By now you all know the news about the OG Kid Frost and his fight against cancer – now learn more about his legacy. In my opinion, every hip-hop Latino or Latina artist who picks up a microphone owes a big thank you to Frost, Mellow Man Ace, and DJ Tony G for paving the way for Hispanics in this business. It almost didn’t happen though. As a young artist trying to find his way, life almost took Kid Frost in a totally different direction. For obvious reasons this interview is special to me as I have the utmost admiration for the big homie and his son Scoop. But it’s also special because it was meant to be. Kid Frost had long been on my interview list and one day I went for a walk around my neighborhood. I grew tired and so I stopped in to a local restaurant to get something to drink and who do I see sitting at a table? Kid Frost. I walked over and introduced myself and informed him of my work as a hip-hop journalist, and we hit it off. Shortly afterwards, I found myself chillin’ in his studio doing this very interview. In my mind, it was if God wanted me to help tell his story. This interview was originally published on AllHipHop.com. Give it a read and when you get a chance, say a prayer for the big homie Frost.
Interview by Tim Sanchez
TS: Did you always go by the Kid Frost name?
Kid Frost: Yes, I was always Kid Frost. When I first started rapping, I needed a moniker. Ice-T and Ice Cube had something “cold.” I was doing some boxing so I had that “Kid” moniker to my name. One day I put two and two together and came up with Kid Frost. Ice-T co-signed it and we started the Evil 3 MC’s which was me, Ice-T and Henry G with Evil-E as our DJ. That group opened the door for my career in rap music. Thought them, I put out a record called “Rough Cut” way back on Electrobeat Records.
TS: How did you hook up with Ice-T?
Kid Frost: I hooked up with Ice through a DJ that we knew. I would go rock parties with him and one day he told me that he met Ice-T and that he told him about me. We went to meet him in Hollywood and Ice didn’t even have a record out yet but he still had a rack of a hundred dollar bills wrapped up in a rubber band. I never seen any sh*t like that in my life. Ice already had a Porsche too – he had it crackin’. Whatever he was doing, it was big things. He told me to jump in his Porsche and I had no idea where he was taking me. We went to this place on Ivar and there was a USC frat party going on there. He didn’t even know me yet but he brought me on stage with him and handed me a mic.
Ice was a nut [laughter]. He used to throw M-80’s out of the back of his Porsche. He would stop and blow up a whole f*ckin’ dumpster. Ice was a fool, man.
TS: How long were you rapping at that point?
Kid Frost: Not even a whole year at that point. The Rapper’s Delight record and it said to rap your own version on the B-Side of it – and I did. At first I did it for fun but my friends told me that I sounded good. That was the era of breakdancing, mini-trucks and crack cocaine. I took penitentiary chances and I’m not proud of it but I had a little boy and now he’s grown up to be one of the most infamous producers on the West Coast by the name of Scoop Deville. When he was born, I took those risks but I also did other things like concrete, short-order cook, and running a restaurant. When the restaurant shut down at 10:30 pm, I would be out in Moreno Valley servin’. I went all of the way out there because I didn’t want to sh*t in my own backyard.
DJ Tony G hooked up with a guy who was touring with Young MC, Public Enemy and other groups. I went to meet Tony backstage at a show in San Bernardino, CA and I was amazed at how many people were there to see Boogie Down Productions. When I was working construction, I had 3 CD’s; N.W.A., Public Enemy and BDP. My co-workers hated me because they were all gabacho’s and I was blasting rap music on a big a** ghetto blaster. I ended up becoming a labor foreman. My work ethic from construction translated over to the rap industry. Also my father was a Special Forces Green Beret. I grew up in military bases all around the world. He instilled his work ethic in to me and that’s why after all of these years, I’m still doing shows and working.
So Tony G is with Young MC and I’m working like a dog but then I decided to join the California Conservation Corp to train as a fireman because I decided that’s what I wanted to do in life. I even got to fight a major fire up in the Sacramento area – pulling brush and all. I was actually going to be a fireman.
TS: So if rap did not come your way, you would have been Arturo Molina, the fireman?
Kid Frost: Probably the fire chief by now [laughter]. Whatever I get in to, I do it 100 percent. I would have still had a love and passion for music, had I gone the fireman route. Music is in my family. When Scoop was a baby, his grandfather would give him lessons.
TS: What took you from being a fireman to being a signed rapper?
Kid Frost: I hooked up with one of Jerry Heller’s old business partners named Maury Alexander and that was my first experience at getting ripped off in the industry. I didn’t know the game. DJ Tony G took me and Mellow Man Ace to Maury, who was also talking to The Boo-Yaa Tribe. He signed The Boo-Yaa Tribe first and Mellow Man Ace second. Mellow Man got signed through his song Mentirosa, which was originally my track from Tony G. Not the concept of the song, just the track. Mellow got his deal first and signed to Capitol Records, so the track went to him and became a great song. At that time I had already recorded La Raza at Tony G’s studio. I didn’t like the song at that time because everything in rap was fast paced with slammin’ 808’s. Tony made the instrumental as a cassette and I told him that it was too slow. He threw the cassette towards me and said, “get out of here and don’t come back until the song is done.” I didn’t even play the cassette. I was like, “F*ck that.” Tony kept calling to ask if I finished it and I kept telling him no.
One day I was talking to a Chicano arts major and he encouraged me to let the Aztec warrior inside of me to come out. So I put the tape on again and the baseline hits [mimics opening bass-line to La Raza]. I started off with the “Q-Vo” line and wrote the rest in 20 minutes.
TS: You really changed your voice for La Raza. Your voice is much higher and your lyrics are more rapid in other songs.
Kid Frost: Yes, but they were also changing the pitch of my voice on a lot of those records too. They sped it up because they felt that my voice was too raspy. I would do my verse and come back to hear it and be like, “Damn. They’ve got that chipmunk sh*t on me again.” They stopped doing it but yeah, they were changing the pitches for a time.
TS: Your song “La Raza” and Mellow Man Ace’s “Mentirosa” birthed an entire Chicano rap movement but I bet you had no idea that you were doing that at the time.
Kid Frost: Nah, I didn’t. It wasn’t until later that I started to learn about movements and as I look back, me and Mellow were like Lewis & Clark. Radio stations didn’t know where to put the song or how to market it. They never had a song in Spanish and English before. “Mentirosa” came out and started a real nice buzz, but then “La Raza” came out and it was more like an anthem. That song said, “Here we are! Recognize us now.” You wouldn’t believe how many people over the years have come up to me to shake my hand for that song. I’m talking about doctors and lawyers who have told me that the song inspired them to do something big with their lives.
TS: What happened after La Raza?
Kid Frost: I got on top of the roller coaster and then the ride took a dip – but the ride has to go around and start again. I took the elements of what people wanted to hear and my Chicano background – the cholo image – and brought them together. La Raza put the key in the ignition but what you hear on Eastside Story is what the f*ck is going on in the streets. At the time that I was working on Eastside Story, Edward James Olmos was finishing up his movie, “American Me.” When he finished it, he was screening it to get the music done. They called me up and I went to Paramount studios and I watched the film. It was dry with no music in it. Edward asked me what I thought of the movie and it was just us in the theater with the editors. I told him that I had a song for the movie. At first he wanted me to use that song from The Animals, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” They ended up putting the actual song from The Animals in the movie because he loved it so much. I played him a couple of my joints to hear but I hadn’t played “No Sunshine” yet. I already knew that he was going to love it when I played it for him.
TS: So you made “No Sunshine” before you even saw the movie?
Kid Frost: Yeah. I finished that song about 3 months before he called me in. It was supposed to come out on Eastside Story but we had to wait to get the sample clearance from Bill Withers. I wanted him to sing on it but he told me, “Son, I enjoyed the song but I’m not going to be able to sing on it. I will give you permission to use the sample though.” I went and got Chris Teddy who would always sing oldies sets at Monty’s Steakhouse. It was like a mob boss restaurant [laughter].
TS: That song was a perfect fit for the movie.
Kid Frost: It got the title track when they rolled the credits. My label got to do the entire soundtrack. I brought that to Virgin Records.
TS: Did Virgin Records compensate or reward you for bringing that soundtrack to them?
Kid Frost: Not really. For being “virgins” they sure do a lot of f*cking, you know what I mean?
TS: You basically went underground after your run with the labels, right?
Kid Frost: Yeah, I submerged myself. I didn’t want to play all of those political games. I had already aligned myself with the people that I wanted to work with in music. All I ever wanted to do was make music – not get involved with the bullsh*t of politics. I wanted to let the young raza know that we can do something. We don’t have to be stuck. I plugged with Baby Bash, who wasn’t even going by that name back then. He was Baby Beesh. I hooked up with JT from N2Deep and Don Cisco, and we formed Latino Gauntlet. We put out some good underground albums and we knocked out shows all over.
TS: While all of this was going on, you were raising a future hip-hop super producer.
Kid Frost: Yeah. I became a single parent and I raised young Scoop by myself. At 10 or 11 years old, he started adamantly going on his first little programs that he would use on his computer to produce music. Back then a computer cost about $3,000, so I bought him a top of the line one. Scoop was a good kid from the get go. I really didn’t have a lot of problems with him aside from some little mischievous sh*t. His love and passion for music came from watching me do it.
TS: So you saw that gift in him at an early age?
Kid Frost: I did. When he was a baby in the crib, I didn’t buy baby toys. I went to Radio Shack and bought a small keyboard and I threw it in his crib. He would just pound on the keys. Like I said earlier, we come from a long line of musicians in our family, so I put the instruments in front of him right away.
TS: When did you start sensing that he could really be good at this?
Kid Frost: When he was 15 years old and he did that “Mamacita” track for Baby Bash. He had just finished Little League but he knew back then that he was going to produce music. It was in his head already. He was also a straight A student at school. School board the sh*t out of him. He was taking every class that he could so he could graduate early.
TS: Did you have a hand in teaching him how to produce?
Kid Frost: A lot of that is ear hustling. He watched me hustle for years and when he got old enough, he used what he learned from watching. Your kids know what the f*ck you are doing. They watch. Scoop’s swag is really up right now. His skills are incredible. He’s working with everybody right now.
TS: I was amazed to find out that Scoop Deville was your son. It’s good to see the baton passed from father to son.
Kid Frost: I don’t want to say “pass the baton” because it’s like Sanford & Son – Fred still worked! Lamont, his son, would go out there and hustle but Fred had the key [laughter].
TS: You’ve had some health and personal issues in your life.
Kid Frost: I went in to a diabetic coma from an ingrown hair follicle underneath my testicle. I died 3 times in Huntington Memorial Hospital. I stayed there almost 3 months. I woke up once while they were yelling “clear” using the defibrillator on my chest. I literally died and they brought me back. I was in a diabetic coma for 5 days. 6 days after I got out of the hospital, I recorded an album called Frost Angeles. That album is just me and my son Scoop. Nobody else is on it. It fell through the cracks in a lot of ways, but if you listen to the album, I talk about myself being resurrected. I also started going out to Japan and working. I recorded another album out there. Then when I returned to the United States, I went out to several south western and western states.
I hooked up with this white f*cked up stripper b*tch and had my son, Rhythm. This chick got arrested for having 5 pounds of methamphetamine. She served time in prison and then got out but instead of finishing her time at the halfway house, she went to my house. I knocked her up which resulted in my son, Rhythm.
I moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and I got a call that our baby cracked his skull. Somehow my son got thrown to a wood floor. She said that she was staying with her grandmother but it turned out she was with another dude. I left Vegas and I came back to Los Angeles and hired Victor Cohen as my attorney. He was also Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s attorney. I spent about 25 racks to go and fight for custody. My son was already a ward of the state. For the next month, I’m driving back and forth from Los Angeles to Vegas to make sure that my other son, Scoop, is straight. He was around 18 years old already and he remained in Vegas at our house and studio.
I went through the necessary tests to confirm that the baby is indeed mine and sure enough, he was mine. I won custody and I took my boy back to Vegas with me. It’s me, Scoop and Rhythm now together. I took child development classes because he was just a baby. This was all 5 years ago. I started praying and God put a woman in my path that’s cool and compatible for me. We first met 18 years ago and it turns out that she owns a premier Pre-School academy. My son goes to this academy now and he’s learning incredibly. He’s come full-circle with his injury. It could have gone both ways. He couldn’t even lift up his head when I first got him back.
TS: How are you doing now though? Last year, you were hospitalized again for a mild stroke.
Kid Frost: The first letters of diabetes are pronounced as “die” so I know that one day I will succumb to this. It’s an illness that plagues Latinos. That’s our ailment. We weren’t meant to eat as much meat and protein that we do. Our ancestral diet consisted of more vegetables. Mexicans started having these large Sunday barbeque feasts because we would trade our vegetables and fruits with white farmers that owned cattle. We would eat meat on Sundays but during the rest of the week, we would eat a lot of vegetables. As we settled in to American society, we started eating more things that break down in to sugar in our bodies. It’s a recipe for disaster because as Indians, we weren’t meant to eat a lot of the things we do now.
Last year, I had a sensory stroke. My left side shut down – from my toes to my head. I was with my baby – I have another 8 month old son now. I was pushing him in his stroller at Wal-Mart and I started feeling a little ill. My lady was coming from the make-up department and I told her to hold on because I went to the restroom to throw water on my face. There just happened to be a hospital right up the street. They immediately identified my stroke and soon enough I had an IV machine attached to me.
I’m doing a lot better now. My lady makes me walk the course of The Rose Bowl. I started playing Golf again, which is one of my real big passions. Before I go whip George Lopez, I’m getting my swing back.
TS: I hear you have a company now that’s just received funding to make movies and other big projects.
Kid Frost: I got with some people that I had been working with in my past. We built a facility to where we can start putting out these movies and soundtracks for Latino artists and actors. The first movie that we are working on right now is called “Truce.” It stars Danny Trejo. We’re also going to try to put together the first Latino low-rider hip-hop movie soundtrack. We just finished 11 new tracks for Danny’s other new film that’s coming out called Bad A**. He plays a Vietnam vet that comes back from the war and kicks a** again. I’ve got my “All Oldies 2” album that I’m finishing up right now.
On top of all that, I started a clothing line called “Ropa.” The first series of shirts that we are making are called “Dia De Los Muertos.” I took 2Pac and added his poem from “In The Event of my Demise.” I’ve also got a shirt of Eazy-E and Nate Dogg. The “Muertos” series is coming along.
TS: How did you come up with the “Muertos” shirt concept?
Kid Frost: Smoking weed and good p***y – just like how all good ideas come up. If you know of another way, please tell me [laughter].
TS: [laughter] It’s good to see that you’re still active in music.
Kid Frost: Some people are like, “He’s too old to be in this game.” As long as LL Cool J is still rapping, then I’m going to keep spittin’ these flows. As long as people like Chuck D are making noise, and I see them out there with their old man belly’s, I’m going to keep rapping too [laughter].
TS: It’s crazy to see hip-hop grow up. I’ve seen you all in your primes. You always know that you’re going to grow old one day but it’s funny when it actually happens.
Kid Frost: I’m going to be 50! But this is all that I know, man. What else am I going to do? Do you think Pac-Tel is going to hire me? I’ve got kids to feed still. It’s all about family to me though. It doesn’t mean anything if your kids can’t benefit from what you’re doing. All of the risks and moves that I’ve made have come from wanting to take care of my family.