything about it. Being in a relationship, you make mistakes. You do whatever you do—whether it be fuckin’ around with somebody else or whatever it may be. There’s no question about the love though.”
The documentary reveals that by the time the song released in fall of 1999, he and the Firm member had broken their engagement and separated.
Within three years after “Calling Out Names,” Kurupt returned to Death Row Records as an artist and label president—a position previously held by Dr. Dre and his band-mate Daz Dillinger. Upon joining label founder Suge Knight, Tha Dogg Pound dissolved, upset at Kurupt’s move. “I lost my friends. It wasn’t the same as what I was expecting. It would have worked if I could do that job and still have my friends. Without my friends, this is irrelevant. So it didn’t pan out the way I thought I would,” Kurupt says he took the post to mentor other artists at a roster that then included Crooked I (nka Kxng Crooked), N.I.N.A. (aka Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes), and Eastwood.
After diss records were exchanged, Snoop Dogg tells Unsung that he visited his former protege to promote peace and a way out of Death Row. Meanwhile, Kurupt ran into Daz—who had been threatening his former partner at Disneyland. Upon seeing one another after years, the Dogg Food collaborators made good. “Everything was dropped, out the door—let’s continue this movie.”
In 2006, shortly after Kurupt left Death Row for the second and final time, Tha Dogg Pound released reunion album, Cali Iz Active, followed by Dogg Chit—a title reserved for the album intended to follow-up their 1995 double-platinum debut.