you been lately?
around, doing the mixtape thing. I'm about to start recording the album.
The Militia has a lot of stuff coming out, that's my camp. The DVD's coming
out soon. There's a whole lot of stuff we're doing.
the new mixtape coming?
is coming out crazy. We weren't even going to put out a third "Apprentice,"
but me and my father spoke about it, and he said we have to put out the
third one, probably by the end of this month. It should be out in August.
with the Militia?
is an unorganized army, that's why we call it the Militia. We're unorganized,
but when it comes to handling our business, that's what we do. My homie
Rain is from Fayetteville, North Carolina, and there's Germ. That's my
camp, we're a group, but it's family at the same time. I've known Rain
for a long time and we thought we needed to collab and make a group. They'll
come out after me.
you link up with Rain?
always come to the Bronx for the summer because he has a lot of family
in the Bronx. So every summer we'd battle and go at it. After awhile,
we started doing songs together, and then we decided to make a group.
up with your album?
We got a
lot of records recorded. We don't know what's gonna make what. We really
don't know, but we got a lot of records.
never made an album, what difficulties do you think you'll face putting
difficult part for me is living up to my street credibility from my mixtapes.
To live up to that will be hard, because making an album is a lot different
than freestyling over other people's beats.
mixtapes you're just trying to prove you're nice, how is that different
from making a song?
is exactly what you said. On the mixtapes, you just want to prove you're
nice on the mic. When you make a song, you've got to make the sure is
not for your pleasure, but for everybody's pleasure. You can spit on a
beat and you and your mans think it's hot, and some people in the street
might think it's hot, but when you make a song, it's for the fans.
you like better?
for me to write a freestyle. It takes time when you do a song, you have
to sit there and think. With a freestyle, you can write whatever. It's
not really your beat so you don't have to put thought into everything
you say. All you have to do is make sure it's hotter than whoever's song
that Jay-Z was taking you under his wing, can you speak on that?
I had a meeting
with Jay. After that, the rest is history. I'm over at Def Jam now. I've
been running around recording like crazy, doing DVD's, mixtapes
happened with Universal and Casablanca?
I left Universal.
I'm still under Casablanca. A lot of people think I left Tommy (Mottola),
but he's the one that brought me to Jay. We all sat and talked about it
and we came up with an agreement.
Tommy bring you to Jay?
I have no
idea. The reason I think is because he thinks Jay will be able to handle
me as a rap artist better than that label can. And then when I'm at a
certain point in my career, he can take me to the top. But it would take
somebody who's been rapping and doing this for years in the Hip Hop game
first. Tommy had Mariah and a lot of different pop and R&B artists,
so when you get to that certain point where it's time to hit TV, I'll
be straight. But to get me to that point, I need Jay.
Jay and Tommy, you've got your father and Lord Tariq in your corner as
well, how does that feel?
Knowing that everyone around me is experienced is great. I have my father
in my corner, he wouldn't steer me wrong. He's showing me the business,
giving me pointers, I think I'll be straight.
been good at being at Def Jam?
I'm starting to know a lot of the people here, it's fun. I'm inspired.
I see the artists pictures on the wall, and I'm inspired to become one
of those multi-platinum artists. And I wanna have LL's longevity. He started
younger than me and he's still making hits. I have a lot of inspiration
got a lot of people talking, how did that come about?
I was coming
home from school one day, and Lord Tariq picked me up from school and
told me he had to get me on this DVD, that it was imperative that I do
it. I didn't think too much of it, I did the freestyle
I never thought
it would be so big. People in England were calling me saying they knew
who I was. For me, it was crazy to be on that stuff. That played the biggest
part in me getting my buzz.
does school fit in the picture now?
getting home-schooled at the moment. It's been kind of difficult. I do
the work when I get the time. It comes in the picture though.
miss the high school experience?
I do, and
I never thought I'd see the day when I say I miss high school. I miss
the environment, the friends
it was a fun experience. Now that I'm
not there, it's kind of boring, it's kind of wack, but this is what I
want to do.
your first Hip Hop memories?
I was always
into the music. I'd be going to the studio with my father when I was little
when other kids would want to run around or watch TV. I always wanted
to watch my father record music when I was little. What made me really
want to rap was seeing Tariq and my father on the TV. That was real big
to me and that's one of the things that made me want to rap. Plus how
can you complain when you get paid for doing something that you like.
you start rapping?
rapping for years. I started writing my own stuff when I was 14.
I just made
18 last month.
is your father in your career?
everyday. He makes sure I make the right decisions. His thing is, he can't
tell me what to do, but he can tell me what not to do. If I do this, this
is what will happen. That's his thing. I have to learn some things the
hard way. That's how I have to learn. But he's there to make sure I make
the right decisions.
Hill's father, who was a professional football player, wouldn't let Grant
play football because of the pressure and injuries. Did your father ever
not want you to rap?
I'm not even
gonna lie, at one point he didn't. He said it wasn't guaranteed. He said
that he didn't want rap to be a career for me, but I think he realized
it was what I wanted to do and he just had to respect it. Now, he's in
my corner 100%.
at today's youth, a lot of kids don't have a strong fatherly influence
how important is that for kids today?
It's really, really important. It helps to know that he's there. It really
Lord Tariq helped you?
me a lot. Tariq, to me, is one of the best lyricists ever. He's really
underrated. A lot of people don't pay attention to what he says. He's
in my top-5. knowing Tariq has helped me a lot.
been the most valuable lessons that they've taught you?
It's a lot
of them, I learn everyday. You just have to handle your business and don't
ever mix your family in your business, and you don't have that many friends.
I've seen that from them coming up. When they had the record out, everybody's
cool and being there, but then nobody's there. You've got to learn that.
at today's young artists, they probably don't have the same appreciation
and knowledge of Hip Hop Culture. Do you feel like you have a better understanding
than these other kids out?
do, because nobody knows the history of it and where it comes from. Anybody
can get a record deal. Anybody can. If I wasn't Cory Gunz and I decided
to started rapping anything I wanted to rap. "The cat hit the rat
with the mat and then he sat on the bat" and the hook is catchy,
I think I'm gonna have a hit record. That's just how the game is, it's
so twisted now.
separates you from every other rapper trying to come up right now?
me is that I'm more of a lyricist. That's my problem. I can try to make
the most simple record, and it still wouldn't be catchy. That's my only
problem. I'm just used to trying to prove myself so much that if I sit
down and try to make a record, the verses will be tight but the hooks
will be too complicated. That's what I'm learning, is how to make my hooks
more simple. I think once I do that, I'll be unstoppable.
really categorize Cory Gunz into one style or flow, how important is versatility
important, because nobody will respect you. Like I said, everybody's getting
deals so you never know. Hip Hop is so twisted right now, it's in a critical
state. There's a lot of garbage. The people I see on BET are saying a
lot of irrelevant things and rapping about it and getting a lot of play.
I really don't like that. Hopefully, I'll be able to change that.
bring Hip Hop back to the Bronx?
I definitely do.
the Bronx missing right now?
We got Joe
repping hard with the Terror Squad. We just need more. At one point, it
was them, my pops and Tariq, Camp Lo
there were a lot of artists
out there repping it hard. Right now it doesn't have that. Hopefully I'll
would you describe yourself as an MC?
I think I'm
versatile. Very versatile. If you was to play me a song somebody did,
I can freestyle and write it exactly how they did, no matter who it is.
That's how I keep on top of my versatility game. That would be the only
word I would say.
today ready for Cory Gunz?
I mean, I
hope they are. A lot of people won't accept me period, because of my age.
But at the same time they have to respect that I'm not running around
saying I killed a million people. I'm not running around claiming to be
a gangster. If you listen to all my stuff, it's what I will do. I've never
killed anybody, that's just being honest. But if you tempt me, that's
what will happen. Anybody can do anything. A lot of people are not going
to accept me, but they're just going to have to live with it.
does your age handicap you? You look at how Bow Wow and Romeo fucked the
People are going to look at me and not really believe I've lived all of
the things I write. It's gonna play a big part in me as an artist, so
I don't know. I still have to do me.
potential do you have that hasn't even been touched yet?
A lot. To
be honest, I'm my worst critic, and I don't feel that I've filled the
shoes that I want to have filled yet. I'm not where I wanna be. As much
as everyone says "you're nice," I don't believe it. I'm not
even on my A-game yet.
it going to take to continue growing as an MC?
Different people coming out and me wanting to be in their spot. Every
time someone new comes out and I think they're hot, that's where I want
to be. So I have to do what I have to do to get there.
your view of the rap game changed from when you first saw it to today?
a lot. It's ugly right now. If you listen to the things I listen to, it's
a lot of garbage out. Anybody can get signed! Anybody! It's changed a
lot. Before, it was more about being lyrical. Now, it's about people wanting
to be catchy. You've got to have those easy, 1-2-3 records. But as far
as a whole album, I can't do it.
going to be a Cory Gunz crossover record?
I'm not limited to doing one thing. I listen to all music. I'm a Nirvana
fan. I was a big Nirvana fan growing up. I listen to everything
Stripes, Maroon 5, R&B
but me coming out making a whole album
of commercial records, I'd be cheating myself and going against everything
that I rap for. It's not going to happen.
of vibe do you want your album to have?
I want to
make a classic album. I'm not trying to compare, but "Illmatic,"
"Reasonable Doubt," "Ready to Die." I want to have
my album put in that category as being one of the greatest albums of all
time. I want to make music.
from now, where do you want to be?
I want to
be in everybody's top-5. I want to be up there, no matter what number,
that's my goal. Because I used to be upset when people would criticize,
but I realized there are always going to be people who criticize certain
things. I was on HipHopGame and I saw how people criticize Eminem and
Jay. That made me realize I can't get upset if somebody doesn't like my
music. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing.
you want to say to all your fans out there?
the support. I'm going to keep hitting you with heat. Look for the album.
We don't really have a title for it yet
and the "Apprentice
Volume 3: Season Finale" is coming out, and the Militia DVD. I'm
working hard, I'm not slacking a minute.