KOKANE (PART 1) (April 2008) | Interview By:
Dubcnn hooked up with Kokane last week for the first time in two years to
conduct an in-depth interview about his upcoming projects but ended up going
back in time to the Ruthless era and Kokane shared some of his memorable
stories with us about the past. The interview was over an hour long so we
decided to drop the interview in 3 parts. This first part sees Kokane discuss
growing up having a father working in MoTown and stories of how him and Eazy E
first met, how Big Hutch, Kokane and Suge along with Dr. Dre were to start
Death Row records but ended up renegotiating their deal with Ruthless Records
and a whole lot more.
As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave
feedback on our forums or email them to
Interview was done in April 2008
Full Audio Interview
Check Out My Melody
Dubcnn: We are sitting here with Kokane the legend and it's a pleasure man
talking to you again. It's been awhile since you were on Dubcnn. What have you
Man it's a whole lot that's been on plate, it's been good for the last
year and a half I just been extremely working hard in the studio and boy we
got a whole list of things to talk about...
Dubcnn: Alright but before we get into what you been doing lately I'd like
to go back in time with you. What was it like growing up being the son of the
famous Motown composer Jerry Long senior?
Well in likeness of my dad Jerry Long senior, you know that was his thang.
Because it's like just my son, you got to grow up and get your own thing
going. But it was good though because I didn't understand it until I started
really getting trued and good with the music and was like; wow this right here
it's in the blood and it was a good thing man because he made some very good
hits back in the days "Just My Imagination", "Waters Run Deep" and working
with Quincy Jones and all that so it was a good thing to let me know that I
came from that type of backing and it just inspired me more too go out there
and hack it like I do.
Dubcnn: How old were you when you first started singing and finding
interest in music?
Well like 5 years old.
Dubcnn: Wow that's young but when did you make that transition into
becoming a full-fledged musician?
When I seen Grand Master Flash, Furious Five and back in those days when I was
into Curtis Blow and all that. I'm a hip-hopper to the fullest and you know my
cousin had a group called "Wizards Of Rock" in the mid eighties and they
transformed over to Above The Law.
So that really hyped me extra too see different things and too also see George
Clinton (Parliament) Bob Marley and Grand Master Flash it had overall a big
impact and also seeing Cold 187 (Big Hutch) and seeing how he get down on
stage. I learned a lot from that dude right there who is my cousin.
He was the one who really pushed me to like do it because you know when Eazy
and them came around; it was like wow because they was the first to really
touch on something. It was really like a movement and then when I found out
Above The Law signed...Because you know I was always rhyming and back then you
know my name used to be Jay Golden and we was on some Hip-Hop to the fullest.
After seeing Cold 187 and them I said it was time to get with it because it
wasn't Gangsta Rap then it was Reality Rap. That really pertained me to really
do it and when he gave me the name it was over with.
Dubcnn: Who gave you the name? Eric?
No Cold 187.
Dubcnn: Okay, how did you hook up with Eric "Eazy E" Wright at first?
I went through Above The Law's Lay Law. Who had a thing called Law House
Records. You know Lay Law is one of the founding members of NWA. After Cold
187 did the tracks we did 2 song demos and after we did that Eazy heard it and
after 2 songs he said "man I got my George Clinton!"
Dubcnn: What was the atmosphere like in the studio back then? Was it
different from now?
It was beautiful because you gotta realize anything that is part of a
movement; social and economically it has a big impact. It's like when Bob
Marley first did or it's like when Marvin Gaye first did. It's the same you
gotta realize when NWA touched on that line and opened up their can of
worms...Of course Ice T was the first one to set the foundation but when NWA
put the house on it, it was over with!
So in the mist of everything that was going on it was a culture shock. Not
only that it was like Beatle mania homie. Throughout Jerry Long Kokane being
in this game there has never been in my opinion a hands on experience an
impact like NWA had period! It was bananas homie it was crazy!
Dubcnn: What was it like when you saw Ice Cube leaving first then soon
after Dr Dre left. What did you think about that?
Well I was loyal regardless. The first people on Death Row...I mean people
have to realise this see; back then the whole history was this when we was
running around Suge just came out of college from UNLV so he used to bodyguard
for D.O.C. He was his bodyguard and then when we started hanging out everybody
was knowing each other. Then D.O.C lost his voice, Above The Law was doing
their thang and back during the time when everybody fell off was because of
I don't want to say his name but I'd just say it like this; Jerry Heller was
in the mist of brain washing the whole situation and Ice Cube in his opinion
was the first one to leave. So when Dre, Above The Law and Kokane was getting
the idea then that Eric is janky so we decided to all band up together and
start our own company.
Suge was in the forefront of it because Suge used to be around Above The Law
and Kokane all the time. So we had came up with something we used to call
ourselves The Aftermath in 1992! Before it was even happening. We used to call
this thing that we made up because Above The Law and Kokane made up that in
1990 we said we wanted to do our Funk called G-Funk!
Yea so we started that man and during that time that we thought Eazy was
trippin' so we came up to the studio it was in Inglewood. It was Dre, me and
Snoop of course was there; because the people to found the talent and really
put it on was Cold 187.
Dubcnn: Yea I heard that he found Snoop and you guys had Snoop before he
signed to Deathrow.
Dubcnn: What happened to that why did he leave with Dre?
What happened to that was this; we was working on my album "Funk Upon a Rhyme"
so let me finish telling you that when we met up at the studio "we was like
Eazy trippin' Dre. " Dre Hutch and everybody was in the room and then Suge was
like "what y'all want to do?" So we wanted to start this thing called Death
Row Records right?
So we went to Hollywood it was at the Solar building Dig Griffio built it and
we had came up with a couple of things. The first people that were going to
come out on Death Row was going to be Above The Law and Kokane with Dre behind
the stuff doing what he was going to do. That was when Deep Cover was finna
come out. But what had happened was Eazy had called us because "We was like
man we ain't just like going to leave like that, we finna talk it out with
this brother and see what the hell is going on." So what we did was this:
We had a meeting with Eazy E and Dre was supposed to be there but Dre never
did show up at all. So we ended up renegotiating with Eazy and we stayed with
him. So during that time Snoop Dogg and Warren G - who was Snoop Dogg's DJ at
that time - said they got a dude named Nate Dogg who sings straight from the
Church so they all came up there. So during that time when we wanted to work
on Snoop Dogg's album we couldn't because we had to work on my second album
which was called "Funk Upon A Rhyme".
So it put Snoop in a situation where he was like "Well what the hell am I
going to do? I can't wait on Kokane all day to do his thang".
So Warren G called Dre and them and said look "Hutch and them can't work on
Snoop and my album so can we come over there? " That's when Snoop Dogg made
the transition between Above The Law and Death Row. So when he made that
transition it was a movie coming out called "Deep Cover" and I'm on that
soundtrack too with a song called "Nickle Slick Nigga" so that move right
there landed Snoop career. I'm going to tell you something and this is real
talk if at the time I wasn't working on that album Snoop would have never been
over there at Death Row right away. But everything happened for a reason.
Because he went over there at a time when Dre was hot, Dre had this new thing
and it just opened up a can of worms.
You know Snoop Dogg was one of the best freestylers I had ever heard in this
game real talk! So he went over there and it was like that's when the beef
started. You know Dre never renegotiated with Eazy E and them so it was Death
Row against Ruthless. That's why on "Funk Upon A Rhyme" I'm saying certain
things at the time we was on each other like y'all stole our shit.
G-Funk, Aftermath and everything y'all stole our shit period so it was a
difference of opinions then he had Kurupt diss me on something called "Blunts
and Tangueray" me and Hutch so we replied back "Don't Bite The Funk That Feed
You" and keep in mind this too "The Chronic" album completely almost sounds
exactly like "Black Mafia Life" (Above The Law's album) because I'ma tell you
the real Hutch showed Dre a lot of things which Dre is a genius if Hutch never
did show him.
Dre is one of the biggest persons in the game but Hutch showed him a lot of
stuff, Hutch gave him break beats on NWA and all kind of stuff but didn't get
the credit. I'm telling it like it is for the whole world to know. This is how
it go down so that was what started the beef between Ruthless and Death Row.
Dubcnn: We all know the beef was going on for a long period of time but was
the beef ever taken to a street level?
Well of course it was taken to the street level and I'ma tell you this nobody
wanted to see parts of Eazy because I'ma say it like this Eazy was
Real talk! And I'm telling it like it is...that Daz and Kurupt was dissing him
and doing certain things because Daz and them are my boys. Daz and Kurupt they
are my homies for life we put all that past us but at that time Eazy was
basically telling them "you can do this Dre and you can do that but I get more
money on your own project so you can diss me and that's why Eazy was slow to
diss them back because he was getting paid more money than them.
So Eazy was the first one to really P.Iing it on a number scale, contract
skills because see Eazy was intellectually putting it down so they couldn't
really mess with him.
Full Audio Interview