Kokane also known as Jerry B. Long Jr. is the son of Motown composer Jerry Long Sr. responsible for songs such as “Just My Imagination”. Kokane has continued his family’s legacy of musical greatness in the genre of hip-hop being an original pioneer of the G-Funk sound and having collaborated with the greats of hip-hop such as Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and Nipsey Hussle just to name a few. It’s very rare that an artist can have an impact early on but even more so that their music can still be relevant almost thirty years later. I caught up with Kokane and he discussed the importance of balance and having a message in music.
Ryan Glover: Do you feel Above the Law gets the credit they deserve for inventing the G-Funk sound?
Kokane: Not really. We all didn’t get the credit as architects of G-Funk. Via the internet now, a lot of stuff is starting to come out now, it’s a blessing. I believe the timing is impeccable. For whatever reason, we don’t live with no regrets or anything like that. We know we influenced people whether it was credited. But years later through the internet and people really tapping in and trying to figure out really what happened, its starting to get out demographically now, what part we played and not just the West Coast, G-Funk hit the four corners of the Earth!!
Ryan Glover: Yeah, and you’re still continuing that legacy. Your most recent project the Finger Roll album is incredible.
Kokane: Thank you.
Ryan Glover: You’re welcome.
Ryan Glover: I really loved the song “I’m So Hood” and “Doo Doo Headz” I noticed you had one producer for the entire project.
Ryan Glover: That’s almost a rarity nowadays. It’s a formula that was important in the early days of hip-hop, you think about albums like The Chronic, but has largely fallen by the wayside in recent years as you see a lot of rappers email beats back and forth and put together albums with the most high-profile names they can collect. So why was it important to have one producer on this project and why specifically West Coast Stone?
Kokane: Well, I been messing with Stone for a minute, he’s an incredible musician. We had some dealings back in the day. I wanted to go back to the element of recording with Analog plugins. Go back to the 70’s era, you know what I mean? That music was really the authenticity of music the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. But preferably we went back to the 70’s era. And when you notice those groups they didn’t have ten million people on their projects. When you heard a Prince or Rick James or when you heard Curtis Mayfield them was their own set of people. So I wanted to go back to that old element and we came up with a project called Finger Roll I would shoot West Coast Stone some ideas, he would shoot me some ideas.
But I really wanted to go back to that moment because sometimes you need to follow your instincts and instinct told me that music like this is going to come back on the popular forefront. It’s just ironic that this pandemic happened and people are starting to really sit down and go through those crates. The computer is like digging in the crates now. We came up with a project and thats the latest project on my site at https://www.budeboyent.com and as an independent its doing extremely well and people are starting to really catch on to the vibe of Kokane and the Finger Roll music for the soul!! It is what it says, it hits your soul, it [has a] socially conscious message, its turn up songs, hood songs!!
And thats what Kokane as an artist, Jerry B. Long. I wanted to always be a different mixtures of styles. So I was never afraid to experiment. Thats why I went on a limb and said I need one producer. It don’t take a million yes men around you. It just takes one on one sometimes and we were able to come up with this project and people are really diggin’ it and I appreciate all the fans for doing that.
Ryan Glover: You talk about about a message in music do you think thats really important with all that is going on globally for artists to have a message in their music?
Kokane: Absolutely brother, when we were growing up in the 70’s and 80’s we were fortunate to hear Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” and then the “Sexual Healing” song as well. It articulated a balance in music and nowadays music it don’t have that balance. It [made] life a lot more better because music is so powerful and the vibrations and frequencies can really make you think and help alter your situation. There were many records that were put out that were the theme songs to peoples struggle. Nowadays the powers that be have felt the more they have ignorance the more they can bank off the money. It’s a greed thing, thats why you don’t have conscious songs at the forefront. You have a bunch of things perpetuating ignorance. And know one is saying “Save the Lung Foundation” or nothing like that. But at the same time it’s a balance with everything and the balance is unstable. Show me where the ghetto is and I’ll show you where the music is.
Ryan Glover: You talk about the powers that be. I was checking out this freestyle you posted on youtube awhile back called “Manchurian Candidates” you touch on a lot of issues that are really important. Is that kind of your feelings about the 2020 election?
Kokane: I come from a legendary source. My dad was an incredible gifted composer, writer, orchestrator, director. He was the business, he was the truth. He always prided himself on initiating a balance. No matter what you hear as deadly as the name Kokane the ironic part of it is. It’s like the Beauty and the Beast story, everyone was looking at the handsome guy but no one was thinking the beast was the noble one. We turned the name around to mean we got a deadly message!!
Check out “Manchurian Candidates” off his 2017 album It’s Kokane Not Lemonhead:
Check out the full interview:
Follow Ryan Glover (@actorrglover) and Kokane (@kokane_og_) on Instagram