Interview with Count Coolout by JayQuan


Jay Quan : Who were your influences in Hip Hop , and what year did you first hear Hip Hop?


Count Cool Out : You tryin to bust my age huh ? (Laughs) ….the thing was that we had been doin this in the streets and parks here in Ny for awhile , and we never saw it as a money makin thing , it was just something we did.  Then I heard Sugarhill Gang put it on record  , it was like wow I can do this !! But my early infuences were one of my ex partners Jimmy Spicer and definitely Kurtis Blow. Kurtis was like the king to me in those days.


JQ : I can mos def hear the Jimmy Spicer influence on “Rhythm  Rap Rock”.


CC : People always told me that , and I know my first record (Rhythm Rap Rock) was similar to what he did on “Super Rhymes” , and I was actually on that record with him. Jimmy was my brother in law at the time , and he is very creative. Im tryin' to push him to get back in the game right now. But he was the guy who showed me how to put my rhymes in context , ‘cus before that I always freestyled. He was the one that said to make my rhyme into a story.


JQ : So you are originally from New York?


CC : Yes born and raised in Brooklyn.


JQ : “Rhythm Rap Rock” ,  your first record was on Boss records and it was also on WMOT – both Philly labels right?


CC : Yeah what happened was the guy who produced it was Bill Nichols who owned Boss Records , and the person in rap at the time with the only major record deal was Kurtis (Blow). Boss was just a label Bill put together to put the record out. Tec records (which Philly Emcee/Radio personality Lady B recorded on) was affiliated with Boss , who got bought by WMOT (which Frankie “Double Dutch Bus” Smith recorded on). WMOT was distributed by CBS. It was a deep thing – a lot of politics in there , too many hands in the pockets. So Boss/WMOT/Tec wanted to sign me to a management deal also , but I was real reluctant ‘ cus they were managing Captain Skyy who did “Super Srorm”. I wasn’t really happy about what I saw taking place , and I wasn’t sure what to do. I went to the only person  that gave rappers real respect back then – we are talking ’79 & ’80 & that was Russell Simmons. He always gave us Love & guidance and sat down & listened to us. I look at where he is now and I say  “he is an excellent business man , but first & foremost he is a wonderful person". He told me not to sign a management deal , ‘cus they already had me signed to a production deal and they would have me in a bind. Im glad till this day that I listened to him. We had no concept at the time of this being a business. Its called the music business , but its much more business than music!!


JQ : How were you received by Harlem & the Bronx  , being from Brooklyn in the early days?


CC : Well I started out doin’ shows with Jimmy Spicer as a dancer for him. It would get rough ‘cus there was that rivalry thing between the boroughs. Being that a label from Philly picked me up , a lot of my action was outside of  the city (NY). I really didn’t do a lot of performing in New York at all.  Since I wouldn’t sign a management deal , they didn’t even push the record – they just put it in the stores. But with the kids it was a matter of word of mouth . We didn’t need a lot of promotion back then , in fact most records didn’t have a picture of the rapper on the cover.


JQ : Where else did you do shows?


CC : I was all through the south – the Carolinas , Buffalo NY , Canada , Miami a lot of places. Things were so shady back then. Being that there was no picture on the album , you would have a guy that would do a concert in your name. I remember we were touring the south , and a promoter told me that I was doing Howard University , and I said “what do you mean im not prepared” he said “no you don’t have to be there”. This happened a lot. I went to one of the shows , and I actually picked up a few pointers from the guy!! There were a lot of crooked promoters out there double booking and everything. There wasn’t a lot of money back then. I guess some promoters are ashamed to say it today but there wasn’t a lot of money at all. We did it from the heart because we loved it.


JQ : How did a Brooklyn cat like yourself hook up with a Queens guy like Jimmy Spicer?


CC : Me & his sister dated in high school – we were high school sweet hearts and all that. We both used to dance for him.


JQ : Did you ever release a full lp?


CC : What happened was ; I had four songs that were never released , and back in ‘98 I released them along with “Rhythm Rap Rock” , “Here To Stay”  and “Touch The Rock” on Bill Nicholas’ label.


JQ : Where did you get the name Count Coolout.


CC : Well when I was a child I was obsessed with Dracula , don’t get me wrong he scared the hell out of me , but he was always my favorite character. I was in college back before my first record , studying accounting , and a friend of mine called me “Count”. The phrase on the street back then was “Cool Out” , so I just put it all together.


JQ : “Touch The Rock” was the first ever live rap recording on record right?


CC : Yes it was. It was recorded downtown , lower Manhattan. I wanted to try something live because with most live recordings they could never come through the way other recorded songs did , something seemed to be missing.


JQ : Did you ever get a chance to do any tours or mini tours?


CC : Never. I did lil one man shows , or shows with Jimmy (Spicer) , but that was it.


JQ : You just started a label right?


CC : Yes Jathom(pronounced Jay-Tom) Records & Jathom Family Distribution. Just from talking to Russell back in the early ‘80s I always knew that what I wanted , I couldn’t get as an artist ; so I studied all the aspects of production and the business and stayed behind the scenes. Right now im reaching out to all independent artists who have original hot product and want a chance to get in this business. You have about 5 labels that control everything now , and we can divide this pie into more slices.


JQ : What rappers do you listen to today ?


CC : Jay Z – He is a magician with the spoken word , Nas , Method Man when he is with Wu tang , Busta Rhymes , its good to see L.L. still doin’ it , Biggie was nice. Stuff today is like someone put these artists in a copy machine. Everybody talks the same thing.


JQ : Thanks for your time & good luck with the label…..


  CC : I wanna say one thing to everybody….the whole thing back in the days was trying to get in the door to get a voice to say something. Now that you all have a voice SAY SOMETHING........


As told to JayQuan on 12/1/04

Check out Coolout's site at

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