Kool Kim is part of the rap duo, UMCs. Hailing from Staten Island, Kool Kim formed UMCs with Haas G back in 1991. Their hit album “Fruits of Nature” hit #1 on the Billboard charts with their track “Blue Cheese”.
I had a chance to catch up with Kool Kim and ask him a few questions. This is how that went….
Jem: “Today marks the 30 year Anniversary of the release of “Fruits of Nature”. You have managed to stay fresh and create new and relevant content all these years. What would you say your biggest success has been since that day 30 years ago?”
Kool Kim: “I think my biggest success is being a man, who’s wife loves him, who’s mother is proud of him, who’s kids respect and love him. This ain’t a light thing. Because what was I rapping for? To be able to achieve something great for myself and my family. Even without overwhelming financial success.. I managed to get the job done.
But to speak directly to the questions intent, my greatest success… is still yet to come. But some of the things I’m most proud of would be the fact that I was able to reinvent myself as the artist NYOIL and garner a respect that I never got when I was the UMC’s. To see the faces when people discovered that it was me. Do you know how dope you have to be to be able to completely conceal your identity and no one realize it’s you?”
Jem: “When you first re-entered the scene as NYOIL, your tracks definitely leaned toward controversial and inciteful. How do you match that energy these days? What are some causes that you’re passionate about now?”
Kool Kim: “Well if you think about it.. NYOIL was just a mild evolution of Kool Kim. I had already been speaking revolutionary ideas. It’s just the image associated to the UMC’s concealed the depth of what we were saying. But that was slightly intentional. Even at 19 I had a sense that saying certain things would put a target on me. By the time I was NYOIL I figured It had to be done regardless of the outcome. I felt an urgency to speak out in the way that i knew only I could do..
However just as NYOIL was a progression from Kool Kim, I progressed as a man beyond that. It wasn’t enough to rhyme punchlines and rebel rouse with inciting rhetoric, I wanted practically applicable experiences to offer the people who were and continue to be inspired by the things I do. So I switched gears and …
Made it a point to put my ideals into practice. Hence why I go by NYOIL the IDEAL. So I brought my own home in a black neighborhood to combat “Gentrification”. I opened my own black businesses with my wife to have a clear understanding of the obstacles of owning a black business.
Then, I taught myself how to build my own home, Garden, live semi-off grid and I worked in the Public School system as a sub para so that when I said something to the people I could speak applied facts not just ideals. People need specific answers not a bunch of platitudes and applause lines.
So yeah I put in that work. And this is not to even mention my work as a youth mentor in my community. In every thing I speak on, I try to live out the truth of it so I can offer some real insight.”
Jem: “I have heard that you have quite the green thumb. Does gardening serve a soothing purpose? Are there any other ways that you can suggest to your fans to chill out?”
Kool Kim: “Nah I don’t really like gardening, That’s my wife’s thing. I just help her. Cause she’s my pal and I love her and I like when she’s happy.
I really like watching Anime and reading Manga and rhyming. I like going on adventures, I jumped out a plane a few months back.. I’m going skiing this winter and just plan on doing a bunch of fun shit.
My suggestion to my fam out there, do whatever you want to do.. whatever that is.. just don’t make it HAVE TO BE the bill payer. Like, if you rhyme and you older now so you know you not gonna have a real career.. fuck it bro.. rhyme my man.. have fun, put shit in the air.. make some fun shit.. sit in your man cave or man corner and make you some shit cause that’s what makes you happy. Do what makes you feel good and don’t put a bag on that shit.. Put joy and happiness on that shit.
Some solid advice from Kool Kim
“Enjoy yourself .. life is about experiences and you don’t need to be RICH to have amazing experiences in this life. You need to be brave and bold and willing to fall on your face and laugh at that shit. Stop being scared to enjoy this life. Fam one day, someday, we won’t be able to do any of this shit. Ever again. Enjoy each day family.. live this life with the urgency that there won’t be another shot at it. Cause there won’t
With that I say, from the depths of my heart, I pray that all of you who ever liked something I did, enjoyed my music, vibed with me, or showed me love.. I pray you every joy that you’re willing to reach for. I pray happiness in your life, and victory in the face of despair. It aint over fam. Not even a little bit!!
The UMCs have so many amazing tracks, but I have to say that “Swing it to the area” is my favorite.
The James Brownesque intro grabs you. Those horns get you going and the beat is dancy and just fabulous. Both MCs are bad ass. Kim’s verses are on point… the delivery is swift and sickening.
NYOIL – the music
I chose to add the video for “Hip hop ya don’t stop” simply because it is EPICLY old school! As NYOIL, Kool Kim came out of his shell I guess you could say. He found his voice as an artist when he made this move. His lyrics are relevant and real.
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Wondering what’s going on with Haas G.? Check back next week for his interview
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