Today’s #MusicMonday comes out of NYC via LA via TX…via NYC. Gotham Green has traversed the nation, picking up flow, styles, and beat makers along the way. His beats have an easy going West Coast vibe to it, with a bit of NYC in your face grit mixed in. Quick on the heels of his last album, The Haze Diaries Volume 3, Gotham Green has just dropped more music, this time as an EP with El Prez called, Inhale. You can download the EP for free right here.
I sat down via gChat with this hip hop charmer to talk about his journey with music and life. And of course, weed. Here’s what Gotham Green had to say.
Taz: Gotham Green! You have an EP out w/ El Prez that just dropped?
Gotham Green: Me and the homie El Prez released a six track EP on May 5th, presented by ashleyoutrageous and djbooth.net. It’s called Inhale. The songs on Inhale are all basically just a product of two friends smoking and joking around and then, making it a reality. It was dope because I recorded my shit in NYC, then he recorded his shit in LA. This dope producer duo Twigg & Stone produced five songs and Quickie Mart did one song for it.
T: Does it sound like the The Haze Diaries ? “Tell Me Something” on Haze Diaries Vol. 3 is my favorite. Nice video for it too.
GG: I wouldn’t say it does, but all three volumes of The Haze Diaries sound different to me. Thanks, people love that song. It seems to be a lot of peoples favorite. Shoutout to my homie Freddie Gibbs. Yeah, that video came out beautiful. Michael Stine and Nick Vedros really killed that and the “Dirty Filthy Liar” video.
T: So, what’s with all the marijuana references in your lyrics? Trying to compete with Snoop Dogg?
GG: Ha. I’ve been smoking for 15 years. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever. I will out smoke any rapper, or any non rapper. I challenge anyone to a smoke contest anytime they want. A smoking contest, in my opinion, would be if we get in a room with an enormous supply of bud, and start smoking. First one to not smoke or refuses a passing of blunt/joint/bong for 10 minutes loses. It’s all weed references on the surface, but if you dig deep, there’s more there than just that. If you listen to “Five Families”, that’s real life shit. The last verse of that song is about the family of a good friend of mine. I’m not Italian, so why am I doing a song called “Five Families” or anything related to that subject? Because it’s real and not fabricated. I’m not saying my lyrics are the deepest shit ever, but if you scratch that weed reference-y surface, you will hear real shit, some good wordplay, and decent subject matter….. in my opinion.
T: How does your family feel about your making music?
GG: My parents are real cool. They just want me to be happy with what I’m doing. At first they weren’t as cool about the idea, as they weren’t when I got my ears pierced, or got mad tattoos or dropped out of college.
T: What tattoos do you have?
GG: I have “sacrifice” tattooed on my arm and the word “loyalty” on my tricep. Those are my two favorites, because those are words to live and die by to me.
T: How has your South Asian background influenced your musical style?
GG: Indirectly, it has. My life is hugely influenced by my Indian background. The things I’ve seen in India have shaped me and my mentality a great deal. The last time I was in India was in August of ’01, right before 9/11. I just don’t rap in Hindi or really speak on too much Indian subject matter. I have a solo album coming out in November called Child of an Immigrant I will go down that road on that CD.
T: How is New York treating you? You were raised there, yeah?
GG: NY is rainy, but its home. I was born and raised in New York. I moved to Austin, TX in ’02 when I was 19.
T: What took you out to Austin in 2002?
GG: Austin, in ’02, I was 2 years out of high school and just bumming around, dropped out of community college and went to visit my cousin in Austin for a weekend in late July. My mom has three of her five brothers living in TX, so I’ve been going there my whole life. I went down for the weekend and my cousin had recently purchased a record shop in South Austin. Two weeks later I packed up my car, he flew up to NY one way and we drove back. After we got back I worked at the shop, as well as had a hand in making it a label.
GG: When I was seventeen, I started freestyling with a homie. We used to just drive around, smoke out the car and spit freestyles just for fun. That progressed to me and another homie recording bullshit freestyle cds in his basement. So, I have been “making music” (you can barely call it that) since 2000. Austin is where I really started making music.
T: Did you have someone that took you under their wing?
GG: The homie that really taught me how to rap – like understand breath control, delivery and wordplay, all that good shit – was a dude named Element7D aka Deon Davis. He had a dope song with James Pants a few years back. I also rocked with this cat originally from El Paso who eventually became like a brother to me. His name is HAPS. We always rocked together. So I would say those two dudes were like my “mentors”.
T: When did your first “real” song come out?
GG: we put out a compilation album around ’03 called ATX Records Volume 1. I had a solo joint on there. It was weird. At that time we were doing shows a bunch in Austin. We’d be doing crew songs, like we would have six dudes on a song – all local kids – and everyone would come out to the show to rock the songs. But my first solo joint, it was a cool feeling. I was ready to do more.
T: …and then you moved to LA?
GG: in ’05, it was time to move on to bigger and better things. Plus, like biggie said, weather, women and the weed. I left L.A. for family reasons in ’07. I loved every minute of living in Los Angeles. One day I’ll move back.
T: Do you miss the weather, the women, the weed?
GG: EVERYDAY. Ha.
T: Yeah, your sound has a very west coast sound to me. I really dig the beats on your latest release, The Haze Diaries Volume 3.
GG: People here tell me I don’t sound like I’m from NY and when I leave here, they say I sound like I am from NY. I think since I lived in the east, west and south, I got a universal accent and sound.
T: How did you meet DJ Quickie Mart?
GG: The Gotham Green & Quickie Mart story goes back to them Texas days. He actually lived in Austin for a while. He left Austin in june ’02; I moved there in August ’02. He knew HAPS, they used to work together. Long story short, he booked us for a gig in New Orleans where he was living (he’s originally from Shreveport, but lived in New Orleans for a long time) during Mardi Gras. He produced a few songs for me for a project I released in ’05 for ATX Records. He’s been living in LA for a while so we re-linked when I moved out there and it’s been on since then. Quickie Mart is a monster. He is one of the best DJs I have ever seen and he is an amazing producer as well.
T: How was SXSW? You did what, five shows?
GG: Off the hook. I saw a lot of homies, did a lotof rapping. Something like that, five or six shows. A couple of the shows were with a band I’m cool with from Austin called GOBI. Not Desi. I thought they’d be too. My cousin and I laugh about that all the time. He manages them. They’re dope as hell though.
T: What’s next, musically for you?
GG: I’m working on Haze Diaries Volume 4 right now with DJ Quickie Mart. It’s going to drop later in the summer. Then my solo album in November, Child of An Immigrant. I’m doing some shows in the Vancouver area in July too. I’m lining up a college tour for the fall now. Right now we are independent and not on a label, but we entertaining offers. “We” being me and DJ Quickie Mart, we a team.
T: Anything else that you want to say to our Sepia Mutiny readers?
GG: Thanks for the support. If you don’t know about me, give it a look. You might like it.
T: Oh, one more – since you’re “Gotham” Green – if you could have any super hero power, what would it be?
GG: to be invisible…
I don’t think this brown kid is going to fade into oblivion any time soon. Keep an eye on Gotham Green’s bandcamp to download The Haze Diaries and to keep on top of it for his latest releases. You can also follow this stallion on his blog at Gotham Green Online or on his twitter at @GothamGreen.