Gotti Like That: West Coast words with Kurupt [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – Philly birthed him. The West Coast raised him. Kurupt came up guided by supreme company. Mentored by giants like Snoop and Dr. Dre, the moment Kurupt got ahold of the reins of rap, there was no stopping him. He cut his teeth with Daz Dillinger and The Dogg Pound Gangstaz in the early 90’s and has been a legend ever since.
He’s made it through decades in the rap game but like a true OG, Kurupt remains relevant within the current state of hip-hop and has even been a major influence to artists like Kendrick Lamar. With a new business venture into the world of medicinal marijuana and his current mixtape, Moon Rock, Gotti has a lot of buzz surrounding his name. Not to mention he can still freestyle circles around most major MCs.
Hidden behind shades, dressed in all black and smoking a Newport, our West Coast team caught up with Kurupt pre-show in Vancouver on his Moon Rock Tour. We got to talking about weed, K-Dot, Moon Rock and freestyling. Check it out below.
“That’s what we do, man, we’re like storytellers. We tell you stories from the streets. Whether we did it before when we was young or we heard it from one of the homies telling us a tale of what he been through. It’s all in having fun and creating a movie like vibe to tell a tale from the streets.” – Kurupt
Interview conducted by KassKills for HipHopCanada
Photo by J Reese for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: Moon Rock…that’s the name of your new mixtape but this is also the name of your personal strain of the chronic. I want to talk about the music, but first let’s talk about this ridiculously crazy weed strain.
Kurupt: You like it, huh?
HipHopCanada: I’m a smoker, so yeah. I’m curious. It looks pretty potent.
Kurupt: [Sings] I’m a smoker, I’m a midnight toker.
I mean you know, we spend so much time as artists branding other people’s products and my partner Dr. Zodiac and I decide we mid as well make our own thing to brand. So we talked with some of our growers and the people we know in the industry of medicine and we came up with our own thing. That created the Kurupt Moon Rocks. Now it’s the number one requested medicine in the game.
HipHopCanada: For real?
HipHopCanada: A lot of dispensaries are carrying the Moon Rock strain….
Kurupt: We don’t go out of the state of California. Anything outside of California, if they say they got it, they don’t. Strictly in the house, you know? You gotta come to the house to be about what this is about.
HipHopCanada: Will it ever be available outside California?
Kurupt: See we’re not drug dealers. We’re legalized to serve to dispensaries, for medicine. We are licensed to be in California. Stay strictly to the game.
HipHopCanada: The name Moon Rock is a proper description. It looks like rocks of bud, covered in powdery crystals. For those who haven’t seen the photos or experienced it first hand, can you explain this unique medicine.
Kurupt: Go to @Kurupt_gotti on Instagram and you will see what the experience is like first hand. So you can see why, ok?
HipHopCanada: No descriptions? So this is the type of thing I’ll have to experience for myself?
Kurupt: That’s so cute. When you fly out I’ll be able to tell you what it’s about. You’re gonna love it. But we take care of the dispensaries, man and we keep it really on that guideline. It’s legalized so we stay on that guideline. We don’t go outside those boundries.
HipHopCanada: Moon Rock the mixtape also dropped recently…
Kurupt: You like it?
HipHopCanada: I do. My favourite track is “Gotti Like That”…it’s got a real classic West Coast sound. I feel like those West Coast bangers just come out so naturally for you. Is there a formula to producing a class Kurupt sound?
Kurupt: We just have fun. You already know what you want to do when you go in but the music is really gonna tell you where you want to go. So when you go in there, you already let ’em know that “this is where I want to go”. You play some music and then, your producer – if you got the right one – at least mine’s, he hears what I’m banging and having fun to and we don’t want to duplicate but imitate. When I’m comin’ in and I’m jammin’ to something, he hears that and sees the vibe it brings out in me and he knows…if I bring this type of vibe that’s the same vibe it will bring out in him. So, that’s what’s it’s all about. All about fun, and having a good time. I’m finally enjoying myself with making records again and you know, just having a good time.
HipHopCanada: So Kendrick closes out the mixtpe, with his own homage to you on a solo track…
Kurupt: Kendrick made that record back when he was K-Dot. This was before he changed up his whole game, before he became Kendrick Lamar. The early days of Kendrick Lamar when he went by K-Dot. He was just beginning and he did a dedication record to the MC that he loved and respected and inspired him, like Rakim inspired me. It was called “Kurupted”. So I thought it would be the proper ending on this to put that record on there – it’s a mixtape so I can do that. Let ’em know who my number one killa is and who actually inspires me nowadays. Inspires me that I can still ride out, that I can still roll, and there’s people that still love Kurupt. Kendrick is one of the top emcees in the games right now and top artist and you know he love Kurupt and I appreciate that. So I felt it was only right. I started my whole thing off with an original record that was out before called “Mystic River” and then I ended it with an original record with one of my number one soldiers, Kendrick, that he dedicated to me which really meant a lot. That’s the whole purpose to me. The beginning record and that record are two records that mean a lot to me. That’s what Moon Rock is all about. If you listen to it, smoke to it, enjoy yourself. To me… I listen from the beginning and I’m captivated from the beginning then I’m smoking throughout it and by the end I’m captivated again. Ended with a bang with the person who uplifted Kurupt and supported me and stayed down with me when I wasn’t the hottest…and I love that.
HipHopCanada: Are there any words of wisdom that you passed down from your mentors?
Kurupt: Since Kendrick has been doing his thing and Terrace Martin was the one who brought him to the table, for me, since he’s been there, we chop and we talk but Kendrick was already grown. He was already on a roll. There was no real game I could really give him that he didn’t already know. His teachings from Kurput came from my music that I put out. He grew up under Kurupt and he gave me my respect and props from what Kurupt meant to him, musically. That’s what I love about him. He’s a very honourable and respectable young man and he’s the generation that’s gonna take us to another place…and he already has.
HipHopCanada: How important to you think it is for a rappers to be able to freestyle?
Kurupt: I think freestyling is very important. That’s the key to the game, if you wanna be in the MC crowd, freestyling is important. Being an MC is separate. I think it’s important to know how to free incase you fall of what you’ve written, you can be able to keep going with your rhymes. I think it’s also good for the culture of emceeing. It’s about microphones and about controlling the crowd; it’s about rocking the party. You’re the microphone controller, grab the mic and control the mic and you bust ya shit. If you ever fall off, freestyling is what gets you back on track and go. Freestlying ain’t always just to rap; you might fall off and you gotta come back. That’s what freestyling is all about. Come off the dome with whatever is on your mind.
HipHopCanada: You can from a time when there was a heavy war with the East and West Coast rappers…do you think the coasts are finally at peace within the rap game?
Kurupt: The rap game will never be at peace. The rap game is built upon competition. There will always be competition and as long as there’s competition, there will never be peace. There’s a heavy competition in every scene. Everyone wants to be the one.
HipHopCanada: You’ve been here many times and Vancity always comes out, we love you. For our readers who might are able to catch on on the Moon Rock Tour, tell us what the vibe like a a Kurupt show?
Kurupt: Tonight I’m going to do…”Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” ,”It’s A Man’s World” ,”Living In America” and “Jam”. [Laughs] Pardon me on that. That was James Brown when he was lit in one of his interviews…”So James, what are you gonna do?” [Laughs] Like, what the fuck did he just say? James Brown is crazy.
HipHopCanada: So you’ll be on your James Brown tonight?
Kurupt: I’ll be on my James Brown tonight, understand me? We gonna get it in man, we gonna have a good time, and hit ’em with all the classics, hit ’em with new shit, hit ’em all around the board. We gonna have us a great time, rock out. Have a party. All my shows is about a party. We party from the door then we get into the gig, get back to the middle then we gonna party at the end. It’s all a good time. Make sure ya’ll have some good Patron and a good girl you want to kiss on and hug so you won’t be ready to fight nobody, ok? If you gotta frisky girl, check her, don’t check the nigga. Don’t ask me, ask the bitch, ok? And everybody just have a good time. We gonna smoke a lot of good BC bomb, ok? And that’s what it’s about man and that’s what it’s always been about with us. We came from the gangsta world, we make gangsta rap records, but being gangstas is about having a good time and partying and enjoying yourself. But if you trip with us, that’s the result, the gangsta shit you always hear. You don’t ever hear about our gangsta parties when we just having a good time and everybody’s having a great time and partying and enjoying ourselves. Snoop’s album, you don’t really hear a lot about nigga in the streets killing people and everybody doing this and that. You hear party, party atmosphere, party, party, party. All of his records…just partying through every record, know what I mean? All the other records that was real gangsta, he was telling stories. That’s what we do, man, we’re like storytellers. We tell you stories from the streets. Whether we did it before when we was young or we heard it from one of the homies telling us a tale of what he been through. It’s all in having fun and creating a movie like vibe to tell a tale from the streets. So we gonna have fun tonight, it’s a gangsta party BABY!
Interview conducted by KassKills for HipHopCanada
Photo by J Reese for HipHopCanada