Kurupt Shares The Stories Behind Eight Of His Best Verses
You might not realize it but Kurupt might be the MVP of some of your favorite rap songs ever. During his 21-year-career, Young Gotti knocked down New York skyscrapers with Snoop, was the Death Row inmate stranded in cell block one and was the man that let you know Dr. Dre and Snoop were back on the "The Next Episode." Kurupt’s elastic flow and car-bombing lyricism make any verse of his a must-hear for hip-hop fans.
Since making his debut to mass audiences on Dr. Dre’s legendary The Chronic, Kurupt has been one of the illest West Coast rappers to ever do it. Young Gotti was the rare rapper to combine the pyrotechnical flow of a New York lyrical assassin and the West Coast swagger of the quintessential Cali MC. As one half of Tha Dogg Pound with his partner Daz Dillinger and Death Row alumni, Kurupt’s enjoyed a fruitful career as both a solo artist and a member of the DPG. His accomplishments make him one of the most underrated rappers to ever do it.
On Saturday, Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle, will enjoy the 20th anniversary of its release in 1993. As one of the rappers that heavily contributed to Snoop’s uber-classic album, XXL asked Kurupt to give the stories behind some of his classic verses from Doggystyle, the Death Row days and his accomplished solo career.
You better duck when he swings his shit. —B.J. Steiner (@DocZeusXXL)
"Bitches Ain’t Shit"
Album: The Chronic (1992)
That was the first one. You know, actually that was the remix to “G Thang.” Dr. Dre showed me that we could make two records off of one record. It was the “G Thang” remix, right? He took certain pieces of music off of it and only kept the bass line, a key part and he kept the drums off of the “G Thang” remix. And then after he took of that other music, he kept those parts and said we are going to make a whole new record and he made a whole new record. Yep. That’s a “G Thang” remix and Dr. Dre took the music off of it. He kept a string part and he kept the keyboard part, he kept the drums and the bass line.
"Stranded On Death Row"
Album: The Chronic (1992)
I just wanted to serve every rapper on the planet. That’s all. Yeah. It was that easy. It was that simple. I just wanted to slaughter everybody who thought they could rap. [Laughs] I think I definitely got close to it. [Laughs] Definitely. "Stranded on Death Row, so duck when I swing my shit / I get rugged like Rawhead Rex with fat tracks that fits / The gangsta type, what I recite's kinda lethal / Niggaz know, the flow that I kick, there's no equal / I'm murderin’ niggaz, Yo, and maybe because of the tone / I kicks my grip, the mic and kick shit / Niggaz can't fuck with / So remember I go hardcore, and slam / Nuff respect like a sensei, whoop ass like Van Damme / So any nigga that claim they bossin’ / Why don't you bring your ass on over to Crenshaw and Slauson? / Take a walk through the hood, and we up to no good / Slangin’ on things like a real O.G should / I'm stackin’ and mackin’ and packin’ a ten so / When you're slippin, I slip the clip in / But ain't no set trippin’ / Cause it's Death Row, rollin like the Mafia / Think about whoopin’ some ass, but what the fuck stoppin ya? / Ain't nothan but a buster / I'm Stranded on Death Row for pumpin slugs in motherfuckers / Now you know you're outdone / Feel the shotgun, Kurupt inmate cell block one."
The thing about that record right there is that I gave it up for my neighborhood. That was a big thing for my community because everybody else on Death Row was from Compton or Long Beach. I was the only one from South Central, so to be able to represent my neighborhood was a big thing.
“Puffin’ On Blunts And Drankin’ Tanqueray"
Album: "Fuck Wit Dre Day" B-Side (1993)
That’s another record that I went crazy. My main thing on “Puffin’ On Blunts,” though, is that I wanted to be known as one of the greatest MCs on the planet and I wanted to impress Dr. Dre. That was the inspiration behind “Puffin’ Blunts.” Definitely! Totally! You know what I’m saying? That’s basically what it was. I just wanted to destroy it. I always wanted to impress Dr. Dre and just express my skills.
“Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)"
Album: Doggystyle (1993)
We was in Culver City. Snoopy had a spot and Daz made the beat and basically, from there took it to Dr. Dre and Dr. Dre added his hotness on it. Me, I was into murdering MCs so I was about hip-hop and rapping and cutting people into bits and pieces. Snoopy was in it and was like, "You can’t kill everybody, Kurupt. You gotta make records that people can relate to." You know what I mean? “Ain’t No Fun” was more about fun than anything. It was more about us enjoying ourselves and having a good time. It was actually the second “fun” record that I made because the first one was “Bitches Ain’t Shit” on The Chronic. “Ain’t No Fun” was like the second fun record that I ever made. Before then, I was just into records where I was annihilating rappers.
"New York, New York"
Album: Dogg Food (1995)
It wasn’t even going after New York. It wasn’t a diss record. It really wasn’t. “New York, New York” was a record that we made in dedication to New York. We really felt that New York created hip-hop. New York created battle rap and the whole ball of wax so what I did was a battle rap on this beat DJ Pooh did. That beat originally, DJ Pooh made it for Biggie Smalls for a St. Ides commercial. He made the beat and really I picked the beat and I was like, “Man, I love that beat. I want that.” Then he did a St. Ides commercial with Biggie Smalls and I heard it on the radio. I was like “Damn, cuz. That’s my beat. [Laughs] Damn. Hold on. That’s my beat.” I called DJ Pooh and was like “Man, Pooh! That’s my beat! Man, Biggie is on my beat.” He was like “I got you." Man, I was like I want to go to the studio tomorrow. I want to knock this motherfucker down.
Kurupt: I know but before we even go there. DJ Pooh was like, “Kurupt, I got the beat, man. You know it was only a commercial.” I was like, “Fuck that. Man, that’s my beat!” And DJ Pooh was like, “When do you want to rock?” and I was like “I want to rock tomorrow.” I came in knocked down the lyrics. Now, originally the chorus was “You ain’t all that something something something. You ain’t all that,” right? And Snoop came in the studio when I was laying my second verse. I laid the first verse in one day and then the next day I laid the second verse. And then when I laid the second verse Snoop came through and he came in and he just got finished listening to Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. He came in saying “New York, New York! Big city of dreams and everything in New York ain’t always what it seems. You might get fooled when you come from out of town but I’m down by law and know my way around.” He was singing the Melle Mel chorus [from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “New York, New York"]. He was singing the chorus and we was like “That’s shit’s perfect. It fits perfect.”
It really got blown out of proportion through the media. It also got blew out of proportion by a lot of people from New York because we wasn’t dissing New York. Before we were knocking down buildings, Do you remember the beginning part of the video when we were in New York in the snow and having fun? That’s the original video. We wanted Nas and everybody from New York to be in the video. It was a dedication to New York but then, we got shot at it while we were shooting it.
New York felt we were disrespecting them. [Laughs] The New Yorkers wasn’t going for it. They was like “Oh, no! You ain’t gonna shoot this shit out here dissing us.” They shot at us the next day so I mean, after they shot at us. We went back home and Snoop was like, “Man, fuck that!” Then we shot the other part of the video where we started kicking everything the fuck over. That’s why we started kicking things over because we got shot at it. [Laughs]
“Callin' Out Names”
Album: Tha Streez Iz A Mutha (1999)
I think it’s self-explanatory. I was upset and I spoke my mind. I was upset and I just spoke my mind. Me and DMX are real good friends now. Isn’t that crazy? And Me and Nas are great friends right now. Me and Ja Rule is great friends. Me and Ja Rule did a movie after that. It’s weird. Ain’t it crazy? But it just goes to show you about life, you know what I mean? One thing I’ve learned from my experience in life of 40 years is that a lot of people that I’ve gotten into it with have ended up being real good friends. Isn’t that crazy?
Album: 2001 (1999)
Ah, man. "XXPlosive"! Dr. Dre! Well basically, “XXplosive,” I was on a solo thing. I was living New Jersey with Inga. I was living out there with Foxy Brown and I was working on my solo album, Kuruption!. I think I had just finished Kuruption! and Dr. Dre was like, come to the studio. We doing this. We doing that. So I went to the studio. I flew out to California from Jersey. Inga was living in Jersey. And you know... Dr. Dre just put the beats up. It was the same regular formula. It’s like me and Dr. Dre and Dogg get together and get into the studio and we just rock. Dr. Dre hooked up the beat. He said “Give me this, Give me that.” We just rock out. That’s what “XXPlosive” was. We were just six dudes in there. D.O.C., Dr. Dre, Myself and Hittman and all of them. We just got on the mic and started flying. Dr. Dre gave me space and said “Kurupt, go for it!” and Nate Dogg, too. Nate Dogg laid his. I laid mine.
You go in with Dr. Dre. He knows what he wants. He tells you what he wants and all you gotta do is deliver. At the same, you are learning. Dr. Dre shows you how simple it is. It’s really easy to do this music. It’s not difficult. It’s not a lot. It’s so simple. You just deliver. Dr. Dre is one of a kind. There’s only one “Doc.”
Album: Streetlights (2010)
Real life. The song is about real life. It was about what I was going through at the time. It was about life. It was about letting people know where I am mentally and personally. “Yessir! I am that guy!” It was about reminding people that, look, I’m still that guy. I’m still that nigga. I’ll serve these niggas daily, my nigga. This what I do. I represent DPG and the West Coast and you will not take us for short. You understand me?