good, man. I'm feeling blessed. I'm on TV! I'm on TV and in the magazines.
It feels good, man.
things changed since the "Drive Slow" video dropped?
friends doubled and I'm getting a lot of phone calls from people I haven't
heard from in a long time.
it only takes one song.
Yeah. I got
that push now. The ball is in my court right now. What am I going to do
with it? For real, I feel blessed and highly favored. Everything happens
for a reason. I said it in "Spaceship" about how it wasn't my
time to get signed. It's a beautiful thing.
seems to be doing well. Are you happy with the response so far?
I feel blessed
because when A-Trak and I did that mixtape, we weren't even thinking motherfuckers
were going to be like, "Wow, I can't believe this shit! When's your
album coming out? This mixtape is a classic. If mixtapes sounded like
this we wouldn't need albums!" I can't really express in words how
good I feel off the response of that mixtape.
the Chi state-of-mind right now?
on the grind. Motherfuckers are feeling dehydrated. We're going to do
whatever it takes to get out there. Motherfuckers are selling everything
on the corner from Red Bull's to bootlegs. We're going to eat however
we have to. It's that go-getter life. It's that hustler mentality that
you'll go all out by any means necessary. Malcolm X was a street hustler
named Detroit Red and look what he became.
of hustling, you took it back on "Hustlin'".
Oh man, I
love Ice-T. I had to take it back and pay homage to him and UGK and 8Ball
and MJG. I had to pay tribute to people who inspired me like Scarface.
That's what it was. Those were artists that I was inspired by and helped
make me the man that I am. Growing up where I grew up at, a lot of times
we didn't have fathers so we looked up to rap music and the ballers, as
well as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rambo. Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson
and Mike Tyson were all on TV doing their thing.
see yourself as a role model?
you're on TV, whenever you're rapping and whenever you're doing things
that people look up to, of course you are. We are the father figures nowadays.
When I was growing up, there were kids dribbling basketballs and playing
football and now they look up to the rappers. Look at how Jeezy came out
with the snowman and every little kid in America had the snowman t-shirts.
That's the power and effect we have over these kids and our music gets
a lot of kids through their day. I talked about losing my mother on "Spaceship"
and people thanked me for that record because they lost their mother and
my music helped them get through that. Of course I'm a role model. Nobody
ever told me that was a part of the game, but it definitely is. We're
responsible for a lot of people.
seems very important to you.
what got me out there. After that one verse on "Spaceship,"
a lot of people were able to identify with me. Even though there was a
video for it that never came out, a lot of people liked it. OG's in the
game who I respect to the highest degree came up to me about that. When
people come up and tell you that you have talent and a gift off of one
verse, that's a beautiful thing.
Me" seems very personal to you as well.
like a testimony. That's me getting a lot of shit off my chest that I'm
living with. When I say, "From zero to zilch/To something you feel/When
Freddie got killed/I felt nothing but guilt." Freddie was my man
and he got killed. He was my road-dog. He wanted to join the organization
I was in and a week later he was dead and I have to live with that. There
was just a triple-homicide around here and a Walgreen's manager got his
brains blown out because he couldn't open the safe. It's crazy. I used
to look at movies like Menace II Society like, "Damn I couldn't live
there," but then I'd go outside and my neighborhood was just like
I got a lot
of people counting on me. When they see me in the videos and on the records,
it gives them hope that they can make it out the hood too. I can't say
it any better. It gives them the hope and the desire to want more than
what they see around them.
getting very personal on songs like "Spaceship" and "Honor
Me." How personal do you want to get with your fans?
Man, I want
to get super-personal. Anybody who's listened to my music, they know me.
I expose myself. I told my life. I have diabetes, I lost my mother, I
lost my father and I've been through a whole lot of shit and I put it
out there. There's a lot of shit going on in this life that I'm not ashamed
of. I lost my house in a fire and I've been snitched on. I took a case.
With my music I'm just telling my life. I have a story to tell. If you
hold shit in, you can explode. I just have to get this shit off my chest
over cold-ass beats and let people hear it and get that response. When
people overseas are saying my raps and saying my name and they can't even
speak English, that means a lot to me. When I go to the hood people want
to take pictures and I'm not even on yet. It's crazy to me because it
hasn't really hit yet from the mixtapes to the videos to the LRG ad. Those
things mean a lot to other people. When they see me doing my thing, it
gives them hope and makes them feel as if they can accomplish their goals
for a shorty from the hood to go to college or to not sell drugs or to
not murder somebody. It's gangster to go against the grain. It's gangster
for Kanye to go on TV and say what he said about George Bush. It's gangster
for Jay-Z to be President. We have to make the transition from the old
to the new. We have enough killers out there but we need to get people
running businesses and Fortune 500 companies. We have enough of the other
you and A-Trak start working together?
We met in
London. He was DJ'ing at a spot where John Legend was performing at a
little signing and in-store. A-Trak was there doing his thing and Dame
Dash introduced A-Trak to Kanye and myself. The next thing you know A-Trak
is on tour with us and we bonded. We got to know each other and we just
have love for a lot of same things from the music we listen to to the
girls. We both have a love for beautiful women and classic gangster shit.
It's just crazy. We just bonded. The next thing you know he was at my
crib after the tour and he said, "GL, I want to do a mixtape with
you. I really like your style." He's a legend. I was like, "Straight
up, let's do it." You can't judge a book by its cover and you have
to look at what A-Trak's done. He came out here and we just put this thing
together. He really believed in me. It was a pivotal point in my career.
I didn't understand what was going on because I had a deal and I was on
these Grammy Award-winning albums and I was rolling with Kanye but I didn't
really understand what was going on in the music industry. I went down
to the Bahamas for the Power Summit with my mixtape and shit just started
to take off for me. I met 3-6 Mafia and they're legends to me. I used
to ride around in '98 to their shit. They said I couldn't finish my album
without them. I owe a lot of that to A-Trak because Kanye was busy as
hell working on his shit and he has a label to run. A-Trak stepped in.
we just made it happen like that.
known Kanye since he was 15. Has the fame changed him?
If he wasn't
how he was and if he didn't change, he wouldn't be as special as he is.
You have to go through it. All the shit that he's been through
say you're working a job at McDonald's and you have a certain way that
you do things and you don't really care about getting to work on time,
but then you get a job as president of a company, you're probably going
to get there on time. You're probably really going to have to change and
step your shit up. When you have to change on the business-sense, you
have to make personal changes too because a lot of times the business
is what keeps you afloat. You have to make adjustments. The world is changing
and we can't sit around complaining about what we can't change. We can't
just cry about George Bush being President even though we all know it's
fucked up. We have to evolve and try to make it in this game.
ever done any ghostwriting for Kanye?
and Kanye wrote one record together and that was "Jesus Walks."
Kanye writes his own shit as far as I know.
it recording "Drive Slow"?
a wonderful thing, man. Kanye called me and we went to the studio. Paul
Wall came with his verse and I didn't have my verse done. He laid his
verse down and it was cold as hell. The next day I laid my verse. Gee
Roberson from Atlantic was in the room, he's from Atlantic, and he was
like, "That's the single." There was a lot of positive energy
and it was really good. I have to really thank Kanye for giving me the
opportunity for getting me on that record. Even though I'm signed to him,
he doesn't have to do anything for me but he does because he's a good
dude and he has a good heart.
get a bad rep from the press?
I'm not going
to say it's unfair. It's like when the European settlers when over to
Africa and they saw how the Africans lived and their culture and what
they did like praising the ancestors and having a ceremony if the grandmother
died, that's how people live on. People live on through their memories.
When the settlers saw that they labeled that paganistic because they didn't
understand it. You can't blame somebody for what they say because you
don't know them. Everybody's entitled to their own opinions and opinions
are like assholes. Everybody has one and they all stink. The way Kanye
is now is the way he's always been. Just imagine being shitted on in the
game. Kanye's been shitted on in the game and he's been told he's not
going to sell shit. If you had to go through years of that shit too, you'd
probably be the same way. Now he's winning Grammy's and has his own label.
I can't blame people for having their opinions, but just from what I know
and me knowing him, I can only speak for what I know and how I feel. You
seem like a very cool, humble person to me, but other people may not feel
the same way. People are happy as hell as long as you're providing a service
for them. I'm very grateful you're interviewing me. I'm very happy. Thank
you. Somebody with some bad-ass music who can't get on HipHopGame may
have a different opinion. I don't know the arrogant side of Kanye. It's
all based on interpretation.
your album coming?
along really good. I'm really, really happy about it. I'm telling the
truth on my album. It's coming along. I'm working really hard and I'm
not going to let anything stand in my way. I'm making sure the product
is the way it needs to be. I'm pretty sure you've heard "My record
is the hottest" a million times. That's all that rapper-talking-shit.
I'm not going to do that. I never said my mixtapes were the shit. I waited
'til I got reviews so I could show people what they were saying about
me. I just want my music to speak for me and I want people to embrace
it. I don't want people to just breeze through it. I want girls to have
my poster in their rooms. Not only can I rap but I'm handsome too. (laughs)
of help are you getting from your GOOD Music family?
A&R'ing my project and Kanye is executive-producing my album. I'll
play Kanye my joints and he'll tell me what he thinks I should do. I want
to give people who GLC is. Kanye is definitely executive-producing my
project. He hooks up my beats with the strings and all that stuff that
he does. I have production from 3-6 Mafia on my album. All the other producers
are producers from Chicago that you've never heard of. The album is coming
along. I get excited whenever I talk about it.
the title Welcome to Haterville?
to tell you this. This is something I tell people when I go on stage:
I've been all over the world. That's true. I've been in different countries
and states. I've found that in every place there's always a place called
Haterville. Haterville is everywhere. If you are a hater, maybe you should
look at yourself in a different life. Hate is the cousin of death and
we can never get nowhere if we're always hating on each other. If you
see somebody doing well, give them a push. Don't try to hold them back.
I have like seven different producers on my album and they can get their
name out from working on my album and then they can put on seven people
and it keeps things moving. Don't be upset when things don't happen when
you want them to happen. Things happen when God wants them to happen.
We have to realize that. The opposite of hate is love. Hate is going to
do nothing but bring you down. Some people are living in Haterville and
they might not even be aware. Haterville has taken its toll on some people
and they don't even know. Sometimes I look at myself like, "Damn,
let me slow down."
when will the album drop?
for the fall. That's what it's looking like. It seems as if my label is
excited about my project now and it came from a lot of hard work. It wasn't
always like that. Even once you get on, you still have to work hard. You
have to work harder. Whenever you're not working, somebody else is and
there's not a lot of room at the top.
you have to do to make this album successful?
I have to
make sure the product is top quality. I have to make sure my product is
where it needs to be. Aside from that, I really need that push. I need
people to pray for me because I need those blessings. I have faith in
God and I'm dreaming about what I'm going to do the next day. And we have
to treat people like people. I've seen people who have gained a little
rank in the game and how they changed in how they act towards people and
I pray to God that I don't ever become that. I truly do believe whatever
you put in is what you get out. The 360O thing is true. When I was a shorty
I was always chasing after the girls and now they're chasing after me.
be mad at that. Have you chosen a single for the album?
It may be
"Haterville." That's the record my label is going crazy for.
All my fans on the MySpace love that song. I want to give the people what
they want and I like that. That Kill Bill sample is hypnotic. When you
play that for little kids they start dancing and shit.
satisfied with how things are moving at GOOD?
In all honesty
it's all a learning experience. The music industry doesn't move when you
want it to move. This is something I'm learning in the game. It doesn't
move when you want it to move, especially if you're a person who works
off of logic. I try to find logic in things and when I can't understand
things I question them. It's just like a slow process. You can't ever
get comfortable in this shit, for real, because when you get comfortable
and take your shoes off, it's harder to square up. It's tough. Sometimes
you're like, "Damn," especially if you know other ways to get
money fast even if it has a risk. Sometimes that crosses your mind but
you have to break old habits and start new habits. You can't lose faith
and you have to just pray and believe in God. That's my main thing. You
have to think about all the people who are counting on you like my nephews
and nieces. There's a lot of people who are counting on me and I've come
really far in this rap game. I just have to tell motherfuckers I'm still
that same dude and nothing's changed.
confidence do you have that you'll get the push you need when it's time?
believe I'm going to get it. I'm an investment and I can't see the label
putting all that money into me and not trying to get their money back,
even if they're not fucking with me like that. I have something to be
proud of and I have something that can change the mind of a lot of people.
I'm repping my label and I'm going to take my label to where it needs
to be. I'm very happy with the label I'm on because what Kanye has done
has made it possible for us to live out our dreams. Whenever I see myself
on TV, it's fucking my head up like, "Wow, I'm on TV." Ten years
ago I used to watch TV just wishing I could be on there. Now I'm on there.
It's unbelievable. I'm blessed, dog, straight up.
see yourself in competition with labelmates like Consequence?
is my man. That's my dog. He's really dope. Bentley, Common, those are
my peoples and I fuck with them. I don't make the music they make. I make
my music and we all have something different we bring to the table. We
don't all do the same thing so there's no competition. I just want to
see them do well because the better they do, the easier it is for me and
the better I look. The way my label was at the Grammy's this year, that's
great for me. It's all good. I just want to see people do good, period.
I would never wish nothing bad on anyone. That's my thing.
LRG choose you for their ads?
me because I'm bad! I'm the business! I'm what they were looking for.
I'm a trend-setter. Little kids look at me and say, "Damn, I want
to be like him." They don't look at me and say, "Man, that dude
is lame." The owner of the company called me and said I had the best
ad that company ever did and I looked at it like, "Damn, this is
the best ad they ever did." I'm that dude. It comes natural. I'm
flamboyant, I have that charisma and the ladies love me. People gravitate
towards me. I don't have to spin around to make myself seen. I'm going
to be seen, man. I'm going to tell you like this, period: I'm a star.
That's why they chose me. On Earth, we have the sun going on and all the
stars in the sky. All those stars could be suns with life forces. People
gravitate towards me. It's not an act. I'm not thinking about how I should
pose. I have style. I already look fresh. It makes sense. Why not? Fortunate
enough, I gave them my mixtape at the Magic show in Vegas and they all
loved it. I was there with LRG passing out my mixtape with them. Not a
street team, me. That's that Chi state-of-mind.
of people have gotten a visual before the audio. That's different from
almost every other new artist coming out.
hasn't really popped yet, but I'm new and it feels really good when people
recognize what you do. People love how I speak coming from Chicago. It's
a beautiful feeling when people embrace you. Another thing with my music
is I definitely feel like I'm going to win because I don't sound like
nobody else and I don't look like nobody else.
the next move for GLC?
Gangsters mixtape I'm working on with Shawn Mac and the Drive Slow mixtape
with A-Trak. We're working on the "Haterville" video. I just
shot my first movie out in Cali and I have another movie I'm shooting
next month, it's called Red Rum. I'm working on a cartoon called Haterville.
I have a lot of shit going on and I'm just trying to keep it moving. I'm
up here exercising my G. Powerful preparation prevents poor performance.
You have to do that.
you want to say to everybody?
for the love. Thank you for accepting me. I'm just like you and I'm going
through the same things you're going through. Don't let this music industry
make you think just because we're on TV that we're not out there in the
struggle ourselves going through the struggle. If you want it you can
grab it. Love the next man and exercise wisdom and understanding. Whatever
God has planned for you is going to be yours. They say good things come
to those who wait but that's all the leftovers from the motherfuckers
who got up off their ass to go get it. Thanks for fucking with me. I love
the city where I'm from and I even put it on my arm.