Easter holiday and family stuff kind of prevented me from finishing my new Raptalk feature, so I thought I’d crack open the vault and give you another throwback – besides, I’ve got plenty! This one here is super dope because I was a big fan of K-Solo’s “Your Mom’s In My Business” and “Knick Knack Patty Wack” with EPMD. Back in 2009 when my boy Jazzy D called me up and said that he was working with Solo and wanted to link us up, how could I say no? We chopped it up about the two aforementioned songs, his infamous beef with DMX, and the deal he had with Dr. Dre back in the day. Go ahead and check it out!
Interview by Tim Sanchez
TS: I grew up to your music but there are a lot of youngsters out there who didn’t, yet they know of you through us older folks. Let’s start with getting a good background understanding of K-Solo.
K-Solo: I started rhyming in the early part of my childhood in Long Island, NY. There was only a couple of dope MC’s at that time. I was in a tight circle of them from Long Island and Biz Markie was one of them. Even back then I knew that rap had to evolve for me. When I got with EPMD – Parrish who was from Long Island heard some of my music and heard that I could rhyme so he put me on some of those EPMD beats. I kicked “Spellbound” for him and I got signed. Then I did “Knick Knack Patty Wack.”
TS: Was “Knick Knack Patty Wack” your first official song with EPMD?
K-Solo: Yes, that was Knick Knack Patty Wack. It was on the platinum album, Unfinished Business.
TS: What was the making of that song like? You guys were all throwing the rhymes back at each other. Who came up with that concept?
K-Solo: Parrish came up with the way we were going to end. The thing about the song was that it was two guys with a slow flow rapping with a guy who had a fast one. It was a good transition. They rhymed with a slower monotone style. The production at that time was ahead of it’s time. You heard a lot of classic music and just to be a part of that era was important for me. “Your Mom’s In My Business “had a similar bass-line.
TS: Were you the one that brought Redman on to the scene?
K-Solo: Naw, I just really molded him. I was there for him like The D.O.C. was when Snoop was doing his album. There’s a lot of me in him and that’s good and I like it. I was like, “Yo. We can tap in to this and really go somewhere with it.” We have a different sense of humor in our styles. Mine is more subtle and his is more outrageous. At the end of the day the chemistry mixes.
TS: “Your Mom’s In My Business” was a song that I used to play constantly. Tell us about the history of that song.
K-Solo: “Your Mom’s In My Business” was something that I went through as a teenager with a girl. Her mom was always asking crazy questions. When I wrote that song it was along the lines of something that happened. I just put it in a record perspective. It wasn’t just a funny subject but something that actually happened. When I wrote the song it was a way of dealing with it too because how do you tell a girlfriend’s mom to mind her business? Why are you asking me where my mother works? I mean, why are you asking me that? I knew that song was going to be a hit because it’s something that I went through and people were going to tap in to that. You can still play that song today and enjoy it as a good record.
TS: Damn, so you really had a mama picking at you like that?
K-Solo: Yeah, you know going through high school. I was dating a girl and went through that kind of relationship. The offset of that was that she didn’t really want to…you know. Things happen for a reason and a good record was made.
TS: Did the girl know that the record was about her?
K-Solo: Yeah she knew it was about her. But that’s what makes the record so ingenious is that you can take something negative and turn it positive. I didn’t call anybody a “nosey bitch” – I just said that your mom’s in my business.
TS: How did she feel about that though?
K-Solo: I mean it was a true story and I put it on a classy level – she had to accept it. I didn’t throw her under the bus to where she couldn’t accept it. This is what it is and that’s exactly how it went down. Then the Fugitive came after that too. It was a real political street record for those that got locked up or had jail problems.
TS: Before Fugitive though you had Spellbound and that did well for you.
K-Solo: Spellbound was a special piece because it was the only record like its kind. In other words, it was a record where a guy was spelling words and making a sentence out of these words – and you put it together with each sentence that you hear. There was no other record like its kind. It made history immediately and that’s why I caught the flack with DMX. He was like, “I wrote that” but when in actuality I beat DMX when we were in jail and we battled. It was probably dead even at that point because he had a lot of 16’s and so did I. Then he said in this book that tells another story but I passed a lie detector test in the Beef series – I was telling the truth. It deaded him saying that he wrote it. If he wrote Spellbound then who wrote Letterman? Letterman was just as intricate as Spellbound. He was mad because with word-playing I could beat him and he didn’t like that. He acted as a bully and he was mad that he couldn’t bully me either. I would offer him to fight. I would say, “Let’s go fight” and he would never do it. He would always say that he had asthma but I know you don’t have asthma when you’ve been smoking crack! You can’t have asthma when you’re smoking crack. I heard that he’s doing real bad now and I have nothing bad to say about him.
TS: I was going to ask you if you are cool with him now.
K-Solo: Yeah I’m cool. It’s mainly over now. That was our little found when we were younger and shit. I’m cool with him now. I don’t have anything bad to say about him but I know that he didn’t write that song. But when you are an artist of K-Solo’s caliber and you can really rhyme, then someone tries to discredit that and sell a million records – it’s kind of hard to balance the two. As I’ve gotten older the more I understand now that’s part of the game and he used to try to create a little mystique for himself. That’s cool – it probably worked out for him. I know that I’m happening now – my music is about to sweep now. I know that it’s been a long time coming and that when the music drops, when D-Snuff drops, when Willy Dynamite drops and K-Solo drops again we are going to murder it.
TS: Now what happened with you after Letterman?
K-Solo: I got off the Atlantic record deal which I still can’t understand to this day. When I got off the record label I was number 9 with Letterman. But it’s cool because I didn’t feel that musically I was able to do the real thing that I wanted to do at the time anyway. I was put in a box. Now I am a free agent and I can work with whoever I want to work with and do the things that I want to do as far as being a songwriter. I can move around like I want to. I have 8 different offices in different cities – California, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, England – all different outposts so when this music drops it will be handled by these different pegs that I’m putting down on these maps to make sure that the music reaches the hubs and the streets.
TS: What was the deal with you and Dr. Dre?
K-Solo: I got signed to Dr. Dre in 93’ right before Snoop Dogg dropped. I’ve got a lot of what I do just from watching Dre and from being around just watching things pop off and happen. I was fortunate just to be around Dre. I’ll always have respect for the Doctor – even to today – the plug is still there. I go see Slim Da Mobster in the studio. My artist Shon-Do works with Bishop Lamont.
TS: So even after all of these years you two stayed good with each other? There was never any bitterness or hostility?
K-Solo: Yeah we stayed good because the situation that went down didn’t have anything to do with us. Just the fact that he brought me on was crazy. I was the first East Coast artist signed to a West Coast label. It didn’t get out on top of the East Coast/West Coast drama that was going on. At that time, it was remarkable that we walked out of there untouched and unscathed.
TS: What about EPMD? Do you still kick it with them? Are you still cool with them?
K-Solo: I left the past in the past. I’m not working with EPMD in the future – I don’t see that happening. I’m working to solidify Waste Management and making things pop for that. I don’t see me going back. If they sell a whole bunch of records in the future and I hope that they do good – maybe something could be poppin’. I’m cool with that, but talking about “today” we are moving musically in two different directions. When you hear our music you will not be able to put us in a class like, “Oh he comes from this era.” The music still moves. Like I said if they sell some records and they do good, maybe it can pop. I’m not going to say that it can’t because EPMD is some talented motherfucker’s – I give them that.
TS: So you are making some new moves. Tell us about what K-Solo is doing “now.”
K-Solo: I have a new album coming out – it’s a double album. I’ve got Willie Dynamite, D-Snubs, L-Shon and Shon-Do dropping.
TS: With today’s rap climate so different then when you were at your peak, do you think that you can be relevant again?
K-Solo: Every time I play my music for people now, I get good feedback from people saying that they can’t believe that a person from my era can still rhyme like this. I think that the new acts and the new family that we have – when you hear them rhyme you can tell that they all come from different places. Willie and Snubs are from the South, the ATL. Their swag is different than ours. Dynamite gets tracks from Justice League. They do tracks for Rick Ross and Young Jeezy and he’s in the same zone – so our camp is already where the music is going. We have music for every occasion; reggae, hip-hop, reggaeton.
TS: How do you feel about today’s Hip-Hop? Do you like it?
K-Solo: Hip-Hop has changed in to a lot of things now. It’s not like it was in the Old School where it was just the Boom-Bap. I mean, that’s still there. L.A. has a real good underground Hip-Hop scene and I still listen to underground too. But the good thing about Hip-Hop now is that there are so many levels to it now. You can get things poppin’ on a different level. There’s a retro level, with the tight clothes, skateboards and mo-hawks. We have different vehicles now. Rap to me is better than it was then because there are more things to do with it now. You just have to have those kinds of acts to put in to those slots. That’s why me working with Jazzy D from Jazzy Management is real good because this guy knows the big plays on that level. If you give that guy some good music to sell, he can sell it.
TS: How eager are you to showcase to this new generation what you can do on the mic?
K-Solo: I really want to do that and me and my guys are ready. The stage is set. We are going to shoot video footage of us out on the road, signing autographs and being with the people. We are going to tour and create a demand for the tour. Then I’ll drop the double album. Redman is going to be on the album – I still have a good report with him. My whole thing with this music game is that there is so much to do now. I’m going to have video blogs and youtube videos showing how much work goes behind this and trying to get the business going. They are going to see me juggle all of these acts and myself.