Q&A: Schoolly D

The creator of gangsta rap (?) talks earthquakes, yoga, and where to find perfect pancakes in Philadelphia

This Thursday, Schoolly D performs and judges at the Trocadero for the Red Bull EmSee Battle (think 8 Mile). I got him on the phone a couple of hours after yesterday’s earthquake to see how he was holding up.

So how did you make out today?
What’s up, yo? I’m good and bad. Anyone who knows me—anybody that’s my friend—knows the answer to that question. Good and bad. Just like every motherfucking day. Might start off bad and wind up good. Might start off good and wind up bad. Good and bad. Today, we have this earthquake. Were you having sex during the earthquake?

Me? No, sadly, I was not having sex during the quake. You?
Nah. I just got finished yoga. My ghetto yoga. And I sat down to watch some reruns of Mission Impossible. Then the refrigerator starts to move. I thought it was the ice machine. Then I thought, there’s been so much rain, maybe my house is shifting and falling down the hill. I almost got killed twice this week already.

Thursday, I was waiting for a friend outside, and lightning hit a tree near me. The tree exploded and knocked down the electrical lines. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! The tree exploded! Then, Sunday night, I’m driving, and the same thing happened but the tree fell 30 yards in front of me. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! But I guess my angels are looking out for me. But how ’bout you? How have you been making out?

Well, nothing that dramatic. I guess I’ve been just trying to keep everybody happy.
Ha. I’m laughing at you. You might want to give that shit up. I’m older than you, so I can tell you this: Give that shit up. When you piss people off, just make sure you do so with style and class. Style and class.

That’s good advice. But back to this ghetto yoga. What is it, exactly?
It’s just yoga. But it’s the yoga that I try to get my homeys to do. These motherfuckers are at the age that they’re dying. I told them to do yoga with me and they’re like, man, I’m not doing that motherfucking yoga. Then I told them it was ghetto yoga, and they’re interested. You try to serve a monkey-poop pizza, and nobody gonna want to eat that shit. But you tell them it’s ghetto monkey-poop pizza, and they’re like, Oh, I’ll eat that. So I call my yoga ghetto yoga. I should probably stop saying that until I copyright it.

Do I see a Schoolly D’s Ghetto Yoga DVD in your future?
You know, I was thinking about it. I had somebody video me doing ghetto yoga. And then I watched it. And it was me with my balls just hanging out. Nobody’s going to watch me with my balls hanging out.

Fair enough. So you invented ghetto yoga. I’ve also read in that most reliable source known as the internet that you also invented gangsta rap and snowboarding. Is this even possible?
It’s possible. It’s extremely possible. The gangsta rap thing is documented everywhere. Talk to Ice-T. Jay-Z. NWA. Now, snowboarding … This is what we would do. We would take a [wood] panel from the house and spray one side with Pledge. And in the winter, the Mann Center, where that is used to just be a golf range. And in the winter, it would ice up. We would put the Pledge on the bottom of the panel and just fucking fly down that motherfucking golf course. All of a sudden, people are bringing planks of panel, and they ask, What do you put on that? And I told them the Pledge. And all of a sudden, instead of sledding, people are jumping around on planks of panel. So, yes. Everything starts with poor people. What else were we gonna do?

Where can we find you these days in Philly?
On Sundays, I DJ at the Gold Club. [For those uninitiated, the Gold Club is a strip club on an alley in Center City.] It’s called Souled Out Sunday. Public Enemy. Isaac Hayes. Sade. All that good shit you wished when you go into Old City they’d play. You walk into those places, and nobody’s dancing. I don’t even know what they’re playing. But I play the good stuff, all the shit you want to hear. And there are half-naked girls who are just friendly. It’s a whole different vibe. I tell jokes all night. People love it. And I love it. Other than that, I’m at Diner on the Square [he’s talking about Marathon, which years ago was Diner on the Square]. That’s my favorite place. They never fucked up a pancake. I swear to God. Every other place, I send that shit back. But there, it’s perfect pancakes.