Before appearing on the song “Spaceship” by Kanye West, GLC was a hidden gem in the underground. Now, several years later this Chicago native has built a solid fan-base and is preparing to get his own shine with the release of his long awaited official album. Back in 2004, when ‘Ye first put him on, his distinguished flow caught the ears of many and today it will do the same.
Last week, the good folks at Chicago Hip Hop blog FakeShoreDrive.com liberated The Go Getters’ World Record Holders album (or stream here). This would-be click of G.O.O.D stars including Kanye and Really Doe paid their dues. Only each other saw what it took many time to see. While sharing with HipHopDX, GLC recalls those days, and infers that the best of his yesterdays may be the worst of his tomorrows.
HipHopDX: You probably don’t need to give us an official introduction but out of curiosity what does “GLC” stand for?
GLC: GLC means the “Gangsta Legendary Crisis.” As a kid they used to call me “GL” or “Gangsta L” ‘cause I grew up in a street organization. I wanted to rap at the time so they was callin’ me “Legend” and that was my name. The C was pretty much my life story. Eight months after I was born, my father died and that was a crisis right there. I lost my mom at the age of 12, and all throughout my life, I lost family members and friends and this and that. I always found myself being faced with dire situations, but rather than lettin’ the situations or the predicaments that I was placed in get the best of me I found a way to get the best of it.
DX: Rapping was something you wanted to do since you were young…
GLC: I was always fascinated and intrigued by the lifestyle of a rapper. When I saw Ice-T on the cover of Power and when he was on the cover of that tape with [Darelene] in thong bikini, I was like, “Wow! That’d be cool.” Then I saw Big Daddy Kane with the gold chain, and then I saw UGK and “Candy Paint,” then Scarface layin’ it down on “Money and The Power,” and then it was Too Short with “Freaky Tales” and other things of that nature; I was intrigued by all that because I love women. I saw that, at a young age, certain things a man possessed were alluring to women. In my elementary school days, I knew that women was like the shit. I looked at the fact that I enjoyed to entertain, I enjoyed to converse and I love music so I just put it all together and there it was: [Rap is how to] get the ladies and so I could get things off my chest.
DX: People often associate your first big break into the Hip Hop mainstream with your involvement on Kanye West’s Late Registration, but there was something with Jay-Z before that.
GLC: Yeah, I did something with Jay-Z and that was also my first acting gig. I got to play a ’70s emcee and I got the crowd hype. I had everybody in the world sayin’, “Hova, Hova, Hova.” That was my first time I was heard by the world.
DX: The truth is getting on “Spaceship” with Kanye was a big moment for your career …
GLC: Yeah, yeah doin’ “Spaceship” with Kanye [West] was a blessing and that was the start of somethin’ beautiful. It gave an underground artist such as myself a mainstream look, but I still remain in the underground because I never did a deal with like a major house, major label or major company to help take me to the forefront …well minus the deal that I had with Sony [Red] which kinda ended when their whole Urban Department crashed.
DX: You and Kanye were friends before the track though. How’d you first meet up with him?
GLC: I met Kanye through a mutual friend, Andre Frazier, who’s featured on my upcoming album. He had a friend that he had met in elementary school by the name of Kanye, and while they were in school together they were like a Rap/Dance group and they used to handle they business. Andre ran into Kanye again during his teenage years at a grocery store or somethin’, they got back in tune with one another and there it was; Andre introduced me to Kanye.
DX: Just before we get to the album details…you and Kanye were part of a Rap group together before …
GLC: Yeah. The Go Getters was a group that consisted of myself, Kanye West, Timmy G, Aerostar, and Really Doe. We were up and comin’ rappers in Chicago; young teenagers with a dream and a vision. We had intuition, diligence and a dedication to try and make somethin’ happen but back then we didn’t know what it really was we were tryin’ to make happen.
DX: Ok, so you mentioned said the a-word, “album”, tell us more about what that’s looking like.
GLC: The name of the album is Love, Life and Loyalty. Love is a feeling and a very powerful emotion that is separated by hate with just a thin line. Love is somethin’ that people don’t really address in the current state of Hip Hop and life. It’s messed up to show love to people, and everybody wants to be in competition as opponents or against each other. To compete is good but you shouldn’t have to discredit others in order for you to move forward. If the only way for me to move forward is to talk down on another person then my concept was never really embraced. With life, life is somethin’ that I believe is a blessing. When people show you love and show you loyalty and just commitment to a given order of things that gives your situation, your ideas and your concepts life. At the end of the day anything that’s powerful and anything that’s great all started with a good idea. The love and the loyalty that my believers are givin’ me is gunna give my ideas life.
DX: I know artists like to use the phrase, “coming soon,” but when are we going to see the album released?
GLC: We are looking at late summer/early fall for the album ‘cause right now we are in negotiations and I have five offers on the table. I’ve held out and been on the underground side for this long but now I think that it’s definitely time for me to shine and spread this ism, this vision and this wisdom to my believers. Hopefully it will be embraced wholeheartedly by my believers as well as the non-believes. I believe that the offers will help me get to the next plateau. I’m very excited but I won’t talk about it more until I decide who I’m gunna sign with and the deal is done.
DX: What about G.O.O.D Music though? What’s going on over there?
GLC: G.O.O.D Music isn’t a label for one; a lot of people have the misconception that G.O.O.D Music is a label but really it’s basically a family and like a production company. What they do is you get a distribution deal and if you’re a G.O.O.D Music artist, then you come out on G.O.O.D Music and the distribution deal. Whoever I decide to do my deal with it will be through G.O.O.D Music because I’m a G.O.O.D Music artist.
DX: As soon as you said, “Family,” I thought of the track, “Grammy Family” [Lauging] you’ve got a couple of those…
GLC: Yeah, I got two Grammy [Awards] just due to the fact I was on Grammy Award-winning albums and it was definitely a blessing. It just helped my career propel and move forward to the next level. When you say, “I have two Grammys,” it’s like people give so much credit to that, I guess the reason is because people give credit to accolades.”
DX: Speaking of being on tracks with other artist, I hear you’re doing a ridiculous number of features these days.
GLC: For 2010, I just did my 51st feature the other day with Shawn Chrystopher an artist out in Inglewood, California. While I’ve been on this interview, I got a text from another artist in Atlanta that just signed to Atlantic records who hit me and said, “I need another 16 up out you, bro.”
DX: How do you decide what artists you’ll feature for?
GLC: How I decide who to feature with is well…there’s a fee [Laughing] people pay. If they have a buzz and it’s somethin’ that I believe in then I’ll support it ‘cause at one point, I was in that situation or position just lookin’ for somebody to believe.
DX: 51 is a big number for features plus you’re working on your own stuff. Where do all the lyric ideas come from?
GLC: If you saw the makin’ of “Happiness Before Riches” with Bun B and BJ The Chicago Kid, it was like we had an hour to knock the song out. When I go in I don’t really know what the beat’s gonna sound like, I don’t know what I’m gonna talk about. It’s just when I go in we have a conversation, talk about it and listen to the music and man it just comes, then I’ll have it done within 15 minutes to an hour. I mainly get my lyrics just talkin’ to people.
DX: So now I know how you can have so many mixtapes. I’ve lost count, how many is there now?
GLC: I’ve got about eight or nine mixtapes [laughing] I lost track too! I choose to believe in grassroots marketing and grassroots structure for any artist. If I had come out under the, “Hey, I’m fresh off the Kanye album now here’s my album,” and the people never heard the story they never would have been able to grow with me. Now the fans have an idea or they know who GLC is before I drop an album. I figure that for me to grow and develop and have a long lasting career, I had to first make a name for myself.
DX: What’s the difference between your mixtapes and your album?
GLC: The difference from the mixtapes to the album is that the album is somethin’ that’s definitely worth the dollar; it’s definitely worth the investment.
DX: You have a pretty solid fan base and we all know fans can be a little extreme at times. Have you had any crazy interactions with your fans that stand out?
GLC: One of the craziest interactions I had with a fan was in Montreal back in ’03 even before I really began to take off. I got off stage and a young lady just pulled her breasts out and I was like “Oh shit! Okay, I’ll do you that justice,” so I signed them for her and showed her some love. Also in Chicago I was in Walgreen’s and a young lady walks up to me and she said, “You look like GLC, did anybody ever tell you that?” and I was like, “Ah, people don’t normally tell me that but they call me that.” She was like, “Oh, my god!” and started cryin’ so I just gave her a hug and told her that it would be okay ‘cause I didn’t wanna make her cry.
DX: You mentioned Montreal but you’ve toured all over the world. What would you say is the best place you’ve been to?
GLC: Well Amsterdam! I was just able to indulge and elevate my mind state in front of the police and they ain’t fuck with me. [Laughing] I felt like it was a trap, like I was bein’ punked when I went into the coffee shop and shit and I was just able to pick out what I wanted and I got it.
DX: Before we close it down, is there anything you’d like to say to the readers?
GLC: My music comes from the left side of the chest; I speak from the heart. The heart has a strong feelin’ of love and it’s something that you can’t deny. My music is life, it gives people hope and makes them feel like they too can come out of dire situations and better themselves. I’m the ism, I’m the chuch! I teach people that you can believe in whatever you wanna believe in but if you gotta believe in something it just might as well be you. My music is crisis to triumph; and I also hit you with the ism and give you a little bit of temptin’ as well because I love women. I really embrace the concept that God took extra time out to create women.
Don’t just look at me as GLC on TV because I’m goin’ through the same things the average person is goin’ through. Just due to the fact of me growin’ up in the situations that I grew up in I had this love for a thing called money, and that had me thinkin’ “I’m doin’ it, I’m doin’ it and I’m bein’ slick about it,” but at the same time my nephews watched me. They grew up and they wanted to emulate the things that I did. I had a nephew that did a year and a half in prison and he was locked up for five counts that he was found not guilty of and now he’s free.
DX: What would you say to a reader that might be in the middle of a crisis right now?
GLC: I would tell someone who’s in a middle of a crisis right now to listen to “Cold as Ice,” it’s a record that’s on my album with Twista and myself and produced by a producer from Chicago called SK. The record basically tells how my love to grow and develop in the music business, on the streets or whatever it was caused me to be jaded and sacrifice my love or the people that I love.”