BE Magazine got the chance to sit down and speak with a West Coast LEGEND in the game, one who infamously rocked your speakers throughout the early 90’s. He’s known for always hanging with a group of proven gangsters — from Biggie and Tupac to Snoop and Suge Knight — but is ready to showcase a new way to live after receiving his well deserved OG status. Kurupt the Kingpin is gearing up for the release of his 4th studio album, so you know we had to get the scoop on what this Cali native has coming up…are your STREETLIGHTS on???
BE Magazine: Tell me how you got your start in the game
Kurupt: I got my start in the game by straight serving MC’s; I don’t know how everybody else got their start, but I got mine from straight slicin’ and dicin’. I had to go into the war field and prove that I was one of the BEst MC’s in the game, to prove that I was one of the BEst MC’s up and coming. That’s how I got my stripes in the game, and actually got my deal. I’m not saying I’m the BEst MC ever, but I will go down as one of the BEst MC’s to ever hit the game. A lot of hard work, concentration, and focusing on my game. Snoopy taught me game, but before that I was just about murdering MC’s.
BE Mag: So tell me how it was working with Snoop Dogg and coming up in that era.
Kurupt: You know it’s crazy because even before Snoop was a star, he was a star. Even then, even though we were pretty much on the same level, Snoop was always ahead of the game and ahead of everybody. He had the swag…you know that’s what they call it now. But he had the charisma, the swag, he was faced for what you wanted to see coming from the West. It was the bomb working with Snoop because he gave you the opportunity to BE yourself, but he also gave you critiques and ways to BEtter yourself. So when Snoopy speaks, you listen to it, and that was even BEfore he was BIG Snoop in this game. This is when he was a youngester man; you just listened to him. He had a presence about him that made you want to BE a part of whatever he had going on. So it was great working with Snoop man, I learned a lot from him, and to BE honest, there wouldn’t Be a Kurupt today without him.
BE Mag: Hip Hop and rap has transformed so much the 90’s, tell me where you fit in to the realm of the music now that we’re over 15 years later?
Kurupt: Where I fit into things is exactly who I am; I’m 18 years in this ballgame. I’m no longer the student, now I’m the teacher; I’m no longer the new artist, now I’m more like the original…or as the kids would say now-a-days, I’m one of the older artists. I do consider myself an OG in the game and of this music industry. I’m a little bit older and I’m a lot wiser. I’m also a family man, I’m a father…I’m actually a whole different Kurupt. That’s why I had to take that hiatus, I was making a whole lot of bad decisions, and I needed to just chill down and get back to BEing with my riders. Get back to my position and show these folk what the Dogg Pound is all about. I’m still in the game as active as I was BEfore, but I’m a lot more in control of executive decisions and I’m more in control of my career. The numbers between selling records and the numbers that goes into your pockets are two different things and now I’m to the point where the numbers of selling records are irrevlevant to me and the numbers that are in my pocket mean everything.
BE Mag: Real grown man…CHUUUUUCH on that one.
Kurupt: And you do know that…
BE Mag: So BEfore we get into your new project, tell me some of the BEst parts about BEing in the game so long. What are some of your favorite moments in music?
Kurupt: Some of my favorite moments was like when we were in Turner, which is like one of the most gutter clubs in New York. You couldn’t just BE anybody in that joint and we were in there getting madd love and they were respecting us; you know they loved us to death. Another very important time in this game was when I was at Daddy’s House, which was Puffy [aka Sean “Diddy” Combs]’s studio, and this was back in the day right BEfore he was about to put out Total. Puff had the Total BEat up and I was able to spit for Biggie away from everything and everyone. For me it was about more that just making the money, so to get the chance to BE at Daddy’s House, and they had the “Can’t You See,” BEat playing, which was a groundbreaking record for them & Puffy, but he didn’t even have them on there yet; he was like “I got this group…this new group and there name is Total and they’re tight,” so you can see we were around even BEfore Total was around. You know, I was just sitting around spitting for Biggie and Puffy left the studio when I was rapping; I had rapped for about 30 minutes BEfore he left, and he left for like 30-45 minutes, and when he came back he was like, “yo, this dude is still rapping? My GOD, man this guy is incredible…wher’d he come from?” That was a definite great moment. There was another time when I was about to write Puffy’s vocals on a song he was doing for Biggie’s album, Life After Death “the world is filled with pimps & hoes…” He was about to have me write that for him and that was one of the first times I was able to meet Lil’ Kim, which was pretty big for me. I got a couple of these things in this game that were real groundbreaking; like when Pac came home and I first seen Pac when he came home. When I first signed my deal with Death Row…I mean that was HUGE for me.
BE Mag: How was it working with Death Row? I can’t imagine that I’m even sitting here talking to someone who actually lived through what we sat and watched on TV.
Kurupt: Yeah man it was hard. It wasn’t just about the music. You had to BE a different calibur of a ni**a to BE in Death Row; you know, wasn’t no punks in Death Row, so you always had to have your thug on you; you always had to have a certain composure about yourself. You pretty much had to BE on your “P’s” & “Q’s” or you’d get done up real quick out there. It wasn’t always about the music, but a lot of times it was about the type of man you were, and about where you’re from & what neighborhood you’re from…and how that neighborhoos looks at you and respects you. It definitely wasn’t about making good records 100% of the time. It was about you…who are you? You could have been tight on the mic, but if you were a buster, you wouldn’t make it in Death Row. Wasn’t no busters in the Row. Everybody was getting smashed; and beleive it or not Suge Night wasn’t the one doing most of the smashing. It was me and the OGs…we were young, fun, and filled with cum, so we were out there doing most of the smashing and that’s what Suge liked about us.
BE Mag: Of course I gotta ask you how it was working with the man Pac.
Kurupt: Working with Pac was different beacuse he was a different Pac than the Pac we knew. We BEen knew Pac since ’92 well BEfore him going to prison. We been did music with Pac since like “Poetic Justice” which came right after “The Chronic” so we were down with Pac a long time BEfore the fame. It was cool knowing Pac then, but it was GREAT knowing Pac during Death Row. He upped our work game and ethic and moved us from making one song to like 5-6 songs a session. It was a huge learning experience.
BE Mag: With such a prominent past, where are you taking the Kurupt movement presently?
upt: I wear many hats, man. I do the music which is my 1st love, then I do the business side of it which is next. Then my 3rd love is movies and the movie game. I took a hiatus to grow up & experience certain things. I made a lot of mistakes in this game, but they were all learning experiences and I learned from each and every mistake. Plus I’m taking this father thing to the next level, which is different when you’re used to sitting around and only talking to the homies. I had to seriously grow up, which is where I am now. I have a new deal that not only BElieves in Kurupt, but that also BElieves in my company. We do records, we do music, we do fashion (we have a clothing line as well), we do film; Puffy is the poster child for how this game is suppposed to BE done, him & 50 Cent, so I’m trying to take it to the next level like them. I respect them so much for how they do their game; they are trendsetters. Like Dr. Dre, his business is so imperial kinda like a Timbaland. I’ve got my album dropping under my own label Fontana/Universal, and it’s my 1st album in I don’t know how many years. This is my 4th album & it’s called Streetlights and it drops on April 20th or 420 for all the folks that know and celebrate 420. So for those that do celebrate, go and get your copy of Streetlights and your sac of bomb and as you blaze up your sac of bomb press play and you’ll BE ay-okay…and you do know that!!! BEsides that, I’ve got a movie that I’m working on called “Run To Do,” but my main focus is on 420…”Streetlights” dropping then, so make sure you go and get your copy!
BE Mag: We’ve supported you for the long run man and we’ll defintely BE sitting back with all the necessary items on 420 to enjoy “Streetlights” to the fullest…Tweet