Cory Gunz was born to be nice on the mic. Just like current WWE Champion Randy Orton (son of grappling legend Cowboy Bob Orton), Cory's lineage has nourished his love for hip-hop his entire life. Years ago, Peter Gunz brought a 15-year-old Cory up to the MTV offices. Cory was shy when it came to talking, but when asked to rap, he unleashed the beast.
Since then, Cory has been proving himself on every street DVD, mixtape and even in the boardroom, with execs like Jay-Z — and in the studio with MCs like Lil' Wayne and Tony Yayo. The only thing that's missing is that debut LP — Cory says it's coming soon, but in the meantime he has more checks to cash and more blocks to feed with his mixtapes.
This Week's Main Pick
Street King: Cory Gunz
Mix Masters: DJ Drama and Head Debiase
Holding It Down For: The Bronx
Mixtape: Heir to the Throne
Real Spit: Cory Gunz is obviously doing something extremely right. So many heavyweights have wanted to put their muscle behind him at one time or another. Jay-Z, L.A. Reid, Tommy Mottola — and we don't even need to mention Gunz's god-pop, Shaquille O'Neal.
The new cat in Cory's corner is Hollywood renaissance man Nick Cannon. Cannon is overseeing Cory's debut LP, as well as producing a reality-TV show for the Bronx rhyme animal.
"It's about bringing hip-hop back and taking it all the way to the top," Cannon told us about the show.
"Me and Nick got a couple things under wraps," Gunz explained, standing in front of the new Yankee Stadium last week. "We're trying to make a couple big things happen. We're trying to do things real elegant for '09, '10 and beyond. We caught a couple projects in the works. Nick has been real instrumental behind the scenes on the project. And he's opened a couple of doors for me. Nick is my big brother now, for real. He's opening doors for me, giving me opportunities in and out of the studio. It's about to be ugly."
Cory, Cannon and even Gunz's dad Peter were all in the studio last week working, and while the official album cooks up, the 22-year-old legacy MC continues to thrive off his street and Internet popularity. Every Tuesday, he lets a new freestyle out on RapRadar.com, and he just released a new mixtape called Heir to the Throne.
Every year we see each other, every event, when he was DJing the BET Hip-Hop Awards, he said, 'That's it. From this point on, we gonna keep in contact. We gonna get this tape done.' It was a given. We exchanged numbers."
Still, Cory was surprised a few months later when Drama hit him up out of the blue and said, "Let's make it happen."
"I went to Atlanta, shot a couple of videos out there with their artist Lonnie B," Cory said. "[Originally] I found myself falling into the trap of sounding like everybody else [with a Southern flow]. I had to fall back and bring it back to the essence of where I'm from a little bit. People will appreciate that when they hear it. The beats is gonna be crazy, and the lyrics is more what I want y'all to listen to."
Gunz retooled and recorded some new tracks. Now he's ready. Look for more music from Gunz's clique members on his own Militia Music as well.
Joints To Check For
» "Let's Move It" freestyles. "My pops!" Cory says about how he got put up on Special Ed's 1990 hit "Come On, Let's Move It." Gunz rapped over the beat for his track. "I grew up on this. Hip-hop, I love it. I got roots in the game. So I grew up listening to all of the greats. Special Ed, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. and Rakim. Anybody that had fire out. KRS-One. When I heard that [Special Ed] joint, my pop played it in the truck for me recently. It stuck out to me so crazy. I was like, 'Why didn't nobody touch this?' I know Missy [Elliott] did something to it at one point in one of her videos. She spliced it up. But that record is ridiculous. It sounds real militant to me. It's real hip-hop. Back to the essence. When that beat comes on, it's universal. Anywhere that joint comes on, it's pandemonium.
" 'Let's move it,' I was just having fun," he added. "Going where he went with it, I paid respect. It wouldn't be right if you didn't pay respects to the person whose record it was. I flipped a couple of his phrases, his quotes, his punch lines and incorporated it in a rhyme somewhat. I was having fun, showing people what I do."
» "Big Noise." "[We used] 'We Will Rock You.' I'm not even gonna lie. It wasn't supposed to be going to the tape, but we're gonna shoot a crazy street video for it," Cory said. "You remember the Queen record. ... It's a stadium anthem. When it comes on anywhere, [they go crazy]. I actually flipped a version for the [Cleveland Cavaliers]."
» "Cannon." "It was produced by S. Dot and A-Pro," Gunz said. "A lot of people gonna think [DJ Don] Cannon did it because it has that drop on there. When I heard that record, it reminded so much of, like, that insanity, when-it-comes-you-can't-deny-it kind of feel. It has that bounce to it. It's crazy.
"People don't be listening to me," Cory added. "A lot dudes don't sit and listen. They listen to the flow; they don't listen to what I say. They say, 'He be rapping too fast.' That's another thing I did on this mixtape: slowing my flow down. I wanna see what dudes' excuses are when they can hear me crystal-clear, word for word. I wanna see what they gonna say."
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