Kilo-G - Biography

By Eric Brightwell


          Kilo-G was a New Orleans rapper with a style fairly reminiscent of the Geto Boys’ Scarface. He was also the first artist to release an album on the then new Cash Money Records.


            Kilo-G was born Robert L. Johnson Jr. in 1977 to Idell and Robert L. Johnson who raised him along with sister a sister Raynell.  As a kid of decidedly large stature, he was nicknamed Big Rob and he  played football at L.B. Landry High School on the west bank. Whilst still in high school, he embarked on a rap career and hooked up with the fledgling Cash Money Records, in the process becoming their first signee.


            Adopting the name Kilo-G (a name dropped by Eazy-E in “Boyz In the Hood”), Johnson recorded his debut, Sleepwalker (1992-Cash Money) when he was just fifteen. Although bounce was blowing up as the new sound in New Orleans, the songs on the album were more along the lines of west bank horrorcore rappers like Lower Level Organization and Ruthless Juveniles. And the gruesome, blood-soaked imagery and flow owed more to Houston rapper Scarface than to the ward-chants and dance shouts that characterized bounce. At the time, Scarface’s former bandmate in Geto Boys, Willie D (recently having gone solo) even stopped by the recording session to see Kilo-G as he recorded his album with producers Ro and Goldfingers. Unfortunately for Cash Money and Kilo-G, it only sold a few thousand copies. Though not bad for an unproven rapper whose distribution was limited to selling CDs out of a trunk, it was hardly the success that Johnson or Cash Money’s owners, the Williams brothers hoped for.


            Shortly after its release, Cash Money fortuitously teamed with genius producer Mannie Fresh who went on to produce every Cash Money release until his departure in 2005. Cash Money’s ranks started to grow and after appearances on Mr. Ivan’s and PxMxWx’s debuts (as well as a Mannie Fresh-produced four track tape), Kilo-G released This Bloody City (1995-Cash Money). Featuring guest appearances by likeminded rappers like UGK’s Bun B and Pimp C as well as new Cash Money artists like Lil’ Slim, M$. Tee, Tec-9; the album was a massive improvement, owing both to Mannie Fresh’s expert production and Kilo-G’s vastly improved songwriting and performance. Despite the title, and although still stridently gangsta; the songs on the album were far more grounded in reality and the effect is that much heavier as a result. In several songs, such as the highlight, "Coasting," in which he raps about his son and parents, Kilo-G comes off as reflective and mature, especially for his eighteen years. The following year, he appeared on releases by his labelmates MS. Tee and U.N.L.V.


            His his growth as a rapper and Mannie Fresh’s groundbreaking production, a follow-up could conceivably have been his best yet. However, on the 15th of January, 1997, Kilo-G was in his 7th ward home when an assailant entered his home and shot and killed him. He was twenty years old and left behind his girlfriend, Lakeisha and his son, Robert Johnson III.

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