Full Clip: Kool G. Rap Breaks Down His Catalogue Feat. The Juice Crew, Ice Cube, Nas, Mobb Deep, The Roots &More
→ “It’s a Demo” Kool G Rap & Polo (1986)
“My growing up in Corona, Queens had everything to do with my lyrical content and the things I would choose to rap about when I started making records. It was a pretty rough camp. [In] Corona, Queens there was a lot going on. It was a place that had parts that were more black populated, then you had another part of Corona, Queens that was more Latino populated. I’ve seen things from both worlds. So when the movie Scarface came out it, it looked so much like parts of Corona, Queens that I was so much able to relate to that movie. That movie [brought] Roosevelt Avenue onto the big screen.
My first introduction to hip-hop was me going to the park with a bunch of the older dudes on my block. This is when I lived on 108th St. in Corona. I was about the age of nine or 10. That’s when I first started seeing a DJ deejaying and MC’s rapping on the mic, and just fell in love with it instantly. This is what I wanted [ever since I was 15] when LL Cool J made his entry into the game. I was listening to LL like, ‘Damn, man, I want to get in the game.’ I had met LL before he made his first record. I met him through my man Silver Fox at my man’s father’s club that was on Lenox [in Harlem]. And LL was cocky back then before he even had a record [laughs]. He was confident and sure of himself.
But later on we would see that he definitely earned the right to be the way that he was. I guess he knew what he was going to do. As a matter of fact, he told me,‘Yo, I’m LL…it stands for Ladies Love…I’m going to be bigger than Run-D.M.C.’ And when he said that I was like, ‘Yo, you are buggin!’ Because Run and them were the kings. But he did what he said he was going to do. LL didn’t blow up no bigger than Run-D.M.C., but he put himself on the same level.
I was real tight with Eric B’s (DJ, producer and one-half of the legendary Eric B. & Rakim) brother Ant Live. I never even met Eric before him [and Rakim] actually made the record “Eric B for President.” After he made that record Eric started to be more visible around that part of the neighborhood. We developed a tight relationship. [Eric B & Rakim] were so hot at the time. I was like, ‘Yo E…plug me in.’ He was like, ‘I got you, G.’ He liked me a young rapper. He thought I had something, [and] he was right. Him helping me out was linking me with DJ Polo who was also from the same ‘hood. I knew of Polo…and Polo knew of me. Right from there, Polo just took me to Marley Marl’s house. After I went to Marley’s house the first time I never went to the block again.
[The ‘It’s A Demo’ session] is still kind of vivid. It was in the ‘hood, Queensbridge Projects. It was real dim at the time; lights down in the studio; equipment running. Marley had never heard me before. He’s just eager to hear me because of his boy Polo blowing me up like, ‘Yo, I got this young kid that’s crazy!’ When [Marley] heard what came out of my mouth nobody ever said, ‘Yo, G Rap, we want you to be with the Juice Crew.’ It just happened.
I was used to doing demos and nothing really ever manifesting from it. I recorded demos with these cats from my ‘hood called Disco Twins. They would do a lot of block parties and they had a real prominent name at that time. I did a demo with Hurby Luv Bug, the guy that bought Salt-N-Pepa to the game. But nothing ever came from that, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. So I called it ‘It’s A Demo’ [laughs].”