I recently interviewed legendary West Coast artist Kokane. Shortly before the interview Kokane received word that his close friend DJ Crazy Toones had passed away. A testament to his professionalism; Kokane one of the founders of G-funk still did the interview. He is the most featured artist in all of music and is the son of Motown legendary songwriter Jerry B. Long Sr, Jr. started out his career working with groups such as Above The Law before signing to legendary Ruthless Records where he witnessed music history firsthand working for one of the greatest A&R’s of all time, no less than Eazy E. It’s 2017 and Kokane has his own label called BudEBoy Entertainment which he runs with his wife Alicia Long of 30 years and some of his children have decided to join the family business as well.
You’re the son of Motown composer Jerry B Long Sr. My question is, how did having a father in the music industry influence you to pursue a career in music?
I mean it was in my 23 chromosomes. It was hereditary, I inherited it. I’ll tell you in a funny way like Obama inherited a deficit, well I inherited my pops. At five years going into recording sessions with my pops working with other artists. Always humming around the household. I knew at five years old that’s what I wanted to do.
Can you speak about your fondest memories at Ruthless Records?
It was a bunch of good memories. It was magical, beautiful. Nothing but fun. The greatest experiences you ever want to have with what you’re passionate about; The music. Learned a lot from Eazy E. Eazy doesn’t get the credit he deserves, not just as a person that put out records, but as a motivator. He really had the economy not to compromise and really knew the strength in ownership. He was incredible and an inspiration.
Do you feel the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton film was accurate? What are some things you would have liked to see included in the film?
Well you got to look at it two ways. Certain information was left out and everybody attached to that Ruthless group is going to feel it people like JJ Fad, certain things Above the Law, and myself. When it first came out it was disappointing to me in my humble opinion because it was certain information that I felt needed to be interjected. As months passed by you have to look at the idea that it allowed the people actually connected to the Ruthless group to tell our stories. It allowed those brothers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It was a very well put together Hollywood movie. I don’t bad mouth the movie. It allowed the spotlight to be put back on the West Coast and translate the story to a new audience.
You’ve collaborated with so many great artists are there any artists you havent worked with that you would like to?
I was hoping to work with Prince and Michael Jackson (laughs). It’s a lot of cats I’ve worked with a lot of great artists and you’ll never be able to work with everybody. Its thousands and thousands of artist. Its a blessing coming from such rich musical royalty being able to cultivate my style and working with all these artist. It’s just amazing and surreal. Seeing certain friends and the prolific impact they made and to witness those times and carry on their legacy. This whole ride has been an adventure and blessing.
Do you have any regrets or things you would have done differently with what you know now?
I don’t have no regrets. One of the things that keep me stable is my beautiful family. This is a crazy game, it’s wicked and treacherous. But if you really have a family structure that is planted along your journey in life you’ll be able to sustain. I have a wife I’ve been with over 30 years and have eight wonderful children by the same woman. And also the apple fell off the tree and to be able to have children doing music professionally. That’s one of the things that allows you to make it through the dark times and sustain. You need something to ground your wire or life will shock your ass. That’s what the blessings of life is, family.
What are the biggest challenges you faced in your music career? How did you overcome them?
I went through dark periods but I had a virtuous wife. She was my inspiration. Having your family is everything. Everyone that puts out there hand isn’t your friend, your family is your friend.
Do you feel Eazy E has gotten the credit he deserves?
It was a lot of crazy things that happened around that time. They been doing this since Rock & Roll. Eazy always held his ground to the end. One thing is that the internet allows people to contest the popular opinion. Was Eazy really broke? A lot of people were jealous of Eazy from the streets to the industry. People want to knock you off and so you grow thick skin. It’s so much information coming to the forefront to combat some of the claims people have. Eric was a loved individual a lot of people know he doesn’t getting the credit he deserves.
Being From The NWA era what are your feelings on Sheriff David Clarke calling the Black Lives Matter movement criminals or racist?
That’s a person that is not attuned with the ancestors. His ancestors probably sold us into slavery. I’ll let that Uncle Tom be an Uncle Tom. If he is comfortable being an Uncle Tom. My additional thoughts, we all have to meet our maker.
Its 2017 and now as the owner of your own label witnessing Jerry Heller, Eazy E and Suge Knight Business practices what are some of the lessons you have learned, values you would like to keep and avoid?
That’s the greatest thing once you’ve been around fire you know not to put your hand back in the fire. God saved me from the fire.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Believe in yourself first. Then at the same time if you want to take this craft serious you have to set goals and learn how to push your products. I tell my artists is doesn’t matter how dope you are you have to be able to practice. You have to study. This business consists of 90% business and 10% talent. The more information you have the more you can set yourself up to win.
What’s next for Kokane?
BudEBoy Entertainment which is a family oriented business. I have a double album called King Of G-Funk. If you need to get at me you can get my products at http://www.budeboyent.com/.
Ryan Glover is a contributing writer for www.audiofuzz.com Follow him on Twitter @RyanDavisGlover, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google network