K-Solo: Fuck Everyone
If youre an avid hip-hop fan and historian of the culture, these names should be easily recognizable -- Erick Sermon, Parrish Smith, Keith Murray, Das EFX, Redman, and Kevin Madison.
Better known to the hip-hop community as, K-Solo, Madisons career has spanned the length of almost twenty years. The lyrical assassin was blessed with the gift of stringing words together and giving them vivid imagery. This was no more apparent than on 1992s single -- Head Banger. As Erick and Parrish continued to make dollars, their business practices became more personal than what their 92 album suggested.
Having split the crew, K-Solo opted to go his own way. Over the years, hes debated the origin of the DMX single Spellbound, challenged all comers to a fight, and was even jumped by former friend and partner Keith Murray and 30 of his L.O.D. crew members.
Bruises heal, but some wounds stay open for a while. Hoping to expunge further on what continues to burn his soul, K-Solo sits down in this exclusive interview with HHDX as he talks about his former friends, their business practices, why DMX is a punk, and why rappers talk about guns because theyre scared to fight.
HHDX: Most people know you from being down with The Hit Squad, which featured Redman, Das EFX, and EPMD. There was a time during the split between EPMD where certain members went with either Erick or Parrish. At that time, what prompted you to make the decision that you made and why?
K-Solo: Folks are stupid, man! Im the oldest out of the [Hit] Squad. Ive been rhyming before those guys. I put a lot of people together, as far as the crew is concerned. Parrish came up to me one day and he was trying to put the whole [break-up] situation on me. People always want to change something up and put the blame onto other people. But to me, it was just a smack in the face. I mean, I put [Keith] Murray on and tried to get him to look at it from my point of view. I tried to tell people that business wasnt being handled. Take a look at the situation with Murray and me nobody wants to fight me head up; they want to jump me. Reggie Noble [Redman] mumbled something to me when we were in Vegas. This dude was telling me that they were jealous of me and my energy. [With them] It always got to be on some negative stuff. Im not trying to go to jail. I have a very bad and violent temper, I black out when I get angry. I know whats in my heart what I did. It hurts that I know that cats try to shit on me. I am way worse than Tupac. I can really scrap and I really have powerful pieces behind me that can really move. But theyre [the Hit Squad] not worth it. No one has heart to say it to my face. Erick [Sermon] isn't a real legend! Tell me how?! I mean I aint going to jump out the window from fuckin someone elses pussy! But youre going to disrespect a guy who helped put you on. I cant fuck with fake dudes. Red knew that they were going to do that from jump. It bothers me that people wouldnt let me know what time it is.
HHDX: You eventually moved out to the West Coast and signed to Death Row Records. What happened with that situation to where an album never surfaced from you?
K-Solo: You got to remember, Pac and Dr. Dre were there running it. So, I was more so behind the scenes during that point in my career. Check it, Im still affiliated with Death Row. A lot of those people are still family, but the movement isnt a movement with me, anymore. When I see them in Watts, I holla at them, all of them are my crew for life.
HHDX: From there, you started your own label, Waste Management, and signed Canibus to a deal. Now, running a business, how do you think that you couldve managed the EPMD/Hit Squad situation if you were an executive running the show?
K-Solo: My whole thing wouldve been that I wouldve held them all down. I never got a chance to execute my situation to bring more people in. With Waste Management, Ive been able to coincide and work against the grain. I have bigger pieces than anyone would ever imagine. I run with skinheads who never grew up knowing black people, but they fucks with me. I think that making moves like that are more important than going against some people in the game. I feel disrespected in a way and no one wants to look at the different sides of the situation. I told Erick that way back in the day, but he never listened to me. But I think that because of my energy, people think that Im crazy. But, Kev, check it out I was around them before we even came into the rap game. But they all the new cats come once we arrive and start pulling their ear and just try to be in the whole mix that they werent originally a part of. With Bis, were just going to slow him down with the singles; I know that he is one of the illest lyricists ever. I just want him to slow it down and put a backdrop behind him and thats the challenge that we have ahead for us. Were trying to salvage his career and make it a good look within the industry and abroad. I learned a lot from Dr. Dre. Anything that he did, I watched and I was a student of the game. I refused to disrespect my peoples. That was one of the problems with The Hit Squad there was no pecking order. There was a time when Redman would come to me and ask what he should do about anything! The lack of a pecking order has fucked up a lot of shit. It leaves the wrong impression. The lack of respect drives me further to keep this music shit alive. I can walk through anywhere and get love. I am that respected. Cabrini-Green stood at attention, Roxbury [Boston], Compton and Watts projects people give me respect. Woodland Hills how do you go home and not get the love? Everything I learned, I learned from watching. My story isnt changing. I never spoke about these dudes in the press until recently. They didnt do the things that I did. I got a little brother, his name is King David. Hes a product of me and Ralph Mann. My question for them is why go against the grain when you can go with it? Fools always taint everything in the vicinity.
HHDX: Well, eventually, EPMD got back together and the members who made up Ericks newly formed Def Squad were involved in the mix. Was there any reason why yourself and Das EFX werent involved in that re-building process of the group?
K-Solo: Theres segregation within the whole crew. I was speaking out of hurt against them at the time. There was too much shit going on in the game. Parrish is a fuckin snake. The way he works hes just a grimy dude. He got that from his family. He has to manipulate others to take the heat off of himself. I am a master of this game. Thats why Das EFX didnt work. He [Parrish] couldnt pull it off anymore and they [Das EFX] couldnt vibe with it. But everyone wants to do what they want to do. K-Solo, EPMD, Redman are the heads of this shit. If these guys dont figure it out, then the nothing will happen. I would bleed my blood for Redman and Erick, on the real! Ralph Mann was before them all. Thats a legend in the hood. He was there before all of us, watching this hip-hop shit become what it is. Everyone wants to do what they want to do with no rules. If there is no order, theres no God. No respect for us means no respect for anybody.
HHDX: Erick and Redman seem to have a strong bond together with Sermon executive producing or contributing to Redmans albums. It would seem that Red is the rapper and Erick is the producer, but what do you think Redmans role is?
K-Solo: I taught him everything that he knows. I was before him. Before there was a Redman, there was a K-Solo. He was my DJ! He knows first fuckin hand, what goes on. He should do something to squash this. Were Hit Squad brothers, but he isnt being respectful. I dont give a fuck about him, right now. It has nothing to do with me, per se, it is about the situation. Kevin, let me ask you something did you know that I put it Rockwilder on?
HHDX: Nah, I didnt know that.
K-Solo: He was doing beats for my homegirl, and I asked Red, why do people shit on people who helped to get others on. I am not going to let anyone disrespect me. I am a leader to people. I am not thinking that I am bigger or badder than anyone. God has made me stronger than them.
HHDX: A while back, Murray was reported as claiming as knocking you out. I mean, you were the one who brough Murray into the Hit Squad fold, so why did the fight even happen?
K-Solo: I was in the hood watching these guys. I ran with one of these guys who was in the hood. A while back, my boy Ralph Mann got jumped by a few of the L.O.D. cats [Keith Murrays crew]. They were disrespecting Ralph! I put Murray and Redman in the game! So, I put they asses on blast on a mixtape! Murrays men jumped me on stage and threw me off the bitch. Theyre now in court because of the shit. But let me ask you -- how do I get jumped in your club on Christmas Eve and walk out still alright? I couldve respected it if Murray ran up on me and did his thing. But he didnt. He thinks that the world is against him. If there was no Kevin Madison there wouldnt be no Keith Murray, because no one wouldve respected him. Why fight someone that put you on? The only thing that I can think is that Reggie and Erick put him on to doing it. These cats are crazy, though. People were hurt when the Hit Squad broke up. I know people who can call on J. Prince and really cause some problems. Cats are just stupid. Thats the only thing that aggravates me. What else do I have to do to show people that Im the original rap criminal? People dont know what theyre playing with.
HHDX: One of the more documented beefs on record involved you and DMX over the track Spellbound. You even were on the BEEF DVD taking a lie detector test. Results withstanding, DMX recently hopped on Hot 97 and continued to fan the flames. Why after so many years has the problem between yall two continue to fester?
K-Solo: He knows what it is. I told him to get into the cage with me. Five rounds, homie, fight me! He wouldnt do it. I am asking Keith Murray to do the same. Ill break his ass down in two. Hes a five dollar dude. Sign the papers, well set it up, and can handle it. That goes for any mafucka who has problems with me. Well get in the cage. If you can beat me, you get the money and Ill get my ass beat. Let people do what they got to do. Im in war mode. Im more ready now than Ive ever been. People arent getting away with that dumb shit. DMX cant fight.
HHDX: Youve been off the radar for quite some time. The landscape of hip-hop has changed. Its not all about the glitz and glamour, but more so about a compelling back-story and a sellable image. Do you think that K-Solo, the artist, is still relevant in todays rap music?
K-Solo: People have no love for the music game. People are doing what I call, friendly extortion. They want to make friends in order to make money. Its fucked up now. All the middle men are in the game now. No one loves the music. No question that Im still relevant, because K-Solo can reinvent himself. My material is still relevant. I can do a track with Bone Thugs, DJ Quik, Too Short, The Game, I can do that. Youre only good as your last song. I dont even want to rap no more. I just want to make people know what the game meant to us when we came into it. Our mothers werent making any money, so we did this to feed our families. Id rather stay in the fighting game and make money doing that. I am trying to keep shit moving. I wouldve been fighting already if it wasnt for the torn ligament and my bruised neck. So, all in all its a good situation. Im about maintaining my integrity and my heart. A lot of people in the rap game arent going to scrap. Theyll talk about busting they guns and wont throw hands.