Let’s first discuss what you’ve been up to over the past couple years. The last time some of those not in the know may have heard from you was Kanye’s “Drive Slow”
Man, I’ve put out a mixtape called Drive Slow hosted by 5-time world championship DJ A-Trak, I put out another mixtape called Honor Me. I’ve kept a song on the radio in Chicago. I had a single with a dude by the name of Vyle, it was his first single, a record called “Hurter”, its been on the radio in Chicago for like six months, and then I came with I Ain’t Even On Yet, by myself which was the fourth record on Kanye’s Can’t Tell Me Nothin mixtape, which won mixtape of the year. Aside from that, I’ve been traveling, been on a world tour – I just got back from Europe, it went very well. I opened up for Kanye along side of Common and Consequence. That went very well. I’m working on a cartoon that’s coming along real nice, called Haterville. Man, I’ve been working on my album like crazy. I just did the Larry Hoover American Gangter episode (on BET) I’ve been featured in magazines from XXL to Fader and I’ve also been doing weekly movie reviews for the LA Times. I’ve also been working on a clothing line that I’ve been selling out of boutiques in Chicago and it’s been selling out within two or three weeks of hitting the racks
The GLC t-shirts, right? I’ve been trying to get my hands on one of those, but they’re always sold out!
Aw man, right now they’re all gone, I do them limited edition style. But they will be back in Leaders as well as Self Conscious and All Chicago and a few other stores in March. But you don’t even have to pay for it, I got you.
So let’s talk about your debut album, Love, Life and Loyalty, what can we expect from that?
It’s coming this summer, man. You’re gonna get the definition of life and how it should be lived. The life of a Chicago person growing up in the midst of mysticism and tyranny – as well as loyalty which is the commitment to the given order of things. People just have to decide what they want to be loyal to, you know? You could sit around and do ignorant shit and end up in the joint or end up dead – or you can be loyal to someone who’s out there on a righteous endeavor trying to better themselves. Because if you’re loyal to something like that then you can’t lose because there is a lot of ignorant shit going on in our community back home – but also all across the world. When I say “our community” I’m talking about the urban community because that’s what I grew up in, but I’m quite sure the same thing’s going on outside of those communities as well. We’re looking for a leader and we’re looking for hope and hopefully I can help spark that light and energy that can change the mindsets of people from a positive angle.
Will the album be released under the GOOD Music imprint? Is it going to come out through a major label release, or more independent like Consequence’s album (Don’t Quit Your Day Job)
This first joint we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do it on an independent side. We’re gonna put it out through my company Concept as well as Bandit Productions.
I know a few songs have leaked so far: two featuring verses and production from Three Six Mafia – are those songs going to make the final cut – or are these just for the album buzz?
Right now, honestly, I feel as if I’m sitting on a classic. I have some records that I really believe can help me leave a solid mark on this industry in this era of one-hit wonders and ringtone rap. I really feel I have something that’s gonna set me apart from that. But right now the records I’ve leaked or put out, those are to keep the name out there so people will know that this dude is really coming with something, so some records may make it – some not – due to the fact that I have an arsenal of bangers to choose from, through the grace of God. I’ve been trying to exercise my G to the fullest of my potential.
What’s Kanye’s involvement in the project? Is he handling most of the production?
It won’t be entirely produced by Kanye, but there will be production by him. As you mentioned earlier, I will have production from Three Six Mafia, I also have a producer from Chicago named Keezo Kane. He’s done joints for LL Cool J, Talib Kweli, Nas, John Legend’s artist out of London, Estelle. Man, Keezo has blessed me with some joints that are really going to propel my career. I also have some heat from Million $ Mano – that’s my little buddy right there, and I’m one of the first rappers to reach out to him, you know? He stays on his grind. I also have some work from some young guys out of Chicago, the Trailblazerz. And I can’t forget about Wildstyle from Crucial Conflict, he has some beats in the archive that are crazy. I also have some stuff from this productions group called Squad Deep and some crazy stuff from Steve-O. There’s a lot of producers, that people have never heard of, and with the impact my album is gonna have, I can help break their careers. Kind of like Kanye did me, when he let me get on the “Spaceship” joint.
Will “Honor Me” make the album?
Right now it’s a possibility, but we may do a remix with some Chicago cats and then add it on.
Will we see any collabo’s on Love, Life and Loyalty?
Oh yeah, I have my man Really Doe from GOOD Music, Kanye of course, Common just hit me and told me he wants to be a part of what’s going on. As well as Bun-B from UGK, who’s one of my mentors. I have some people that are really interested in getting involved in this project, so through the grace of God we can all get together and take this thing to a whole new level.
How about some of the other Chicago artists, you haven’t mentioned?
I have a record with Shawnna, she just did her thing – the record is produced by a dude by the name of Upmost, from Dude & Nem, and he’s on the hook, that song is heavy for me. I also have a guy that most people have never heard of out of Chicago, but I think he’s pretty dope, his name is Desert Eez. I got a few people from the crib (Chicago), man, I have a record with Crucial Conflict – Most of everything on my album will be Chicago related. As I grow, I feel like they can grow with me.
How do you feel when people, in particular the media, claim that when an artist is signed to a label ran by a superstar, such as Kanye or Jay-Z, that you w
ill never get the same amount of attention as the marquee act?
Some people may feel that way, and I can understand where they’re coming from, because when you do sign to an artist, that just means it’s going to be more work for you. So if you’re the type of person who likes to sit around and wait on other people to do things, and this and that, and you expect the artist to get 100% behind what you have going on, and you’re an artist too, then you’re crazy. Because at the end of the day, they want to be number one, so why would they put 100% of what they’re able to do aside, to help with what you have going on? It’s cool to be signed to an artist for the exposure, and sure you can ride off their name or their buzz and have it transcend over to your name and what you have going on, but it’s a lot more work. You have to be cut from the right cloth to be able to handle something like that. I’ve always been a hustler, I’ve always been a grinder – so it can be a setback – but if you’re on your shit, and you worry about what you have to do, and you’re focused, and don’t plan to settle for a standstill, then you’re not gonna be at that standstill. It’s all in your hands.
You’ve been loyal and have stuck with Kanye since the beginning – how did you guys initially hook up?
Man, we hooked up through my boy Desert Eez, his real name is Andre Fraisee, one of my best friends. He introduced us back in ’93 and we took it from there, you know?
Alright, lets witch it up a bit. Could you rank your Top 5 all-time Chicago Hip Hop albums
Man, of all time? Well, I love the Do or Die album with [singing] “Do you wanna riiiiiiide” (“Po Pimp”), the Psychodrama album that came out in ’95, it wasn’t even a whole album, but it had [singing] “Whaaaat this shit like Magic, what this shit like Magic” [laughs]. I liked The Final Tic – by Crucial Conflict. I like Twista’s Kamikaze, as well as Adrenaline Rush, and oh yeah, Common’s Resurrection. Man, there are so many – this is a tough question! Of course, the College Dropout. Man, I think the name of that Do or Die album with “Po Pimp” was Headz or Tailz…
Actually, “Po Pimp” was on Picture This, but “Still Po Pimpin’ was on Headz or Tailz.
[laughs] Damn, you’re on your shit! [singing] “Do you wanna ride with me, do you wanna smoke my weed.” And anything from Crucial Conflict, really, because when they came out, it was very inspirational, they showed me that if they could come out, then I could come out one day too – and just do me. I gotta name another one, Late Registration – [laughs] I gotta name the records I’m on, right?
Any final words for the Fake Shore Drive readers?
I love the name of your shit, man, Fake Shore Drive is cold as hell! Some words for the winners, if you believe then you can achieve, just look at me. You know, because it wasn’t always like this. Because I remember at one point when people were saying “I don’t even think GLC should be rapping”, but now I stay on somebody’s website, blog or magazine, and a lot of good stuff is being said about me right now. I’m always posting videos, and one of the dumbest comments I ever read was “GLC doesn’t rep Chicago” [laughs]. That was some of the dumbest shit I’ve ever read – I’m thinking what fucking part of the Chi is this dude from? That’s the main thing people say about my music, “You rep the Crib!” That’s what I do. Aside from that, just tell everyone to check out my Myspace page www.myspace.com/GLC, thanks to everyone who posted my “Honor Me” video on their sites, in the first week out we got like 25,000 plays and we were in the top 25 of the most watched videos of the week. That shit was amazing. We put the video out there to kick of the new year right. I also have a couple of mixtapes about to come out, the I Ain’t Even On Yet, that I’m doing with DJ Geno, and a mixtape I’m doing with the Trailblazers – I’m going hard and I’m taking the Crib with me.