Rapper. Movie star. Producer. Record company exec. You can sum it all up with one word Ė Kurupt. Ever since his days at the inception of gangsta rap, Kurupt has seen the rise and fall of an era, an era that he vows will rise again.
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Born Rocardo Brown in Philadelphia, rap took a hold on the future star at an early age. "I was eight years old, and I wanted to be like my big cousin who got me into rap," recalls Kurupt. ďHe used to stand on the corner and bring it to the streets. I tried it, and liked it. I got my style in the beginning from the way of Rakim raps, and then I invented my own style as Kurupt" he says, "Rakim was my idol, he was the influence".
Rap life began for Kurupt shortly after he was sent to Hawthorne to live with his father in the mid-eighties. After moving to south-central, Kurupt found himself at ground zero of the burgeoning gangsta rap movement that barreled out of the region in the late eighties. One character making a name on the scene was a young aspiring rapper going by the moniker Snoop Doggy Dogg. "we met at the Roxy when we were battling each other, and then we started rappin' together," remembers Kurupt.
Kurupt 's friendship with Snoop Doggy Dogg was about to lead to a bigger and longer alliance with another key figure present at the birth of west coast gangsta rap. Local music entrepreneur Suge Knight was culling the south central tidepool for talent when he came upon Snoop Doggy Dogg, who turned Suge Knight onto Kurupt. "we said whoever made it first would make sure they came back for the other one", smiles Kurupt.
Knight took a liking to Kurupt, and made him part of the death row family, which was becoming the fast growing success story in rap music. What followed for Kurupt was a musical excursion through the onset of a slice of rap history. Kurupt made his debut appearance on Dr. Dre's 1992 ground-breaking "the chronic" and Snoop Doggy Dogg's 1993 maiden voyage "Doggystyle", considered by many to not only be two of the best debuts ever, but two of the all-time classic rap/hip-hip releases.
Kurupt appeared on a slew of genre-defining rap and hip hop albums, including soundtracks for "Poetic Justice", "Murder was the Case", and "Above The Rim" before forming Tha Dogg pound with Daz Dillinger in 1994. "We just let our creative juices flow and came out with a concept of me and Daz being Tha Dogg Pound, and from there we went to hit records," remembers Kurupt. The duo released their debut album "Dogg Food" in 1995, and saw the record quickly reach platinum sales figures.
In 1998, Kurupt released his solo debut, "Kuruption". His sophomore effort "Tha Streetz is a Mutha" dropped the next year, with his third solo outing "space boogie: smoke odyssey" following in 2001.
Along the way, Kurupt began to diversify. Like a handful of other successful rappers who've felt the lure of the big screen, Kurupt got into movie and got in big time. "Its amazing and when they gave me a chance, I landed three out of the five roles I read for," smiles Kurupt on his natural ease into the movie scene. The rapper made his forte into motion pictures with the recently-released cop action drama "Dark Blue", starring Kurt Russell and Ving Rhames. Kurupt recently wrapped up his second movie tentatively titled "Hollywood Homicide", which stars box office megastar Harrison Ford. Ni the movie, Kurupt plays the manager of a rap group, and the crooked label head is killing his artists. "Iím pausin right now to do movies. Iím lovin' these movies and thatís what Iím getting into now," says Kurupt adding "and then Iím going to jump back on this rap thing."
Kurupt's upcoming musical ventures will show the talented artists behind and in-front of the boards. Kurupt will introduce his little brother roscoe to the hip-hip world when his debut album drops on may 22nd. Kurupt handled the production chores and guests on the album. Kurupt's next project, g'2 a t, is scheduled for a late summer release. "Its me and little loc tri - its the new millienium dogg pound," states kurupt.
Kurupt's reunion with Suge Knight and his resurrected death row records label will also be a focus for the rapper. "Iíts great working with Suge again," luads Kurupt, "Heís always been my big homeboy. Whenever I got into trouble he was always there to get me out. Heís always been like a father-figure to me Ė heís been someone I could talk to, and someone I could listen to. He never had anything bad to say about me, he never came at me foul. Whenever people have asked me about Suge, my answers have always been positive cause thatís all heís ever showed to me".
As an accomplished rapper and label exec, Kurupt will bring his knowledge and experience to Tha Row Records, which he sees on the rebound. "I see it returning to glory, I see a future of classic creations generating lots of money", says Kurupt, who sees Gangsta rap returning with Tha Row to overtake the overdone playa rap scene. "We aint doing that playa rap shit," Kurupt flatly states, adding, "were not going to be tripping on a lot of that garbage thats in the street. We pump what we like, so you ainít gonna hear none of that playa blingy shit comin' from us".
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