The article where I compare Nick Cannon‘s career to Homeboys From Outer Space.
Following the Foul Monday interview, fellow Killa Kidz member Ruc Da Jackel reached out to tell his story. Having been in the game since the age of twelve, Mr. QB has worked with Killa Sha, Nas and Ron Artest, and is currently preparing his debut solo album, I Am Queensbridge and just launched his I Am QB clothing line.
Robbie: What got you started in the rap game?
Ruc Da Jackel: It was just the element of Queensbridge. It’s always been around us, rap music has always been a part of our community. Having all them influences of hip-hop around me had me making raps up, banging on the lunchroom table. From there, just kept going.
How did you get your name?
I got the name Ruc just from being a little wild kid in Queensbridge – always into ruckus, always into drama. My man Lake The Kid gave the handle “The Jackal” when we were working on the 41st Side album. “Mr. Queensbridge” – I take on the title of the whole hood, now.
How did that project come about?
First I was down with Killa Kidz, that was made up with – rest in peace – my man Killa Sha. We all grew up on the same block, the 41st Side of Vernon, and their group was just starting. It was basically Baby Cham, my man Challice, Prince A.D., Supurb and Baby Cham brother, Third Surge. They were doing a couple of songs, recording, and me being friends and on the block and around, friends was just hyping me up. At that young age I was already hanging out with Challice and Prince A.D. so they were like, “Yo, what do you think about our group?” I went in front of their manager Tyrel – True Force at the time – and he was just feeling the kid. So we did maybe ten, fifteen tracks. We did the single “Time To Shine,” we did “‘96 Phenomenon” a couple of joints that made it to wax. We were just performing and really doing it and then the group kinda separated. Cham got signed to Busta’s Flipmode Squad, me and my little man Challice went over and started dealing with Nas, working on the QB’s Finest album.
At what point did you did you start dealing with Ron Artest?
After doing the song with Nas, that ripple effect into me working with Ron Artest and his record label, he had Tru Warier Records just on the come-up, me and my man Challice were travelling the world with Ron, doing a whole bunch of music and seeing things. He had signed the girl group Allure and we just went on the road. We went everywhere in the States and then we did it really big overseas, opening up for Fat Joe, that was awesome. Ron was on many different teams, so we went from state to state. We did mixtapes, DVD’s and appeared on Ron’s album.
Had you known Ron from the old days?
Queensbridge is a community so we always knew of each other, we’re just from different blocks. He’s nothing as they show him as, he’s very humble, the most down-to-earth athlete you could probably meet, ever.
What’s your best memory of Killa Sha?
I remember when we were cultivating songs we used to go to Killa Sha’s house, he had the DJ equipment set-up, he’d put them records on, make a beat out of some drops and some cuts. We’d just be in there, passing the microphone around, just rhyming as Killa Kidz with all crates of records lying around. We had a lot of fun doing a lot of things, but the element of the natural hip-hop with him and cultivating us as artists was really dope. Killa Sha was monumental in my life in giving me a shot and keeping me wanting to do music and keeping us inspired. When he started the group we were 14, 15 years old. He gave us direction, helped us focus and helped us build our craft. He believed in us and knew ahead of time where we were going. He had the vision.
He seemed like a real character.
It was always fun with Sha. You’re going to laugh, he always had a joke in there. He had a great spirit.
Foul Monday was saying he joined the crew towards the end?
Opportunities starred presenting themselves outside of the group. We had started making little separate groups within the click, we had Mud Brothers and then we had Crud Brothers. Mud Brothers was Foul Monday and Killa Sha, Crud Brothers was me and my man Chalice.
What was it like working with Nas on his project?
The song with Nas, “Real Niggas” was almost like a hood anthem, we named everybody in the projects so it was giving recognition to the people that make up the stories that were told. I remember recording that record, we was all in the studio and even people that really didn’t get along with each other inside the projects was up in the studio, listening to the song and just coming together and vibing. It was a real element of community and our power. That song really displayed that and brought me to the forefront. He did over a thousand songs for that project and only a few of them made the cut. I happened to be incarcerated when the call came in for the Killa Kidz. I was talkin’ to my man Challice, I called home, he was like “Yo we were just in the studio with Nas, we laid down two songs. We biggin’ you up.” When I got home I went straight to the studio every day, listening to the songs, watching Nas create. Then one day he came to me, “You ready? It’s your turn.” I went in the booth and I kicked a rhyme that I had and it just fit with the beat. The next day Nas was like, “Yo, can I get on that song with you?” So he laid his verse and then Mike Delorean from Bars ‘N Hooks had wrote the names down of everybody in the projects – I mean everybody – and Nas just recited everything and made it right.
What can you tell me about the I Am Queensbridge album?
It’s me, but it’s everybody. It’s featuring Blaq Poet, Tragedy Khadafi, Nature, Roxanne Shante, Marley Marl, Craig G, Bars ‘N Hooks, G.O.D. and Mobb Deep – showcasing everybody from Queensbridge. It’s almost like QB’s Finest all over again except that I’m on every song with them. I started real young, so it’s time for me to spread my wings and it wasn’t really hard for me to get this music from all these Queensbridge artists. Being from the community and being involved in music for so long I’ve met these people or even seen them just going to the store, as long as you keep yourself as a respectful person and they see what I’m doing in my craft and it’s not a talent being wasted? Then they’re going to support. This is our legacy.
Some hidden New Jersey rap gold, taken from The 45 King‘s The Lost Breakbeats – Test Press LP. Don’t call it Fast Rap though, that’s not a valid genre.
Big Twins and Sid Roams re-united! Could this mean that The Project Kid, Vol. 2 is going to happen one day? Either way, more of this please.
I can’t enough of this stuff, as Lakim and The Chill One kick more quality rhymes for Flavor Unit aficionados.
Monch and Thought get their rappity rap on over a Marco Polo beat. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is out on 15 April.
Recent Adds is an old series from an old internet blog where we check in with what is bubbling along the bottoms of various terrestrial radio charts. And by we I mean me but I guess also you. The point is that there is an entire world of rap music that exists outside of your Tumblr dashboard and some of it doesn’t suck.
I haven’t done this – or anything at all except listen to Young Thug – in almost two years now and was terrified that every record was going to be a half assed Rich Homie Quan knock off (or worse French Montana). Either that or some DJ Mustard wave riding bullshit. So it’s been a pleasant surprise to actually find a pretty diverse and frequently pretty good batch of songs. There’s definitely some dumb and derivative bullshit in the mix but the signal to noise ratio seems much higher than it’s been in the past. I’m not sure what has changed, maybe the rise of Macklemendrick has forced PDs to broaden their horizens or maybe it’s just different palms have happened to get a little greasier than before. In any case it’s nice to have any respite from the internet ecosystem where every rapper sounds like an ASAP weed carrier and deserves a long form think piece about why he matters.
Jabo f/ Jadakiss & Slim Thug – “What I’m About” (Birmingham, AL)
This is about as perfect as a local radio rap record can get. If Jadakiss kicking a Pimp C flow while wearing a hat that says “SO RASPY” isn’t enough of a draw you also get Slim Thug being Slim Thug and that goddamn beat which is just one of those balanced (presumably?) sample driven country rap tunes that toes the line between triplet hi hats and true hip hop. It’s not much of a statement for Jabo personally but it’s definitely a banger. (prod. by D. Will)
Added: WJKS Wilmington DE, KZTS Little Rock, WBTF Lexington KY
Kataztrofee – “Polo, Polo, Polo” (Fort Worth, TX)
Given the success of Migos’ “Versace” it was only inevitable that at least a few knock off records based around word repetition and brand name clothing would emerge. I was pulling for a Nautica, Nautica, Nautica to catch on but hey you can’t go wrong with Polo. And if anybody is going to hit with that formula for a second time the world could do a lot worse than a group of Jeezy/Pastor Troy hybrids from Fort Worth. (prod. by iProduceDaSouth)
KNDA Corpus Christi (22), WFXA Chattanooga (17), KBTT Shrevport (17) +15
20/Twen – “Rollin” (Detroit, MI)
Nice little understated ballad that nods ever so slightly to Screw in a way that doesn’t seem tacky. This is how you’re supposed to make lover man radio rap without compromising the actual act of rapping by bogging it down with a phoned in R&B hook.
KNDA Corpus Christi (21), KBTT Shreveport (13)
Chinx f/ French Montana – “Feelings”
Though his recent self-appointment as a real on-air radio personality has mostly been tragic and hateful, Hot 97 Program Director Ebro Darden’s early press campaign was actually quite informative. Specifically when he got to talking about the specifics of what qualifies a song for entering radio rotation.
But with those points in mind, it’s been disappointing to see which local records have managed to creep into rotation in recent months. Of course anything is better than the string of PAPOOSE FEATURING NE-YO / FABOLOUS FEATURING CHRIS BROWN / JOE BUDDENS FEATURING KEITH SWEAT embarrassment ballads that previously existed solely to meet the local rap quota on New York radio (and Delaware and Connecticut, who are forced to blindly follow suit because their audiences are comprised entirely of New York expats who now work in banks) but really these new records from young dudes just feel so minor league, as Ebro would’ve put it if he were shouting at someone on a podcast.
Coke Boys seem like they would be logical solution to the problem of there not being any New York rap that sounds like New York rap on New York rap radio. They’ve served that purpose to some degree in recent years (mostly when they jack old Lords Of The Undeground beats or whatever) and there’s some legitimately great music in that lane on their latest tape. But, much like every official single that French has dropped since becoming an inexplicable semi-star, Chinx’s (no Drugs anymore because obviously he’s going to blow up) “Feelings” just absorbs whatever national radio trend seems profitable. This time it’s third rate dead inside Drake moves, that sort of mopey triumph music that allows self centered people to feel better than other self centered people when what New York radio really needs is breakbeats. Breakbeats and echoed out horns.
WQHT New York (24), WJKS Wilmington DE (14), WWPR New York (14), WZMX Hartford CT (7)
Bodega Bamz – “Don Francisco”
“Don Francisco” is a little more polished and purposeful than “Feelings” but no less generic. It’s not a bad rap song by any means but give or take the gimmicky horns which is the type of demographic baiting dumb shit some bum A&R would try to pull on a posthumous Big Pun album it’s otherwise indistinguishable from all the other blog boy ASAP Jacky records that pass through my inbox on a daily basis. Come on Ebro this shit doesn’t even have a hook! And I’m certain there are better and more commercially accessible Bodega Bamz songs but I’m not going to look for them right now.
The only explanation I can think of as to why these specific songs are starting to pop is that both of these guys have secretly signed major label deals. It’s a well known fact that every rapper in New York is secretly signed and has been since roughly the moment they first picked up a microphone. Word to Red Cafe and Red Cafe Jr. who is a baby that just inked a deal with Republic Records after being born. Congratulations! It’s a boy rapper! (Other regional rap records getting a small handful of Hot spins, in case you were wondering: Action Bronson’s “In The City,” ASAP Ant & Method Man’s “Trillmatic,” Troy Ave & Tony Yayo’s shameless “In Da Club” rehash Show Me Love and
Ransom’s “Jade,” which liberally samples “Jade.)
WQHT New York (37)
5th Ward Weebie – “Let Me Find Out Pt. 1″
With so much of the national attention being lavished on the New Orleans Bounce scene in recent years focusing on the new school manic stutter shit that usually hurts my brain, it’s nice to know that more old guard traditional stuff can still find its way onto NO radio. “Let Me Find Out” is classic bounce of the purest variety with Weebie hitting “Triggaman” from the back for some Manchu’s and talking other such shit inna DJ Jimi style. All we need now is the inevitable female’s response.
WQUE-FM New Orleans (93.3 FM)
Lostarr f/ Yo Gotti & Meek Mill – “Rags 2 Riches” (Meridian, MS)
When I first saw this guys name I thought it said Lobstarr which would’ve been too much for the world to handle. Fortunately and disappointingly he does not actually have a B in his name. But he does have guest verses from Gotti and Meek and is wise enough to push them into their emotional gangster corners, which is where they usually thrive.
WJZD Biloxi, MS (8), KJMM Tulsa, OK (8), WJMI Jackson, MS (7) + 2
Fat Pimp – “Left Right” (Dallas, TX)
“Left Right” is a slightly pandering but nonetheless welcome attempt at a Beat King style ratchet ass clap anthem from snap-era D-Town vet Fat Pimp who was probably signed to and subsequently dropped by Asylum thirty three consecutive times in 2007. Too bad the reigning kings of ratchet ass clap anthems YG and DJ Mustard happen to have their own “Left Right” right now. This is a cool enough song though. I can’t be mad at anything that rocks those “Triggerman” bones. We all have our biases.
WFXA Augusta, GA (15), KVSP Oklahoma City (12) KJMM Tulsa (7)
T.R.E. – “Sound Good” (“PG/DC/SC to Atlanta”)
This is one of those records where a guy who isn’t like all of these rappers tells you as much by making an over the top song where he ironically raps about all the things he imagines those other rappers rap about. It’s heavy handed and gimmicky and T.R.E. isn’t as funny as Black Sheep and he says “swagging like a faggot” which kind of negates his whole conscious rapper steez but it’s still a better look for him to keep his tongue in his cheek than to make some unironic preachy Macklemore bullshit. And it does sound good, which is probably why it’s on the radio somewhere.
KJMM Tulsa (39), WJMI Jackson (33), KVSP Oklahoma City (30) + 1
We Are Toonz – “Drop That Nae Nae” (Atlanta, GA)
Rising, Martin-inspired dance rap record that is basically the midpoint between “Crank Dat” and “Thun Thun.” As good as the original Toonz version is, I prefer this seemingly school sanctioned pencil tap Benjamin Mays NaeNae record. I’m glad that dance rap still exists even though it makes Nas cry.
WPEG-FM Charlotte (97.9 FM)
Au$tin Martin – “Wake Up” (Austin, TX)
Not to be confused with A$ton Matthews or A$her Rothton, Au$tin Martin is a rapper who hails from the city of Au$tin but sounds like he hails from the city of At£anta. Apparently he was signed to Def Jam at the beginning of the decade where he went by the name of O.C. until someone was like “hey bro there is already a rapper named O.C.”
K-Camp – “Cut Her Off” (Marietta, GA)
K-Camp has one legitimate hit record with forgotten swaggy innovator Kwony Cash but that already seems a little too big to feature here. So here’s another, in which 2 Chainz turns both a hoe and a hoe’s ass into frisbees. Camp is obviously gunning to take Rich Homie Quan’s position of Substitute Future at least while the real Future is still out playing around in Miley land. (prod by Will A Fool)
WHTA Atlanta (42), WRBJ Jackson (13), WEUP Huntsville (12) +3
Dirty Rotten Skoundrelz f/ Bun B – “Jordans Under Dickies” (Dallas, TX)
This song is obviously striving to hit a tone similar to that of the Jabo record above but I don’t think it quite reaches those heights. There’s some good rapping here but not from Bun B who once again phones it in like he’s been doing for the past decade or so.
WJMI Jackson (27), KVSP Oklahoma City (11), KJMM Tulsa (10)
Bad Lucc f/ Problem – “Outchea” (Los Angeles, CA)
When I started this little project I suspected that Quan would be the guest rapper dominating the brown paper bag circuit (or worse French Montana) but it turns out Los Angeles ratchet spitter Problem seems to be logging the most cameos on the low end of the chart. Strangely this is roughly the same song as Eric Bellinger’s “I Don’t Want Her,” which is also features Problem and a League Of Starz beat that interpolates the old “Jump” Kriss Kross wheezes. (prod by League Of Starz)
WJUC Toledo (17), WCCG Fayetteville, NC (17), WJMI Jackson (12) +2
Snootie Wild – “Yayo” (Memphis, TN)
Finally someone made a Kevin Gates record with the intelligence of a Rich Homie Quan record. At least dude brought back “Leggo My Eggo.”
WHXT Columbia, SC (24), WEUP Huntsville, AL (22), WCCG Fayetteville (18) +15
Tech N9ne – “See Me”
This is not a great Tech N9ne song or even a good Tech N9ne song but it’s nice to know that Kansas City radio is playing Tech N9ne in any capacity. I feel like Tech N9ne is the only thing they should ever play on the radio in Kansas City.
KPRS-FM Kansas City (103.3 FM)
Krizz Kaliko f/ Bizzy – “Girls Like That” (Kansas City, MI)
And yet Strange Music absolutely should not be aiming to produce radio records. Bizzy is not Bizzy Bone and I will never be able to erase the phrase “turd cutter” from my brain.
WJMI Jackson (15), WEUP Huntsville (11)
2 Pistols f/ French Montana – “Know That” (Tarpon Springs, FL)
Ah there’s the Fake French Montana featuring Real French Montana song we’ve been waiting for. Is 2 Pistols the Red Cafe of the South? I feel like dude has been given entirely too many opportunities despite his relative irrelevance. 2 pistols, twelve chances.
WPEG Charlotte (28), WJTT Chattanooga (21), WQUE New Orleans (15) +12
Big Von f/ Keak The Sneak, The Jacka & Mickey Shiloh – “Windows”
Big Von plays his shitty cobbled together two verse vanity record on the radio instead of oh I don’t know the half dozen viable mega hits that Iamsu has dropped in the past eighteen months or “Open Yo Legs” or anything else with a slump and a pulse. It is always good to hear Keak though. (Prod. by Traxamillion)
KMEL San Francisco (11)
Lil Rob – “I Don’t Want To Fall In Love”
Lil Rob is a thousand year old Mexican American rapper who used to make lowrider g-funk and probably went triple platinum at Southern California swap meets alone in 1997. Now he makes sub-Sublime records for the radio. If this transition doesn’t make sense to you then you obviously haven’t been paying enough attention to terrestrial radio. And I’m done here.
KPWR Los Angeles (9), KQKS Denver (42)