It’s very hard to define the start of rap in America. You can only go one way. But I do know that it was mostly in the 80s. That started at the University of Chicago. There were these white kids, like me, who were listening to The Pharcyde, and going to church. That was the beginning. The second thing that happened was during the G4 concert at Madison Square Garden in 1994. That was the starting point of this whole movement, which was very much influenced by NWA, Big Daddy Kane, and early Big Mike. But it wasn’t until the 90s that we actually got a sense of the mainstream.
Is that part of the reason why people don’t recognize NWA’s music anymore?
Well we can’t keep doing what we’re doing until we get the mainstream. They don’t like it now. They don’t like us. The way it is now, you get to the point where you are a superstar. Then everybody just says, “You don’t like being a superstar.”
A little bit of a personal note: You were in that video for Nelly’s “We Don’t Care.” When you say “we,” what do you mean?
We have to remember when you started in music; you had to know something. I was in the Bronx on Sunday. It started at church. I was a kid. I was a kid. Everybody was telling me to play guitar. I was sitting in an auditorium and playing a guitar. I was a kid. And my friend was there and he was like, “You’re the best guitarist I ever seen.” He was telling me in high school. He showed me how to play. Like if you look up the chord structure, that’s exactly how it’s done. I learned how to play by doing that.
You know, I had a lot of friends in the Bronx who were also in the New York area. I was just around the corner. I was like “Whoa, you’re a musician. You can do this.” Then I was getting out of school and I got kicked out. I started going to this club called The Village Party, and when there was nobody there, they would give me a free pass. That’s the only reason I’m still here, because of that place. Because of that place, I was able to learn about music.
You said people don’t really appreciate the work?
Maybe it’s because of
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