Rodney O Speaks About Mentoring Ying Yang Twins, Recalls Early Days Of Suge Knight
Exclusive: Working on their comeback album, Rodney O & Joe Cooley spent time in the last several years helping a similar group, as Rodney recalls a young Suge shaking down rappers in the early '90s.
West coast Hip Hop pioneers Rodney & Joe Cooley are at work on their first album in over a decade. Since reuniting on stage last year, the South Central, Los Angeles, California pair has recorded a new song in "Dat Supa (Radio)" and continued, revisited their 25-plus-year script. Emcee Rodney O recently told HipHopDX, "Me and Joe [Cooley], we always talked about [another album], and it's like we just didn't want to worry about what other people was doing, what other groups was doing, we said we just need to go and make a Rodney O & Joe Cooley record."
With Joe as the crew's deejay, Rodney O told HipHopDX that it was important to bring back a west coast outfit with an active deejay/producer. "We started talking over concepts, and Joe makes beats so we just started going over what we needed to do and I told him, 'Man all we need to start doing is go in and just be us, and not worry about the radio, not worry about what's going on,' "I wanted to really show people Joe hasn't lost it all as far as scratching and stuff, so I'm like, 'Man, we gotta do a record and you gotta be killin' it on these records.'"
The yet-untitled album will feature Atlanta's Ying Yang Twins, with potential appearances from DJ Quik and Too Short as well. As for the southern duo, Rodney revealed some interesting history in that connection. "With Ying Yang [Twins], they came to us as fans and I went out there and kicked it with them for about almost a year, helping them with what they were doing and just being around them, so we're friends."
According to Rodney, it was greater than just a friendship though. "I went out to Atlanta and was with them for about a year. While they were going through their [contract disputes] with Collipark/TVT [Records] and just trying to give them some guidance on what was happening. I actually look at Ying Yang Twins as how I look at me and Joe. While everyone else was doing the Gangsta Rap, they were doing the party music. So when you do the party music you don't get the respect that you want. We get more respect now, then we did back in the day when our records were hitting. That's because people respect us and our music now. That's what I told Ying Yang that they were gonna go through too. Maybe Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane aren't trying to get you guys on nothing but later on they're gonna respect you because you guys stuck to your script and did what you wanted to do. So I look at them as a Atlanta version of Rodney O & Joe Cooley, but X-rated. [Laughs]"
Rodney reportedly worked with D-Roc and Kaine after their 2006 album, Chemically Imbalanced, when the group left the guidance of Mr. Collipark.
Rodney O also wrote songs for Vanilla Ice in the early-to-mid 1990s. As a native of South Central, the street veteran was asked if he was present during the infamous Vanilla Ice Bel Age Hotel balcony publishing rights shakedown with then independent bodyguard Marion "Suge" Knight, who would soon co-found Death Row Records. "I wasn't there when it happened, but I was around after it happened. Yeah, it did happen. Definitely," explained Rodney O., who wrote a reported 10 songs on Ice's 1994 album, Mindblowin'. Having run in the same circles as Suge in the years before and since the incident, Rodney revealed that at one point, Knight even took umbrage with him.
"[Suge Knight] even came at us sideways, trying to get us for some money and stuff like that. But looking back, there's so many busters and dumb-asses in this business that I can't even be mad at him for what he tried to do. I really can't. Looking back on it, because if you let something like that happen then it's really your fault. Not everyone has the stomach to deal with street stuff and things like that but when you're from the streets and know people from the streets you're just not gonna let that go. I'm not the type of cat to just let stuff like that go. I won't say it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't a situation that I needed at the time but if you're a real man then you just deal with it."
HipHopDX will keep you updated on the title and dates for Rodney O & Joe Cooley's forthcoming album.