Saturday, June 13, 2009
There have been few groups in hip-hop that have spawned the test of time, few who have made headlines and broke barriers. Often divided by the common denominators of greed, egos, money and pure beef some of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time no longer cease to exist. It is safe to say that while many groups have delivered us hits and made our heads bob and bodies’ rock, today few remain. When thinking back on groups many may reminisce on the memorable flows mixed with soulful melodies of the Fugees or the southern rap styles of the Ghetto Boys, Hot Boys and 504 Boyz, the west coast legends that were NWA or the classic New York hip-hop dons Run DMC and Public Enemy. When asked the question where are they now, few can say they have lasted and stuck together through the toughest test in life, that of time. Today is a new dawn, birthed from the same city where two of the south’s most popular and influential groups Cash Money’s the Hot Boys and Master P’s 504 Boyz reigned comes the Gwap Boyz! What makes this group different, one might ask? Their bond is deeper than just the hip-hop music they so eloquently deliver; it’s deeper than greed, fame and egos often eluded in many groups. It’s deeper than the desire to be chief over being a team, its blood, they are family, three brothers with one goal, to take the hip-hop world by storm and be legends in their own right. Groomed, educated, and eager they are ready and they are here…
Formed in 2007, the Gwap Boyz consist of three youthful rappers: Yung Skipa, Stixz and J-500 who are brothers all with the same father, Reggie Anders CEO of their label Big Rig Records 504, coming from the streets of New Orleans, LA by way of Phoenix, AZ. Rapping since 2007, which was a late start for them as individually they all longed to be a rappers since their earliest days watching all the rap videos and listening to the radio, especially the New Orleans rap scene where the young hopefuls say they gained some of their greatest inspiration from Master P and the Hot Boyz, crediting Juvenille’s 400 Degreez, as one of their all time favorite albums.
It was one of America’s greatest catastrophic events, Hurricane Katrina that brought these three brothers together again. While the youngest brother was in another state with his mother and father the two oldest Gwap Boyz, J-500 and Yung Skipa were stuck in New Orleans experiencing what they say was the hardest and most unreal time in life, the most horrible thing that anyone can ever imagine.
“I remember seeing bodies floating in the water, and the smell was just crazy, it smelled like death and it made me sick,” says J-500. 500 remembers, fleeing the city in a car piled up with eight people and having to speed past cops and the national guard members as they tried to keep them in the city. Trying to head east where bridges had collapsed and roads were closed, they headed west where they landed in Phoenix, AZ.
While Yung Skipa remained in the heart of the storm, having to stay in the Super Dome, where he said some of the most unthinkable things occurred. “I was just like fuck Bush for real, they were calling us refuges and dropping food off of helicopters to us like we weren’t human. I lost so many friends and everything I had, no one can imagine going through that. They put me on a bus, didn’t give me a choice on where I could go and brought me to Arizona with the clothes on my back and a Red Cross/ FEMA card for $1500,” as vividly remembered by Yung Skipa.
Undoubted Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of hundreds of thousands, but the Gwap Boyz used the trauma as an experience, a survival mechanism they clearly grew from. After Katrina, they were all together again and able to share a love of music, with the help of their father they formed a label and began the saga of making it in one of the hardest and most competitive industries in the world, music!
At ages 20, 23 and 24 with rhythmical melodies who fans say remind them of a mixture of T.I, Juvenille and Fabulous. Gwap Boyz style is one that can’t easily be duplicated. The groups influences range from Master P to Lil Wayne to Micheal Jackson. The extraordinary mixture of styles from their predecessors should let you know that with the Gwap Boyz you are in for a treat. In early 2007 Gwap Boyz recorded their first major compilation song “Gas Gone Up,” a song that spoke about the crazy direction in which the world was headed. Their style and presence has not gone unnoticed as the Gwap Boyz have worked on over 50 projects and performed at sold out shows with hip-hop stars: TI, Young Jezzy and Lil’ Wayne in cities: Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix, Atlanta and Dallas. In 2008 they put out their first CD , titled Money in Gwaps, which like one of their influences Master P, they sold out of their trunk across the south. Selling over 10,000 copies the Gwap Boyz were soon heard on airwaves across the south most notably in Houston and New Orleans.
The Gwap Boyz music posses a mix of over-the-top materialism and lyrics that continue to relive that thick Big Easy slang into the mainstream vernacular that his hip-hop. Matched with a nimble of playfulness their raps and the extraordinary futuristic in house productions of J 500 and a new artist on the label 19 year old Nova Get Em’, the Gwap Boyz seem to have it all. Both Nova Get Em’ and J 500 are masters in codifying the Southern bounce sound which has effectively became the most significant rhythmic innovator in recent years. However, their music isn’t just stagnant in the southern styles of some of their influences, they have music for everyone.
“We have songs for the ladies of course, but also for the streets, commercial music and everyone. That’s why I look up to TI, even though he raps about the streets, he was able to take it to another level, and see commercial success,” says the youngest member Stixz.
The voice, the swag and the in-house family production reminiscent of the Jackson 5 is what makes the Gwap Boyz future hip hop stars.
“We watch what we say, and we don’t just say anything because people listen, rap is just rhythm and poetry and we got it,” says J 500.
The musical content in the lyrics of Gwap Boyz are undoubted to reign supreme in the rap game. Artists who are heartfelt, charismatic, and true stand- up guys have to gain the respect of the world outside of the south. The future is bright for the multi-talented group that is the Gwap Boyz whose in-house beats are incredible, being noted by one of their favorite artist Juvenille and rhymes that are tantalizing, with feedback from DJ’s around the country that these boys are the next group up. Get familiar with the Gwap Boyz they are here to stay.