Los Angeles, CA – It’s crazy how much can go on behind closed doors. Every person has a story, but not every person is willing to share that story. On Sunday (June 10), rapper/singer G4SHI was hanging out in the studio attached to his home in Los Angeles. Although the normally Brooklyn-based MC reported not enjoying interviews, with stardom comes more attention from the media and time in the limelight.
Little did he know, his personal journey would touch the lives of those who heard it. From his difficult upbringing and period of homelessness to signing a deal with his favorite rapper’s label, Roc Nation, the Albanian Hip Hop artist opened up in an interview with HipHopDX the day before his Roc Nation deal was revealed to the public.
Speaking on the culture of Hip Hop, G4SHI doesn’t see himself as a minority. Or a white rapper.
“I’ve never really seen myself as a minority in Hip Hop,” he clarifies. “I know Hip Hop’s a black culture. But I feel like I am a part of the culture. I was raised in Brooklyn, raised in Flatbush with Jamaicans, Africans … I was born in Africa. They’ve never treated me like a minority. I don’t see myself as a white rapper. I see myself as an artist. But what I do see is … I understand that the culture and the music I make is black culture. And I respect it. I’m not trying to take away from it. I’m here to try to enhance it and add what I can to it. And try to make it better if I can. But I don’t see myself as a white rapper and I think white rappers are trash.”
Years deep in the music industry, G4SHI details the hardships he’s had to overcome so far.
“I was a refugee most of my life,” he explained. “My parents had to escape war and move to Africa. And that’s where I was born [with] my sister. And the hardships: I was homeless for the majority of my life. Had to learn English. Had to learn a different language every country I went to. I’ve lived in over 24 different countries in a short amount of time. Some long. Just being a refugee and coming from a different background. And having parents that had to escape so much for me to achieve anything. And then having me to go through so much. I’ve been doing this for eight years now. And no one’s ever gave me an opportunity. No label wanted to sign me. And now I have every label in America trying to sign me.”
Speaking of, G4SHI talked about the Roc Nation deal with a big smile on his face.
“Well, shout out to Roc Nation,” he said. “I recently decided to take my talents to Roc Nation. I’m not signed to them as far as label goes, but I am signed to Roc Nation as management. I’m super happy because I am from Brooklyn and Jay Z is one of my favorite rappers. So the fact that they were interested in signing me … I had so many people that were interested in actually working with me and managing me. But I decided to go with that because I wanted to go home. So, Brooklyn.”
In regard to stardom, G4SHI gave the backstory behind “Disrespectful,” which single-handedly amassed over 15 million collective streams in under three months.
“I made that record at my friend’s house,” G4SHI explained. “I did like six hooks on that song and I was like, ‘Yo, this is the one.’ It was weird because it was a freestyle. I freestyled the whole thing front to back. And the hook was like not sounding right. I was like, ‘Let me just change this up real quick’ and I came up with that.
“It’s actually more than 15 million now, it’s over 30,” he continued. “I went to see my mom and I played her my new album. And I played that song. Everyone was so excited. My mom and my sister were so happy. And then my mom started recording me and I started dancing and showing her the song. And then I posted that video on Instagram of me dancing and that shit kind of went viral. And that’s how the song took off.”
In August of last year, one of EDM’s greatest hitmakers, DJ Snake, released his debut album Encore, which landed G4SHI among a long list of heavy-hitters, including Migos, Travis Scott, Swizz Beatz, Mr. Hudson, Skrillex and Justin Bieber.
“That’s my brother,” G4SHI said. “I talk to DJ Snake as much as I talk to my mom. That’s my brother. I love DJ Snake. I think he’s one of the most incredible, most talented, greatest ear in music. I linked up with him … somebody that knows him sent a link to my music. And then he reached out the same night, and then flew me out to Vegas. He’s on my new album [Stairs 2]. He just found me on SoundCloud and we became best friends.”
In addition to “4 Life,” G4SHI spoke on working with Quavo and Travis Scott on “Oh My Oh My.”
“I’m a huge fan of Quavo,” he admitted. “I think he’s one of the most talented rappers out right now. I’m a huge fan of Travis Scott. I did a few shows when I was coming up years ago. I respect Travis Scott because we kind of both took time in. Nothing happened overnight. There’s a lot of people that take the elevator up. And me and Travis definitely took the stairs up.”
G4SHI also explained in detail what the number ‘4’ means to him.
“Everything’s 4,” he said. “I was born on October 4th. I played football before music. Fourth quarter, everyone throws their ‘4’s’ up in the stadium, stating the game is still going on. So when people ask me if I’m still rapping, I say ‘4’s up,’ because the game of life. It’s still pushing. It’s still going on. When you watch a race, there’s always three winners. Like when you watch the Olympics: the first one, the second one, and the third one. They get different colored medals. And the fourth one is the new number one. Which is me.”
Coincidentally, this just so happens to also be Jay Z’s beloved number.
“I just found that out actually, when I signed to Roc Nation,” he confessed. “It was weird cause the first thing I did when I walked in the room, they were like, “hey, dadadada… the 4 thing.” I didn’t even know Blue Ivy, B-L-U-E and the IV is 4. So this is all just working perfectly. It’s like the ‘4’ family.”
Continuing to resist stardom, G4SHI responds to fans asking “Why don’t you just blow up already?”
But then everyone will find out about me and I'll get played out . https://t.co/siic9g5f2I
— G4SHI (@G4SHI) June 9, 2017
He answers, “Because it’s slowly happening. I don’t want to be everywhere, and just get watered down. I love the brand that I have. I work so hard on it. I’ve been doing this for such a long time. I just feel like I don’t want to just sign to someone and let them water my brand down. And just have my face to do everything and anything to get out there. That’s why I tweeted just to enjoy that you found me. Enjoy the music. Because fans are always like, ‘You need to blow up.’ But then you have those fans that are like, ‘Oh I hope no one finds out about you.’ And I kind of like that. And I pray that I don’t water down my brand. I like where I’m at.”
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) June 11, 2017
Stay tuned for Stairs 2, which G4SHI describes as his hardest work to date. The forthcoming project will be comprised of 15 tracks, including a DJ Snake feature.