Kurupt goes into detail about his first audition for Death Row Records, which found him forced to drop a high-stakes freestyle for Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.
Kurupt Young Gotti has established himself as one of the west coast's best lyricists, period. And as many know, his journey began with a few key features on Dr. Dre's The Chronic, which would then spark a partnership with Daz Dillinger and the birth of the Dogg Pound Gangstaz. Today, Kurupt took a moment to reflect on his origin story during an appearance on Talib Kweli's People's Party, putting his impression skills to the test with the epic story of his Death Row audition.
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"Intimidating but exhilarating," reflects Kurupt, when asked about his first time meeting Suge Knight and Dr. Drein the midst of the notorious Death Row era. "I didn't know who Suge was but I knew who Dr. Dre was. He was an icon to me. It was Dogg, I went to go see Snoop. And I talked to Dr. Dre on the phone, cause my sister Diamond was the one there at the party. Ran back into Snoop, she's the one that started the battle, she'd always talk shit." For some context, it sounds like Diamond would goad emcees into battling Kurupt, and he'd proceed to "cut people's brains apart."
"Next thing you know, Diamond see Snoop, she recognized him but he didn't recognize her," continues Kurupt. "It was Diamond who got the battle between me and Snoopy going in the first place." From the sound of it, she playfully goaded Snoop Dogg about "getting served" by Kurupt, which he adamantly denied. "Dogg was like, 'where that n***a at!' And that's when it started, right there." Afterward, Snoop Dogg went on to co-sign Kurupt to Dr. Dre, vouching for the young emcee. "Dogg is the key to game cuz, he's one in a million. He put all of us in the greatest positions of our lives. He changed our lives like Dr. Dre changed his life."
"And then Suge Knight's like: we have somebody who finna be on Death Row. It depends if he's tight or not. Make a birthday rap for BJ -- if you wack, we throwing you in the pool."
Kurupt, Daz, Snoop Dogg, & Nate Dogg spitting a freestyle in the Death Row studio.
Kurupt explains that Diamond called him up and put him on the phone with Dr. Dre. "'Ayo what's up'," mimics Kurupt, doing a solid impression of the Doc's cadence much to Kweli's amusement. "I said who this, Dr. Dre? I said ohh shit in my mind, but outside I can't show it." After Dre invited Kurupt to the party, the rapper soon found himself at the Doc's house, admittedly overwhelmed at the prospect of spitting bars for the NWA icon. "And then Suge Knight's like: we have somebody who finna be on Death Row. It depends if he's tight or not. Make a birthday rap for BJ -- if you wack, we throwing you in the pool." And as Kurupt goes on to explain, a quick pool toss was likely only the first stage of a far-more-intensive ass-whooping.
"I said 'what happens' if I'm good?'" recalls Kurupt. "Suge said, 'well, you get a record deal.'" He would go on to appear on three tracks on Dr. Dre's Death Row debut The Chronic. All things considered, it must have been one hell of an audition. Check out Kurupt's full reflection below, courtesy of Talib Kweli's The People's Party.