As I was putting together my last G. Rap mix, there were a few hints in the air that I might have to do a second mix. First of all, I was leaving out a lot of classic collaborations and album tracks to try and stick to my formula (not recycling shit that's been posted on the web 54,949,679,873 times). There were also cuts I left out because the quality was just too weak, and I didn't feel like they'd flow on a mix with the more recent shit. Finally upon making the mix, I got a lot of flack for leaving out certain classics (even though I explicitly try to avoid making obligatory classic mixes), but heads also put me up on gems that I either had never heard, or that I didn't have in mp3 form. And finally, I found as I should have expected, that there are a lot of young new jacks out there who are capable of appreciating Kool G. Rap's undeniable dopeness, but aren't up on the basic curriculum. The result is Kool G. Rap - Teaches The Children, and below I've provided a track by track breakdown of the curriculum.
It's A Demo - Before the days of EPMD's "Please Listen to My Demo," Nathaniel Wilson and Thomas Pough (G.Rap & Polo) took themselves to Marley Marl's crib and put together their homage to the demo making process. From my understanding this was an actual demo, and the infinite repetition of "It's a demo" at the end happened as another Marley Marl "accident." I'd say something like "young bucks this is how you make a demo," but in today's music industry this wouldn't get you a foot hold in the industry like it gave Kool G. in the eighties. Rest assured though, in '87 this was the formula.
Raw (Extended Mix) - featuring Big Daddy Kane. Always billed as kind of an alternate version of Big Daddy Kane's "Raw," this version is really completely different. Kane & G. Rap dumbing out for an extended period of time. In case anybody wonders the lesson, this is how you get raw.
"Train Robbery" - Biggie, Jay, Big L, and Nas all definitely took notes (paperless or not) whenever G. Rap had a story to tell. Although Slick Rick is more commonly crowned King of storytale raps, G. Rap had the gangsta tales on lock. This track is a virtual how-to write a thug fairytale.
"AIDS" - featuring MF Grimm, Akinyele, CJ Moore, & Big Chuck - This track was unreleased during the era it was recorded, but found it's way onto MF Grimm's excellent Scars and Memories LP in 2005. Obviously the is a safe sex track, sex education 102 if you will, but the twist is the artists providing the message. Actually I think it's refreshing that artists as reknowned for their misogyny, and vocal advocation of physical & sexual abuse, can also flip it and tell the boys "Make sure you're strapping up."
"Talk Like Sex" Too $hort was smoother with his pimpery, G. Rap always seemed to play more of the thugged out street don who doesn't take "no" for an answer. Either way, this was definitely G. Rap Sex Education 101.
"Hey Mister Mister" - I got this joint from the homie Killer Ben over at www.philaflava.com/forum, on the suggestion of another extremely knowledgeable boarder, MGP. MGP explains "This track taught me to always keep my bitch in check, especially if she's pilfering from my hustle." Maybe not one of the lessons they teach in grade school, but Iceberg Slim would certainly approve.
"Take A Loss" - Track from a JS-1 tape. In case you ain't know, goin' against G. Rap, you take a loss.
"I Ain't Trickin'" - Iceberg 102. One of the most important lessons in pimpery, don't trick.
"Check the Bitch" - Iceberg 201. Note the relationship between money and bitches. Striking racial commentary as well.
"When Your A Thug" featuring Prodigy & Tru Life. Interesting song, especially considering the song is basically a testament to each artist's personal thuggery, but it eventually lead to Tru Life pulling Prodigy's thug card. After he took his verse and did this with it on the Any Given Sunday Sountrack (this song is almost as good by the way, mainly because although it doesn't have G. Rap on it, it also doesn't have Tru Life on it).
"I'm Fly" - Maybe I'm buggin' but I always felt like this song had a definite LL Cool J influence. And the beat & cuts sound reminiscent of a joint that might have been credited to a certain Eric Barrier. Either way Marley Marl synthesized it, and although it's a lesson commonly reiterated in the hood and suburbia alike, G. Rap reminds us that no matter how real you keep it, you still gotta be fly. Of course this is important in impressing the ladies. Cuz like the lil' homey MIMS says, "I'm hot cuz I'm fly." Somehow I just prefer Kool G. Rap's poetics.
"The Letter P" featuring Saigon - This is a cut I can't imagine anybody missed out on, but it fits the concept of the mix too beautifully to pass on. Saigon pulled G. Rap back into the public eye (well if you consider Saigon being in the public eye) with this cut back in '04, for his aptly titled, at least to date, unreleased LP The Greatest Story Never Told. If anybody wants to know what alliteration and consonance are, just peep this. Saigon absolutely rips this song in typical fashion, but it's pretty much impossible to outshine Kool Giancana, and I don't this is any exception.
"Don't Curse" featuring Heavy D, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and Grand Puba - This is kind of a funny joint to include in this mix, because obviously Kool G. does not espouse the tenants of keeping it clean on record. Nevertheless, Heavy D did keep his records swear free, and the fact that he got such a wide variety of cats to join together and make a song like this for his album is commendable. Even if a lot of the rappers play with the concept, pretending like they have difficulty avoiding cursing, the truth is all the rappers easily achieve the task at hand. Modern rappers should take note, that you don't always have to say "fuck, hoe, bitch, & nigga" fourty times per track to get your point across. And for you young scholars out there, be open to the idea that sometimes you turn certain groups of people off to your message through vulgarity. Remember, there was a time in rap music, when cursing was the exception, not the rule.
"Erase Racism" featuring Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane - One of the things I always liked about Juice Crew/Cold Chillin' cats was their ability to make "hardcore" rap albums, with random moments of consciousness/afrocentrism splashed in the mix. Sure, it sometimes took away from the continuity of their albums, and maybe it was nothing more than a gimmick to appeal to the 5%er and Red, Black, & Green audiences, but it also firmly deliniated reality and entertainment. This song really sounds like a Biz Markie track in the middle of a G. Rap album, but it's still a cut I go back to from time to time. Another clean Kool G. Rap track for the chilrens.
"Cars" - I don't know who started the concept of bigging up your whip game on record, but Kool G. Rap was one of the first cats I heard do it well. According to a lot of QB heads, Marley Marl was one of the first to really start pushing nice whips off his rap money, and the rest of the Juice Crew soon followed suit. I don't know what G. Rap was really pushing when this album came out, but he certainly ran down the perks of stepping your vehicle game up. Kiddies take notice, a fly ride will gain the attention of the ladies. Not saying that's how it should be, just how it is.
"Fast Life" (Buckwild Remix) featuring Nas - Axewoundfister, a poster over at philaflava again, requested I include "Fast Life" on this mix. Although I'm not sure exactly what it teaches the children, that they can't learn from 99% of the rap songs on the radio these days (it's basically about cars, money, and girls), there is perhaps one thing unique about it: G. Rap manages to go toe-to-toe with Nas in his "Nasty" prime and doesn't come out looking like a relic of the past. As I said with the Saigon track, Kool G. Rap never really gets outshined, but sticking with Nas bar for bar during this era, is impressive to say the least. I included the remix, because I like it better than the original, and because I figure a few heads out there might have only heard the album version (shame on you if you're one of them though).
"U Wanna Get Shot" featuring an uncredited appearance from Ma Barker(?). This joint's lesson is pretty self-explanatory, once you hear the actual hook to the song, which explains "You Don't Wanna Get Shot." An important lesson too, especially if you're inclined to thinking otherwise.
"Cardinal Sins" - featuring B-1 & B.O.M.B. Doesn't actually have much to do with actual Cardinal Sins, other than the fact the song is laced with fairly sociopathic acts. But maybe it encouraged some ambitious young head to look up the actual origin of the phrase. Or maybe they just think the Church bites from Kool G. Rap... They wouldn't be the first.
"Riker's Island" - Industrial Prison Complex 101.