Kool G Rap Details How He Helped Launch Nas’ Career & Releases New Cormega Collabo (Video)
In 1995, Kool G Rap released the highest-charting single of his career, “Fast Life.” The song merged two Queens legends, as G Rap collaborated with the white-hot Nas, fresh on the heels of his Illmatic debut. While the world may not have known it at the time, the collaboration was far from a made-to-order feature of O.G. and protege. Just as he later did with Papoose, Joell Ortiz, and M.F. Grimm, G Rap had mentored Nasir Jones in the days since the Juice Crew lyricist was first working with Large Professor (who remained in the fold).
Appearing on Ebro In The Morning, G Rap delved into his relationship with Nas. “I’m not bitter about anything,” says G just before 11:00, speaking generally about the image of an underdog and rapper’s rapper. “If my whole purpose was to put the battery in the backs of others, maybe this was bigger than me. Maybe it wasn’t about G Rap’s life propelling to 100 levels up, maybe it was about spreading it, and giving this person a chance and an opportunity to change they life, givin’ them an opportunity to get off the block. It might have been a purpose bigger than me.”
Rosenberg then asks of G’s various mentees, who he had the biggest relationship with. “Probably Nas. Because it was more than just us doing a record together, it was me actually shopping Nas at one point. [I] was trying to get him a situation. I actually introduced him to [MC] Serch, which started his whole jump-off.” In the early ’90s, Nas was reportedly shopping his demo to record labels including Def Jam Records, where he would end up in the mid-2000s. Serch, a 3rd Bass co-founder and then Def Jam artist, would eventually step in to manage Nas, and sign him to a publishing deal.
Large Professor, who worked on 1990’s Wanted: Dead Or Alive album by Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, told G Rap of his protege. “I can’t even remember the very, very first time me and Nas linked, ’cause it became repetitious after a while. He would come to my house and I would record demos [of] him.” While G Rap has been publicly cited as a Nas influence, the lyricist from Lefrak City and Corona, Queens admits his input was minimal, in terms of hands-on instruction. “I didn’t have to coach him in no kinda way. He was raw talent that just came out perfect.” However, around the time of “Fast Life,” G Rap points to progression. “You heard Nas develop from the time of Illmatic to [It Was Written], flow-wise, things of that nature. It’s like he progressed to a whole different level. I’m not saying that the songs on Illmatic wasn’t classical masterpieces, but flow-wise and more technicalities, he went to a totally different level.”
At 20:00, Kool G Rap discusses Tupac Shakur’s lyrical abilities. He says that while he never met The Notorious B.I.G., he was actually in the studio with Pac the same night the Los Angeles Riots began. Producer Sir Jinx, who was with them, has also spoken about the three artists witnessing the rage.
At 28:00, G Rap recalls Big Pun literally bowing down to kiss his ring—the sign of Pun’s respect for his predecessor. The two “Dramacide” collaborators had similar compound rhyme structures and deliveries. Both MCs had ties to Fat Joe, having met in his Bronx, New York store.
At 32:00, he admits that he handed early producer and mentor Marley Marl the samples for Road To The Riches, as was the practice with Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane, as well. He asserts that he is a co-producer on those ’80s hits. He says that beginning in 1990, he parted ways with Marley because he foresaw the dispersal of the Juice Crew. Eric B. had introduced G to Large Professor, and the MC was floored by the sound and technicality of the Main Source producer (who also rapped, including on “Money In The Bank”).
Before finishing the interview, G Rap admits that Jay Z is a living artist who he hopes to work with. Notably, the Roc Nation MC respectfully name-checked G in “Encore,” claiming that Jay (arguably at the top of his game) was not unlike the Cold Chillin’ Records star during his own artistic zenith.
On June 2, G Rap will release his first solo album in more than five years, Return Of The Don.
#BonusBeat: This week, Kool G Rap released the second single from his upcoming LP, “Capitol Hill”:
This single features longtime collaborator Cormega and Sheek Louch, and Manolo Rose.