Kool G Rap is one of the most well-known names of hip-hop’s golden age. Known as a New York City legend who advanced the culture, the emcee (real name Nathaniel Wilson) is often cited as one of the most influential figures of the late 1970s and early-’80s. Kool G Rap was a member of the legendary Juice Crew who were one of the first crews from Queens to cross into the hip-hop mainstream.
Kool G Rap grew up in the Corona neighbourhood of Queens and, unlike most members of the Juice Crew, didn’t grow up in Queensbridge. However, following a chain of events, he ended up recording in Queensbridge. Wilson grew up with the iconic Eric B and, through the iconic producer, met a fellow Corona-raise hip-hop head DJ Polo. Polo was also a producer, so the two developed a close friendship and started working together regularly. In the early ’80s, when they were ready to record a demo, DJ Polo (real name Thomas Pough) reached out to an acquaintance who owned a studio. This individual happened to be the one-and-only Marley Marl.
Marley Marl, who opened the studio alongside his dear friend Mr Magic saw the potential of both Kool G Rap and DJ Polo and, as such, drafted them into his newly formed crew, Juice Crew. Comprised of Marley Marl, Roxanne Shante, MC Shan, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Mister Cee, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, DJ Polo, and Mr Magic, the Juice Crew found great success on the New York hip-hop scene and quickly became one of the most potent crews in the city.
As a top-tier crew in a competitive genre, the Juice Crew were part of a legendary New York rap battle commonly referred to as ‘The Bridge Wars’. Referencing the area of Queensbridge, the discord was between two crews BDP from the Bronx and the Juice Crew of Queens. Cited as the first hip-hop battles of all time, the Juice Crew made history while exchanging diss records with BDP.
Furthermore, the Juice Crew had a leg-up concerning promotion as one of the members had the first hip-hop radio show ever. Mr Magic’s Rap Attack, was the first rap music show to get commercial radio airplay. As a result, Juice Crew tracks got a lot of exposure and radio play across the greater New York City metropolitan area.
As a legend in New York and legend in Queens, in an interview with VLADTV, Wilson was asked to name his top five Queens rappers. You can see his list in the video below.
Kool G Rap’s five favourite Queens rappers:
- LL Cool J
- Mobb Deep
- 50 Cent