If Kool G Rap & DJ Polo Released This ’87 Demo Cut, Things May Be Way Different (Audio)
In 1986, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo (then, as “DJ Polo & Kool G Rap”) made noise with “It’s A Demo.” The Cold Chillin’/Prism Records release was part of the mid-’80s unilateral attack that was The Juice Crew. G Rap joined MC Shan, Roxanne Shante, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Craig G, Super Kids, and Masta Ace—the various branches of Marley Marl’s House Of Hits.
“It’s A Demo” was a literal introduction, but hardly the last demonstration recording by the Queens, New York duo. While touring with Eric B. & Rakim, G Rap and Polo began architecting Road To The Riches. Ultimately released in spring of 1989, there would be more than two years of development, cultivating, and finding the style and delivery necessary to eventually become one of Rap’s great MCs.
One song that did not make the LP was “I Declare War.” Now backed by Warner Bros. distribution, this circa-1987 cut is a lyrical exposé of the sort of fast-yet-precise skills heard on “Men At Work” and “#1 With A Bullet.” Only, G Rap was not so profane yet. Polo’s hands went to work scratching T-Connection, Kurtis Blow, and James Brown—at once. What’s more, this record features an amazing chop of Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger.” Within Nathaniel Wilson broke down bars with the most jagged cadence in Rap, and yet perfectly crisp couplets and complex compound rhymes.
For vinyl Heads, this would later appear on Diggers With Gratitude’s Juice Crew EP.
Had Kool G Rap & DJ Polo released a full length in 1987 (before so the class of 1988), would their legacy be different, simply based on chronology?
#BonusBeats: Here’s a rare clip of Kool G Rap & DJ Polo performing “It’s A Demo” circa ’89:
Also, the grittiness and swagger of Survivor in 1982 Times Square’s red light district unflinchingly appeals to G Rap’s vocal interests. Cheesy? Yep. Cliche? Sure. But catchy, with or without the Rocky III tie-in? Unquestionably. Check out “the Deuce” in all of its glory: