On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Kid Capri to discuss the OG being a pioneer for hip hop disc jockeys, working with Madonna, his relationships with Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G., and more.
Born David Anthony Love, Jr., Kid Capri is often mentioned in the conversation of those who revolutionized DJ culture. The Brooklyn native was one of the first DJs to perform on major television networks like BET, HBO and VH1, appearing on Russell Simmon’s long-running comedy series Def Jam Comedy in the 90s. The DJ and rapper is credited for working with hip hop legends and music icons such as JAY-Z, Big L, Foxy Brown, 50 Cent and Slick Rick — to name a few. Elsewhere, he’s also the host of his eponymous show “Kid Capri’s Block Party” on SiriusXM Fly. Additionally, Kid Capri released his studio album The Love in February, one of his first full-length projects in over two decades.
As a “Drink Champs” alum, this episode marks Kid Capri’s third time chopping it up with DJ EFN and N.O.R.E. He first made a guest appearance on the show in 2020 alongside A$AP Ferg and Tony Touch. The trio talked about their careers, the mixtape game and much more.
REVOLT compiled a list of nine interesting facts we learned from his most recent “Drink Champs” interview. Take a look at those below.
1. On the Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One Verzuz
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s series Verzuz started out as light entertainment between two producers over Instagram, but it has quickly become the go-to for legendary matchups in hip hop and R&B. Last year, hip hop legends Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One appeared on the series with surprise guests and freestyles. Capri represented KRS while DJ Scratch was behind Kane. Capri tells N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN that the lineup was initially proposed to be Rakim and KRS, but the rapper declined.
“When I reached out to Ra, I told him why I think he should do it, but he moves the way he gon’ move. Sometimes, something that’s good may not be good for you. I was asked to do Verzuz four times — not on my own, helping other people. I turned it down because I didn’t feel like it was the right thing for me to do at the time,” Capri expands. “Sometimes people jump on something because the opportunity is there — or it’s the hot thing to do, and it might not be the right thing at the time. When I did it with KRS and Kane, that made sense, and I told them no at first.”
Later in the conversation, he also recalls turning down a request to deejay Keith Sweat’s Verzuz battle against Bobby Brown. “I love Keith Sweat, he’s one of the greatest. I just didn’t see sense in me standing behind Keith Sweat while he’s crooning.”
2. On revolutionizing the way people see DJs
Amongst his long list of accolades and accomplishments, Kid Capri was one of the first DJs to perform on major TV networks like MTV and VH1. He cites the 1992 HBO series Def Comedy Jam — produced by Russell Simmons — as one of the ways he paved a way for DJs in hip hop. Capri appeared on seven seasons and also appeared on the show’s 25th anniversary special in 2016.
“Here’s when the DJ is starting to be looked at like an artist because of what I did with that television show. Now, it’s starting to get to the point where they gotta pay attention because I’m a force to be reckoned with on that stage. You get Kid Capri on that stage, he gon’ be the talk of that show just as well as that platinum artist. That was the stance that I had to take in order for people to take the DJ serious,” Capri shares. “Before that, we were getting $50 … $100. If I’m packing this building the same way as this guy that only got two records, and he only come on stage for a half-hour to rock out, and I’m there for two hours destroying the spot, then you gon’ pay me the same way you’re paying him.”
3. On EDM
EDM, otherwise known as electronic dance music, is one of the fastest growing musical forms across Europe and the United States. “EDM is big no matter who plays it. It’s the music itself. I remember Akon said to me, ‘Ayo Kid, you can go to arenas in Europe and sell out by yourself because there are DJs out there with no name that’s doing it’,” Kid tells N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. “I can make it, but I would make it for someone else. I can make any kind of music and that’s why producers should know not to stay stuck in one box.”
4. On getting paid to do a record that Madonna never received
A career highlight for Kid Capri was working with pop icon Madonna on two of her records: 2011’s “Masterpiece ”and 2015’s “Bitch I’m Madonna” featuring Nicki Minaj. While the former track appeared on the singer’s MDNA album, Capri shares that he also got paid for the latter despite it never coming out. “Nobody better not ever say anything bad about Madonna,” he insists.
“She paid me the same amount of money she paid me for the ‘Masterpiece’ record to see what I was going to do with the Nicki Minaj record — and she never got the record. She never heard the record, never received the record, never got the record, and she paid me this money,” Capri shares. “They never asked for the record. I couldn’t even get in touch with them. Two big bags. Madonna is the shit.”
N.O.R.E. interjects, “You know how I know Madonna is a gangster? She had the same face on when she was hanging out with Kanye [West], AB and Mayweather as she had on when she hung out with Tupac. I said she knows how to turn her hip hop face on. She’s a legend!”
5. On beefing with Funkmaster Flex
In 2018, Kid Capri and Hot 97 radio personality Funkmaster Flex traded words across social media. After weeks of back and forth, their beef seemed to have peaked when Funk Flex said that Capri “fell off.” Upon the statement, Capri challenged Flex to a DJ battle for $100K, with the added condition that the loser must give up his name. Ultimately, the feud never went much farther than that. The two veterans have seemingly left their issues in the past.
“I felt like he was taking his power and mushing it in people’s faces. If you’re a little kid and you make a record and it’s doing good, don’t get on your radio and say, ‘This is trash.’ That’s what my problem was, but when he said I fell off … we had some words. I said, ‘Yo, let’s battle for 100 thousand … for the name,’” Capri explains. “I fell off, why? Because I’m not getting on everybody’s nerves every day in New York? I’m all over the country shaking shit up.”
Despite their feud, Capri pays respect to Funkmaster Flex and his work at Hot 97. “He made that station be the No. 1 hip hop station in the world. You can’t take that from him. Let’s make sure we don’t forget that. Shoutout to Funk Flex, got love for him. That right there was some hip hop shit, it’s nothing personal. He’s one of the greatest that ever did it.”
6. On his advice to emerging DJs
Pivoting from his discussion on Verzuz and DJ Scratch dissing him during the KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane battle, Kid Capri shares some advice for young disc jockeys in the game. “You DJs, you trip over playing everybody’s record that don’t give a shit about you. You go crazy over playing this one’s record, and they don’t even call to see if you healthy, if you ate, if you good — anything. But, somebody that’s in your business, that do the same thing that you do, that’s trying to get the same struggle off the same way that you are — you won’t support them,” Capri says passionately. “You think it’s taking away from you. You dumbass! All of you are dumbasses that think that way. All of you — got something to say? See me. Smarten up.”
7. On attending JAY-Z’s 2018 Oscars party
In 2018, Beyoncé and JAY-Z threw an Oscars after-party at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles to celebrate Mary J. Blige. Blige was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for her role in Mudbound and for her Mudbound track “Mighty River.” Blige became the first person to simultaneously earn an Oscar nomination for both categories. Celebrities like Drake, Usher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, DJ Khaled, Kid Capri and more were among the high-profile names at Hov’s party. “I never seen JAY-Z dance. I never seen him dance before. He danced for a long time with Beyoncé. He was dancing, it was crazy. To see that was bugged out,” Kid recalled.
8. On his relationships with The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac
Later in the interview, Kid Capri reminisces on late rapper and hip hop legend Big L and his impact. That prompted N.O.R.E. to ask Capri about his relationships with The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, and the DJ responded by showing N.O.R.E. a clip of Biggie on stage with him. “He immortalized me — B.I.G. was cool … solid dude, man,” Capri emphasizes. “When he went on stage, I remember hearing this roar. It was like I never heard a roar from a crowd like that — he was that big. When that dude hit the stage, it was mangle time. It was unfortunate we lost him as early as we did, but he was so powerful. His legacy gon’ live forever.”
Elsewhere, Kid Capri talks about his encounters with Tupac, recalling a handful of times that he met with the rapper and how he’d always have a bulletproof vest on. “It was kind of like he knew that he was going to die. That was unfortunate, too, because I think if he would’ve been here, he probably would’ve started a school or something. That was a big loss in hip hop for sure.”
9. On being in the middle of the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry
During the 1990s, the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry saw two of the genre’s most prominent rappers and record labels go head-to-head. The late Notorious B.I.G (backed by Diddy’s New York-based record label Bad Boy Records) was feuding with late rapper Tupac (backed by Suge Knight’s Death Row Records). During his “Drink Champs” chat, Capri recalls the time Suge Knight sent shots at Diddy during the 1995 Source Awards.
“In the middle of the East Coast-West Coast beef — let’s keep in mind, when the Suge thing happened on the Source [Awards], I was the announcer. So, I’m sitting in the fifth row when it happened. The energy in the room [felt] like anything was going to happen at any time. When OutKast came out and they got boo’d, it wasn’t because OutKast wasn’t good. It was the bad thing that was going on at the moment,” Kid Capri recounts. “I was going back and forth to California like it was nothing. I never had an issue. I was doing parties with Crips and Bloods and Mexican gangs.”
N.O.R.E. recalls a time when the hip hop rivalry got so dangerous that Def Jam had security guards accompany him once he landed in Los Angeles. “It was so bad at one point. I was doing something with Def Jam [and] as soon as I landed in L.A., they had security for me. They had like three … that’s how bad it was,” he says.