Schoolly D is the real hardcore

The father of gangster rap returns with new music as he maintains the same level of consciousness that established his position as a global hip-hop icon.

The artist known as Schoolly D has distinguished himself with an unimpeachable legacy in hip-hop. The iconic rapper, DJ, producer and self-taught fine artist has been involved in the creation of some of music’s most enduring works of art, whether it be classic gangsta rap albums or contributing to movie soundtracks.

If you ever listened to early hip-hop, you probably know Schoolly D. as a foundation member of the Philly rap scene in the 80s. He picked up his wide-ranging artistic stance growing up as Jesse Weaver in a family of nine. The West Philly native was in the generation of post-Civil Rights Era children encouraged to live their dream, their way.

Thus, he became the artist he believed himself to be. Today, the creator of rap classics “PSK,” “Gucci Time,” and “Saturday Night,” is deemed a pioneer, by Jay Z, and credited by Ice T as the first gangsta rapper. And, in spite of predictions that his style of music would never last, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force alum is today hailed as a legendary artist who helped launch global hip-hop culture.

Schoolly D and Ice T.

Recently, Schoolly D took a short break from his weeks-long painting sessions and mastering his latest music release,  The Real Hardcore.

“We just grew up in the house full of life, fashion, so full of poetry, full and just like everything,” he recalled. “Painting and sculpting was my first love… And then once I figured out I had a voice, I decided to go with music.”

Among those who made it through the 1980s hip-hop scene are his friends, such as Chuck D, Lady B., and DJ Cash Money.

“I was doing gigs this weekend and then traveling [with] people taking selfies, and I’m like, ‘Hey, I look pretty fucking good!’ The people who made it through, look good, but it was shaky.”

Schoolly D’s new single, “The Real Hardcore” featuring Ice T.

Given his background, Schoolly D points out that he is singularly equipped to be an entrepreneurial, creative spirit that mindfully eschews the trappings of bling culture.

“Artists love money, but we very rarely talk about money,” Schoolly D explained. “Entertainers always talking about money because their job is to entertain and make money. People who are artists, their job is to create art, inspire people, and then make money. That’s the difference. You see, I’m an artist who sometimes raps to get his point across. Chuck D is a philanthropist who sometimes raps to get his point across. When money is third on your list, you’re an artist.”

Spoken, of course, like a true artist.

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