Kurupt tha Kingpin
Real Name: Ricardo Emmanuel Brown
D.O.B.: November 23, 1972 Philadelphia, PN
Label: DPGC/Doggystyle/Universal Records
Kurupt the Kingpin, A.K.A. Young Gotti is a gangsta rapper and original founding member of Long Beach’s Tha Dogg Pound Gangsta Clicc (DPGC). Starting his career alongside the west coasts greats at the legendary record label Death Row, Kurupt became their leading producer after Dre stepped down and was well known as being far more loyal to his benefactor than any other original Row inmates. He stood tall through the rise and demise of the empire, often alone with fierce tenacity and gung-ho. Kurupt was most suited to Death Row than the red rag it saluted. He remains a long-standing soldier of the west coast rap movement.
He opened his recording career signed with Suge Knight alongside Snoop Dogg’s cousin Daz becoming an integral member of the Long Beach DPG. He performed under the production of the legendary Dr. Dre and participated heavily in two of west coast’s most powerful records, The Chronic and Doggystyle before DPG released their début, Dogg Food in 1995. When Tupac Shakur joined Death Row, Kurupt formed a close bond with the superstar and rapped alongside him in his double Row album ‘All Eyes On Me’ also producing some of the tracks. Tupac gave him his nickname Young Gotti which stuck with Kurupt in his future professional career. Before there was Young Gotti or Tha Kingpin Kurupt Ricardo Brown was a wide-eyed child fan of the MC art form all the way from Philly.
At the age of eight, Ricardo was a fan of Rakim and Spoonie Gee from Enjoy Records both silk-voiced pimp rappers who Kurupt became increasingly influenced over as he grew up in Philly. He amerced himself in the hip-hop grind stepping deeper into the persona of its jungle culture as a rapper named Kurupt. At sixteen with aspirations of tearing up a stage with east coast-style raps he moved to a nicer suburb with his mother. Still heavily weighed down with his aggressive attitude, his mother found it hard to accommodate his ways. After he stole her car one night and crashed it, she sent him packing to live with his disciplining father in California. Here Kurupt was truly in his element befitting his undertaken persona. His future was laid right before him in the heart of Los Angeles, the heart of the west coast scene.
Before too long in Los Angeles, living with his father in Hawthorne Kurupt came across Lamont Bloomfield who would focus his energy in the right direction and guide him to fulfilling his dreams of being onstage rapping. Bloomfield hailed from the South Central section on Crenshaw and 60th streets and ran a small record business he called Hustler For Life with very limited success. A friend of Kurupt was walking past Bloomfield in a parked car playing a local aspiring artist in his tape deck when he approached the car and stated he knew of someone who could out-rap this so-called artist. Impressed with his confident throw-down, Bloomfield invited him and his friend to battle against his artist. This skinny sixteen year old kid from Philly boomed a resounding efficiency for rapping with unheralded flow and slayed his artist down. When asked for demos Kurupt told Bloomfield he had never been in a recording studio but was eager. Bloomfield had found his talent subject. Two days later they were in the studio where Kurupt performed a battle track called "Lyrics of Destruction" and another one Bloomfield wanted to name "World of Kuruption". Together they finished a portfolio of demos with "That’s what Love is" and ‘Dark and Lovely’ a smooth ending track. However Bloomfield found it hard to pigeon-hole the guy as a specific brand of rapper even trying him different outfits and suits to best fit his character. The trouble was his look was innocent of a sixteen year old rake-thin kid with a tenacious, raw lyrical delivery befitting a street soldier of experience. The hard look image never suited him so Bloomfield had him try out a few gospel raps and R&B hooks to cover all bases, not knowing the strength and direction of this new gangsta rap fad of the present era. By 1991 he was shown to be a very sweet-natured and upstanding young artist who brought everything to Bloomfield for approval.
Nothing was behind the back or devious about him. However at nineteen he was over-anxious for his break or at least fair chance at it. Eager to take the first offer that came his way, Kurupt was first commissioned to do a piece of vocal work for the S.O.S. Band on their album ‘One of Many Nights’ which had Lamont Bloomfield’s credit on the album sleeve. Somehow a copy of this reached Dr. Dre’s ears and he corresponded with Bloomfield and expressed a desire to work with the young Kurupt. The future was getting seemingly brighter for the young star however the omnipotent Suge Knight sought to separate Kurupt from his manager, Lamont Bloomfield. As anybody knows, Death Row runs their own organisation. Kurupt would be an early signee of the soon-to-be powerhouse record company and this was the price to pay. Bloomfield wanted to ensure contracts were drawn up for any work Kurupt did for Dre’s solo debut album. According to Bloomfield, all Kurupt’s work on ‘The Chronic’ was done as a platform for his career along with his other new label mates with no monetary return. Eventually Bloomfield was taken out of the picture and Kurupt was an established recording artist signed to Death Row Records and working under the Long Beach outfit DPG with Snoop Dogg and Daz Dillinger. Kurupt was on his way up, one way or another.
On Dre’s Chronic album Kurupt performed on several cuts with his extended recording family and again on Snoop Dogg’s début, Doggystyle both albums serving as platforms for a talent show for the label mates of the Row. Not long after several soundtrack projects, Suge Knight commissioned Tha Dogg Pound’s first album to take off. Dogg Food was the final Death Row album to have been produced under the G-Funk blueprint. Entirely produced by DPG’s own Daz with help from DJ Pooh and Soopafly the album spawned two major-selling singles "Let’s Play House" and "New York, New York." The album’s release date was supposed to be June, 1995 but due to overbearing pressure on Time Warner giant parent company of Interscope and Death Row, the album was caught in the midst of the controversial rap lyrics war conservative America waged against the larger record companies. The date was pushed back three months to October 31st, 1995. It sold over two million copies and opened at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts that same year.