|Interview with Count Coolout by JayQuan|
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.
: I can mos def hear the Jimmy Spicer influence on “Rhythm
: 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.
: So you are originally from New York?
: Yes born and raised in Brooklyn.
: “Rhythm Rap Rock” , your
first record was on Boss records and it was also on WMOT – both Philly
: 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!!
: How were you received by Harlem & the Bronx , being from Brooklyn in the early days?
: 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
: Where else did you do shows?
: 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.
: How did a Brooklyn cat like yourself hook up with a Queens guy like
: Me & his sister dated in high school – we were high school sweet
hearts and all that. We both used to dance for him.
: Did you ever release a full lp?
: 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.
: Where did you get the name Count Coolout.
: 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.
: “Touch The Rock” was the first ever live rap recording on record
: 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
: Did you ever get a chance to do any tours or mini tours?
: Never. I did lil one man shows , or shows with Jimmy (Spicer) , but
that was it.
: You just started a label right?
: 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.
: What rappers do you listen to today ?
: 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.
: Thanks for your time & good luck with the label…..
told to JayQuan on 12/1/04
Check out Coolout's site at www.jathomrecords.netfirms.com
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