That was “The Rap Game”. How come the hip-hop and soul movement didn’t take off like other movements did?
“In the late 19th century, there were so many black people with the blues tradition and the jazz tradition. And hip-hop had no place at that point. There was only funk and hip-hop, so the reason “The Rap Game” didn’t do as well is because it’s basically no good – that’s the first rap song ever that was written by a white man, that was in a time where it didn’t matter what color you were. So it was like having an audience for someone who didn’t matter. If they had an audience, they wouldn’t make any money, because they would be a little niche, but they were never going to get a good record deal. So the people who did that were just playing an empty slot, whereas rap was making a good living on the ground floor. It only was a niche and it was a huge part of the economy. It was just a real cool thing, and it was a pretty big deal at the time, where you had the biggest record label and everybody in the big cities would hear it. They would get it and know what was going on and they would come out and support it. This has all become a lot more diluted. So to me, a lot of people were listening to it because there’d already been another record, because of “Tuscan Leather” that was released and nobody had heard anything. So it was a good thing to be a part of. I could’ve just heard “Tuscan Leather” – the only reason it didn’t have a hit is because that’s what got it out – and that was my first record. So you can think what you want about it, but it’s pretty interesting to me that you can’t have a hit on your first record.
If anybody can describe your musical development in music, who it was, what did you do to make that happen?
“My first record would’ve been just a good hip-hop record. [laughs] I had to get out of school and get into a different style of music. I wasn’t really into this stuff in terms of music or being a musician, and when I got into New York in the mid-’70s and I had a friend who had his own label called The RCA, our first album had a hit, and that was called “A Boy Named Sue”. So we were
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