The legendary Kool Genius of Rap is arguably the only rapper from the 87 era who never fell off. His signature cadence has been mimicked by underground grimies like FT and mainstream icons like the late great Big Pun, while his vivid storytelling abilities have undoubtedly influenced all of Queens’ most infamous MCs.
His songs define the style of early rap. Joints like "It’s A Demo" and "Truly Yours" are as classic as track suits and Pumas. "Streets of New York" and "Ill Street Blues" are permanent polka-dot shirts and flat-top fades while "Fast Life" takes us back to when Tommy Hill was still hot.
Nowadays, however, Kool G Rap has put his Polo away and is moving on to Avirex. We went shopping with him before a recent photo shoot and asked The Realest about his current taste in rap-a-wear.
VICE: So what is your favorite piece of hip hop attire?
Well number one you got to put Timberlands at the top of the list. That’s because you need Timberlands to go with everything, they’re the icing on the cake. So that’s a necessity. Second of all would be anything jean. Jean material.
How do you feel about those shiny silver jeans?
Some of ‘em is all right but it got a little too crazy for me. I even caught myself buying a couple of pairs of them pants and I ended up never wearing them. It’s like, I’m a real nigga. I’m a real live nigga so anything I put on I got to look live, you know what I mean? And when I put them silver shiny shits on, that shit makes me look like fuckin’ Julio Iglesias or some shit. Now, the shiny material jeans that I do like is maybe a black pair. You fold it up at the bottom, it got like silver and a cuff, I could fuck with that.
You still rock the pant leg up?
Oh on jogging suits, yeah, no doubt. I ain’t got the limp as much as I used to but it’s still semi-there.
And how do you like the Iceberg stuff?
Iceberg is cool but I ain’t really seen a whole bunch of Iceberg that really blew me away like that. I think people just caught up on Iceberg cuz it’s some expensive shit. And our people is one to go after the shit that’s very costly, know what I’m sayin’? We take little things like clothes and a bunch of materialistic shit to heart. Like you got to drive a Benz or rock the most expensive name-brand shit because we ain’t really got nothing else. A lot of us live in the projects, a lot of us was brought up without fathers and we come from struggling one-parent homes. So when we’re able to dress and look good or put on something that costs a lot of money, we feel good about it and take a lot of pride in it.
So you got to love the Coogi sweaters, right?
Some of their sweaters was nice, know what I’m sayin’? But like I said again I think people mainly go after certain name brands because the shit costs a lot. To me, it’s like when Range Rovers became hot, and I ain’t talking about when Jay-Z started talking about ‘em, cuz niggas was rocking Range Rovers since when I was fifteen. And that was an ugly fuckin’ jeep to me. That was a very ugly jeep. I mean, it looks better now, but when niggas first started rocking them shits, that shit looked like some safari shit. But it costs like 60 or 70 000, you know what I’m sayin’? So Coogi to me is like that: it’s not ugly but it’s not all that bananas either. People go after Coogi sweaters cuz they cost a little money, they look a little decent, they got a lot of colors. You put out any garment that got brown, that got blue, that got grey, anything that could match every pair or flavor of Tims you could put on and that’s some hot shit. And if you put out matching hats to it, too, you’re going to win. That’s why a lot of black clothes designers is winning right now, cuz they know how we want to dress. They know their people, they know we like to match, we like to dress with co-ordination.
Like Antonio Ansaldi with his patent leather doo rags.
Oh I ain’t even know they had that. See, I’m not really much of a doo rag person. Like I’m a hood nigga and all that, I’m a nigga from the gutter, but I’m a 32 year-old nigga from the gutter. So even to do my thing in the hip hop shit and all that, there’s certain ways that I won’t look.
Look for a new Kool G Rap LP coming out this summer on Rawkus.