The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What percent of rappers are really drug dealers and/or murdering sociopaths; does it affect a rappers' opinion of other rappers who lie; is there a crime so heinous that it will actually undermine a rapper's credbility?Rocks Off: A lot of rappers brag about being drug dealers or murderers. If you had to put a percentage to it, what number would you say actually have done that stuff?
K-Rino: It's definitely gonna be under 10 percent.RO: Really? Why's that?
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K: I'm saying, if you're talking about killing on a record, you're gonna be locked up. You can get away with selling a little dope for a while, but even then eventually you'll get caught. If they were really doing that stuff and talking about it on a record, 99.999 percent would be getting locked up and the other .001 percent would be running from the cops. People have dabbled in it before, but it gets magnified on the record. If you were a petty guy selling a little stuff on the corner, by the time you get to the studio you're a kingpin. Lyricists do it too. Look at the line you quoted from me. ["You didn't see me at all in March because I was waiting for you in April."] I can't do that.RO: [laughs] What?!
K: People just exaggerate. But it's more severe when you're speaking about drugs or crime because people can latch onto that. RO: Talking about anyone specifically? Which rappers do you know that are out there dealing drugs and murdering? K: Nah, man. No. 1: I don't know anybody that does that. No. 2:: If I did, I wouldn't tell you. [laughs] RO: Good point. So should it affect people's opinions of a rapper's music when we find out otherwise? Like, when all that stuff about Rick Ross being a correctional officer, do you think it took away from the quality of the music? K: You got so many people that listen to music with so many different opinions it's hard to say. There are a certain number of people that were disappointed, and others look at it as entertainment. It's relative to the listener, really. For me, it depends on what you're representing or misrepresenting. Being a correctional officer, that ain't something negative. It just depends on your perception. RO: To that point, whenever a rapper gets locked up it seems to boost his street credibility. Is there an instance when that doesn't happen? Like, you're from South Park, right? What was the general attitude among rappers when SPM got sent away? K: I mean, I think the attitude among the people was more critical than among the rappers. There wasn't too much backlash from the rappers. People passed the judgement because that was a case that was all over the news and that happens. But really, yeah, it all depends on what you get locked up for. If its something that's relatable to people in a positive way, you're a hero. If I shoot a police officer and get locked up and then the story comes out that he was commiting police brutality against my sister and I was trying to protect [her], and in the scuffle he got shot, then people might look at it differently. If you get locked up because you beat up your wife or do something else out of pocket, then you lose credibility. K-Rino's most recent album, 2008's Blood Doctrine, is available now. Check him out on MySpace and in person July 31 at Jet Lounge.