Artist Spotlight: G.A.J.
With a world full of musicians claiming to be different, unique, and unlike anything music-lovers have heard before, rapper G.A.J may really be all those things. With a fresh perspective on the hip-hop genre, where it’s going, and how he fits into that equation, G.A.J recently sat down with Makin’ It Magazine to educate us on the art of hip-hop. Drawing inspiration from some of rap’s most influential artists as well as from the community that raised him, G.A.J is ready to renew audiences’ faith in rap music the way it’s supposed to be – content driven with crazy beats and an unmatched delivery.
Makin’ It Magazine: In an industry with thousands of individuals vying for the chance to be “discovered”, what makes you and your style of rap unique?
GAJ: The uniqueness of it is just the delivery as well as the content that I select. I don’t think you’ll find the trendy or standard things that you hear from a lot of artists with me – and that’s a good thing. Those two aspects – my delivery and content – make me unique in itself. It’s all about the versatility of what I rap about.
Makin’ It Magazine: Since you mention the versatility of your content, what topics do you find yourself talking about the most in your music?
GAJ: It’s just my point of view on various issues in life. What I rap about is definitely not the standard when it comes to hip-hop or the young Black urban community. It’s not always about the stereotypical cars, clothes, money, and hoes with me. Although I may touch on those things, when I do it’s always from a different perspective. I don’t idolize it, I only speak on the affect it may have had on my life or those around me. I like to put emphasis on the impact that those topics have on us, whether it be good or bad. If you hear me talking about dope, I’m not trying to make light of the situation. It will always be from a different standpoint than other rappers out there. And that’s not to say that I’m always conscious of what I rap about – even though I try to be. I just have a different outlook overall.
Makin’ It Magazine: Hip-hop spans back over decades – when looking at artists that had the most influence over your decision to take on this career path, who would you name?
GAJ: Oh, I have a lot of influences – from music to life. When speaking artists solely, I have to give credit to MJG, Bun B, and Scarface. Moving on to some of the more recent artists I would have to acknowledge Eminem, DMX, and of course NWA had a big impact on me as well. I pull inspiration from artists but also from my surroundings. Like I said earlier a lot of stuff I rap about is just my take on life in general.
Makin’ It Magazine: You seem to have a good grasp on the future of rap music and how you fit into that equation. So how do you feel your presence can add to the rap industry as it is right now?
GAJ: I think just having somebody with a different perspective and someone willing to follow through on that is how I can add to the industry. It will put a ripple in the ocean of monotony we’ve got going on in rap. Some people might even agree with how I feel as far as the state of music and want to see that change but I don’t think there are enough people willing to stand and say, “I want to hear this type of music instead,” or just wanting different content in songs. I think this would just the beginning.
More specific to me adding to the industry, you can have your opinions but all of that goes away once you hear me perform. I do care if people soak in my music but at the end of the day I want to write songs that I’m comfortable with and proud of. If no one agrees with it, I like it – and you have to stay true to yourself. My willingness to stay true to myself is how I can add to the genre.
Makin’ It Magazine: You briefly touched on the current state of hip-hop. Care to elaborate on that a little bit more?
GAJ: My disclaimer on all of this is that it is my perspective: I feel that hip-hop runs in a cycle. Not that I’ve been doing this for decades but in my lifetime I’ve seen cycles. Not to put anyone on blast but for example when Jeezy first had his success, that’s when music had a big void to fill. He came out of the cycle where there was all that “Laffy Taffy” music and people got burned out on it – they craved something new. Same can be said of the “Laffy Taffy” music, it filled a void when everyone was burned out on gangsta rap and wanted something lighter. It all goes in cycles so music will stay the same until there is someone willing to deviate from that and give the people something new.