Kurious Jorge: Monkey Business

Jorge Alvarez, better known as Kurious Jorge, is the polar opposite of what comes to mind when most people hear his moniker. Born of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent and raised in Spanish Harlem, this MC is still an underground legend and is regarded in many circles as one of the best Latino MCs of the ‘90s. He debuted in 1991 on Rebel & Johnny Jay’s track “Powerule” on Interscope Records’ Young Stars from Nowhere, Vol. 1. With a strong buzz, he then appeared on Pete Nice and Daddy Rich’s album Dust II Dust. The duo helped Kurious get a record deal with Sony Music. In 1993, he released his first single “Walk like a Duck” followed by the full length LP, A Constipated Monkey which featured hit singles “I’m Kurious” and “Uptown S**t.” Unfortunately, the album was not commercially successful and Kurious was dropped from the label. Though Kurious never released a sophomore album, for the last 15 years he’s made strong appearances on noteworthy tracks with everyone from MF Doom to Fat Joe. With a steady stream of material being created, you can expect something real soon from Kurious.Just as friend MF Doom was able to return after a decade-long hiatus post-KMD, Kurious Jorge may have the careful approach it takes to strike twice as nice. One thing is for certain, it’s not about money or bitterness, this MC just wants an audience in his 2.0 attempt.AllHipHop.com: In the early ‘90s, you were kind of poised to be one of the best MCs out. But few people know what happened to you after you dropped A Constipated Monkey. What happened?Kurious: The contract [with Sony] was terrible. I had to wait it out to get out of it. But, I was also at a crossroads with the situation and with myself. I still wanted to make songs for the underground. I wanted to continue doing things the way I been doing them. So I needed a change. So time goes on, I’m still making songs, but I’m not on a major label, I’m not in the studio everyday so I’m dealing with regular life. I still need money to pay bills and do what I got to do so I ventured off into a lot of different things to make money. But I was still always rhyming, still doing songs and just trying to figure out where I want to take it. After a while, you get the people coming up to you like, “Yo, what’s going on, what’s good with the album?” and I’m like, “Well, I did a joint the other day. Here, check it out.” Like after a while I wasn’t doing it on that level where I was making albums and people were seeing me like that. I never stopped. As much as this is a part of me it would be hard for me to just stop making this music. For me, music itself makes me the person I am. It’s almost like a religion. It gets you into yourself, your thoughts, your heart…all that.AllHipHop.com: Looking back on how things, would you have done things differently or at least want a second chance at certain opportunities?Kurious: No. I’m like if it was meant to go five times platinum, it would have. I’m not trying to blame those who didn’t teach me the way things worked. It’s also my fault for not doing the extra research that I definitely should’ve done coming into the business, or what anyone should do just being business minded.AllHipHop.com: When you got out of the major situation you would resurface to do appearances here and there but for the most part, you didn’t really get involved with another label. Why is that? Kurious: I was content with doing things like that for a while. [I’m] not saying if I could make serious money off of it, I wouldn’t [have], but a lot of opportunities weren’t being brought to me. And honestly, I don’t go out of my way for that aspect of it. I’m not going to ask anybody for a favor. I’m going to come to you when I got something in my hand that I’m feeling 100% about. Like, I could go up to Puff and say, “Here,” but not if I don’t feel it like that. If people like my music, they appreciate it and they want to buy it then they can contact me and take it from there. But I’m not going out of my way for it. I’m not just going to jump up and do something because I want to get money. I’m content making my music and letting it take me where it goes. AllHipHop.com: Being one of the first Latino MCs in the game, do you feel like the labels weren’t taking you seriously because of your background? And how do you feel about the industry gravitating toward Latino MCs and Reggaeton artists?Kurious: Everybody has biases, but music is sound. It’s a feeling. When people say “Oh, they didn’t embrace you because you’re Latino,” I say no because I can’t say I didn’t get chances or opportunities because I’m Latino. I love the fact I see more Latinos coming. I love the fact that I get young MCs saying, “Yo, you inspired me. I saw you and said I can do it too.” That right there is beautiful. And not just for Latinos, for everybody who feels like that, it’s beautiful. But me being Latino I can see them identifying with me physically and culturally. But people have their biases so in some cases you won’t get it. And in some cases, you’ll get it faster because you look different and you’re something new.AllHipHop.com: The climate has definitely changed in today’s Hip-Hop. With the whole Imus incident people are being held more accountable for their words. Do you feel, as an artist, that we should clean up the language?Kurious: I believe that’s partially true. I’m a freedom of speech advocate. So I wouldn’t have fired Imus. I would have let him get ripped, let some people set his ass straight, but I wouldn’t get rid of him. And what it really came down to anyway was money. He started costing them advertising dollars, these problems are going to make him not marketable. They put up that big front but that’s what it came down to. We have to take responsibility for what we say and do. We as Blacks and Latinos need to start taking responsibility and taking care of our communities. It might sound corny, but I’ll be corny to the day I die, because we need to take care and responsibility for our youth. But, at the same time, I’m not going to tell somebody what to rhyme on. Like in Hip-Hop you can talk about killing babies. I don’t condone it, but if it’s hot, it’s hot. You can be talking about Jesus and be wack. It’s the quality of the art that matters. If you have quality art and you care about your people I think that’s the best you can be. AllHipHop.com: So knowing what you know now, can fans expect you to re-emerge anytime soon?Kurious: I got songs and a couple small independent deals on the table. I’ve been making songs but I’m trying to put an album together for myself and all the people that be like, “Damn, what’s up.” Once I get that off I might make like three more albums. Who knows, once you get started, that’s how it goes. I really just want to get the business straightened out so I can really just be in the studio and go at this music hard. Like I just had a son so it’s like how am I going to juggle all this? If I’m going to do it, I’m doing it all out. That means traveling, that means shows but I need to be able to do it right.

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