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Kool Rock-ski is a member of the legendary hip hop group, The Fat Boys. TheCelebrityCafe.com's Julian Brentlinger spoke with Kool about his hip hop past and the current music scene.
TheCelebrityCafe:When was the moment in your life that you knew that you wanted to do music?
Kool Rock-ski: My mom played a whole range of music, including country. She played a lot of James Brown and Elvis and hip hop captivated the urban area at the time. The Sugar Hill Gang came out with Rapper’s Delight. Kool Moe Dee’s words in Treacherous Three’s “Feel the Heartbeat” were inspirational and crazy. Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” was incredible. Right then, everyone wanted to get into hip hop.
TCC: What artists/bands inspired you growing up?
KR: Fantastic Romantic Five, Treacherous Three, Kurtis Blow, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Elvis Presley (especially his song “In The Ghetto”).
TCC: How did you, Prince Markie Dee, and Buff Love a.k.a The Human Beatbox meet?
KR: We grew up together on the same block in Brooklyn, NY. Mark and I met first, we were like 9 years old. He had just moved in during a huge snowstorm. He lived down the block. I didn’t meet Buff until I was in my teens when I was like 13 years old. Buff and I became best friends in like a month. We were inseparable. We went to the same High School together. We started rapping when we were about 14. One day when we were playing in this huge lot, there was like five us and I was rapping Treacherous Three’s song “Feel the Heartbeat” of course, and that was the first time I heard Buff beatbox and it blew everybody away and we couldn’t even believe it so we dug into his pockets to see if he had anything.
TCC: When did you guys come up with the name “The Fat Boys”?
KR: Our manager came up with the name. We were originally called The Disco Three at first.
TCC: What inspired you and “The Fat Boys” to openly sing songs about eating food and being fat?
KR: Our Manager and Kurtis Blow who produced our first record chose us to rap about this. They wanted us to be fun. We originally wanted to rap about the street life. Kurtis Blow didn’t like how we were originally cursing in our verses.
TCC: How was it like living in the fame for you and The Fat Boys?
KR: We were just humble and regular guys. We wanted to have a normal life. We didn’t want all the limousines and we appreciated everything we had so we wanted to take care of our families first. We were fortunate for what we had.
TCC: Who were the most interesting musicians/artists you have met and/or collaborated with?
KR: Our album Crushin’ sold 5 million copies, and when we went to the 1993 Grammys, we sat behind Liza Minelli while we were watching Michael Jackson’s performance of “Man in the Mirror”. When one of the ceremonies was coming to an end, we were asked to close the show. We were closing out the show singing the song “Runaround Sue” with Dion and the Belmonts. Dion liked what we were doing with his song, putting a little hip hop into his song. Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston were watching us not too far from the stage. Well after the song, Michael Jackson when up to us and tapped us. He shook our hands and told how proud he was of us. The he told us “You guys work so hard, Every time I turn on my TV, you guys are on the TV. You guys are unique and I want to work with you guys.” And we were like “What?” And nothing ever transpired after that, our manager didn’t really chase it for some odd reason, I don’t know why.
TCC: How did you feel about Michael Jackson passing away?
KR: He inspired everyone. He rearranged R&B with Off The Wall. He totally inspired us. Thriller blew us away. I was about 14 when Thriller came out. Man in the Mirror proved who he was. He cared too much about others. One of the best entertainers period!
TCC: What was it like filming Krush Groove?
KR: Krush Groove was fun. We were at home in New York. They would pick us up every morning and drive us to the set. We were young then, we were like 16. We, Run DMC, and LL Cool J were on that set everyday and it was just mayhem. Originally the movie was mostly supposed to be about Run DMC, we were just supposed to have a small part, but the director, who also directed Car Wash started telling the producers that he wanted us more in the movie so they started writing us more and more into the movie. We had a lot of fun though. It wasn’t the best acting movie. Krush Groove told the story how to make a hip hop record, how the record was promoted, and how shady the industry really was and it told the truth of hip hop. It had all the people that were hot at the time. We, LL Cool J, Run DMC, and Kurtis Blow were in it. I always wished Whodini was in it.
TCC: What was your favorite song that you and the Fat Boys did?
KR: “Can You Feel It?” It had that calypso of hip hop and R&B. Kurtis Blow was at his best producing is. We wrote it in like 5 minutes. It was a real ‘quick wit’ song.
TCC: After Buff Love passed away, how was the musical chemistry between you and Prince Markie Dee?
KR: There wasn’t much because Buff and I were working on our end for a Fat Boys reunion album. At the time Prince Markee Dee was out of the group. The stuff that Buff and I were doing before he passed away was just phenomenal. We were getting asked to put it out over and over to put it out. We were just doing it for fun. We were getting older and learning more about the music. Once Buff passed away, I lost the love for the music and at that time. I just didn’t want to do anymore music, I completely shut down. I fell back from the music scene, period.
And at that time, the media was blowing things out of proportion which was giving hip hop a bad name. You can’t say that on the TV that there is something wrong with hip hop because they are always going to try to prove you wrong. They weren’t giving guys like us, Run DMC, or LL Cool J the bad name; they were giving the originators like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One and Public Enemy a bad name. There was a time when there were lyrics in hip hop, these guys had lyrics. Today there are no lyricists. There are guys like Jay Z and Eminem out now who are good lyricists, but these guys can’t do it alone. The sad part of it all is that today people don’t want to hear the conscience rap about putting the races together or about putting the whole community together. They want to show the stupidity part of it of a damn rapper singing “Stanky Leg” or some crazy stuff like that. So that’s what really gets you pissed off about it.
TCC: How is your relationship with Prince Markie Dee today?
KR: We’re cool. Were doing a show September 5th in Detroit, MI. It’s our second show. We communicate over time. We’re trying to do a reality show. We might be doing it real soon to look for a third member to our group.
TCC: How do you feel about the hip hop scene back then?
KR: I lived and ate hip hop. I loved R&B too. Listening to Public Enemy, KRS-ONE, Eric B & Rakim, LL Cool J, Ultramagnetic MCs, whoever was out. People accepted it for the art. Not much money in it for some of the artists. Hip hop was about putting on a good show and competing in a fun way, not in a deadly way. Back then it was just fun. Everybody was just doing their own thing. ‘Innocent battles of love and fun to accept each other in the hip hop life.’
TCC: How do you feel about the hip hop scene today?
KR: Hip hop is just a label now. KRS-One said it best, “Rap is what you do, hip hop is what you live”. It’s rap today, not hip hop. They are living the culture of rap to be successful. We are not living in a rock and roll generation anymore. Most of it today is overproduced music, there are no lyrics. You know, a lot of rap today on TV is showing the money, the gold teeth and gold chains, and even women in these sexual ways that women really shouldn’t be shown. Times change, you have to change with it, but you don’t have to degrade the human race while times are changing. There are no more female MCs or rappers. Back in the day there was Salt N’ Pepa, Antoinette, Moni Love and MC Lite who was an incredible lyricist. Now we have none of that, there are no values in rap anymore.
It’s like walking into a war zone right now. Everybody is just throwing grenades at eachother. The media is setting up a scheme or something of a bunch of nobodies and each person is copying what the next person is doing. And that’s why when Eminem and Jay Z drop their new albums, they are so successful because no one wants to hear the crap that’s out now. These guys are still in there thirties or something and are still at the top of their game. That just shows you that these guys are still important to the world of hip hop. Even Dr. Dre who is about 45 years old is about to drop an album and people are still anticipating his album. That should just give some kind of indication that there is something wrong with hip hop when people are anticipating a guy who hasn’t dropped an album since 2001.
TCC: What newer hip hop/rap artists/groups do you enjoy listening to today?
KR: I like The Black Eyed Peas early stuff. I like Jay Z and Eminem. I don’t listen to new music much. I used to listen to Soundgarden and Live back in the day.
TCC: What do you think of newer artists like Lil’ Wayne?
KR: Honestly, I can’t recite one rhyme Lil’ Wayne has ever written. I can’t understand what the hell he is saying. It sounds like he is spazzing out every time he raps. I can’t get into it. I mean I have nothing against him, I just can’t understand what the hell he is saying. He has used that auto tune to death. I thought that thing had ran its course, but he’s still using it. I mean jumping on stage with a guitar doesn’t make you a damn rock star. Somebody needs to tell him that. Getting on stage with an electric guitar playing a couple of notes or chords doesn’t make you a rock star, your kind of degrading rock to be honest. I think he should to stick to what he is good at. I am tired of rappers singing too.
TCC: I personally really enjoyed your latest EP “Party Time”, especially the track “We Can Talk”. Which track on “Party Time” is your favorite?
KR: I did 20 songs but only put 4 on the EP. “Gotta Love It” and “We Can Talk” are my favorite tracks. I regret autotune for “Playing With Yourself.” I am sick of autotune. It’s about time for it to get the hell out of music anyway. I think it has pretty much ran its course.
TCC: Which track seems to be everyone’s favorite so far?
KR: I think “We Can Talk.”
TCC: Are you touring now?
KR: I think I’m gonna do a European Tour overseas before the end of the year. Ideally 15 shows to promote my EP.
TCC: Will you and Prince Markie Dee ever make a comeback tour or a new album?
KR: We may do a couple of singles. We’ll see.
TCC: What advice do you give any artists/bands that dream to be successful with their music?
KR: Be original. Don’t let the record companies pick what you should put out. Stay together. Don’t try to do something you normally wouldn’t do. Look at the music industry. You’re the cash cow to them. They want the next hot thing. Learn to keep your distance. Be aware of your surroundings. Women and Clubs will always be there. Have fun but always sleep with one eye open.