COVID-19 was a blessing and a curse for Bronx hip-hop legend Kid Capri. He battled the disease and lost 40 pounds, but it also allowed him the down time to record and release his first album in almost 25 years.
On his 55th birthday, Feb. 7, Capri dropped “The Love,” which features a single with his daughter, Vina Love, who stars in We tv’s “Growing Up Hip Hop: New York.”
The Kingsbridge native who had been deejaying on the road since 1988 and rarely had down time, he took advantage of being stuck at home for two years during the pandemic and decided to make new music.
“To tell the truth, it feels dope to give a gift to the world on my birthday,” he told the Bronx Times.
Capri, born David Anthony Love Jr., is a producer, deejay, mixtape pioneer, writer, rapper and performer, who became known through his live performance on the Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam. Capri was the first DJ to perform on major networks like BET and VH1.
He has produced tracks for many well-known artists, including Snoop Dogg, Madonna, Heavy D and 50 Cent. He won a Grammy for production on Jay-Z’s classic album, “Hard Knock Life” and in 2018, narrated Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn;” the only hip-hop album to win a Pulitzer Prize. Last year, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame, a 23-block corridor along one of the main boulevards in the Bronx lined with street signs honoring Bronx natives who had worthy accomplishments including hip-hop notables DJ Red Alert, Swizz Beats, Slick Rick and Fat Joe.
Growing up in the birthplace of hip-hop, Capri fell in love with music at a young age. Music was also in his blood as his dad, Dave Love, was a soul singer and his grandfather played the trumpet. He stayed out of trouble and was always focused on the rhymes and beats.
“Everybody took care of each other,” he said. “All the blocks came to my block. I was the star on my block before I had the chance to be the star of the world. I made sure to stay with the music.”
Capri tried the drums first, but when he heard about hip-hop, he was instantly drawn to deejaying.
According to Capri, when hip-hop first came on the scene many older folks were saying it wouldn’t last and it was “a bunch of nonsense.”
“We didn’t think about it lasting; we were just happy with what we were doing,” he said.
His first introduction to deejaying was at 8 years old when he got a mixer with no headphone holes and tape deck. Capri said he felt an instant connection as if he was meant to be mixing. He would DJ house parties and sell mixtapes, and soon became a rising star in the hip-hop game and in the Bronx.
While music was his first love, Capri had a good work ethic from a young age. He worked at Barnes & Noble for a couple of years as a teen and was employed at a few supermarkets as well. Capri said his upbringing in the Bronx played a big part in him becoming a pioneer in the music genre, as it’s considered the birthplace of hip-hop.
“If I was born in Harlem, I may not have been Kid Capri, I might have been a drug dealer or in the streets,” he said.
Eventually, his popularity grew and at one-point Capri was deejaying 250 shows a year crisscrossing the globe. He did his first tour with Public Enemy and even performed in Germany with Wu Tang.
According to Capri, the best show he ever did was at the Apollo Theater in Harlem with the late R&B singer Aaliyah and Busta Rhymes — people still talk about that concert to this day, he added. He described how he could feel the crowd breathing on stage when Busta rapped the legendary song “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See.”
Capri still cannot fathom his legendary status and the heights he’s risen to having with some of the greatest musicians of all time.
“Who would think I would get a Grammy with Jay-Z and 20 years later I’m on a Grammy award-winning album with Kendrick Lamar,” he said.
Capri credits a lot of his success to his late father who taught him to be his own boss respect, honor, discipline and the love of music.
While hip-hop has changed and many of the legends like Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem and 50 Cent are getting older, Capri is doing his best to pass his talent onto his daughter.
He told the Bronx Times that most of his life he never took time for himself as he was always working. During COVID-19 he had the opportunity to not only record his first album in 25 years, but to have his daughter on it made it even more special, he said.
“It (COVID-19) gave me a chance to focus and sit down,” he said.
Reach Jason Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes