Despite South Central Los Angeles once being a hotbed of violence during the late ’80s and early ’90s, this Friday afternoon off 108th and Broadway is fairly chill.
The function is celebrating the reopening of G Perico’s So Way Out store and the recent release of his Shit Don’t Stop mixtape.
“This whole project, Shit Don’t Stop, is me going through a whole lot of shit and not stopping so the album is super gangster,” said G Perico during an announcement of the project with DX. “It’s just been a crazy year. My store got raided, house got raided, parole been fucking with me, I got shot in front of my studio. Been dealing with so many shit in the street.”
Entering the So Way Out store, one can still see the fresh paint over newly installed drywall where the raid took place. However, a curly-haired G Perico welcomes attendees and customers alike as a DJ plays joints from his project.
G Perico is joining a collective of West Coast rappers including YG and AD among others who are inspired by the Golden Age of gangster rap where ghetto tales and G-funk inspired production was the norm.
“I definitely think the entire street rap, which is considered Gangsta rap is starting to have a resurgence,” he explained. “I think everyone is a fan of everything that’s happening in the ’90s and gangsta rap was a part of it.”
A year since dropping his Tha Innerprize Two mixtape, the hustler and rapper found himself collaborating with LNDN DRGS’ Jay Worthy and producer Cardo for “I Ain’t Trippin” along with AD & Sorry Jaynari for “Strapped” featuring RJ on AD’s By The Way mixtape. His profile is definitely getting higher in the Los Angeles streets and he’s looking to reach farther as well.
That all could have ended mere feet from the So Way Out store in his adjacent recording studio when he was shot and refused to go to the hospital until after a performance at West Hollywood venue The Roxy. Thankfully, those days are somewhat behind him.
Ways to go still, G Perico has turned over a new leaf in his mission to change for the better.
“That’s My Talent. I’m A Natural Hustler.”
HipHopDX: The So Way Out store has been around for about two years correct?
G Perico: Yeah, almost two years. I got it in April so about a year and a half. I got it in April and I was already going to get this spot just to hang out. I was already going to get it. What really made me come up with the idea was that I had these shirts already printed up, but I was riding around giving them out and shit for the moment. I use to go out with a hundred niggas everytime we went out. That’s not money right there. That’s like don’t fuck with him. You know how the industry shit be. And the niggas that I rock with are real hot boys. So, I had to dumb that down a little bit, but I was initially going to just get it and figure it out. I already had the shirts and I thought I might as well sell these muthafuckas. Somebody offered me a record deal and the deal was like a $20,000 360 production deal. It was a one-page easy read. I’m like shit, when muthafuckas come to me with proposals, I automatically look at their track record. His track record was A1, but up to date what was he doing? What’s yo connects still like ’cause I know how it goes. You make the wrong muthafucka mad and your whole shit stop. I understand that part.
I was thinking about doing because I didn’t have any connections or ties besides the street shit and I’m trying to get in. So, I thought I would do it just to get my network going. It really wasn’t about the money. I’m like, “look, how about I just match yo money and we do it like this.” The nigga went big on me. Not necessarily not big, but big man little man talk. I left the meeting and came right back here from Marina Del Rey, went upstairs where the studio is, went to the owner, gave her the money, she gave me the keys and we started working on the shop. Thirty days later, we had the grand opening.
DX: You have some other guys you run the shop with including your producer Poly Boy?
G Perico: That’s how we met through production. He’s the one who helped me turn into a rapper. He helped me turn into a rapper because I was like on that thin line. He came through and started supplying me with beats and shit because I don’t like bouncing around to a lot of people. I like to be systematic. When he came supplying the beats, it was only natural for me to do my thing. I went to jail when the project came out. I come back, we got a whole production team in the studio waiting for me when we get out. Then, we made The Innerprize Two. Shit was crazy.
DX: You over here doing inventory, got a nice break room and office set up in what’s perceived as one of the area’s worse neighborhoods. Where do you get your business sense from?
G Perico: I’m a natural hustler. That’s my talent. I’m a natural hustler. I don’t know if I can say it’s in my DNA or not because a lot of my family have nine-to-fives and shit. I never had a job. I just cashed my first check from a movie my song was in Meet The Blacks. That was the first time I cashed a check. Oh, I cashed a check before I went to jail with some money like $3,500 on me. When I got out, I got my property receipt with the money on it. I was going through my shit and was like, “where my money at.” I go to the property room and told them to give me the money on my property receipt. They didn’t have the money back there so they sent me a check.
DX: When did you get to the point where you were able to grow a business and your own solo career?
G Perico: When I got a chance to be an artist was The Innerprize Two because I didn’t really know what to do when I got out. I’ve been to prison twice. The first time, I was around lifers and shit, but I was never in a cell with a lifer. I was in cells with my homies and shit. We were on some dumb nigga shit in the whole prison like fuck it. We fuckin’ up and catching cases in jail and everything. I was in the hole for like seven or eight months. My first time was like fuck it. The first time I ever went to prison was when I was 18 and coming off some hot boy shit, but I was having money. The first time, I got out and took it slow. I had my daughter and shit. I was just hustling. The second time I went, every celly I was in had life and been down for 20, 15 or 10 years. Every building I went in had lifers. I don’t want to tell niggas by the time I make it to the line that I had eight months left. All these niggas got life. I had a gang of homies I grew up with that have life from different hoods and my hood so they were looking out. That’s when I realized I can’t go out on no dumb shit anymore because they throwin’ niggas away. I did thirteen months. In that year span, one of my best friends and main men got killed and ain’t nobody do shit. A gang of niggas caught life. Just in that short period of time, things change. I come home, my boy dead and gone. Another friend of my who I trusted with anything was gone. Everybody acting strange. Nothing is how it is when I left. Niggas was smoked out on that meth. Niggas I was running with lost they fuckin mind in a one year span. Shit changed drastically. If shit hadn’t changed, I wouldn’t be doing this.
The Cover For “Shit Don’t Stop” Is Inspired By G Perico’s Prison Graduation
DX: Daily life in prison had to be hard as fuck I’m assuming.
G Perico: It’s violent in that muthafucka. Niggas getting stabbed and shit, getting airlifted full of holes. Niggas getting shot from the tower and shit. They train us for that shit growing up. I don’t know anyone who can name an older homie that ain’t been through that shit. Then, I’m a little bit older so I come up under niggas around the 1980s who were killing niggas and doing juvenile life and shit. That was the shit they pressed. Either you be a maniac or get money or both. It’s about respect and respect is like who scared of you. Respect ain’t like, “he a good dude.” Niggas try good dudes all the time. Luckily, I never had to go through none of that. They tried to check me into school for a minute and as you can see on the album cover, I graduated. They tried to send me to school the second time and I was in trouble about that. I’m sitting in the cell one day and it’s like six-thirty or six in the morning. I was already up because I don’t go to the chow hall because I got big shit on my commissary.
My door slides open, but the lights still out in the building. I’m like what the fuck because that’s what they do. The police will crack yo shit open and let a nigga come in. Well, certain police. I close the shit and they open it back up and call my name on the intercom about school. School? I ain’t going to school fuck yall. I got in trouble for that. I had to go to school for about a week before they got my paperwork right and shit. I got into it with the teacher. I called her a fat stanky bitch. She hit the alarm on me. They come in and slam me around. If you don’t have a job or nothing, they try to make you go to school. I had a diploma and it was in my C-file so I don’t know how they messed that up. After I got into it with the teacher, she hit the alarm and I never went back to school again. I was out of school. It was a good story to tell and get people laughing about it. It was serious, though. I would wake up, eat, drink water and shit. I was on my workout real heavy and that would be my day. I’d be back in the building chilling.
DX: How hard was that transition from prison to semi-freedom?
G Perico: I’m still on parole right now. I have been out for three years, but I get off next month, though. I get off next month and I’m finally free. It ain’t really that difficult because when I think about it, I’ve mastered way more difficult situations. This shit right here is easy. The hard part, looking on the outside, I don’t want to burn my name because I know what kind of nigga I am and what kind of people I grew up around. I don’t want to be known for that, but for business. I want people to say that I’m a good businessman and I’m good money. I rather be known for that. I don’t know how to respond right now because the city fuckin with me. People responding to it. I know I got to keep my head down and work harder.
DX: The magazine is nice.
G Perico: My boy Vic is outside right now. He just graduated from college. He did that for his mid-term. He went to school for art and design. We had been working together all this time. He was doing all my visuals. He designed the last project’s design, my tags, flyers and pictures. So, he did me for his mid-term which wasn’t the full ‘zine that we have right now. It was like a couple of pages. He thought it would be a dope idea but we had to thicken it up, though. We just came together with all the photos because he be with me a lot. With The Innerprize Two , I just wanted to bang that shit out. With this one, I had a lot more responsibilities because on the last project, I was fresh out. The only responsibility I had was the studio and rent. I opened this without even knowing how hard it was. The biggest thing I would say to anyone opening a business is to have responsible people that can listen and that you can listen to that you respect. Therefore, your business will run smoother and you’ll have less stress.
DX: You have around three people working here, must be good to provide jobs in an area that doesn’t get much attention.
G Perico: That’s how I’ve been growing up. I’m a giver on the real. I’m a natural giver. I rather see other people shine and do their thing. I can’t help it. That might be bad or good, but naturally, that’s how I am.