Flashback to the early 2000’s, when four up-and-coming rappers from the same community in Far Rockaway, Queens, joined forces as the Hip-Hop “supergroup,” Tha Riot Squad. Rappers Bynoe, Chinx Drugz, Cau2G$ and Stack Bundles grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools and knew a lot of the same people.
However, in 2007, Stack Bundles was shot and killed by an unknown assailant outside of his apartment building. To this day, investigators have not found any leads on the perpetrator. The following year, when Chinx was released from prison after serving a three year sentence, members of the Rockaway Riot Squad tried to pick up where they left off.
Sadly, the 31-year-old recording artist also met with an untimely death on May 17, 2015, when he was shot and killed at the wheel of his Porsche Panamera in Briarwood, Queens – just three months before the release of his debut album, Welcome to JFK.
Now, more than a year later, both of the surviving members of the Rockaway Riot Squad will be reuniting on a new track, entitled “All Good,” dedicated to the memory of their fallen comrades.
Riot Squad Co-Founder Cau2G$ has worked with such big name artists as Nicki Minaj, Tony Yayo, Kanye West, Joe Budden, and Cory Gunz, and has been featured on several of the Riot Squad’s mixtapes. AMW recently caught up with Cau2G$, outside of his childhood home on Mott Avenue, to talk about new music, living in Far Rockaway and the current trend of violence in Hip-Hop.
Q: Where did the name “Cau2G$” come from?
Cau2G$: At first I went by the [rapper] name Caution. I really started to get into rapping when I got locked up, from 1997-2000. When I got out I decided to take the “T-I-O-N” off of it. I had wanted to upgrade… so I stuck 2G’s on it.
Q: What are you working on currently?
Cau2G$: Right now I am working on my “I am Legend” project, which will be dropping in August. It’s my first [solo studio] album. I am also working on Chinx’s new album, Legends Never Die, which will feature a new single with all [four] Riot Squad members. The video should be all over the internet and on MTV.
Q: What was it like to work with Chinx Drugz & Stack Bundles?
Cau2G$: Now that they’re gone, [looking back] it was like the best ever. We weren’t doing it for money or fame, we were doing it for the love of music. It was an honor to work with them.
Q: What impact has life in Far Rockaway had on your music?
Cau2G$: Basically, it means everything. Living here transpired through the music, like when you’re going through something in your life. You got Jews, Chinese, White, people from all different backgrounds living together, from the Beach 100’s to the projects. Growing up out here basically designed the Rockaway Riot Squad. Without it, we wouldn’t have even existed.
Q: What about the other artists have you worked with?
Cau2G$: The crazy part about working with these people, a lot of them turned into superstars. Everything is timing. We’re doing the same thing. I’m still here, so God is great, [because] I can still do what I need to do.
Q: When did you start making music?
Cau2G$: I started DJing at the age of 12, when I was in Junior High [School]. When I went to jail, I found I had more time to focus on my music. I would mimic [other rappers], their flows, before I started battling people.
I always knew Stack Bundles as a kid. We used to rap over the phone together. Things were taking off, when his untimely death slowed things down.
Q: In light of the shooting at Irving Plaza last week, do you feel that there is an issue with violence in Hip-Hop?
Cau2G$: That’s not how the culture was supposed to be. But, it’s part of a lifestyle and sometimes it mixes with that. Sometimes you could be doing something positive. But, every Hip-Hop artist isn’t into that. It’s messing up the culture. But, to each his own. We just got to think before we do. If you’re 30+ you got to think about your family.
Be sure to check out Cau2G$ new music video, “Intro,” off his forthcoming solo album, I am Legend, when it drops this August, from Kamikazeposse Records. And pre-order Chinx’s forthcoming album, Legends Never Die, out Aug. 5 from eOne Music.
For the original story, “Rockaway Riot Squad Co-Founder Speaks Out” visit rockawave.com.