You were the first hip-hop superstar and for you, watching the thing grow and grow and grow after your records were hot, what has that been like?
Oh, it’s like a dream, a dream come true just being around and witnessing all of the success. I go all the way back to those Kool Herc parties. I’ve seen it grow from there with all the other groups that came by and the success that jumped off. It’s been a miraculous ride.
You come from a different era. Is there any jealousy or bitterness that you were in an era when rappers were not making a lot of money?
Just changing the world, being one of the guys who was a pioneer, like Davy Crockett. A lot of people experienced hip-hop by seeing me early in the 1980s. It was just a blessing.
No, I’m not jealous of that. Why? I saw success come to people like the Fat Boys. I remember them saying, “Hey, Kurt, all I want is to buy a car.” Then they bought three houses. Our mission and our dream was to make this thing successful and turn it into a business, a hip-hop business. I knew that we had all of these different categories of rap that could come out, be successful and make money in the markets. I was one of the first creating that whole ideology and contention that you can talk about anything. That is communication. Rap is communication on steroids.
You’re currently a minister, is that right?
I’ve been ordained as a minister for 10 years now. A lot of Christians you meet would say, “I was hit by the Holy Spirit. God came down and boom, I started shaking. Things just changed in my life all of a sudden.” But for me, it was more like a transition period.
For me, when I got to the top, the more money I got, the more I wanted. It just made me greedy. I wanted more. The more drugs I got, the more I wanted. The more sex I got from all these women, the more I wanted it.
I just sat down one day and said, “Wow, is this it? Is this all that life has to offer?” I started reading the Bible. I became born again in 1994. I started doing Bible studies for a couple of years. I had my own ministry and went back to school at Nyack College. I learned more about the Gospels in college. It was just an incredible ride.