Rap started around 1975. The first people to record a beat off it was Rakim. He’d be playing this instrument he had, some sort of instrument that you don’t understand, or you don’t know, and he’d just throw it down. He’d play that rhythm for a while. He also played in the group, his name was Rakim. But he had to wait until he was 18 to record. So he was 18 when he did the first rap, in ’76.
He didn’t start his own group for a while—he was on Rakim’s group in the ’80s—he was in a group called, The Mob, in the ’80s. That’s when I got it. They didn’t even know who Rakim was. That’s when I heard all that stuff I know now and I had gotten hooked. I didn’t like it.
If you were starting rap right now—and I don’t mean just from a rap standpoint but just from an intellectual standpoint—you go, “Okay, what if I’m not the best rapper? What if I suck at rap, what if I’m good at it but I suck in the media?”
The media is a fucking joke around here. But, yeah, a lot of people want to be in the media. I wanted to be a rapper but, like, I had all my stuff that I wanted to do already. Like, I wanted to be in The Roots. I wanted to do a song and do a show. All I wanted to do at 17 is be able to give a performance of my shit.
That’s been the goal. But, you know, it’s never easy. That’s how it is at 17, being a rap artist. So you have to go through that. What’s your personal story? What’s your background? So then your journey was to be the greatest at the worst period in my life, for sure. I went through everything. Like, I don’t think I have ever had to go through it—no, I’d have to go through something crazy to get over it.
How long did you think you were gonna be in rap?
I started on my own when I was 14. I had my first album when I turned 15. But, my first album was really, really, a mess. It had so many bad producers—not people that I wanted to work with, but people that I didn’t really feel
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