Durham Hip Hop, G Tha King, Has ‘High’ Expectations

Assumptions. Well you know what they say about those. And that’s exactly the case if you assume that Durham, North Carolina based Hip Hop artist G Tha King is just another artist. I guarantee that within minutes of meeting G, he’ll make a defined impression on you; because as I initially stated; G Tha King, isn’t just another artist. Find out below:

Cre8tiveSHFT: By common standards, you started rapping a bit late. What made you wanna actually pursue it seriously?
G Tha King: I reject this type of question. What is a common standard when it comes to rapping? Is the common standard based on your own opinion? Can you even define what the common standard looks like? I started writing raps and freestyling while I was in high school. I started recording when I got to college and I dropped my first mixtape in 2010. From the moment I started creating music, I was serious about anything that I produced. I’ve always taken my music seriously.

Being from North Carolina, what was the process like recording High & Mighty on foreign soil in Amsterdam?
G Tha King: The process was cool. I was in graduate school pursuing a master’s in business administration. If I wasn’t doing research or writing for class, I was listening to beats and thinking of ideas. I wrote most of the songs while I was walking through the city before and after class.

Did the fact you lived in Amsterdam for 2 years have any influence on you naming your album High & Mighty?
G Tha King: When I first started recording in college I came up with the brand High Awareness to go with my music. That brand eventually grew into High Republic Entertainment, which is my current company. I have always had an affinity for the word High. It means so many different things at the same time. My first mixtape was called Going Higher, the second was High Self-Esteem. I also had two EPs called The High Awareness EP and The High & Low EP. Living in Amsterdam for 2 years definitely had an impact on the sound and feel of the album but I already had the album title in mind before I started writing and recording music for the project.

We actually found out that marijuana isn’t actually legal in the Netherlands but coffeeshops are allowed to store a maximum of 500gs and law enforcement will turn a blind eye if you have less than 5g or less in your possession, did you know that?
G Tha King: I knew about the law. I was a frequent customer at a coffeeshop called The Noon. I’d HIGHly recommend this place for anyone visiting. It was my favorite coffeeshop in the entire city and those guys treated me like a local. The owner broke down the business and shared some of the trails and tribulations that he faced being in that industry. Shoutout to Rookies too, I love that coffeeshop. Rookies was another one of my go to spots.

Seems like the law is a bit relaxed over there, how much did you smoke while you were working your album?
G Tha King: I definitely enjoyed the marijuana culture while working on the album. I can’t say that I hit every coffeeshop in the city but it’d be hard to name somewhere that I haven’t been. Cops are different over there compared to the US. The police only seem to bother people who are violent or physically disruptive.

We were informed that while you working on some marketing and promo stuff for High & Mighty, you ran into some trouble with law enforcement. Can you tell us about that process and how did it effect your mental and album?
G Tha King: It was unfortunate. It all started because I got pulled over for literally getting in the center lane to make a left turn too soon. I was riding with 2 others so it was a total of 3 black males in the car. I was quickly reminded of what it was like to be racially profiled in the US. I’ll let my lawyer discuss any further details from the incident. The whole situation essentially fucked up any and all momentum that we were building before the album dropped. It was unforeseen stress that had to be handled immediately. And just weeks before the release of High and Mighty. It strained some personal and business relationships as well. This was the type of situation that ultimately exposes an individual’s true character. Higher powers have a way humbling you and I think this is what that was. It was a lesson learned as I continue to move forward. I never lost sight of my blessings.

Right after you dropped High & Mighty, you released the High Jacked mixtape over industry beats. Why was that?
G Tha King: I haven’t released anything from High Jacked. But I did start working on some music that I recorded over industry beats. Anything that I record on an industry beat is a part of my High Jacked collection. High Jacked isn’t exactly a mixtape, it’s not a single body of work. It’s a collection of songs that will be released song by song over the upcoming months. When I got feedback from people regarding High and Mighty, one consistent thing I heard was about the production. People wanted to hear me on different beats. So I decided to give the people what they asked for.

Do you think releasing free music while you’re trying to get listeners to hear your paid content had any effect on your sales or streams for High & Mighty?
G Tha King: I don’t think it will have a negative impact. I am still building a reputation and fanbase. High Jacked is a collection of work that I will use for promotion. It could also help open up new listeners to me as an artist or help introduce new listeners to my debut album High and Mighty. Some might prefer one over the other and that’s ok. I just want to give people a reason to listen.

Influenced by the likes of Jay Z and recording overseas, do you even consider yourself a North Carolina Hip Hop artist?
Of course. More specifically, I consider myself a Durham Hip Hop artist. It’s where I was born and raised and I take a lot of pride in that.

What’s the current state of Hip Hop in North Carolina?
G Tha King: The state is in great shape. I look at Little Brother as the godfather of NC Hip Hop. Artist such as Rapsody, J. Cole, and King Mez are in the mainstream and give NC a lot to be proud of.

Who are some indie artists that you current listen to or would like to collaborate with?
G Tha King: I’ve been busy creating and when I’m in that zone I don’t really listen to other artists. I am in the process now of discovering some new material to check out. I love collaborating with all kinds of artist. I want to work with anyone who is open to working with me.

Do you have plans on recording your next album overseas? If so, what’s an ideal country?
G Tha King: I want the next album to be rooted in NC, and as close to Durham as possible.

What would you do differently for the release of your next album?
G Tha King: I would focus more on content creation during the recording process. I would like to have visuals for the project edited and ready for release before the music goes live.

What have your learned with the release of your debut album and mixtape?
G Tha King: Everything and everyone will not always be as they seem. You can’t always trust people and take them at their word. Creating and releasing music takes a lot of time, money, and energy. It is important to have the right people around you to help drive your vision. Be aware of those who just want to take advantage of you.

How did your distribution deal with The Orchard come about?
G Tha King: My engineer brought the entire idea to the table. He worked directly with someone who had the distribution deal and said that it would be something worth considering.

With owning High Republic Entertainment, do you have any plans on signing a couple North Carolina artists?
G Tha King: No plans for signing other artists but we are always open and willing to collaborate with other aspiring entrepreneurs.

What’s your vision for High Republic Entertainment?
G Tha King: My vision for High Republic Ent. is that it grows into a sustainable company that offers employment opportunities for the local community.

How hard is it balancing a 9-5, a marriage as well as your budding career?
G Tha King: It’s hard as fuck (pause) but it’s all worth it. Life can be overwhelming and you have to have something to keep you grounded. You need that daily reminder of how blessed you are to be alive. My wife is that daily reminder for me.

With the current state of music changing with streams over sales, do you feel becoming successful in the music is becoming more difficult for independent artists?
G Tha King: I’d say that it is easier for an artist to enter the marketplace. This is a good thing, it’s a good step in the right direction to remove those barriers to entry. However, I think because of this marketplace with free entry it’s harder to sustain any longevity with regard to being successful. I think the average career for an artist will be shorter in the streaming age compared to how it once was.

What’s next for G tha King?
G Tha King: More music. More life. More prosperity. Stay tuned. Get your High and Mighty hats and other gear at www.highmighty.bigcartel.com

G Tha King’s album High & Mighty is currently available on all majors streaming platforms.