Kokane: Down for the Upstroke

“I’m G-Unit, period,” is what Kokane told AllHipHop.com last month. We wanted to capture one of the West Coast legends on his way to his overdue recognition. The fifteen plus year Funkster/MC/Preacher has much to be happy about. We looked at his early years, the state of the unified West Coast, his time with Death Row, and even the prospects of his impending Dr. Dre reunion.

Kokane has long been a man who buttered others with little credit. With the cards falling into place, he’s got a true poker hand for the game. Read about the patience of a man who admits his vices while exerting his many virtues. This is a Hip-Hop story rarely seen or heard. G-Unit or not, Kokane is truly an unsung hero, and AllHipHop.com wanted to expose the accomplishments and brightening future of Mr. Kane. Take ‘em to church…

AllHipHop.com: Did you get down with G-Unit before or after Snoop’s truce meeting?

Kokane: It was before the truce. I’m bi-coastal, man. I’m not no rapper. I’m a musician, a funkster. Before I was impressed with any rapper out there, I met Boosty [Collins] and George [Clinton] gave me my funk card. Those were the people that I was vindicated by as far as doing what I’m doing.

AllHipHop.com: You come from a legacy, being as that your father was a big player for Motown.

Kokane: Exactly. My number one inspiration was my dad. People selling 15 million records don’t look back on these guys. Or, the reason we get to pee in bathrooms in ‘cause of Martin Luther King. You gotta recollect! A lot of people don’t.

AllHipHop.com: What pearls of wisdom you’ve given Tony Yayo and Young Buck thus far?

Kokane: One word: fellowship. We as a culture, across the board of East Coast, West Coast or whatever, we need to concentrate on fellowship. That way, we can be the Jimmy Iovine’s one day. That’s one thing I said to them. I’m happy to fellowship with you brothers, because you brothers are making money on an astronomical level, which is a blessing from God. Thanks for the invitation. It’s an acceptance.

AllHipHop.com: That’s gotta feel good seeing as you’ve been doing this so long.

Kokane: My thing is, Kokane is a sleeping giant. I’ve influenced a lot of people in this game, bro. Instead of being mad at it, I’m honored. But now, I’ve stepped into the right position – that’s messin’ with them 50 Cent n***as, messin’ with them G-Unit n***as. They don’t have hidden agendas, they [already] got their paper.

AllHipHop.com: The West is on some real wild stuff. I mean, you’re with these cats who are in the popular eye. Then we got Dresta, another sleeping, working with Game, or Techniec. It’s wild to see guys finally get their chance.

Kokane: Right. That’s a blessing. I been there in ’89, and watched this whole thing come up. I’m 36 now, but people’ll tell you I look 28 [laughing]. I’m a grimy, real n***a. I got eight kids. I been married 14 years. The only thing that made me survive in this game, is my family. You have to be grounded!

AllHipHop.com: The major criticism G-Unit faces is that they are Hip-Hop bullies. You’re a man who’s very spiritual. Can you overturn that image at all, do you think?

Kokane: Hopefully, I can. God’s got his plan for everybody. Use your optimistic point of view. You’ve got a 50 Cent. What I would like to bring to the table is the type of stuff that KRS-One, that Public Enemy, and them brung to them table. Yeah, we can party all day long. But that ain’t the only thing goin’ on in the world. That’s what I’d like to bring to the table, to G-Unit. I’m telling you man, these cats is open to what I say and what I feel. That’s respect. I wanna make the transition that Marvin Gaye made from Doo-Wop to What’s Going On?

AllHipHop.com: You’ve got a mixtape coming, I know…

Kokane: It’s gonna explode. It’s gonna dig ‘em. I’ve never done one mixtape. Now, I’m really fittin’ to get my hair down. That was a New York thang. Now, it’s so accepted where it makes sense for me to do that, in my mind. I’ve fittin’ to be on every mixtape. I’m gonna funk ‘em!

AllHipHop.com: People can look at DJ Premier, and his musical evolution. We can do that with Dre too. I think that during The Chronic, Dre was at his best. Those records sounded dusty, the percussion was wild, and you often were the vocal melody. I’m not knocking Dre’s stuff now in the least, but I’m excited at the prospects of having you two in the same umbrella again.

Kokane: Premier’s my boy! I love that n***a! I’m excited man. I first met Dr. Dre in 1989. I seen how we wanted to do it. Dre always wanted to do a Kokane album, but we never got greasy with each other like that. Dre was the first person to say, “Yeah, you are George Clinton.” I said, “N***a, you are Bootsy on the production.” We already know our essence is the funk, period. I would love to get back to that point where Dre can do a whole Kokane album, because I know it’s gonna be devastating. Last time when we hooked up, we did “L.A. N***as,” and it was the things did stand out on 2001.

AllHipHop.com: How’s Big Hutch [of Above The Law] holding up? The dude’s still locked up?

Kokane: That’s my cousin. He’s the one who first brought me up. He’s doing good. It’s something we go through. When I met Snoop, I had to go to jail for a year and a half. It’s nothin’! Hutch is a genius! Look at my debut, Funk Upon a Rhyme, that album almost costs $200 on the Internet. They’re classics.

AllHipHop.com: I was unemployed for a minute, and I was digging out classics and reselling them. Funk Upon a Rhyme was one, that’s a $100 bill anytime you find it.

Kokane: That lets you know. They should reprint it. Wow! Somebody making some money. That’s a blessing in disguise.

AllHipHop.com: Last Fall in The Source, they interviewed Kurupt, and alluded to the fact that you were working with Tha Row. First Spider Loc, now you. Aren’t you skeptical that G-Unit is picking off the roster from Death Row?

Kokane: Kurupt is my n***a, always be n***a. As far as what went on, my beefs wasn’t other n***a’s beefs. I’m from Pomona. So Spider beefing with Bad Azz or Kurupt beefin’ with Daz, I had nothing to do with it. Hands on, if somebody talkin’ about Above The Law, Suga Free, or the boxer, Sugar Shane Mosely, [I’m in]. Outside of that, I don’t concern myself with anything else. As far as being with Kurupt and them, that helped me out a lot. At the time, me and Snoop was broken off. Kurupt’s a good n***a, man. We would get on these phones and pray. He’d be on the phone with his mom in Philly, and we’d been in a prayer circle on the phone. That touched me more than anything in this fake ass business.

AllHipHop.com: Will this recent truce last so we can see someone like Kurupt come to his full potential again?

Kokane: I hope so. I hope it’s not a publicity stunt. That’s all.

AllHipHop.com: You’ve always come spiritual. How has it felt to see a record like “Jesus Walks” get the love from a major scale?

Kokane: It’s good. We need more records like that. God is real. We gotta drown out the secular bulls**t.

AllHipHop.com: Well maybe that’ll be on you.

Kokane: I’m a sperm cell trying to get to the egg. As long as we try to do something positive out of all the negative. If I can put some positivity into it, that’s one step closer.

AllHipHop.com: Even with a major deal, do you still have the freedom to come artistically, as you please?

Kokane: Kokane is a pot of gumbo. Kokane is Rick James, which I call Sick James. Kokane is George Clinton, which I call Forge Clinton. Kokane is Smokey Robinson, which I call Kokey Robinson. Them are all derivatives which I can use. That’s the way I wanted to do my thing. I want to bring it back. Rap shows are boring, period. Make people say, “Wow!” Look at these White Heavy Metal motherf**kers, and you’ll be like, “Damn!” That’s what I wanna bring back, that “Blacker the berry, sweeter the juice” soul. Sha Money and Spider Loco give me room to breathe. That’s a good thing, the n***a needs some oxygen. “Breathe mothaf**ka!”

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