Genovese Thesis


Back in 1996, a new wave of young street MC’s coming out of New York were making their way into the rap game.  Many of them got their notoriety on mixtapes and went on to have successful careers with major labels.  But some, like Yonkers bred Genovese, never caught the shine they really deserved.  Genovese, first known for his appearance on DJ Clue’s classic Show Me The Money mixtape with his song “Genovese Thesis” featuring Styles P (and also his verse on the LOX posse cut “Love or Lust”), caught a pretty major street buzz and was set to release his debut album My America with Universal Records, only to be dropped from the label three weeks before its release.  After stepping away from the game for a few years, he’s back in full effect, and is here to feed the streets that real shit.  Peep the exclusive Westcheddar interview with Genovese, where he reminisces on the good old days coming up with the LOX, hanging with Biggie, what really happened with Universal, and where he’s at now…

IP:  Let’s start at the beginning.  What were you into as a young kid growing up in Yonkers?

GV:  I was into sports growing up my whole life, then as I got older I got caught up in the street, and started rappin’ about shit I was seein’ out there.

IP: From what I’ve read it sounds like your father didn’t give you much of a chance to benefit from the success of your Genovese last name and the success of your family’s drug store business.

GV:  Yeah he ruined his life doing drugs and drinkin’ and shit, he was never a father to me or a husband to my mother.  He is one selfish dude, but you know not having a father around only made me stronger and it will make me a better father when I have a child.

IP: Were you always into rap music?  What were your first experiences with hip hop?

GV:  Yeah I always loved rap, started out listening to LL and Run DMC, I used to watch Yo MTV Raps everyday after school.  Rap was my life growing up, I used to make tapes off the radio, I was the one who always had all the exclusive joints.  Then the mixtape thing came out and I was all over that, I still got a ill collection.

IP:  What made you want to become a rap artist yourself?  Can you remember back to your first written raps, and what they were like?

GV:  I remember being in school mad bored, just writing shit down, that’s probably when I first started like 15.  I wasn’t serious back then, I didn’t have a good flow but I would write some ill shit, they used to call me the “street narrator”.

IP:  The first song I ever heard from you was on DJ Clue’s Show Me The Money mixtape in 1996, the joint with Styles P on the hook “Genovese Thesis”.  To this day, it is one of my favorite rap songs to come out of the 914.  How did you link up with Styles and the LOX?  Did you all go to school together?  Were they the ones who passed the song along to DJ Clue?

GV:  Yeah that joint is still a classic to this day, me and Styles went to Junior High together, but we weren’t rappin’ then.  We met up years later in the streets through mutual friends.  Styles, Kiss, and Sheek all went to same High School, I went to different one.  I met Clue through Diehard Records, that was a indie label I was dealing with at that time.  Clue used to come check us every week for new music.



IP:  What was it like hearing yourself on a Clue tape?  I mean, back then, that was the biggest shine you could get as a rapper in New York.  And he had you on Hot 97 with Nore and Nature too.  Must have been thrilling.  He looked out for you, huh.

GV:  Yeah the mixtapes were like the highest ranking you could get back then, if you were on a Clue tape then you were a “ILL” cat.  There was no paying for slots or shit like that, it was about talent.  Yeah that was a good time, felt like yesterday. Nore is a good brother.

IP:  Did people think you were black?  I bet they couldn’t believe an Italian white kid could rap like that, especially before the days of Eminem.  What were the challenges of being a white rapper back then?  Did you get compared alot to Em?

GV:  Yeah everybody thought I was black, I used to get people telling me that I’m not Genovese, that Genovese was black, shit was funny.  Yeah nobody could believe that I was better than most black cats, but you know what back then I didn’t hear that “white rapper” talk.  It was only ’til Em came out that they threw me in that category.  If you ask heads like Nas or Styles, they will tell you that I’m not even in that category.  I got compared to Em but I never looked at it that way, we don’t rap the same, talk about the same shit, nothing. He’s white and I’m Italian, so there is really nothing to compare.

IP:  Did you ever meet him?

GV:  I never met the brother, I do know that Dre was gonna sign me or Em, and he picked Em.  So who knows what coulda happened if he went the other way.  That’s history right there, either way Dre made a great decision, the kid became a icon.

IP:  You spent a lot of time hanging with the LOX and Biggie at Daddy’s House, right?  What are your memories of Biggie?  I know he as a fan of yours.

GV:  Yeah those were the days, I miss those days, it was all love.  I was there for most of the sessions from LOX first album.  Biggie was a real cat, he never fronted or acted like most of these corny rappers, makin’ movies and actin’ too hard.  He couldn’t believe my name was Genovese, he was like “yo you gonna make alot of money, duke”.  He wanted me in Junior Mafia ’cause he said he was gonna start something fresh, but he got killed before it could take place.

IP:  What was it about that time that was so special?  I remember it being exciting, with lots of new blood coming into the rap game.  Did you feel like you were a part of a movement with all that new talent starting to surface in New York?  Was there alot of love between all the artists from the different boroughs?

GV:  Yeah it was just so much talent coming out of NY, cats spittin’ street shit, none of this nonsense thats on radio now.  DJs were regular back then too, now alot of ’em act like they the ones with the talent, like c’mon dog you just puttin songs together, be real. Yeah I was definitely part of it, because to this day people relate me to that era. You had Mase, LOX, DMX, Cam, Half a Mill, Pun, Nature, Mobb Deep, you know I can keep going on for days. I got alot of love from everybody, always, it was a different time. Alot of cats I grew up listening to would tell me it was a pleasure meeting me, that meant alot, real shit.

IP:  Tell me about DMX.  Was he around alot back then?  Did all you Yonkers guys have a local spot where you used to hang?

GV:  Yeah X is the realest cat, whatever he talked he lived it, he would walk through Yonkers with his pit just like he raps about. I used to get all his mixtapes he would put out from his DJ Superior’s crib. That was the crakk back then, he was one of the cats that made me wanna rap.

IP:  Were you always the only white kid around, or did you have your own Italian crew of friends separate from those guys?  Were your family and friends outside of hip hop supportive of you trying to make it as a rapper?

GV:  I mean most of my friends growing up were Italian, but in 7th grade they integrated the schools in Yonkers and then I had different friends from all races.  Then you know being in the streets doing whateva, I was probably the only white kid around, but my friends from growing up were always supportive of me.

IP:  Did you notice things change alot once Biggie got killed?  That must’ve been a crazy time for all you young guys who were associated with Bad Boy.

GV:  Yeah def it was pretty crazy, I was living with Styles around that time and they def took it hard, they looked up to BIG and BIG loved them.

IP:  You got eventually got signed to Universal, but were dropped from the label a few weeks before your album My America dropped, even after they filmed a video, promoted you, and all that.  What happened?

GV:  That was crazy, most cats in the game told me they never seen anything happen like that where a label would put that much time and money in to you and release you 3 weeks before the album would drop.  It doesn’t even make sense, but I never got a real answer, just alot of gibberish.  Basically what happened was a combination of things.  One, my manager at that time fuckin up the business with the label.  Two, Universal was releasing alot of artists at that time (Rakim, Tracey Lee, Canibus, etc.).  And alot of “important” rappers in the game blackballin’ my shit.




IP:  How is My America?  Were you proud of it?  Where can I get a copy of it?  The 914 needs that!

GV:  Yeah that album was dope, classic shit, I am working on releasing it, so everybody gotta keep there ears and eyes open this year so I can give the fans what they should have gotten 10 years ago. There is no time on good music.

IP:  What’s the story with the song you did with Nelly?  They “lost the reel”?  Sounds fishy.

GV:  That was one of those crazy things that was going on, I can’t even imagine it.  It’s probably somewhere stashed, I doubt they lost it.

IP:  So after you got dropped, you fell back for a few years, right?  Did you contemplate another career outside of hip hop?

GV:  Yeah I was mentally destroyed with the game for a couple of years, didn’t write or listen to the radio or nothing. You work your whole life to get to a certain point and it gets shut down right before you’re supposed to shine. It’s fucked up for the fans too, they were waiting a long time to cop my album. I mean music is my life, I will always be involved with it in some way.  I’ve gotten older but I’m still one of the illest to spit it, they dont make ’em like me no more.

IP:  What made you want to get back into rapping?

GV:  I still had the fire, that’s when you know you’re done, when that fire is gone. I can still give it yo ya, and plus I got like 150 songs I never recorded so it’s really nothing to go into the stash and pull out bangers.

IP:  You started a group with your cousin, Gustapo, called First Cousins.  You did the mixtape with Kay Slay, and got the album out This Ain’t Friends…It’s Family.  And you got the Dats and Reels joint out, with a bunch of unreleased stuff.  Is it nice to finally have your music out officially for people to hear?  Are people checking for you like you would like them too?

GV:  Yeah we put that album out indie, you know just doing some different shit, Kay Slay is the realest, if every cat was like Slay the game would be a better place.  Yeah I just released the Dats and Reels album, it is all unreleased songs from years back, I got Half-A-Mill (R.I.P) on there, Nature, The Outlawz, Lord Tariq, Blood Raw, and my boy Mo Money who I came up with in the game. Go get that on itunes right now!

IP:  What do you feel about the state of hip hop right now?  Are there new artists that are out right now that you like? I know you did a song with Joell Ortiz.  Who else?

GV:  Yeah Joell is a throwback, he can spit wit anybody, I def fucks with him. I don’t like too many cats out right now, but I’m feeling Game, that kid makes songs.  I cop his shit when he drops.  HipHop right now is HipPop.  Nuff Said.

IP:  What do you think about the success of Asher Roth?

GV:  I mean he sells records right?  So I guess he has fans, but that’s not my cup of tea.  I’m just sayin’, I like street rappers.

IP:  Who are your all time favorite rappers?  Like, give me some of your favorite albums.

GV:  Favorite rappers, gotta say, DMX, Nas, Tupac, Scarface, G Rap.  Favorite albums, It Was Written, Reasonable Doubt, DMX’s first and second album, Biggie’s first and second, Tupac All Eyes On Me and Tupac and the Outlawz Still I Rise and LOX first album.

IP:  What about mixtapes?  Do you remember any in particular that you gave a lot of burn back in the day?

GV:  The first mixtape I was on Show Me the Money has been called the best mixtape ever.  Alot of heads showed me love back then, Kool Kid, Kay Slay, Dj Self.

IP:  Are you a fan of any genre of music outside of hip hop that might surprise people?

GV:  Yeah I love 80’s music, I was raised off that, and plus that was the only thing on all day on MTV. And def old school shit like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

IP:  What are you writing about nowadays?  Probably not the same stuff as back when you first came out, now that you’re older and have been through so much.  And I gotta ask, are you still using a pen and pad, or are you pulling out the Blackberry in the booth?

GV:  Yeah I still spit that street shit, you know you get older but my mind never left the streets.  I can rap about shit like I’m still there on the block.  But I touch alot of things, like how the game is now, family, you know the deal.  I still write on paper, but sometimes I have shit in my head, and yeah sometimes I do take the phone in the booth, or even the laptop.

IP:  What should we be checking for right now from you?  What’s hot, like, right now, from you.  New songs?  New albums?  Videos?  Shows?  What’s good?

GV:  Right now I’m just recording hard, working on this new album.  Got some new shit wit Styles and wit my boy Blood Raw.  Releasing Best of Genovese mixtape hosted by DJ Superstar Jay in March.  Working on this documentary on my life and also writing a movie script thats about half way done.  So there is alot of shit going on in Geno’s world. Follow me on and all inquiries to features, shows, interviews, email

Thanks Genovese for taking time out to do this interview, best of luck to you with everything.  Westcheddar salutes you.  914 stand up!!!!!!




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