G PERICO: I DON’T GOT TIME TO WASTE
photography by alex the brown
G Perico: I mean—this is a good thing that I’m kind of like clean as a whistle right now because I’m pretty sure they would like to do something to be about that. I mean, the truth is the truth. And that it’s just like … I said this earlier, I went and saw Detroit. And that movie happened in the 60s or some shit like that. And the only thing different now is really the technology. That’s really it.
Because you can catch it on video.
G Perico: That’s really it. The police do you the same way, but probably not as severe and openly because … you know, motherfuckers could see it now. So that was just basically me saying, um, you know, this was then and now. You know what I mean? There’s no love, no respect. They don’t respect Black life.
With the past that you have, do vice cops mess with you in terms of shows?
G Perico: Not recently. Before, when I was doing Tha Innerprize 2 shit and doing all my shows then—like I was putting together all my own shows, and probably like 500 people would come. And yeah, they’d be at front or at the door sweating motherfuckers, or telling people ‘Don’t let them in.’ But now, my crowd is kind of shifting from all the street crowd to any of my folks from the street, they backstage with me now. And it’s the fanbase that enjoys what I do.
Because the demographic is changing in terms of the fan base, do you feel like … in another song, you talk about how people in your hood are calling you Hollywood now.
G Perico: Yeah, somebody said that shit. They didn’t say that to me though—they said it to someone, and I’m like ‘Nigga, you probably the one that said that,’ you know what I’m saying? But yeah, motherfuckers—they been calling me Hollywood since the beginning, before I was rapping and shit, because it’s in me to make moves.
Like a light-skinned thing.
G Perico: It’s definitely a light-skinned thing. Motherfucker, I remember when I was about like 14, and we was going to a picnic and all the homies getting in cars and shit, everybody—all the older homies and shit who I liked, their cars already filled up and shit. So I go down the line and it’s the homie … I’m not even gonna say his name, but he’s an ugly motherfucker, fucked up, you know what I’m saying? And I come to find out, he wasn’t even gangster! You know what I mean? I’m way more gangster than him. But anyway, they like ‘Oh man, this pretty motherfucker’s gonna ride with me?’ And he was dead serious though. He wasn’t joking. ‘Yeah nigga, get in this motherfucker.’ Naturally, yeah. Motherfuckers always have some shit to say about me. It’s not really a bad thing, depending on how you take it. For me it’s motivation. You got something to say, OK. You’re going to have something to say about this, when I do this or when I do that. And people only really say it from afar. Like motherfucking in the crowd, in the audience. In the nosebleeds.
In the music you reference what listeners might perceive as a lack of trust of a lot of people who you’d call friends of family. How do you know when to weed out people around you and how to maintain distance while you’re coming up?
G Perico: It’s just all in the power of navigation—and just being able to analyze certain shit. Not over-analyze shit like a crazy motherfucker, you know what I’m saying? Just really understand shit for what it is. It is what it is. Once you can look at shit like that—you know how to navigate like ‘This dude is not good for me right now. I’m doing this, he not good for that, let me get over here.’ Or ‘She need to get out the way, she not good for nothing,’ or ‘Oh my partner, he good for this.’ It’s just really just understanding your environment and who you’re dealing with. A lot of people really tell you who they are in their conversation. I’m the type of person who will laugh about it and take a mental note.
It does make you paranoid, though.
G Perico: Oh yeah! Street life—shit. I’m just barely getting out of that shit. All the way fully involved. I never did shit else. I ain’t had no job or tried to do nothing else, you know what I mean? And I just seen how fucking—I was really just raised around a lot of OG gangster niggas and I just see how treacherous they were, like even with their own friends and family and even my family. And you get that natural like … ‘Let me see what’s going on.’ Which is a good thing, and a bad thing. It’s a good thing—your chances of some bad shit happening to you is slim. But your chances of good shit happening to you suffer too.
When do you find the time to relax?
G Perico: When I’m doing music right now. Or when I got my daughter. That’s really about it. I do a lot of music, so there’s a lot of time to relax. But this last twelve months been so cool for me, but I know that I got a lot more shit—like a long road to go, so my whole shit right now is just getting myself to the next level but not getting comfortable there. Not getting comfortable here. Relax time is like … I’m trying to keep myself in an uncomfortable state so I can keep grinding, and not just overly fucking celebrating certain shit because it’s a lot to conquer.
How has it been opening up into markets outside L.A.?
G Perico: That’s a process right now. We working on it and it’s growing. It’s doing pretty well. And it’s under construction, and it’s going good.
Tone-wise, you connect with a lot of people—
G Perico: The Bay loves it. The Bay loves it.
There’s always been that kindred spirit between a lot of L.A. artists and Bay area rappers. But would you hop on like a Southern beat with a Southern artist?
G Perico: Yeah! I rap on a Southern beat, I rap on a trap beat—it’s just not necessarily something I would pick for my project.
Soundwise, you’ve had a lot of the established producers—like Polyester—really help you build up. Who is it that you want to help you next?’
G Perico: Shit. Cardo is definitely one of them right now—he’s made a contribution to the sound. Like off the top of my head. Just me expanding with my in-house production team so my music grows. So like whoever we get with, I want my team in there with them. But there’s so many fucking producers, man. If I start naming them, I don’t want to leave nobody out. There’s a lot of people I want to work with.
I wanted to ask you about the Curren$y record. This is from the outside looking in, but I feel he’s been able to finesse sustaining himself over the last decade.
G Perico: Curren$y definitely got a dope career. The only thing, as far as Curren$y—a lot of people from the outside looking in—a lot of people may be like, ‘Shit, he probably doesn’t got a gang of hit records.’ But he’s got a hit situation. His situation is a hit! The last time I seen him was August. He had three shows. He [sold out] of all three. He’s been touring since then. That’s definitely something that I would like to model myself at, at the lowest point of whatever I land. And he been around for a long time. Curren$y been around for fifteen years. And that’s definitely a great example. It don’t seem like it’s going nowhere soon. That shit not old, it’s not whack, it’s not played out. I’d love to be in a position like that.
Do you feel like that’s an issue of branding?
G Perico: Not an issue, but like, figuring out, ‘This is going to be my niche. I just gotta be consistent with it.’ It’s all about decision making. And patience. It’s about decision making, patience, and then not being patient because you could like over-wait certain shit, you know what I mean? It’s about having a good team, and pushing your line while you being patient. That’s what I think it’s about. I haven’t got there yet, so I can’t really give you a blueprint of it, but as far as me from the outside looking in—and me being in it as well—you definitely gotta press but you gotta be patient and you gotta make the right decisions. So it’s pretty much three things, and two of them could cross they self. Like pressing and being patient. That’s the tricky one.
Speaking about content—what is like learning about streaming and the numbers and the stuff like that? What does that mean to you?
G Perico: Streams is pretty much like the new metric. The new way to evaluate what’s tight, what’s not, what’s going on, or how your career is going. Streams. Streams is everything. You know? In order to have streams, which you gotta have, you gotta have content. And with that being like the most important shit in the game, you can’t have one without the other. You can’t have streams without content, so it’s necessary for me to stay fresh and do new dope shit. It’s like the fucking law right now if you want to survive in 2018, 2019.
Why are you still independent? What factors went into that decision?
G Perico: It’s a few different reasons. One reason was just me like … when I first came into the music shit, and honestly there’s still not too many people telling me the ins and outs of certain shit on how the music business works because a lot of people don’t even know how certain shit operates. My lack of knowledge is one reason, staying independent—I don’t wanna get involved in some shit that I know nothing about and be upset, especially when I could still be moving forward at a decent pace. So basically learning the ins and outs and certain things about the game. I’m not mad if I get with a major and team up, and it’s me making a few hundred thousand a year, making millions a year. I mean, who wouldn’t want to do that? But a lot of people’s independence comes from really not understanding or really not knowing nobody that make fucking big moves. If all you see is a few thousand here and a few thousand there, you don’t even understand that shit. By us being niggas, what you do with the shit you don’t understand? You bash it. Ignore it. Make motherfuckers feel dumb just talking about it because you don’t get it, shit like that. That’s part of the reason why I’m independent. And then now another part is I like to do whatever the fuck I wanna do, you know what I’m saying? I like to be able to be like ‘If I want to, I’m dropping a project next week, I don’t give a fuck. We putting this shit out.’ ‘I’m dropping some shit tonight, nigga.’ Know what I’m saying? And I don’t gotta wait and go through a whole list of long shit, know what I mean? So that’s a perk of it. And also the right situation hasn’t presented itself—my thinking has evolved.
I would agree. I think that a lot of rappers are wise now to the idea of choosing to build equity within themselves, so when the time does come around, that label that didn’t really acknowledge you, or give you the right—
G Perico: —it’s all about cuts. You gotta do a lot of shit, and have a lot of leverage just to be like a 50/50 partner with a fucking major label. Know what I’m saying? And with streams being a big part of the money now, outside of shows and merchandise, you do want to own or be receiving a good amount of that shit. You want to be taking in more than you give out.
G PERICO WITH GARREN ON FRI., FEB. 23, AT THE ROXY, 9009 SUNSET BLVD., WEST HOLLYWOOD. 8 PM / $15 / ALL AGES. GET TICKETS HERE! G PERICO’S 2 THA LEFT IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM SO WAY OUT / PRIORITY. INSTAGRAM.COM/BGPERICO.