G-Two is one of the rap games best kept secrets and I think it’s time for people to get familiar. The Maryland native is 23 years old and has a passion for hip-hop music that is special to see in someone of his age. His most recent and well received project entitled, One Man Army Vol. 2: Warpaint, is a 13-track mixtape that delivers quality lyrics, beats, hooks and stories from start to finish. G-Two’s infectious flow and incredible lyricism are bound to grab an audience’ attention and have them bumping their heads and quoting lines in no time. As a fan I reached out to G-Two letting him know how surprising it is for me to see his name lacking from the limelight and that I think an interview with The Come Up Show would be a great way to get his name out there and more importantly to have his music heard. G graciously accepted and I got the chance to discuss these matters with him a long with a bunch of other topics as well. G-Two speaks on what inspires him as an artist, his recent trip to SXSW, his upcoming project Trillmatic, his love for reading and more. Click on the link to check out the full interview.
David: Let’s start with the name “G-Two”. How did that come about?
G-Two: Well um, actually I don’t have that cool of a story behind that one. I started making music when I was a lot younger, like I just turned 23 but when you grow up around a bunch of like minded individuals, everybody likes to freestyle and shit like that. So I had a friend of mine his name was JM3. He didn’t have a real excuse behind why his name was that he just said it was his initials and his favourite number. So I just said fuck it and I decided to elaborate on that. Mine is G-Two. My last name is Gathers II. So that comes from the first letter of my last name and the suffix.
David: When did you realize you wanted to be a rapper? And how did you get into rapping in the first place?
G-Two: For a long time for me it was like just something I did as a hobby. Probably for the last 8 years or so I messed around with the idea of it and then more and more people just kept telling me I was good at it. So I decided to really actively pursue it and ended up in the studio one day and the engineer there was like “Man, you really need to try this shit out.”
David: You’re from the DMV area, Maryland in specific. Do you like living in Maryland? Do you see yourself living there forever?
G-Two: I’m born and raised here man, I’m in PG county, a suburb right out of DC. I’ve been living here all my life, I’ve toggled with the idea of moving to a Cali or New York, but honestly there’s an emerging music scene in this city right now and I like where it’s going. You got cats like Wale, Fat Trel, Tabi Bonney. A few cats from this area that are actually emerging. So there’s no dark cloud on this area anymore, you know for a long time we had a lot of people who was trying to get into the scene unsuccessfully but I think it’s become a bit easier. One day I will probably take that into consideration, but for now I’m home.
David: Aright lets get into the music… you’re most recent release One Man Army Vol. 2 : Warpaint was one of my favourite projects of last year. Can you speak about putting the mixtape together and the concept behind the project?
G-Two: I’m fairly new to the music, I’ve been recording for a long time but as far as taking things seriously I’m fairly new so One Man Army is only like my 3rd project, my 2nd original project. A lot of my music comes from a very substantial place, its got a lot of substance, a lot of content, I speak on things that really speak something to me. Its got a lot of social charge to it, a lot of political charge to it. And that’s something that’s very prominent in this area, social and political issues coming from the nations capitol. You know, you see a lot of that around here so what I see is what I reflect in my music. Things that I’ve been through, things that I know from people have been through, where I grew up at, speak a lot on religion, or spirituality, a lot on my family. So you know its all just things that are very dear to me. That’s where One Man Army 2 came from, cause originally it came from One Man Army 1, that was just my first joint, that was just me like “Hey everybody I know how to rap.” This is a little more polished, so this is my baby.
David: The title is One Man Army Vol. 2 : Warpaint… and throughout the album you repeat the phrase “warpaint on my face”.. what’s the story behind that whole concept?
G-Two: Ya man, if you listen to music, if you listen to hip-hop, it wont be a secret I’m highly influenced by a lot of older music. I don’t listen to very much new music honestly. Nas, heavily influence on my music, Jay-Z, heavily influence on my music, you know, Kanye, a lot of AZ even G. Dep, Ja Rule, I listen to a different era of music. It happened one day, my project was already called One Man Army 2, but I was listening to Distant Relatives or something and I think I heard Nas say something like “War paint on my face shit, my 9mm on my waist shit” and I was like “Yo!”
David: Oh damn, I never even picked that up.
G-Two: Yo, dig in the crates you go back to Distant Relatives I think it was “Dispear” or something like that. You know I don’t have no problem admitting it, I studied greats, that’s who I aspired to be like or better than, I don’t study no new people. So I heard that and it coincides with everything that I do, everything that I’m speaking on on this CD. That CD was put together before I even called it Warpaint. That CD was conceptualized, it was all pretty much done, and so I just incorporated that. Personally, like a lot of my music it has so much substance that sometimes it doesn’t stick. Sometimes you hear it and then you be done with it if your not in the mood for no substance. So I try to throw in a few things underhandedly to make it stick and you know, make it more memorable. But that’s where that came from…
David: So besides from me, what’s been the response since putting out the mixtape to the public?
G-Two: I definitely appreciate you for reaching out as well, homie. This is my most well received project. You know, coming from where I’m from there’s no doorway for us to get into the industry besides from the internet. People know me in my area but this is probably one of my first (mixtapes) ones where I received international or national acclaim from it from people just hitting me up saying they like it, or quoting my lyrics, or buying the album. A lot of people just been supporting it and I guess that’s because it reached a lot of different places. So that’s the most exposure I received and I’m abundantly grateful for that.
David: In today’s society it seems that social media and blogs are almost like the main way to get noticed as a rapper, why do you feel that you haven’t gotten the love and exposure you deserve from these “bigger” blogs?
G-Two: I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t notice it. Honestly bro, the industry is very fickle, it’s very complex you know what I’m saying? Its not as simple as make good music and people will fuck with you, and I learned that, that it doesn’t work that way. Its more so about who you know, its not about what you can do. That’s no fault of mine, that’s no fault of the people who are listening. Great artists get passed up all the time. Its just about a chance encounter and maybe it just hasn’t been the right one. But yeah everyday I wake up and I look like “Hey this should be on this site” or “This site should pick it up”, but then people like you come in there and that’s why you have like a grassroots movement where it starts organically and it just grows naturally, sometimes it needs to happen that way. Everybody doesn’t get a big co-sign from one person or one blog.. sometimes it happens the long way, and I’m ok with that.
David: What keeps you motivated to stay and succeed in the industry?
G-Two: What keeps me motivated? I don’t wanna have a job, I don’t wanna work for anybody [Laughs]. I don’t wanna have a boss you know what I’m saying? If I’m gonna have a boss I want it to be a record executive. I really truly love the culture of Hip-Hop, I love rap music, I would love nothing more then for this to be my primary source of income. I don’t want to be a pop act or sellout, but I would like to feed my family off of this shit. Aside from the fact that there are people that genuinely fuck with it. You can have somebody who gets thousands of blog posts but nobody genuinely cares about their music, but I get people all the time who hit me up saying “You’re almost there” “What you’re doing is great, please keep it up”..
David: And sometimes that can even feel better then those thousand blog posts…
G-Two: I mean you know I would love to have both.. but I don’t mind having one and working towards the other.
David: Some success that has come recently, XXL Mag actually did a small write up on you, how did it feel being acknowledged by them?
G-Two: Honestly, I love music so much. I’ve been a spectator for longer then I can remember. I got XXL magazines up to the ceiling, man. So to see my name on there, my picture, my video was on that joint, getting to answer those questions it was just like, it was a great thing. That was a beautiful thing for me… I’m still excited about that one.
David: You were also recently in Austin, Texas for the SXSW music festival. That must have been a great experience. How is it?
G-Two: Yo! You know a lot of stuff.. you might need to work for the police or something [Laughs]. SXSW man, I had a blast. That was my first one, again for a long time I had a problem with taking this music seriously. So many artists from here that know me and I know them, but I was more so wrapped up in my actual life, my personal life, before I started taking this music shit seriously. So you know this years trip was my first trip down to Austin and I mean, I met so many good people, I did so many cool things, it was a great experience. If anyone is considering pursuing music or anything in the entertainment industry definitely hit up South by (SXSW). It’s filled with opportunities to meet people. I mean, I met Young Guru, I sat in the studio with Beanie Sigel, like it was just everywhere you look everywhere you turn there’s a network and opportunity, somewhere to pass your CD out, somebody who wants to hear your music, somebody who might have already heard of you, so it was great.
David: So you mentioned Young Guru and Beanie. Who else did you get the chance to meet or sit down with?
G-Two: Shit, I met Guru, Beans, I met Los, I met Termanology, I met Emilio Rojas, I met Statik Selektah, I met Green Lantern, Action Bronson was down there, I met .. man the list goes on I’m not gonna lie to you bro, I spent the majority of the time there on… I was high… on weed [Laughs]. A lot of this stuff is a blur but you know, I met some great people.
David: OK, back to the mixtape, tell me about that “Lights” remix. From the Ellie Goulding sample, to the inspiration and passion behind your lyrics.. It’s definitely one of my favourites.
G-Two: It’s funny that you ask that man, you’re asking some good questions. A little while ago I met a girl, this girl that I met she has some friends who worked for a radio who worked at George Washington University and they just were into like indie rock and just a lot of indie, alternative music. One day I walked into this girls room and some chicks were in there playing the Ellie Goulding CD… and I heard “Lights” and I was like “Damn whose song is that?” “The lyrics are brilliantly written, she sings her ass off, who is that?” And so I found out. And this was around the time that I had a similar experience with Adele and that “Hometown Glory” joint, but I got beat to that one. You know a couple people remixed Adele’s joint, K.R.I.T, Big Sean.. but once I heard that one (“Lights”) I was like man I gotta jump on this, I won’t get got twice. You know I remixed that joint and I put that out actually before a lot of people in the states heard the real version. A lot of people were hitting me up not knowing it was a remix of another song, but that’s how that came about. Ellie Goulding you know brilliant artist, beautiful woman, excellent song writer, I love her.
David: Another one of my favourite songs from the mixtape is “The Judas Kiss”.. your ability to tell a story with your music really shines on that one. What was the inspiration behind a more complex track like The Judas Kiss?
G-Two: I don’t watch very much T.V, I’m not in the house very often, so one day I walked in the house and um… my stories aren’t cool but anyways.. I was watching Discovery Channel or History Channel or something like that and they were talking about the painting of The Last Supper and what actually happened and stuff like that. And I was just thinking that so many rappers speak on spirituality but nobody really combines those different aspects were you can speak on spirituality or your beliefs and you can still turn that shit into something that you don’t have to preach on somebody, everybody doesn’t wanna be preached to. So I just decided I wanted to speak on it and I wanted to flip it. Aside from telling that story it was more so like a contemporary story how people will really go the extra mile to stab you in the back over 30 pieces of silver, they’ve been doing it since the beginning of time, since Jesus walked this earth they’ve been doing it. So that was really what The Judas Kiss was for.
David: Once again your music and lyrics are filled with passion and meaning, and like you said it has a lot of substance and content. So there must be someone or something that inspires you to get you so deep and inspired and passionate with your music. Who inspires you as an artist?
G-Two: Man, those are kinda two different questions but I’ll tackle both of them. My inspiration is again like, if you go through my iTunes I got Nas, I got 50, I got Jay, I got Pimp C, UGK, I got 8Ball & MJG, I got Common, it doesn’t stop you know what I mean, it’s a wide array, its just from a specific era in music. I got Raheem DeVaughn, I got Memphis Bleek, Method Man. As far as the way my music is delivered …honestly my mother listens to my music. So I can’t even tell no lies in my raps, I can’t sell any stories of stuff that’s not true to me or nothing that I haven’t been through or witnessed, because somebody’s listening. Authenticity will never be a weak suit of mine, that’s always something I can be accountable for. I’ll always tell something that’s true to me, I don’t really know how to do anything else. Those are the influences for me man, everything that I see everyday, everything that I’ve been through, everything that I see people go through.
David: You just touched on it a bit, but in a lot of your songs you speak a lot on your family and your mother. So I’m sure she’s got to be a big inspiration, can you touch on your relationship with her more and how she’s been through you being an artist and pursuing such a career?
G-Two: Me and my mom are real close, I’m a mommas boy [Laughs]. That’s my ace, that’s like my best friend, she’s definitely supportive, as supportive as a mother can be. I try not to bother myself with outside influences and stuff like that. I dunno, I just work towards having something to produce for her sake, for my families sake. Cause a lot of times knowing someone who’s a successful musician or rapper, its so far-fetched for a normal person that they don’t believe that it could happen until they see a nice video, or you performing in Texas, or they see you in XXL on the website, it starts to kinda feel like “Ok, maybe you are really a rapper.” It’s something that not a lot of people take seriously until they see evidence. So what I do, I just like to produce evidence that this is what I’m serious about.
David: You’ve made it clear that you’re into older, more classic hip-hop, and that is where you get a lot of your inspiration from. But of course being a young artist, listening to new music do you have any favourite current artists?
G-Two: Yeah absolutely. Never to take anything away, I feel there’s very few artists that make my ears perk up and make me go back to the drawing board and say like “Damn, lemme revise this”. You know I gotta say Kendrick, Kendrick Lamar, he’s insane. I like what he does. I don’t like to draw comparisons (to Kendrick), no one likes to be compared but I don’t mind certain comparisons. Over the last couple months I get a lot of those comparisons, which doesn’t bother me I expect it, I think we’re a bit different but I definitely fuck with him. Honestly I fuck with the whole Top Dawg. That’s him, Schoolboy Q, I definitely like Ab-Soul, Jay Rock I originally liked first, I like all those cats over there. I listen to Young Roddy who’s from Curren$y’s Jet Life. Oh Action, Action Bronson, takes me all the way back to the 90’s. Who else do I listen to man? Shawn Chrystopher, I saw him perform at SXSW, I have no problem giving em’ props when they deserve it. K.R.I.T, definitely K.R.I.T, I think we have a lot of similarities as well, I fuck with K.R.I.T hard. Uh, that’s probably about it for me for the new guys.
David: In the future who do you want to work with? Same guys you just mentioned?
G-Two: Shame on me also, let me not forget Freddie Gibbs, I love gangsta Gibbs. But yeah I would like to work with all those cats, those are just rappers though. As far as producers, I fuck with Hudson Mohawke, Alchemist, K.R.I.T of course, Clams Casino is dope. Aside from that probably some singers I listen to but those are the influences man. I feel like a lot of what comprises rap is a lot of pride. I don’t have no problem saying that I’m a fan of certain artists, cause I’m damn sure gonna tell you when I’m not a fan. But yeah, I would love to work with any of those artists.
David: Your next project is called Trillmatic correct?
G-Two: That’s right, man.
David: Glad to confirm that. I think that’s a dope title. Can you go into more detail on the project at all? A release date even?
G-Two: Honestly, Trillmatic the word came from my man recommending that it be called that, for what reason I don’t know. That word resonated with me because it’s so profound. Not only is it a word that combines two different sounds of music, but it combines two different regions. And that’s a lot of what I would use to describe where I’m from, the DC, Maryland Virginia area like… I know you’re in Canada right?
David: Yeah, Toronto.
G-Two: I had a show in Mississauga one time a long time ago. But yeah like I was saying, In this area we’re the nations capitol but we’re not quite Northerners. Northerners consider us the South, Southerners consider us the North, so we’re like a different region. We’re like the city, with country demeanor or with country jargon or whatever you wanna call it, and I think it’s just a fusion. My music is like, it’s lyrical, its got the content, you can see the Nas influence, the New York influence, and it’s a little rough around the edges. It’s got bounce to it like you might hear from somebody from the South like some UGK or 8Ball & MJG, it’s like a fusion. I think that that’s what I wanna really capture. On my next project I wanna make it okay to be lyrical or to have a message, and still have a catch. Have some catch to it, have something that sticks, something that’s melodic, something that people can sing along too or you know, something memorable.
David: And then a release date? Is that up in the air still?
G-Two: Weeell, it’s definitely coming out this year. I see why people have to screen their interviews, that’s a brilliant question [Laughs]. How I’m building this project is I’m writing, I’m stretching myself lyrically, I’m writing as many songs as I can, to as many different types of beats with as many different producers, and from that I’m going to conceptualize a project. My last project (One Man Army Vol. 2) had a name, it had how many tracks I was gonna do, it had a concept, and I just did those tracks. My last project was like 12 or 13 tracks I recorded like 15 tracks for that, so I knew what that was gonna be.
…And because of that with One Man Army 2, I feel like it was more applicable to a smaller demographic. So I decided that I can bind the lyricism of that with some more catchy tunes, some more easy listening. So that’s what Trillmatic is gonna be, and that project is gonna take a little longer.
David: We’re all looking forward to it. Now a more serious question… being from Maryland and all, are you a Ravens or Redskins guy?
G-Two: [Laughs] You know something man, that’s another problem with this area, we’re so territorial here. I’m from Maryland but Baltimore, Maryland is so far from were I am in the spectrum of things. I’m on the suburbs of DC, so like if you’re in Toronto and I’m in Mississauga and Mississauga is the Ravens…. You know what I’m saying?
David: So you’re a Redskins guy?
G-Two: Yeah, Redskins is my home team. We got a quarterback whose nickname sounds like my rap name (RG3), I couldn’t be more happier.
David: I’m a Steelers fan, so I’m a Redskins guy over Ravens too.
G-Two: By default you hate the Ravens [Laughs].
David: Exactly. So I also read somewhere that you like to read books… is this true?
G-Two: Yeah, man.
David: Are you reading anything right now?
G-Two: Yeah I’m reading a couple books actually. I spend a lot of my time in transit, and a lot of my time is on the go, a lot of my learning is unfinished. Lemme see what I’m reading, I got several books I’m reading right now, “Decoded” by Jay. I just finished a book called “Angelology” which is like a sci-fi book by this chick named Danielle Trussoni. “Art of War” I just finished that, I just finished this joint called “Moonwalking With Einstein”, I just finished this joint called “Blink” which is by Malcolm Gladwell. Um, I got a book that I haven’t finished but I’ve been working on it for a long time called “Children of Jihad”, I started that when I was writing (One Man Army Vol 2) Warpaint, you can kinda see the relativity there. This is like my favourite part of the interview right now [Laughs]. I got this book, like a transcript of conversations of audio interviews with Jackie Kennedy that I haven’t started that I’m really anxious to start. I got an autobiography on Lucky Luciano that I haven’t started on. So I got a lot of reading a head of me…
David: Aright so besides Trillmatic of course, anything else we should be looking forward to from yourself?
G-Two: I got a little something that I’m also working on right now. A little project, a short EP that I’m gonna put out right after Trillmatic, if the reception of Trillmatic goes the way that I want it to. It’s gonna be my 5th project, I’m not gonna throw the title out just yet but it’s just gonna be a more in depth look at my personal life. In my music I speak on things that are dear to me but I think that a lot of it is surface depth, just give a little bit of insight, I’m not really a person to have people all in my business but if you’re gonna be an artist and you’re gonna give yourself to people so they can really bond with you, then you gotta do it all the way. Yeah, so the next project after Trillmatic is gonna be a short EP, it’s gonna be mostly about girls [Laughs]. It’s just gonna be an in-depth, emotional release from me that I hope brings people that listened to One Man Army 2 and who listen to Trillmatic, brings them a little closer to my life.
David: Aright man this has been great but that’s all from me. Any last words?
G-Two: First off man, thank you so much for reaching out. This means a lot to me. Every single opportunity that I get to speak to somebody in regards to my music, I can’t thank you enough for supporting me. Definitely my website, mynameisgtwo.com. My bandcamp which is where my entire discography is, mynameisgtwo.bandcamp.com. Some shit that you might not have heard I don’t know if you’re familiar, a collab project called Black Sand.
David: I haven’t heard it.
G-Two: You might wanna check that out, came out maybe a year ago and that’s on blacksand.bandcamp.com. Me and a guy from Queens a guy named K-Prime, very talented songwriter, rapper, producer, singer, he does it all, we got a CD called Black Sand. Shout out to The Come Up Show. Follow me on twitter @mynameisgtwo. Damn man, Canada is such a beautiful place, man. I smoked some Moroccan hash up here one time with this chick. Like on the street, from a water bottle, it was one of the most different experiences I’ve ever had [Laughs]. I can’t remember what her name was…. Vienna was her name, man. She went to whatever University is out there, she’s a beautiful woman and I’d love to see her again, but I probably never will…
David: Hopefully Vienna reads The Come Up Show and you guys can get reacquainted.
G-Two: Yeah, she needs to know me again [Laughs]. That’s it man, thank you so much I greatly appreciate it.