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Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - "Road To The Riches" [HQ Ver.] (5.01) (youtube.com)
"Road to the Riches"

Single by Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
from the album Road to the Riches
A-side Road to the Riches
B-side Butcher Shop
Released 1989
Format 12-inch single, 7-inch single
Recorded 1989
Genre East coast hip hop, golden age hip hop, hardcore hip hop
Length 4:48
Label Cold Chillin', Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Marlon Williams, Nathaniel Wilson
Producer(s) Marley Marl
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo singles chronology
"Poison"
(1988) "Road to the Riches"
(1988) "Truly Yours"
(1989)
"Road to the Riches" is the second single from American hip hop duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's 1989 debut album Road to the Riches. It was released as a single with "Butcher Shop" as a B-side and later also featured on the compilation albums Killer Kuts (1994), The Best of Cold Chillin' (2000), Greatest Hits (2002) and Street Stories: The Best of Kool G Rap & DJ Polo (2013).

Contents [show]
Background[edit]
The song is semi-autobiographic, rags-to-riches tale, with the first two verses detailing Kool G Rap's youth living in poverty and his life before becoming a successful rapper. The third and final verse warns of the dangers of living a life of crime. In a 2014 interview, G Rap stated that some parts of the song were true, such as him working a low-paying job in a Key Food supermarket and selling crack cocaine, while others, such as his father being a drug dealer, were fictional.[1]

Music video[edit]
"Road to the Riches" was Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's first music video. The video begins with G Rap sitting with his young nephew on his lap, and the boy tells him, "Uncle G Rap, when I grow up, I want to be a rapper and a gangster, just like you". G Rap discourages him, however, saying "no, no, see, you can be a rapper but can't be a gangster. You don't want to be a gangster". The next scene is in media res and shows Kool G Rap & DJ Polo in a courtroom being sentenced by a judge. The rest of the video depicts them as powerful drug dealers, committing various violent crimes, before they are arrested in an undercover police sting and the video ends again with the courtroom scene, as they are led away to prison.

Use in media[edit]
The song was featured on the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' soundtrack, playing on the fictional old school hip hop station Playback FM.

Samples[edit]
"Road to the Riches" samples the following songs:[2]

"The Assembly Line" by the Commodores
"Stiletto" by Billy Joel
And was later sampled on:

"Illegal Gunshot" by Ragga Twins
"Android" by The Prodigy
"Rotten Apple" by Operation Ratification
"Fool's Gold" by Zion I
"Pain the Town Red" by Children of the Corn
Track listing[edit]
A-side
"Road to the Riches" (4:48)
B-side
"Butcher Shop" (3:44)


"Road to the Riches"

Studio album by Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
Released March 14, 1989
Recorded 1986–1988
Genre Hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Golden age hip hop
Length 46:40
Label Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros. Records
25820
Producer Marley Marl
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo chronology
Road To The Riches
(1989) Wanted: Dead or Alive
(1990)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[4]
RapReviews 9/10 stars[5]
Rhapsody (Favourable)[6]
Trouser Press (Favorable)[7]
"Road to the Riches" is the debut album by hip hop duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, which was released in 1989 on then-prominent hip hop label Cold Chillin' Records. The album is notable in that it set off the mafioso rap trend with the title track "Road to the Riches," which received strong rotation on the TV show Yo! MTV Raps, and was later featured on the Classic hip hop Radio Station Playback FM from the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Most of the songs, however, are not crime-related. Other popular songs included "It's a Demo" and "Poison." In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.[8]

Contents [show]
Album information[edit]
Kool G Rap and DJ Polo were members of the legendary Juice Crew, led by producer Marley Marl. The duo first premiered on Mr. Magic's Rap Attack radio show on 107.5 in 1986 with its first single "It's A Demo." They spent the next few years releasing singles, and eventually wrote and recorded Road to the Riches in 1988, but wasn't released until early 1989. The album showcases G Rap's signature multisyllabic rhyme style with lyric topics ranging from crime, materialism, bragadocio, to love. The production was entirely handled by fellow juice Crew member Marley Marl, who provided a more hard-edged style of production than that of his previous work.

Road to the Riches is often cited as the beginning of the mafioso rap genre, laying the groundwork for future hip hop stars such as Scarface, Nas, Raekwon, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., and AZ, among others, however the bulk of the album features battle rap lyrics similar to Big Daddy Kane or Rakim without the explicit mafioso or gangsta rap subjects of the title track. G Rap would begin expanding his vivid storytelling and organized crime themes on his next album, Wanted: Dead or Alive and especially on 1992's Live and Let Die.

According to the liner notes in the Roots' Phrenology, "Men at Work" was the song that brought the group together during a lunch period at their high school.

Track listing[edit]
# Title Songwriters Producer(s) Performer (s) Length
1 "Road to the Riches" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 4:48
2 "It's a Demo" (remix) N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 4:27
3 "Men at Work" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 5:02
4 "Truly Yours" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 5:07
5 "Cars" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 3:07
6 "Trilogy of Terror" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 2:40
7 "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 5:21
8 "Cold Cuts" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl DJ Polo 3:52
9 "Rhymes I Express" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 3:47
10 "Poison" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 4:45
11 "Butcher Shop" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap 3:44
2006 re-release track listing[edit]
Disc 1

# Title Songwriters Producer(s) Performer (s)
1 "Road to the Riches" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
2 "It's a Demo" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
3 "Men at Work" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
4 "Truly Yours" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
5 "Cars" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
6 "Trilogy of Terror" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
7 "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
8 "Cold Cuts" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl
9 "Rhymes I Express" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
10 "Poison" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
11 "Butcher Shop" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
12 "Radio Album Introduction" N. Wilson
13 "Radio Freestyle" N. Wilson, Craig Morgan Kool G Rap & Craig G
14 "Radio Interview"
15 "Riker's Island Radio Promo" N.Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
16 "Raw (Demo Version)" N. Wilson, Antonio Hardy Marley Marl Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap
Disc 2

# Title Songwriters Producer(s) Performer (s)
1 "It's A Demo (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
2 "I'm Fly (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
3 "Riker's Island (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
4 "Rhyme Tyme (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
5 "Poison (Hip Hop Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
6 "Poison (Dub Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
7 "Poison (Remix)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
8 "Men At Work (Extended Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl Kool G Rap
9 "It's A Demo (Original 12" Version Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl
10 "I'm Fly (Original 12" Version Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl
11 "Riker's Island (Original 12" Version Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl
12 "Men At Work (Extended Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl
13 "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not (Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Marley Marl
14 "Men At Work (Acapella)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
Samples used[edit]
The title track features a sample from Billy Joel's album 52nd Street. The track sampled, "Stiletto," precedes the hit track "My Life" and is used as a lead-in for the aforementioned song's music video.
The song "Cars" samples the Gary Numan song of the same name
The song "Trilogy of Terror" features a sample by the Edgar Winter Group called "Frankenstein."
The song "Rhymes I Express" features a sample of Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express."
Later samples[edit]
"Road to Riches"
"Disciple" by Nas from the album Street's Disciple
"Bloodshed(Paint the Town Red) by the Harlem hip hop collective Children of the Corn on its only album, which was released years after the song was created and the group disbanded—Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition.
"Truly Yours"
"Go With The Flow" by MF Doom, from the album Operation: Doomsday.
"Poison"
"Poison" by Bel Biv Devoe, from the album Poison.
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