In honor of the legacy of San Francisco rap legend Cougnut and just in time for tonight's (Sept 13, 2014) heartfelt 13th anniversary memorial concert at Brick & Mortar Music Hall - with Baldhead Rick, Shag Nasty, TC, Equipto, Michael Marshall, Cellski, Black C, and more - today I uncovered a radio interview I conducted with the late, great SF rapper 19 years ago. It aired back on November 18, 1995 on several pirate stations I was on when the beloved hip-hop artist, who died on September 4, 2001 in a car crash while returning from a fishing trip, was readying for the then-upcoming release of I.M.P.'s Ill Mannered Playas, which would be released in early 1996 on In-A-Minute Records.
In the interview, Cougnut talks about such things as the production and guests on the 13 track album focusing on tracks such as "Shinin' Star" (one of a few he personally produced on that LP) and the ever-engaging album track "Public Execution," which he relayed was the "story of when I was locked down and my celly who is never getting out....He's on life with no parole....on death row in San Quentin" and the life story that person shared with Cougnut while they were incarcerated together. He also talks about UNLV who contribute to several of the album's tracks including "The Bay Way," the song that Cougnut stressed that he really wanted people to listen to out of all the ones featuring UNLV on that 1996 I.M.P. album. Coincidentally, UNLV's Baldhead Rick is the person presenting tonight's highly recommended show at Brick & Mortar at 1710 Mission Street in San Francisco. Saturday, September 13th. 9pm show. 18+ $10 More info.
Exactly 17 years ago San Francisco’s Lakeview district rap crew I.M.P. (Ill Mannered Posse) released their long overdue official debut album Back in the Days on In-A-Minute Records. Three years later, on the same now-defunct Oakland independent label, they would release their only other full length album Ill Mannered Playas. Regionally popular, and to a lesser degree nationally, I.M.P. never really got the level of fame that they so deserved, which is too bad because they were such a talented, distinctive sounding hardcore rap group. That sound was defined by the raspy voiced rapper Cougnut, who tragically died in an auto accident in 2001.
I.M.P. began in San Francisco in 1989 when DJ/producer Rob V, along with fellow DJ/producer and longtime friend and musical collaborater Stingy, had the idea to form a rap group. Shortly afterward, Rob V’s cousin, rapper Cougnut, was enlisted, with rappers C-Fresh and Lou-E-Lou joining the fold next. Within months they had recorded and released their acclaimed debut, the EP No Prisoners. After that, in 1990, they released the six track EP IMP Dogs on Sucka Free Records. Soon word traveled about this talented new Frisco rap group and the requests for concert and radio appearances started pouring in.
A busy period for I.M.P. followed that included appearing in Digital Underground’s “Doowutchyalike” video. The 17 track Back in the Days showcased the combined talents of the group; C-Fresh's engaging gangsta rap flow, Cougnut's distinctive gravely voiced delivery and clever wordplay, plus the ever-entertaining Lou-E-Lou (“the Flavor Flav of the group”). In one song (“Nigga Rays”) Lou-E-Lou became a total of five different characters, including Willy The Wino, Salamander Fred, and Sick Tos. The album also featured production assistance from prolific 1990's San Francisco producer TC, plus some microphone cameos from local SF rap talents Dre Dog, Totally Insane, Cellski, RBL Posse, Chewy-C, and 2.2.