Most kids may think that parents don’t understand, but in 2010 parenting is a different ballgame. In a time where there is little separation in music and fashion for teens and 30 to 40-somethings, it seems to be far more prevalent for parents to be “friends” with their kids. Are the days of stern authority figures as parents gone?
West Coast rap veteran Kurupt knows a lot about youthful rebellion. The Philadelphia-born, California-raised entertainer got his start in the early ’90s as one half of Tha Dogg Pound. The duo was involved in many controversial situations over the years in both the corporate and music worlds, and Kurupt had his own share of challenges with relationships, finance and personal battles.
The Grammy-nominated artist recently released his sixth solo album Streetlights, and seems to have put his wild days in the past. But can you still be a good dad and maintain your street cred? We lured Kurupt into UrbLife.com’s Parent Trap to find out how the married father of six uses his own experiences to be a better parent to his children.
How old are your kids?
Kurupt: My oldest is 14, she’ll be 15 in June. My youngest is is eight, and I have kids all in between. [laughs]I have a total of six kids.
What is your favorite thing about being a dad?
Kurupt: One of my favorite things about being a father is that it saved my life and made me change my life totally. The more kids I had, the more responsible I had to become. My favorite thing is seeing their faces. God has blessed me to have children and the amount that I have, just to see their faces as a reflection of myself and watching them grow as well.
I’ve seen them start as babies to where my oldest is now, watching their accomplishments and how good they do in school. Knowing that I make a difference in their life, that’s everything to me.
Are they aware of your fame?
Kurupt: Oh, they’re quite aware of that! [laughs]I think they love their father’s accomplishments, and when they go to school their friends know of their father. That’s exciting to me to hear them come back to me and hear how their friends know me and their parents love me. It excites them as well, I love all of that.
Have you ever had to censor the music you listen to around your kids?
Kurupt: When I’m with my kids I turn on the oldies! [laughs]I find that music is a piece of how you feel. If I listen to rap, I’m gonna feel like rap. If I listen to the oldies I’m gonna feel my age… being a father of six. I don’t have to worry about sheltering them from music, because the music that I put on is already a different caliber. But I do have to monitor the music that they choose to listen to in their iPods, because certain records they should and shouldn’t be listening to.
I’m a firm believer that children should have radio versions to certain records until they reach a certain age. I know they’re gonna find a way to still listen to whatever music they want to. As long as when they’re around me they feel like, “Hey I cant listen to this around my father,” then I feel like I’m doing my job.
You cant be on them 24/7, because there’s time when they’ll have their own time, or they can be with their mother and their mother will allow them to listen to certain music that I wouldn’t. When they come to me and change up their whole gig, that lets me know they know I’m watching, and that’s everything to me right there.
Did your parents do that with you?
Kurupt: Sheesh, are you for real? [laughs]My mother played no games, she’d break tapes. Then she’d break my video games to get the point across and it worked.
Nicki Minaj recently spoke of feeling guilty about the image she gives off to kids who emulate her, questioning if she should censor herself. Do you ever feel like it’s the artist’s responsibility to censor themselves for the kids?
Kurupt: I don’t think Nicki Minaj should censor anything for the kids unless she wants to. If that’s the crowd she’s trying to gain, then yes she should censor herself for the children. It’s like with me and my music, I dont make music for the kids. I make grown folks music. You’ve got to monitor your child, and also make radio versions of these records for children to listen to. They need to be of a certain age to see and hear certain things.
I dont think any artist should censor themselves for the children unless they’re aiming to sell records to the children. I aim to sell my records to adults, that’s why I make grown folks music. If I wanted to sell records to children, I’d make music for Disney.
You see a lot of images of kids fighting and being violent online today. There was violence in your younger days too, but do you think kids are more violent today, or that the media is just feeding images of stuff that’s been happening?
Kurupt: The media is feeding images of what’s been happening. There’s been the bully [stories], the walk down the street as fast as you can when you see this person, the violent one who comes to school with the knife and the gun. I do think it’s getting out of hand, and that there’s a lot more of this than there was back in the days, the level is higher as well. Back in my day they weren’t dumping out whole entire schools.
Again, it goes back to parenting and the type of freedom you allow your children to have. Nobody said it was easy to be a parent, but you’ve got a lot of kids raising kids nowadays, which is part of the problem as well. How can you raise a child when you’re still a child yourself mentally? These kids are so big physically, but mentally they’re still kids in that big body. But I just think the media is highlighting what’s always been there.
When you want to forget about all the negativity and the stresses of being super dad, what are some fun things you do with your kids to get away?
Kurupt: That’s kind of hard, because my children only like certain things for fun. The fun things I do is give them the things they want to do that are fun to them. My daughter loves to record, so I give her access to my studio to record. My son loves video games, so I make sure I can give him all of the games and systems he likes to play with. I give them space – you cant clutter them with too much.
One fun thing I like to do with my children is watch movies, that’s something we do as a family – me, my wife and children. I sit them down and we get away from everything, we spend time with ourselves as a family. Sometimes the kids pick the movie, sometimes me or my wife will pick it.
What’s the best advice you could give to a brand new father?
Kurupt: Please get ready to be very patient. Sometimes I find myself where I’ve got to catch my tongue talking to my children. Sometimes my tongue slips and I get very upset. My daughter Morgan is the ringleader who always lets me know the woes of the children. She lets me know about things like the way I talk to them when I get angry, which just goes to show how intelligent these children are nowadays. She’s 14 and will be 15 in February , she’s the second oldest.
I’m a firm believer in not whooping a kid to get them to understand – I think [by doing that]you just condition them to being immune to fighting and getting whooped. I utilize the things they want most as a weigh bar to getting them to do right, that gets across to them more and they learn how to earn. I’m a firm believer in teaching your child how to earn everything from Christmas, special occasions, what happens on your birthday. Your birthday is going to come around, but what happens on your birthday is something you have to earn.
I would just say be real patient, and realize that now that you have a child, your life comes second.
Follow Kurupt on Twitter @Kurupt_Gotti