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Kool G Rap

Performing in New York City, November 2004
Background information
Birth name Nathaniel Wilson
Also known as G Rap, Your Favorite Rapper's Favorite Rapper
Born July 20, 1968 (1968-07-20) (age 41)
Origin Corona, Queens, New York City, United States
Genres Mafioso Rap, Hip hop
Years active 1986–present
Labels Cold Chillin', Rawkus, Chinga Chang, E1, Epic, Warner Bros.
Associated acts DJ Polo, Juice Crew, Big Daddy Kane, Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Nas, Mobb Deep, Scarface, Big L, M.O.P.

Nathaniel Wilson (born July 20, 1968[1]), better known by his stage name Kool G Rap, is an American rapper from the Corona neighborhood of Queens, New York[2]. He began his career in the mid-1980s as one half of the group Kool G Rap & DJ Polo and as a member of the Juice Crew. He is often cited as one of the most influential and skilled MCs of all time[3][4][5][6][1][7][8][9][10] as he is a pioneer and master of Mafioso Rap/street/hardcore content[5][10][11][12][13][14] and multisyllabic rhyming[15]. On his album The Giancana Story, he stated that the "G" in his name stands for "Giancana" (after the mobster Sam Giancana), but on other occasions he's stated that it stands for "Genius"[1][16].

Contents

Biography

Early Years

Wilson grew up in the poverty-ridden streets of Corona Queens, New York with legendary producer Eric B.[17] In an interview with The Source he stated;

Growing up in Corona was like a little Harlem, it wasn't that hard for a nigga to be influenced by the street life type of mentality. I was like 15 years old, Ma dukes couldn't dress a nigga no more and at that age you want a little money in your pocket. That's what gets us all, material possessions. A nigga got caught up in that mentality. Nigga started selling drugs at a certain point, and all that shit, it's what was goin' on in the streets ... eventually all my friends got smoked. Everybody was droppin'. All my friends started packing burners everyday, we was wild shorties.

—Kool G Rap, The Source Magazine, issue 72, September, 1995.[18]

Around this time, Wilson was looking for a DJ, and through Eric B., he met DJ Polo, who was looking for an MC to colloberate with.[17]

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo

Juice Crew producer, and Mr. Magic DJ; Marley Marl knew Polo, and allowed him and G Rap to go to his studio to do a demo, which resulted in the song "It's a Demo." The song was written and recorded in one night, and had Marley so impressed, that he instantly embraced Kool G Rap and DJ Polo as Juice Crew members (it's worth noting that this was the first time G Rap had ever met Marley.)[19] In 1986 on Mr Magic's Rap Attack radio show on 107.5, the duo got their first exposure which created more buzz. They eventually released "It's a Demo" as a single with"I'm Fly", along with two more singles. Shortly after this, Kool G Rap appeared on the Juice Crew's classic posse cut 'The Symphony' before they released their debut album, Road to the Riches in 1989[20][21]. This album and their two later albums, Wanted: Dead or Alive (1990) and Live and Let Die (1992), are highly regarded and considered Hip-Hop classics[22][12][15][23][24][25]. Eventually in 1993, Kool G rap parted ways with DJ Polo in pursuit of a solo career.

Solo career

In 1995, G Rap started his solo career with the album 4,5,6, which featured production from Buckwild, and guest appearances from Nas,MF Grimm and B-1 – it has been his most commercially successful record, reaching No.24 on the US Billboard 200 album chart[26]. This was followed by Roots of Evil in 1998[1]. He was then meant to release his next album, The Giancana Story in 2000, on Rawkus Records, but due to several complications with the label, the album was pushed back several times, and eventually released in 2002. In 2008 he released the EP Half a Klip on Chinga Chang Records, featuring production from, among others, DJ Premier and Marley Marl[27].

Criticisms of Kool G Rap's solo albums usually focus on the production not being up to the standard of the rapping[28][29].

While Kool G Rap has always been popular and well respected in Hip-Hop circles for his lyrical skills[11][15], he never crossed over and saw the same level of commercial success as rappers such as Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane, both also members of the Juice Crew[30][31]. He is known for consistently making records which are hardcore, dark, intelligent, and underground[6][11][12][32].

Legacy

Kool G Rap is regarded as a hugely influential golden age rapper[1]. Music journalist Peter Shapiro suggests that Kool G Rap "created the blueprint for Nas, Biggie and everyone who followed in their path"[33]. Kool G Rap is described by Kool Moe Dee as "the progenitor and prototype for Biggie, Jay-Z, Treach, Nore, Fat Joe, Big Pun, and about twenty-five more hard-core emcees"[3], and Kool Moe Dee also claims Kool G Rap is "the most lyrical" out of all of the artists mentioned[34]. MTV describes Kool G Rap as a "hip-hop godfather", adding that he paved the way for a lot of MCs who we would not have heard of otherwise[5]. Rolling Stone says, "G Rap excelled at the street narrative, a style that would come to define later Queens MCs like Nas (who was hugely influenced by G Rap on his early records) and Mobb Deep"[10].

Other artists who have named Kool G Rap as a major influence include Eminem[35], Jay-Z[36], Tajai of Souls of Mischief[37], Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks[38], Steele of Smif-n-Wessun[39], Havoc of Mobb Deep[39], Rock of Heltah Skeltah[39], MC Serch[40], Termanology[41], Black Thought of The Roots[42], M.O.P.[43], Scarface[44], R.A. The Rugged Man[45], Bun B of UGK[7], Rah Digga[8][46], RZA[9] and Raekwon[47] of Wu-Tang Clan, Lady Of Rage[48], Big Pun[2], O.C. of DITC[49], Memphis Bleek[50], and Twista[51][52], among others.

He is also often very highly rated in terms of his technical ability[5][6][7][8][9][34][53] and is often ranked alongside other highly regarded golden age MCs, such as Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, and KRS-One[11][15]. In Jay-Z's track 'Encore', Jay-Z raps, "hearing me rap is like hearing G Rap in his prime"[54][55], comparing his skill level to that of Kool G Rap. Allmusic calls him "one of the greatest rappers ever", "a master", and "a legend" [6][56]. A number of rappers, such as Ice Cube, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Lloyd Banks, and Nas have put him in their lists of favorite rappers.[57] Kool Moe Dee ranked Kool G Rap at No.14 in his book There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs[34], and MTV gives him an 'Honorable Mention' in their Greatest MCs Of All Time list[5].

Rhyme technique

Kool G Rap is known for using complex multisyllabic rhymes since his debut (in a similar way to other golden age MCs such as Big Daddy Kane and Rakim)[15], and this remains a hallmark of his style, along with his rapid-fire delivery and "superhuman breath control"[15]. Although many of today's MCs use multisyllabic rhymes extensively (such as Eminem, Pharoahe Monch, Nas, Papoose, and many others), Kool G Rap is known for taking the technique to its limits and packing in as many multisyllabic rhymes as possible[58][59], sometimes all in the same rhyme scheme for a whole verse, such as on Sway & King Tech's 'The Anthem'[59].

He has also been cited as one of Hip-Hop's greatest storytellers, alongside Slick Rick and Notorious BIG[60][61], with "laser-like visual descriptions"[12], and "vivid narratives"[15]. Rolling Stone states that, "Live and Let Die continued G Rap's reign as rap music's premier yarn-spinner"[10].

Kool G Rap provided the foreword for the 2009 book How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC[62][63], also providing insight into his rhyming technique.

Mafioso/Street content

Kool G Rap is often credited as the first rapper to include mafioso content, as well as a lot of hardcore street content, into his lyrics[5][10][11][12][13][14][15]. This can be seen as early as 1989 in the song "Road to the Riches" where he makes a reference to Al Pacino (who plays mobster Tony Montana in the 1983 crime drama movie Scarface)[64] – this was long before albums such as Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, and Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt (1995) made such references popular[14].

Since his debut, he has used various references to mob movies in his lyrics, album covers, and titles[1]. For example, the first line of 'Bad to the Bone' from Wanted: Dead or Alive (1990) is, I'm bad to the bone / with a style like Al Capone[65], the album Live and Let Die (1992) uses samples from the film The Untouchables[66], the album cover of Roots of Evil (1998) uses elements from the The Godfather and Scarface theatrical posters[67], and The Giancana Story (2002) album title references Mafia boss Sam Giancana[68].

Rolling Stone says, "before Kool G Rap, New York didn't really have the street rap that could hold its own against what artists such as L.A.'s Ice-T and N.W.A were churning out"[10] and that "G Rap excelled at the street narrative"[10].

His take on crime, violence, and the mafioso lifestyle ranges from remorse and contemplation (e.g. 'Streets of New York'[69], described by Rolling Stone as "a vivid look inside the misery of the hood"[10]), to glorification (e.g. 'Fast Life' featuring Nas[70]).

Discography

With DJ Polo Year
Road To The Riches 1989
Wanted: Dead or Alive 1990
Live and Let Die 1992
Solo Albums Year
4,5,6 1995
Roots of Evil 1998
The Giancana Story 2002
Half a Klip 2008
Compilations Year
Killer Kuts 1994
Rated XXX 1996
The Best of Cold Chillin' 2000
Greatest Hits 2002
Collaborative Albums With Year
Click of Respect The 5 Family Click 2003
Legends Vol. 3 (digital album – Napster) J-love Enterprise 2009

Featured appearances

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:k9frxqygld6e~T1
  2. ^ a b http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/features/id.1051/title./p.all
  3. ^ a b Kool Moe Dee, 2003, There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, Thunder's Mouth Press, p.225, 228.
  4. ^ Shapiro, Peter, 2005, The Rough Guide To Hip-Hop, 2nd Edition, Penguin, p. 213-214.
  5. ^ a b c d e f http://www.mtv.com/bands/h/hip_hop_week/2006/emcees/index12.jhtml
  6. ^ a b c d http://www.allmusicguide.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:yauw6j5371t0
  7. ^ a b c http://allhiphop.com/stories/reviewsmusic/archive/2009/03/16/21108470.aspx
  8. ^ a b c http://allhiphop.com/stories/reviewsmusic/archive/2009/01/28/20816964.aspx
  9. ^ a b c http://allhiphop.com/stories/reviewsmusic/archive/2009/01/22/20803725.aspx
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/koolgrap/biography online excerpt from 2004's The New Rolling Stone Album Guide.
  11. ^ a b c d e Cobb, William Jelani, 2007, To The Break Of Dawn: A Freestyle On The Hip Hop Aesthetic, NYU Press, p. 59.
  12. ^ a b c d e Hess, Mickey, 2007, Icons Of Hip Hop, Greenwood Publishing Group, p.57.
  13. ^ a b Kool Moe Dee, 2003, There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, Thunder's Mouth Press, p.228.
  14. ^ a b c http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:g9fqxquhldae
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Shapiro, Peter, 2005, The Rough Guide To Hip-Hop, 2nd Edition, Penguin, p. 213.
  16. ^ http://halftimeonline.com/hip-hop-icon-series/kool-g-rap/2/
  17. ^ a b Kool G Rap, Will C., 2008, Road to the Riches Remaster Liner Notes, p. 4.
  18. ^ Kool G Rap, The Source, 1995, issue # 72
  19. ^ Kool G Rap, Will C., 2008, Road to the Riches Remaster Liner Notes, p. 3.
  20. ^ allmusic ((( Kool G Rap > Biography )))
  21. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3pfuxqu5ld6e
  22. ^ allmusic ((( Kool G Rap > Biography )))
  23. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:h9fyxql5ldhe
  24. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3pfqxqu5ld6e
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  26. ^ http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/retrieve_chart_history.do?model.chartFormatGroupName=Albums&model.vnuArtistId=97142&model.vnuAlbumId=1078035
  27. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/reviews/id.911/title.kool-g-rap-half-a-klip
  28. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:anfuxqljldte
  29. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0pftxqehld6e
  30. ^ Kool Moe Dee, 2003, There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, Thunder's Mouth Press, p.226-228.
  31. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/reviews/id.911/title.kool-g-rap-half-a-klip
  32. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kbfpxqrgldfe
  33. ^ Shapiro, Peter, 2005, The Rough Guide To Hip-Hop, 2nd Edition, Penguin, p. 214.
  34. ^ a b c Kool Moe Dee, 2003, There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, Thunder's Mouth Press, p.225.
  35. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. viii, 88, 324.
  36. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. viii, 324.
  37. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 44.
  38. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 65.
  39. ^ a b c Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 77.
  40. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 98.
  41. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 106.
  42. ^ http://www.blackpower.com/entertainment/the-thinking-man%E2%80%99s-rapper/
  43. ^ Coleman, Brian, 2007, Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies, Villard, Random House, p. 285.
  44. ^ http://www.allhiphop.com/stories/reviewsmusic/archive/2009/07/14/21794546.aspx
  45. ^ http://www.myspace.com/ratheruggedman
  46. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. x.
  47. ^ Raekwon, in The Source: Issue 233, August 2009, pg. 87, article – Jessica Bennett, "The Takeover".
  48. ^ http://www.myspace.com/officialladyofrage
  49. ^ http://halftimeonline.com/hip-hop-icon-series/oc/4/
  50. ^ http://allhiphop.com/stories/reviewsmusic/archive/2010/03/05/22140908.aspx
  51. ^ http://www.dubcnn.com/interviews/twista09/
  52. ^ http://www.allhiphop.com/stories/reviewsmusic/archive/2009/10/15/21980532.aspx
  53. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kbfpxqrgldfe
  54. ^ Jay-Z, 2003, 'Encore', The Black Album, Roc-A-Fella/Island Def Jam.
  55. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/reviews/id.911/title.kool-g-rap-half-a-klip
  56. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kbfpxqrgldfe
  57. ^ http://www.mtv.com/bands/h/hip_hop_week/2006/emcees/index15.jhtml
  58. ^ Kool Moe Dee, 2003, There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, Thunder's Mouth Press, p.225-228.
  59. ^ a b Sway & King Tech, 1999, 'The Anthem', This Or That, Interscope Records.
  60. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:h9fyxql5ldhe
  61. ^ Kool Moe Dee, 2003, There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, Thunder's Mouth Press, p.225, 227.
  62. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press.
  63. ^ http://rapradar.com/2009/12/03/how-to-rap-kool-g-rap-foreword/
  64. ^ Kool G Rap, 1989, 'Road to the Riches', Road to the Riches, Cold Chillin'.
  65. ^ Kool G Rap, 1990, 'Bad to the Bone', Wanted: Dead or Alive, Cold Chillin'.
  66. ^ Kool G Rap, 1992, Live and Let Die, Cold Chillin'.
  67. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:anfuxqljldte
  68. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:k9frxqygld6e~T2
  69. ^ Kool G Rap, 1990, 'Streets of New York', Wanted: Dead or Alive, Cold Chillin'.
  70. ^ Kool G Rap, 1995, 'Fast Life', 4, 5, 6, Cold Chillin'.

2008: "One Shot" (album Hood 2 Hood: The Blockumentary Soundtrack, Pt. 1

Further reading

  • Paul Edwards, foreword by Kool G Rap, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC. Chicago Review Press.
  • Kool Moe Dee, 2003, There's A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, Thunder's Mouth Press.
  • Brian Coleman, 2007, Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies, Villard, Random House.
  • Peter Shapiro, 2005, The Rough Guide To Hip-Hop, 2nd Edition, Penguin.
  • William Jelani Cobb, 2007, To The Break Of Dawn: A Freestyle On The Hip Hop Aesthetic, NYU Press.
  • Mickey Hess, 2007, Icons Of Hip Hop, Greenwood Publishing Group.

External links








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