BANDSPEAK, Interview, Interview, SONG PREMIERE

The long interview w/ the incomparable Kool Keith

He's just released a new 12" called "Distortion" w/ Scorn & Submerged on OHM RESISTANCE and he's got a lot going on. Talking Chuck D, his other hip hop peers, Napalm Death, recording + more...

by

This interview has been edited for clarity. Featured image by Erin Williams.

Hassle:

Hello, is Keith there?

Kool Keith:
Hey, I’m doing good, how you been?

Hassle:
What’s happening? So this is Dan. I’m calling from this website/ organization in Boston called Boston Hassle.

Kool Keith:
Ok

Hassle:
I’m going to ask you some questions if that’s ok with you. So you have this collaboration coming out with Mick Harris, and Submerged. Right?

Kool Keith:
Who?

Hassle:
With Submerged.

Kool Keith:
With Submerged. Yeah, yeah,

Hassle:
So how did you meet up with those guys? How did you get hooked up with those guys?

Kool Keith:
I think through a couple of projects, we would have met through Erik and stuff like that, I was working on a lot of stuff and they wanted to get involved with a record. And then we ended up going maybe one song and it turned into a whole album.

Hassle:
Oh, really? There’s a whole album? Awesome. Yeah, I just heard the one song “Distortion” and its remixes.

Kool Keith:
Aha



Hassle:

Were you familiar with the music of those guys at all previous to working with them?

Kool Keith:
Not really. They just ended up working in a studio that I knew in Texas.

Hassle:
Have you ever heard a band called Napalm Death?

Kool Keith:
Yeah, I never heard that.

Hassle:
They are an extreme metal band. They were one of the first. Well, one of the guys who did that track with you, he is most well known as the drummer in that band from back in the day. So I was just wondering…

Kool Keith:
He’s the drummer in that band, ok.

Hassle:
Anyway, it’s great to talk to you. I’m a fan of yours from way back. Not just the most famous records, you know, I love Ultramagnetic MCs. You know, I love that Matthew record, Black Elvis.

Kool Keith:
Matthew, Dr. Doom,

Hassle:
Dr. Doom, Analog Brothers. Cenobites. All that good stuff.

Kool Keith:
All that good stuff.

So I’ve been recording and just making tracks. Yeah, I guess I could say experimenting and I’ve been just writing, just stacking songs and working on songs and just, you know, no particular planning other than me doing those. The album that I did. I just record random records with no specific concept. I just been making songs.

Hassle:
So you got a whole pile of recordings just waiting for the right moment, the right situation?

Kool Keith:
No, not that I’m waiting for a moment, I just record naturally I like to record natural where some people, they make records more for money. They trying to get a deal with a record company or something. I just record natural within myself. I make records anyway, regardless of making money for music. It’s part of my therapeutic-ness from stress and everything. Just being, you know, stress free. Music helps me with that.

Hassle:
I totally understand that. Yeah. So it’s just like it’s part of the rhythm of your life.

Kool Keith:
Yeah. Other people may go in a studio, which I don’t have a problem with. I’ve done
recordings all my life in a business forum and stuff like that. Everybody wants albums
and concepts and, you know, storybooks from me basically. But in my off time I like to have freedom to write, you know, just songs that I like to write. Usually I’m always driven by a guideline of doing songs. People want me to do a particular thing. You know, they pay for it, and that’s what they want. I don’t mind. But on my off time, I have a sense of writing, like all kinds of stuff for myself, like random stuff that’s relaxing to me. Like it’s not it’s a job, but it’s still like it’s just me making some songs

I like making all songs. But after I finish a project, it’s like a little relief for me to go make some random songs.

Hassle:
Yeah. I hear that.

Kool Keith:
But they might pile up to be something. Maybe I’ll come up upon it one day and be like oh I forget I made this! It feels good to make songs natural rather than always driven by money or projects and stuff.

Hassle:
Sure

Kool Keith:
My friends, they don’t know how to make natural records. They all look at me crazy like what are you doing with the songs? You should sell them and you should get rid of them and you should do something. You know, they see me stack up track after track after track. They start thinking…

I have my own set mind when I should make some money off of stuff. When I should sell some. But I like sometimes making some songs for myself, and it feels good. And I have fun doing it.

I have a lot of people around me that always, have like other endeavors with my music. I could record a track with a friend. Or somebody I know. And they got other endeavors to do with the track. You know, they got they might want to run off and try to sign it somewhere and try to put it on all kinds of platforms behind my back. I got a lot of people that work around me like that. So that’s why I really work solo, cause, a lot of people are not like me when it comes to recording. Some people get me on the track and they like, OH! I think Keith is sleeping on the song I want to take it from him and go do something else with it. And some people have other devious ideas with my music, so I don’t listen. So they start thinking I’m not taking care of my own stuff, but I know what I’m doing myself because I’m stacking songs.

Hassle:
Hell yes.

Kool Keith:
People beg me for years, “Oh, we got to do a song together. We got to get together and do a track. We got to do something.” But my thing is, that when they do get together with me and we end up doing songs, I start doing a lot of songs and they start being like, wow, this dude is really cool. He’s doing some songs now, but they start forgetting, they’re not paying me for the verses. They start forgetting, well, I’m doing the songs and they start, you know, they start having their own mind with the records.

And they start loading up the records on all kinds of platforms and running with different things, the video, whatever the music. And, I’ll just be like, yo, we made this for fun. And you really trying to go to see The Wizard of Oz with this shit.

Hassle:
Hahahaha.
Has that happened to you a lot like where you’ve done something for fun…?

Kool Keith:
It happens a lot. Like it happens to me a lot. Like I know I’m so used to it that, you know, somebody tell me about it and I’d be so numb. Oh, you know, you what happened and such and such ran with this song and ran with that song and this person put this on that and put that on this. I’ll be expecting it. It never fails. People always see some kind of unseen meal ticket with my my voice or something. Me I know the destiny of myself, you know, I know my own destiny. I’ve been around the world already. So I’m not anxious and stuff. I record like Prince, relaxed.

But they seem more like, oh shit, maybe I can take this song tonight and sell it to Columbia, you know, maybe go get a million tonight.

Hassle:
Yeah, well that’s because you already got it and they’re still looking for it.

Kool Keith:
Yeah. They start like not wanting to record no more. And then like a lot of my friends got a lot of ideas for me. You know, you should do an album with Eminem. You should get with Spotify, you should do this. And yo, I’m thinking about doing this digital thing, that digital thing, but it’s all my music. So they take the favor and twist it around like they doing me a favor. I’m like, no I’m doing you a favor. I’m on a song with you. You should be happy.

Hassle:
That’s right. They should be happy.

Hey, let me ask you. You’ve been holed up in New York for the pandemic?

Kool Keith:
Ah, yeah, kind of, you know, I’ve just been recording.

Hassle:
And are you missing performing live?

Kool Keith:
Yeah, I miss performing live because that’s a part of my life and you know, me going on the road staying in my hotel, having my own peace and quiet know, watching my movies, going out to get a snack, going in the city, taking a nice walk and then doing the show. And then we go back to my room and lay down and relax, sit in the tub, whatever, feels great. Like I missed that. Like now that you’re home is like, you know, you get to see everybody’s different problems that they’re home and you’re like, well, I don’t want to see… when I’m on the road, I get to dodge everybody’s problems. It’s good to come home and feel like, well, I could tolerate this for a week, but I know maybe the next week or something I’m out for about two weeks, or I’m going out for a week and a half. So I feel like a good break.

But when you don’t get a break, it becomes more like… shit. So now the studio is my escape. But before I’d be on the plane by myself. And, you know, I don’t really fly with an entourage. And so my life is more it’s like kind of just me, being free,

Hassle:
So I want to ask you, for that track that you did with Mick Harris and Submerged. Your chorus in that song is “ Exhaustion Distortion”. So what does that mean?

Kool Keith:
Exhaustion from the gas and you know, the lyrics are distorted as far as visual distortion, mind distortion, everything. You know, exhaustion, distortion like is gas and distorted. So is the fuel engine, and writing in a different way of, you know, it’s just the power, and all the power, like mind power but distorted. Distortion is fuel.

You know, I write a lot of lyrics on the on the sci fi level.

Hassle:
Of course.

Kool Keith:
Sometimes using science. Gasses, electrons exhaustion. As I write a lot of stuff in that vein.
My lyrics are driven by mechanics As far as far as rocketships, the motor engine, like my
Lyrics are intertwined with exhaust and combustion, you know, talking about cars and parts of the car. You know, the lyrics relate to metaphors of cars sometimes like exhaustion, combustion, 442 duel exhaust, you know, like different things. Very car enlightened.

I never drive. I don’t like to drive. I just talk about drag racing and cars. Fuel.

Hassle:
I see, you like cars but you don’t drive them.

Kool Keith:
Nah. Just fuel injection. You know, I read a lot of mechanic books and stuff. Maybe I’m a mechanic.

Hassle:
Yeah a word mechanic.

Kool Keith:
Maybe I’m a mechanic.

Hassle:
I wanted to see if you had any any thoughts on MF DOOM who just passed?

Kool Keith:
You know, that was a shock to me. When I heard that I was like, wow, like I just heard it at the wrong time because it was like it was like Christmas time or something. So I was like not expecting it. I thought it was a I don’t know, I thought it was a publicity stunt, you know.

Hassle:
Oh, really? Wow.

Kool Keith:
I thought it was like an album thing, you know, because sometimes…

Hassle:
Right.

Kool Keith:
He’s so mysterious that he might have… done something that kind of way, you know, with the industry people do all kinds of stuff. But, you know, he’s like a mystery person anyway himself. So to me, his thing became like Bela Lugosi again, like, you know, it’s just that type of thing. So I don’t know. But I was like, I just thought it was just strange.

Hassle:
It’s too bad. It’s too bad.

Kool Keith:
But then again, you know. Sometimes I thought of different things, so I just put my mind and in his mind and I was like. We think alike. So I was thinking would I do something… I’m going to erase my whole career and quit music. You know, it’s almost like if somebody said, well, I’ma quit music and then I’ll move to Cuba, I’ll leave America with that thought. So, you know, I don’t know. I just like that. But then, like you said, it’s true, you know… Now I’ll be mad if one day he pop back on stage.I’m just saying. It is what it is what it is. And this is what happened. So I just left it like that.


Hassle:
You know what Cameo is?

Kool Keith:
Cameo the group?

Hassle:
Haha. No, not the group. I love the group but no, like the videos, the video thing where you can pay people, pay celebrities or whatever. To send them a message or a greeting…

Kool Keith:
Oh yeah. Where people pay you to go on a video or something?

Hassle:
Yeah. You do that

Kool Keith:
Sometimes. Yeah. I mean those are cool.

Hassle:
Oh definitely, I was just curious if you did that at all. Hell, if anybody would pay me to send them a message I’d be doing it myself. But nobody’s paying me. Nobody’s paying me.

Kool Keith:
I mean, that’s cool. Cameos people in the video waving they hands. I mean, yeah, I’ve done one or two cameos here or there, but hey, they all right. I don’t mind you know. Yeah, but sometimes those are different.

Hassle:
So I was wondering what you do to relax and what kind of music you listen to when you’re trying to relax?

Kool Keith:
Sometimes I put my headphones on and I listen to stuff that I made myself that I never put out. Like, I got two worlds. I got a world where the music industry got stuff and I have a world of music that’s like mine, that hasn’t been criticized yet, you know, hasn’t been talked about, hasn’t been judged by some person that just got into rap yesterday. I got like records that are cool to listen to. Like, I’ll be like, wow. It’s like my own playlists of stuff that I got.

Sometimes I go pull up hundreds of unreleased records and stuff that I have…

Hassle:
Dang

Kool Keith:
I listen to them and I’m like wow this dope. Or there’s some art of like a planet, and I go, oh, I forgot I made this. And I got all kinds of tracks and me making beats myself stuff, Number One Producer’s stuff. Two samples and loops. Other sounds, progressive stuff, Stuff like music that’s currently out, you know, stuff like that. Samples, different things, loops. You know, I had no laws. So it’s like the freedom of everything that I have, like with no laws. I got keyboard music, sample music. What’s going on, whatever stuff I did in the past I forgot. I still got stuff from collabs I never got to use. So it’s all like a little therapeutic listening session for myself.

I don’t have no plans of knowing what I’m doing with it. Like people wonder, like when I make a lot of music. What are you going to do with it? I just listen to it. I like listening to it.
Some people don’t enjoy that part of it.

Hassle:
It’s like diving into a pool of musical memories that are only yours.

Kool Keith:
Mmmhmm. Sometimes I go back and listen to albums, though once in a while, like I might wake up tomorrow and pull out like the whole Dr. Octagon album and listen to it from front to end. Like people don’t do that no more.

But I collect everybody’s music from from all dimensions, from all albums and rap, you know, all from west to east, I have everybody’s cds from Mac Mall to E-40 to Kurupt to NWA. Philadelphia artists, San Francisco artists, artists in L.A., you know, I got endless albums. And then I got an RnB collection of anybody you know Joe, Rhianna, Tank, James Brown. Just to keep me informed of all music everywhere, all senses of music, all artists. I got a few rock albums, you know, Korn. I got, everything separate in cases. I got packs of 24 when they sold cases at Tower Records, I got cases of rap in good condition. I got everybody’s albums from A-Z from across the country.

Hassle:
Did you do vinyl too?

Kool Keith:
I don’t have a record player but I got vinyl records in my house, but I don’t have a record player. So, you know, I have

Hassle:
We need to get you one.

Kool Keith:
Yeah.

But, you know, I just end up playing one record. I like putting on headphones and stuff like that. I got like some pioneer headphones. I just bought a new like HD seventy, whatever.

I’m not looking for a hard to catch sample or something. I’ll loop up something simple and that’s what works. Some people, they look for obscure samples and stuff like that. I mean if you find something that’s cool, I’m not like stressing it with a lot of pressure like that. Sometimes you could loop the S.O.S band, you know, and that sounds good.

Hassle:
You just have to find the right one, right?

Kool Keith:
Yeah, but I’m not looking for like, you know, I’m not going all over Switzerland to try to look under rocks for some vinyl and all that. That’s not me. That’s why they have keyboards…

There’s nothing wrong with sampling. I just think that, it’s cool to use like everybody’s stuff. Some people sample all the George Clinton stuff, some people sample all the Ron Carter stuff. But sometimes you got to make some original stuff so some people could sample you also, you know, and that’s my thing. I’m saying, I don’t want to always live off of everybody’s samples. So that’s why I made some original albums myself. So I don’t want to go down as I needed to make records from everybody else’s catalog. That’s not necessary. But if I hear stuff that sounds good to rap over, you know, I’ll use it, I’ll loop it, whatever if I like it. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate samples. But I said I will use them, I will rap over them if they sound good, But still I will honor myself, to still have some time to do some original stuff still, which a lot of people don’t like to do.

Hassle:
I’m glad to hear that. I like that. I like that about you.
OK, second to last question, what do you, looking back over a career highlights, what do you consider to be some of the highlights of your career?

Kool Keith:
I think the highlight of my career was when I moved to L.A., you know, I did like three big albums. I did Matthew, Black Elvis, Doctor Octagon, and Dr Dooom. I created 4 story book albums that were really cool. I got it off my chest. That was like a big highlight for me.

Hassle:
Those are some good albums.

Kool Keith:
And they were original also, you know. I never wanted the music on one album to be compared against the others, but they were. So, you know, people started trying to say what was the best album? Is Dooom better than Matthew? Is Sex Style better than Elvis? I looked at them like my babies. It’s like people with their kids I guess.

In the books they were like, well his second album was this and his third was that. But to me they were always individual pieces. So I just have to look at that. Not judging from a book that came out yesterday.You know, when these little blogs and, you know, a lot of hip hop analysts came out later in life trying to judge records. And I was like, they just babies. They haven’t even been out that long to judge a song. So that was my thing.

Hassle:
So besides this new collaboration with Mick Harris, the 12” coming out. What else do you have going on musically or otherwise? What’s Kool Keith up to?

Kool Keith:
I’m recording. I might do a Number One Producer album again. I’m stacking songs up like I did with the collab with the Feature Magnetic album. I did that album and I had everybody on the Feature Magnetic, you know Ras Kass, Mac Mall, you know Necro, Craig G, you know, a lot of people Atmosphere, you know, a lot of people came to table., I plan on doing another one. A number 2. Working with different artists.

Even Ced my partner he’s working, he has album that’s supposed to come out. We don’t know when it’s going to come out. I don’t want to tell people too many things about projects that I don’t know when they’re coming out because anything could happen. Everyone has their own reasons for when they put stuff out.

I just keep what I’m doing to be 100 percent then… We have some other things in the works. You know, my other stuff I’m trying to do my clothing line, and the videos Ced also has a video out now. Did you see the Delta video?

Hassle:
No, I didn’t. Ced G?

Kool Keith:
Yeah, he has the video right now, Ced G “Delta Force.” And me I have videos out. I just finished the project, though. Did you see Saks Fifth Avenue?

The album called Saks Fifth Avenue was, it was like a different kind of album with this guy called Landon Price. There’s some dope beats on there. It was a nice album put together about like the theme was old fashioned. So the tracks are named after like Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld, you know, all the different designers names and anything that goes into the materialistic world of Fifth Avenue and fashion and cars and McLaren. So I got that album called Saks Fifth Avenue. I did videos for three songs, “T Mobile Connect” and “Angel” and “Givenchy.”

So I got a lot of videos out. And I have another project, you know. I worked on the Broadway Billy thing that’s coming out. It’s called Broadway Billy. I did the theme from the first song w/ Roc Marciano. I was a collab on that record Broadway Billy album.


Hassle:
So you have a lot of stuff going on?

Kool Keith:
Quietly yeah. I’m just always working on my own stuff. Chilling out. I’m doing those projects, those professional projects that people need from me. So, you know, I’m still professional in the business. People come to me for the music to do stuff as a job. And I give them what they want and in the meantime, when I’m home, I’m just recording and making other kind of records that are different, too.

You know, I give people sixteens and stuff like that. Some people want 16, some people want albums. You know, it’s different kinds of deals out there. A lot of people buy a whole album from me and they want to do the beats themselves. And then you got people that just want a 16, which is still cool. But, you know, I get a little bit of both worlds. You know, the new deal is now you got a lot of kids that live in different areas of the world and they’re bored. They got equipment and they may have 12 beats that they want to pay Kool Keith to rap on. You know, I’ll rap on it, you know, and we do the business.

And it sounds cool, you know, and a lot of guys got a lot of beats around the world, but they got no rappers on the songs. So they want some voices that co-sign their music. Fortunately for me, in my time frame of making records… A lot of people that was my classmates, I don’t even think they coul make a new record.

Hassle:
You mean, a lot of rappers who came out at the same time as you?

Kool Keith:
Yeah. I don’t think they are making records. They more living on their moments. They rather live on their moments of fame. Post the picture when they used to be good or something like more on what they used to do. You know, they take the praise from, what they used to do. And you’ll be like what do you do now? They do nothing now and they talk more about what they used to do.

I didn’t ever think I would ever get like that. And I don’t want to ever get like that. They are so like kind of stuck in. in the time of when they used to be good.

And what happened is like a lot of them turned into like Chuck Ds Like they left their own styles, you know. Like Chuck D was original with Public Enemy. So most of them have gone all political and stuff. On social network. They’d rather post more things about like,
politics than really going to the studio, making a nice record for somebody to listen to. They more worried about, you know, they trying to do Chuck D’s job. When Public Enemy was out, people respected them for them, being original as Public Enemy. Like I look at Public Enemy, they were like political version of Ultra Magnetic. And we were like, the sci-fi. But everybody was original back in the day. Like most of the groups everybody was original. We noticed that. We all kept our originality. But now that they can’t go in a studio, make records no more, everybody’s trying to copy Chuck D. Everybody was wearing jewelry. Everybody was in the club flossing champagne. Everybody was a gangsta. Everybody was on drugs rapping. Everybody was pushing drugs and weight. So everybody left their own individual styles to be politics. You look at a lot of the rappers going down the list you like, wow, he’s posting politics? He’s posting politics? All these posts about politics, these folks, you know, they are doing Chuck D’s job, you know, and I’m quite sure Chuck must feel like damn, these people are on my balls.

Hassle:
<laughs>

Kool Keith:
You know, I’m like I never thought it would get to that. Now everybody want to be a Black Panther or something. But when Public Enemy was doing it, they didn’t care about it. They was more like, yo, I’m a baller I’m in the club popping champagne. I’m this, I’m that, everybody was all kinds of different things.

But now that they ran away from their own, you know, individuality, they are posting political things or complaining about the state of rap now and all that. It’s like you saying, they’re mad at the new kids and, you know, they kind of bitter in the yard cooking with their wife or something. And they turned into like a political rapper that’s mad or something.

Hassle:
Well, I think it speaks to a strength of yours, and the way that you’ve led your career and fostered your artistry, that you’re able you’re able to work with younger people. Younger people are still coming to you, but they’re not coming to everybody.

Kool Keith:
Well, I was always approachable with young people, when, you know, those guys was so unapproachable and they were always bigger than everybody back then. So they was like, you know, it’s funny, the golden age, I hate to say it myself to you, I think is was the most arrogant rappers out at that time. I mean, even though it was a great thing, it was a good age of music.

Hassle:
Of course!

Kool Keith:
But in the sense of humanity and respect and being a nice artist I think the Golden Age was like the most arrogant age of rap. The new kids (at that time) probably felt that too. Because a lot of the golden age was more people got invincible and showed up and there was more arrogance towards being open minded to the kids. That time was more like it’s about us, fuck everything else. Saying (our time) was really a golden age and nothing is better. And what happened is, you know, they disrespect a lot of kids and stuff like that. So, you know, what you do and say will come back to you. So they’re mad at the kids, you know, they’re mad at everybody else with other styles. Now they’re mad about the (newer) music they mad at (newer) producers. They’re mad at anybody making something brand new. They’re mad at anything that’s not in their time.

They mad if you even staying current or youthful they’re mad that you might make a record in the studio that’s totally different. They feel like that record is not you. How dare you make a record like that. You should make a record for fat people that are out of shape. And now, you know, from those days, they have a lot of rules that don’t exist, in the studio. You should make this kind of song because this song matches the time (when you were in your prime). No, no, you don’t have to make that song. You make your record how you feel. If you want to make a 17 year old (sounding) record today and you feel you can do it, do it. But they mind tell them, I’m forty five, I’m fifty. I stay in the yard cook hotdogs with my wife, I’m overweight. I stay out of shape. I got barbecue sauce on my t shirt. I’m supposed to make some old barbecue sounding shit for my wife and that’s my life. So that’s their style. They don’t have like their mind is saying, you know, I could go to the store and buy some skinny pants. I could change.

Hassle:
Right.


Kool Keith:
I could shave my face and groom myself. They stuck in a zone of like I let myself go because my times was when I was hot. I still believe I’m hot. They believe they’re more hot… than a hot person right now.

Hassle:
That’s the human mind.

Kool Keith:
In their mind hey they big as Cardi B, which they are for (their) time, back in that time. The humbleness doesn’t come. Sometimes you gotta just be like, I’m good, but let me still stay humble.

If you’re always saying stuff about the new stuff and you mad at the kids and you mad, you just sound so bitter. Just bitter. I see a lot of them, they can’t even give an interview right no more. They sit in the dirty, dirty yacht, talk a bunch of shit, look into the background. They can’t even put lotion on their face and everybody’s mad. They come out with ketchup on a t shirt and then they talk about the latest rap, who got the new foreign clothes on and stuff like that. They don’t even come out and put lotion on their skin and use mouthwash and they come out just talking shit. They don’t recognize the change because there’s nobody to tell them. They are so used to yes men, saying you were the greatest and you the best and you the greatest, you the best. And you got people saying that to you every day. You start believing it too much and you end up saying, you know what? I don’t really got to take care of myself because I’m the greatest and the best. But you still have to take care of yourself. You still have to go to the barber shop. You still have to go buy you some new sneakers. You still have to fix yourself. But some people don’t care. They like, well, I’m the greatest and the best. I could walk around with my face looking fucked up. I can look like Abraham Lincoln. I can let my beard grow, don’t cut it. Let it be fucked. I’m just saying the way they conduct themselves is like…

You know what was the funniest thing? I was talking to M.C. Hammer one night in the rain and I met him. I met him in front of Virgin Megastore late one night.

Hassle:
When was this?

Kool Keith:
Well, I don’t know when it was, like a while back, as soon as the record stores had closed. I seen him, I was walking on like Times Square late at night, rain and pouring down rain. And I mean, we were the only two people on Broadway. I seen him, and we had hung out a long time ago. We went to this party one time. He had his house a long time ago when he was staying at Hayward in San Francisco.

But when he was in New York, one night in the rain. I was saying, what’s up, man? What you doing out here? He said, you know, I’m just I’m in New York State and I was in a hotel. I’m going back to San Francisco in the next couple days. This is after he did all his big records and everything. You know, he told me, he said, you know who the biggest haters are?. He was trying to say, like the hierarchy of the golden age, the people from your time. He said, the people who put out records before you and soon after you. He was like, those are the ones you gotta watch, because a lot of those guys went to different positions and different places in the music business. Different, you know, you had different jobs like in radio and A&R and as promoters.

And he was telling me that. So you got to watch the people that came before you and just after you and that bugged me out. It ain’t the new people. He said it ain’t the new people. It’s the people that came before you and people that came up at the same time, the people that came out with you. Those are the people like, you know, not your group of course.

Me and Ced (G) used to always say that. There were just a lot of times groups was just jealous, jealous of us. It was just jealousy. They were like, you know, we look young. So we get on stage, we look presentable. We look just like the kids. You know, they was just mad. Because a lot of people had the old man style. They figure they got the old crowd, you know, they do shows. They got the old people who like to eat ribs all day coming to their gigs.

So they get jealous of that stuff. And I’m not afraid to say it to this day because, like you said, a lot of the people try to throw history under the bus and rip pages out the truth and all that. And I hear conversations about Ultra and Kool Keith and people try to throw that under the bus when they do like documentaries and stuff like that. So that’s why, like everything about Boogie Down productions, you never really get to see a real movie about the Bronx and all that.

You don’t see nothing like truthful in the movie. Where’s the part when Ultra Magnetic and KRS and, you know, Show Biz and AG came out. They skip you. They skip all of that, they skip all of those different parts. So that starts to get fucked up because you’re like, uh, it’s like wrong information given out here.

So that’s why we’re working on rebuilding, the truth to people. I was talking to my boy on the phone today and he said rap is the only genre that don’t tell the truth. You know, like like rock and roll tell the truth. You know, they’ll tell you about the king of rock and roll. You know, they’ll cover Jimi Hendrix. They’ll cover, Little Richard, James Brown.They’ll talk about, Kiss and Gene Simmons. And they’ll talk about what Rock went through and, you know, like you said, but rap is like…

They’ll talk about jazz and Miles Davis and Ron Carter. And who was this? And who’s the king of jazz. And who was that? They’ll talk about the queen, of RnB you know, Aretha Franklin and all of this. But you ever notice, when they get to rap they start lying.

Hassle:
Why do you think that is?

Kool Keith:
Because it is out of control, it is not controlled. It’s like new people taking over every day, people with money. And it’s gotten so regional So you got people in other cities doing documentaries. You got people, you know, other than the original people doing documentaries. And then you got, like you said, once again, the jealous people that came up around you and before you. And then you have people out of town that don’t even know the people that came before you and after you.

So it’s all mixed up with uneducated people, jealous people… And then you start getting these mixed up documentaries, documentaries about all kinds of issues and stuff. Kids in school, kids growing up, they can’t even get the proper story. Because if you got a story coming from all kinds of cities and you know somebody in Florida, the editor, another guy in Atlanta is writing, and another guy in New York. And then you got rappers who are just just plain mad. And, you know, you’re not going to get proper stories because, you know, you got jealousy mixed with miseducation about hip hop, rather than, you know, the play for play stories about what happened in the Bronx.


Hassle:
People have agendas.

Kool Keith:
Yeah, people got mixed up stories. They can edit it all and put groups that came out much later here, and put another group there, and make the story however they want to. They twist stories so much. And a lot of people watching and learning they don’t know no better.

They make it to be sold and the people buying probably don’t know any better either. They sell it to, you know, they’ll sell it to, BET, MTV. They sell this stuff to television. And then the lies get projected across the country and out to Europe. And then people believe thiat shit. People do anything for money. So, you know, like you said, the cruelty of the music industry is bad. Like the cruelty. That’s why you have fraud information going up so much. They twist the stories. They twist it. And like you say, you got editors all over the place. Somebody in LA might write his version like, you know, the guy never live in New York a day in his life. But he’s writing, and he might put different people in there at the wrong time,

Hassle:
Well, that’s all I got. I don’t know if you have anything more to say, but, yeah, I really I really enjoyed this and I really appreciate it.

Kool Keith:
Any time, any time, any time you need the truth, I mean, I’m not here to get on get on the phone and tell lies.

Hassle:
I appreciate you taking the time. Good luck with this record. Good luck with all records. Your music has meant a lot to me since I was a teenager, and it’s really been a very cool experience getting to talk to you. So I wish you well and I hope we get out of this pandemic soon.

Kool Keith:
Yeah, I’ll come up and play a nice spot in Boston. I know I’ve played the Middle East a lot of times.

Hassle:
Yup, I’ve seen you there and, actually, you know, one time I saw you at this giant warehouse party and there were like, you know, there were like naked women hanging from the ceiling.

Kool Keith:
In Boston?

Hassle:
Yeah. In Boston on Melnea Cass Blvd. The cops broke it up a couple songs into your set.


Kool Keith:
I think I remember that.

Hassle:
It was like Halloween night. This was about 20 years ago.

Kool Keith:
Oh, wow. I think I remember that

Hassle:
Ha! You didn’t get to play because of the fucking cops, really. But anyway, it was a pretty wild time. I just I figured I’d throw that out there to see if you might remember. I’ve seen you a few different times man. Like I said I am truly am a big fan.

Kool Keith:
So, you’re in Boston now.

Hassle:
Yes sir.

Kool Keith:
Everything is open up there or what?

Hassle:
No. Clubs are not open, restaurants, take out and you can go sit in some restaurants. I’m not going to do it though.

Kool Keith:
You live downtown?

Hassle:
Hell no. Jamaica Plain. Right next to Roxbury, not too far from where I saw you at that warehouse.

Kool Keith:
Oh, ok. OK. Yeah.

Hassle:
Boston is kind of a shitty town to be honest with you. It’s very gentrified. They cater to rich people and I’m not one of them, so it sucks.

Kool Keith:
Yeah I like Boston when I come up there for a night or two here and there, but I sometimes I can’t stay up there because like you said, it’s more of a drinking town and you know, you walk downtown by the combat zone and all that. I go down there for a minute, but it’s like this is different, and kind of liberal. You know, all cities are the same, though, you know. Like when I go to, you know, a lot of cities, Milwaukee and all of them, they all quiet. New York is the only city that got a little energy to it. Like a lot of cities are just more suburban, feeling like Milwaukee. A lot of the towns, Iowa. You know, when I go do shows, after the show, you look out the window, go back to your room. The town is pretty much, like it goes back to like some kind of slow kind of, like nothing moving. Nothing happening again. And it’s like it’s like it’s nothing happening. You be in the room, like, wow, where did the people go?

Hassle:
And that’s why in New York, that’s why New York’s so special. I feel like Boston is even a lot like you were describing. You know, hopefully the pandemic will kick people in the pants a little bit? But I don’t know.

Kool Keith:
But around the world, you know, I mean, most of America is kind of laid back anyway.
Most of the people, like they go to Waffle House and go home and go to bed or they only go to a game. You know, a lot of these cities are just centered around, like the game, like the football game, the college game and baseball, and then they go home. People go to Fenway Park. And, you know, that’s, I think, that’s the most fun they have is the sports. It saves a lot of towns. And if they didn’t have sports, you’d be like, this is a dead town. If they don’t have college games to go to or nothing, you know, that’s what I really noticed… You couldn’t get no writing energy in some of those towns because they have, like, nothing going on. Nothing to even pick up a pen about.

Hassle:
Wow, yeah.

Kool Keith:
You just end up going to the mall or something, and that’s that, but I mean, I enjoy visiting the places and traveling and seeing the people and but like you said, for ME, the energy for writing is hard to get going in some places. But that’s their cities and they like their cities but you have to sit around and wonder, like, well, what makes you like the town? What makes you like this?

Hassle:
That’s really a question I ask myself about Boston truthfully. And I’m from here.

Kool Keith:
And they always say one thing. So when you’re coming back? They live in a city that’s ten times slower than New York. So when are you coming back out here? And you’d be like, I was there. I just was there. But, you know, coming back, you’re like, what are we going to do? Go to the local bar on the corner and shoot some pool and stuff like that? So that’s the life. Yeah, but like you said, I miss traveling. I’m recording and that’s about it. And, you know, happy to record. I wish a lot of like you said, my peers, was in the studio more rather than being, you know, everybody trying to turn into Nelson Mandela.

Hassle:
I’ll end on that right there. I appreciate the time, my brother.

Kool Keith:
Ok. Alright. Thanks a lot.

Liked it? Take a second to support Dan Shea on Patreon!
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License(unless otherwise indicated) © 2019