K-Rino – The One

Words and Interview by: Sara Cantu and Tyrone Davis

K-Rino is legend known by many but also known by few. This native of Southside Houston founded the “South Park Coalition”, named after his neighborhood which bred other great acts such as Scarface, Gangsta N-I-P, and Lil Keke. Described by John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press as “the conscience of Houston rap, king of the Houston battle rappers, and a true pioneer of Southern hip-hop”, K-Rino is “The One” and still holds that title, having released over 20 albums in his career.

KRinostory Tell us about the “South Park Coalition”.
Right now, as far as membership goes, we’re closing in on about 100 members. In the beginning, there were about 7 or 8 of us.

So those 7 or 8 were the original members, right? What’s this “S.P.C. 2-G” I keep hearing about?
Yes, those 7 or 8 of us were a close knit group that started in high school. S.P.C. 2-G is a spin off movement from the original South Park Coalition movement that consists of aspiring artists who were originally just fans of the South Park Coalition and through the affiliation of Sniper, came up under his umbrella, the Re-Up Entertainment umbrella. We have an unofficial ranking process where we didn’t want to bring people straight into the S.P.C, but have them pay their dues. We created something like a minor league situation where they work their way up. They’re doing a great job with keeping the name alive and keeping it fresh for the new generation. They’re introducing that name to people who may have never heard of us. We’ve been doing this a long time. It’s mutually beneficial.

Our editor, Tyrone Davis has a few questions to ask you specifically being that he’s been a fan for awhile.

The first song/video I heard of yours was “The One”. What does it take to own that title?
That was basically speaking from a lyricist’s point of view. The south always got a bad rap for not having any lyrical rappers in the region.  So, anybody from outside of Texas or the Southern region, if you’re looking for what you feel doesn’t exist, I’m the one. I’m actually one of many, but I was repping for all of us that day.

You’ve dropped 20 solo albums. What’s your favorite?
“Annihilation of the Evil Machine” is my favorite. That’s a double disc that we did in 2010. I think it was my most complete album because it covered every topic (to my knowledge) and til this day I’ve been trying to top it.

Explain “Annihilation of the Evil Machine”
In today’s industry, the way the mainstream is structured, there’s a lot of imbalance as far as music goes, whether it be rap or R&B. It doesn’t speak to uplifting people. It speaks to bringing people down and even if they’re not aware of it bringing them down., It glorifies a lot of negativity. Even if it is not 100% negative, it takes your focus off of what’s really going on in the world.  The radio perpetuates it by not playing any conscious music.  All of that represents the evil machine: The corporations, the government, the mainstream and commercial radio. All of these entities are playing a role in degenerating and bringing down the minds of the people. That album was really a concept album geared toward destroying that whole mindset.

The name “Illuminati” seems to have become a part of popular culture now to where people think it is a joke. Does it truly exist?
Yes, it exists, but like you said, anything that becomes popular or hits mainstream has been commercialized and trivialized by a lot of people because they don’t know the intricate realities of it. So, you hear a lot of young people who don’t fully get it, equating it only to music and entertainment. The plans that exist within it have been around long before the music industry. It has no power over you unless you give it power so all people have to educate themselves and not be immature about what the illuminati really represents.

About 2 years ago, we did an interview with a guy from youtube who shared a lot of “conspiracy theory” type information and has a huge following. Once the interview was published, a lot of his fans claimed he “sold his soul” because there was a photo we had online of Diddy with our magazine. They even went as far as to say we were a part of the illuminati as well and made numbers add up, including the page numbers of the particular page the Farhan’s interview was on. That made me feel a lot of people are just “paranoid”. How do we decipher what is real and what isn’t?
Everybody wants to tie every aspect of entertainment to the illuminati and any figure who has already been tagged or associated with that, anything they’re connected to is automatically going to be associated with it as well.  Just keep doing what you’re doing. You have “conspiracy theorists” and then you have “conspiracy zealots”. Those zealots are people who are over the top, like look at the way you’ve got your legs crossed, man (points at one of our staff). You must be illuminati, man. It’s at a 45 degree angle, Lol. There are people like that who equate every aspect to the illuminati.

A new fan of yours,“Pebbles” has a few questions:

When did you start becoming more conscious and enlightened, where do you get your info, and what made you choose “conscious rap” over “industry rap” and even further, the typical music being released out of Houston?
It was like in 92’. I attended a Mosque meeting at the nation of Islam in Houston. I started hearing the knowledge and information I had never heard in my life.  I didn’t take it at face value. I researched everything the man was saying week in and week out. I started going every week. 20 something years later, I’m still going. I converted to Islam and incorporated a lot of those teachings and ideologies into my music. That was the basis and the foundation for songs like “Grand Deception” and those types of songs I make. I think the reality that we came up in always put us in the mind frame to speak on it from a conscious level. People try to put “conscious rap” in a frame of just dropping knowledge and information in that vain but conscious rap could be just giving somebody some street game, just something that they need to know about life.  Just our upbringing and the things we saw growing up already had us in that realm but the knowledge and wisdom propelled us to another level and it allowed us to be able to tie it together with the streets so people could see themselves in it a little better.

We’re going to throw a few things out there. Say whatever comes to mind.

a. Gangsta N-I-P
Gangsta N-I-P is the originator of the “horror core” (rap).  There have been a lot of debates and speculation on this topic but the reason I say he is the originator is because I remember having battles with this dude in the mid 80’s and he was rapping about eating throats and chopping off baby heads back then. That’s my brother. We came up in this thing together and he is responsible for giving the S.P.C a name and international fanbase because when he signed with Rap-a-Lot Records and he featured us on his projects, it helped build anticipation for our projects. Before that, all of us were just spinning our wheels independently and we hadn’t been able to break through to that national status yet.

b. Battle Rap
We were born/built on battle rap. This was before there was the internet, a studio on every corner, and before people were thinking about making records. That’s how we built our names up in the streets. All I ever wrote coming up were battle raps. My first rap was a battle rap because a guy that was rapping at my school had just got beat by another guy and because we were friends, he needed something to beat that dude. I said, “I got a rap”, so I went. I was nervous, but luckily I had some shades. I stepped in the circle and pulled my shades down, then took him out. When I took him out in the first round, everybody took off running and screaming. I was glad they did because that was the only rap I had.  That’s what gave me that aggression. I still rap like that today. Even though I’m not talking about nobody in particular in my songs, that element is still in me.

c. DJ Screw
If we had to do a “Mount Rushmore” of the most important Hip Hop artists of the city, he’d definitely be on there.  He’s an innovator. That was something we used to do with our mom’s record player, making the music slow or making it fast and he took it, turned it into a genre within a genre, establishing it across the world, which is what he said he was going to do. He always used to say, “I’m going to Screw up the whole world”. He was one of the realest, down to earth people you could ever meet.

When I got to college in 2002, I used to listen to “South Park Mexican”. He was the only other rapper I knew that was from the same area as you. Did you two ever work together at all?
Yea, SPM. We go way back. There used to be real popular rap club on the southside called, “Boomerang”. A lot of local rappers would go there to build their name up and do shows and even some of the bigger acts would come down too. On Tuesday nights, that was the place to be. I first met SPM there because he used to sell cassette tapes out of his trunk outside of the club. He had an album called, “The Hillwood Hustler” or something like that. Back then, the name, “South Park Mexican” didn’t even sound right, but it was catchy and when I heard him, I was like, “This dude could really rap.” It wasn’t just a gimmick.

At the time, we (S.P.C.) had the game on lock so I feel like he used the South Park to connect the identity to himself and add some credibility to it but he took it to another level because before you know it, he was signed for 30 million dollars. Grimm, SPM, Sniper, Falero, and guys like that were the original hispanic hip-hop community that came from there. SPM kicked that door down from Houston on a mainstream level. A lot of the latino community still has so much love and respect for him today despite what he did (to get incarcerated). They appreciate him for the contribution he made to the city and the things he did.

What’s next for K-Rino and S.P.C.?
Expect a lot more music. I need about 50 more albums. Expect shows. That’s just what I do. All my life, since I was 13 years old, I’ve been on a non-stop musical quest. I don’t know any other way to conduct myself. I’m not going to be working at a Merrill Lynch or something like that. That’s just not me. You all contact me on Facebook. I’m one of the more accessible artists in the game. If you instant message me, it’ll be me responding instead of some representative, publicist, or manager. You can check the website www.southparkcoalition.us. I got about 30 albums on iTunes. I’m not hard to contact at all.

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