AG the Coroner: Inspired by Biggie, Cosigned by Action Bronson, Signed by Roc Marciano
"I had a friend who just so happened to be working in the freezer when I got here and he was able to cut some corners for me," says AG the Coroner, the Brooklyn-based rapper, about what until recently was his day job in the dead body storage department of a hospital. These days, AG has been moved to a more spritely part of the hospital while also seeing his rap career begin to flourish after signing to Man Bites Dog records at the suggestion of the label's head of A&R, Roc Marciano. As he readies up his full-length solo debut, Sip the Nectar, we checked in with AG to talk about his East New York come up, chopping it up with Biggie outside of Hot97, and how he rolls tight with Action Bronson.
AG The Coroner
You no longer work in the freezer, but if you could bring any rapper back from the dead, who would it be?
Biggie Smalls. I was gonna say Big Pun, but I'm Brooklyn born, I'm a Brooklyn boy, so it's BIG.
What would you say if you saw Biggie walking down the street?
I'd probably just approach him and ask him why he faked his death! It's been very traumatizing to the hip-hop community.
Do you remember where you were when you heard he had passed away?
I was just waking up. I was in my bed. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining. It was March 9th, and it was oddly a warm day in New York. I put on Hot97; first thing I used to do in the morning was turn on the radio. They were playing all these Biggie songs. I don't know what's going on, 'cause you were used to hearing BIG. Then Angie Martinez, I think it was her show that was on, the music stopped and she's crying and I'm trying to figure out what the hell was going on and then she made the announcement. I couldn't help but tear up, man.
Did you believe the news at first?
I definitely believed it. Being the source that it was coming from I knew it was true -- they wouldn't have gone that far. This was back then. At one point it seemed they were pretty honest.
Where were you living at this point?
East New York, my hometown, born and raised.
Growing up, did you hear any stories about Biggie from people who'd met him?
I've met Biggie on two occasions. One was in front of Hot97. My first job as a teenager was a messenger in Manhattan for a fabric company. They'd send fabrics to like Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren and I'd listen on my radio, on my walkman, and listen to who was going to be there in the morning and just go up there and wait around. Even though we were both from Brooklyn, I had never come across him before. I heard he was going to be there, I made my way over, I approached him, and we spoke for a long time. He was a good guy. He was with Lil Kim at the time and Faith Evans -- I guess they were getting along at the time -- and Lil' Cease. We had some mutual friends and were talking about Brooklyn, not so much about music. He was a really good dude.
What were your impressions of him as a person?
Great dude. We're both gemini so it was easy for us to connect. He was a very smart guy and a great sense of humor, a very witty guy. I understood it completely 'cause we were a lot alike, personality wise. He was the kinda guy who could walk into any room and be accepted.
Were you rapping yourself when you met BIG?
I was in the early stages. I had just begun writing. I wasn't really putting anything on tape at the time. Shortly after I started with the two turntables and a mic in my brother's bedroom.
Were you calling yourself AG The Coroner back then?
I was named Agony. There wasn't any rappers named Agony at the time. Later on, it was like three of them. I was given that name 'cause I rapped a lot about growing up in a hard environment. After that, 'cause I was big into sports and Jeff Van Gundy was the coach at the Knicks at the time, they started calling me the Coach or Van Gundy, that was like my nick-name, then it got cut short to AG and then AG The Coroner. It had nothing to do with my occupation at the time -- it was more 'cause I'd bring death to the tracks.