Kurupt has accomplished a lot in his decades-long career, and he’s still not finished. Best known as one of the frontrunners of gangsta rap in the 1990s, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native came up as one-half of rap duo Dogg Pound alongside Daz Dillinger, who were both signed to Death Row Records before embarking on their solo careers.
A well-respect lyricist in his own right, Kurupt has a number of timeless hits under belt such as “We Can Freak It” to “Who Ride With Us” to “Ho’s A Housewife” with Dr. Dre. Speaking of, the well-respected MC even confirmed his involvement in Dr. Dre’s long-awaited Detox album.
REVOLT caught up with the rapper, along with Daz Dillinger, in downtown Los Angeles to discuss memories from the “We Can Freak It” days, how The HRSMN came to be, his forthcoming album called Transition, a studio session with Tupac when he made “Ambitionz Az A Ridah,” and more. Peep the chat below.
How’d it feel to return to Philly and have your childhood street named after you?
Kurupt: God is good. Wow, that was amazing because our town was outside of Philly. I was born in Philly, but I moved to Darby Township, Two Five. I was in between Two Five, Darby Township, Sharon Hill and Germantown, which is North Philly. That was a great respect.
And I’m still alive. Rest in peace to all the homies: Biz Markie, Shock G, Tupac... Yeah, it’s a great feeling. My brother Daz, he gave me a lot of love from the door like, “Damn, good job Kurupt.” That mattered everything to me.
How are you holding up? You know, we survived a pandemic.
Kurupt: We’re going to survive it. You know why? Because we’re God fearing. We don’t fear man, we don’t fear disease, we fear God.
“We Can Freak It” is so iconic. Fondest memories of that record?
Daz Dillinger: He had the “We Can Freak It” challenge going.
Kurupt: Problem set it off and before Problem, there were two other people. That was a great thing as well. Baby S set it off, then Liddy just cracked the game open. The vault, then Problem put the nail in the coffin. Everybody does the “We Can Freak It” Challenge, whether they C-walk or dance, or make a record about it. There was one young man that made a record.
Did you think it’d become what it was when you released it?
Kurupt: Never. Because when I made my album Kuruption!, I went back to the grain with Battlecat, then Daz came and he supported. Soopafly came and supported. Dr. Dre came and supported. During that time, Snoop was getting his thing together, then we did The Streetz Iz A Mutha. That’s when Snoop jumped in, and he could support. That’s what we do, we’re DPG cuz. We support each other, that’s why Daz is here right now!
How many girls did you pull with that one?
Kurupt: Well the question, is how many didn’t I pull? I’m just saying though, it’s real.
When did the idea for The HRSMN supergroup come about?
Kurupt: 20 something years ago, we came up with it and we made it happen. Ras Kass and M80 are the keys to that. He’s the vice president of my company, Pentagon. My wife is the president. Everything we do, I have Daz as head of production for my company because he knows what it is. And Bigg A, that’s the Dogg Pound squad. Everything I do is DPG. That’s why Daz is here right now because he’s a supporter of Kurupt. I’m in supported of him. Anything he does, I do. That’s what it is.
What are some of the challenges HRSMN faced over the years trying to get music out?
Kurupt: I mean, so many.
Daz Dillinger: We survived. We be reminiscing and laughing about the past, whenever we think about it.
Kurupt: Right because it’s a lot. We survived and we’re still here because a lot of our friends are gone. But we still here cuz. Me and Daz are going to keep pushing, period.
Daz Dillinger: We got a new album out right now, DPG For Life!
Kurupt: And we’re working on our next album, which is Dogg Food 2. Ohhh yeah.
Daz Dillinger: And we got a book along with the album. The book is about our life and how we started in the beginning, then we’re coming out with part two. You can get the book at dpgforlife.com. We got the album out on Spotify, iTunes. Kurupt got his immaculate solo album.
Kurupt: It’s coming, it’s called Transition.
Why is it called Transition?
Kurupt: It’s about the change in my life. I gave up liquor. I don’t drink liquor anymore. Well I make a few mistakes, I’ll be honest with y’all. The reality is not like I used to. I used to down it all the time... I’m an alcoholic, and I’m getting over it. Me and Daz, we both changed our lives similarly. I changed my life from drinking, he changed his life from anger and a lot of things that be on his mind. We both lost our mothers. He lost his father too.
Talk about your own clothing line called Iconic.
Kurupt: I got a clothing line, Iconic. The Kurupt clothing line is not this type of gear. (Points to outfit) My gear is more along the lines of casual, teaching young folk how to be grown through what they wear. The fashion of it. You grow up, you wear different clothes when you grow up. You act different when you grow up, so that’s what my gear is about. It’s that grown, young feeling.
How do you feel about MixedByAli buying the old Death Row studios, Can-Am?
Kurupt: Tell him I said good for him, it’s a great studio.
Can we get an untold story from the Death Row days?
Kurupt: Oh shit, how many memories? We were at SOLAR Studio first, then our own studio was Can-Am. So the memories are super, there’s too many to even talk about. I know one thing about Can-Am, hey Daz! My greatest experience at Can-Am, Daz hit me when Pac came home.
Daz Dillinger: Told him, “Suge Knight had hit me and said, ‘Come to Monty’s mafia restaurant.’”
Kurupt: And we did.
Daz Dillinger: Got a couple of good steaks, good champagne. Tupac came into the studio, we did “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” and five other new songs.
Kurupt: You called me and said, “Kurupt, Pac’s home.” I said, “Yeah right.” He said, “Yeah, we up at Can-Am right now. Come on through.” I said, “You know what? I’ll be there.” ...I went there, Daz and Soopafly were working on “Ambitionz Az A Ridah.” The first record for his album. That’s my fondest memory. I went there, walked in, Tupac was like “Kurupt!” ‘cause I didn’t see him.
How is it having your own reality show, “Lili & Gotti,” on WETV?
Kurupt: That’s my reality show that me and my wife are working on with Shaun King. “Lili & Gotti” is about our lives and the real lives of a woman who has to deal with a celebrity husband, and a celebrity husband who’s nuts. But, my game is together now. The life of Kurupt and the woman who has to deal with this man, and our children. We have a football team if you add our children. Babe, how many children we got?
Lisa (Kurupt’s wife): 9.
This is the key to the game. My ability and how I was able to beat the dragon, which is alcoholism. Get to a different place in my life, happiness. The show is about us: “Lili & Gotti.” She’s Lili, I’m Gotti.
What worked for you in terms of stopping alcohol?
Kurupt: I’ll be honest with you, I had two back-to-back seizures. My wife was there, she told me what it was about. At first, I didn’t want to go to the doctor. But then I ended up going and they told me the real.
I’m glad you were able to stop because some people can’t.
Kurupt: It takes a team to win a championship no matter what you’re trying to accomplish. Teamwork.