You’ve dropped three quality installments of The Haze Diaries. Are you happy with the response you’ve gotten so far?
Yeah. We’re happy with the reception. We’ve been doing them just to do them as fun giveaway projects. Me and Quickie Mart decided we were going to do it and give it away for free. We figured why not give them enough stuff for free so that when we do start selling it they’ll support?
It seems like that’s what’s been happening.
Did you ever have any reservations about giving away free music?
That was always the plan from the beginning. We never planned to sell any Haze Diaries. And it started ot move really quickly where we realized we were at the point where we could start to sell and we did that. You never know what the next one will be. We can always change up and we don’t get scared about giving shit out for free.
Have these mixtapes gotten you on fans’ radar?
Yeah. For me, it definitely put me on people’s radars and I think the quality of music as well has been a big thing. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean we’re going to lack on the quality. It’s always going to be the same quality. And we feel like people now know who we are, we feel like we’re getting on the radar. And we have to give a shout out to our PR people Jess Webber and James Dunn, who are getting our names to the masses.
Each project has seen you working with bigger and bigger names. At what point did you realize you could pull well-known artists?
It all goes back to making quality music. We do songs with the homies. So everybody you hear on the Haze Diaries project is somebody that I have a relationship with that isn’t necessarily based on the music or it started on the music and we turned into homies. Buff1 and Freddie Gibbs and Tunji are the homies. We do music together and it just comes out like that. I was never at a point in my career where I felt like I couldn’t hang with them. When it got to the point where it was time to do a song, it never felt like I wasn’t ready. Quickie Mart was always in my ear telling me I had bars too.
How did you and Quickie Mart meet?
He’s my dawg. We met through a mutual friend. We both lived in Austin, Texas for a time. We linked up that way. He produces most of my stuff. On Haze Diaries, he produced 80% of all the songs.
Is it ever a challenge to work creatively with someone you’re also friends with?
I wouldn’t call it a struggle, but there’s times when we get into arguments and blow ups like everybody else. But we’re cool. We’re smokers. We get in there and get to work.
What’s it like working with Josh the Goon?
Oh, man, Josh the Goon, he brings out the grimy Gotham Green. He takes me back to when I was a teenager running around New York, acting bad. Quickie Mart is more a soulful dude and Josh the Goon is more straight raw and wants to destroy the beat or this person or this concept and get fucked up and kill shit.
You gotta have both sides.
My whole thing is this: Put me in a room with whoever and I’m always going to be myself. It just depends on what side of me you’re going to see.
You talk about smoking weed throughout your songs. Can you hang with the O.G. weedheads?
I challenge anyone, rapper or non-rapper, to a smoking contest any day of the week. I’ll challenge anybody.
I’m not a smoker, so I’m still confused as to how a smoking contest works.
You just bring as much chronic as you can find and you just smoke. If you can’t continue, you are DQ’d. If you turn something down or you fall asleep or any of that, you’re done.
Are you allowed to bring your own snacks or do you have to all eat the same snacks?
We can get some food ordered. It ain’t no thing. We can get Rosco’s Chicken and Waffles to sponsor it if we’re on the West Coast or someplace else on the East Coast. It ain’t no thang.
Can you hang with Snoop and Method Man?
I can hang with anybody! I’ve been smoking for 15 years. I’m good! I smoked way before I started rapping. You’d be surprised though, with all the rappers I meet. They’ll have a record about smoking and drinking and they don’t do any of that.
That’s gotta be almost as disappointing as finding gangsta rappers that don’t kill people.
(laughs) I’ll tell you straight up – I’ve lived in L.A. for a few years and it’s never a good feeling when you meet people you look up to. In your head you build them up to be the greatest person in the world and then you meet them and it’s disappointing. Out there everybody is trying to be something so you wouldn’t be surprised to run into cats that aren’t what they claim, but the cats I hang out with are exactly what they say they are.
Coming from Long Island, I’m assuming you’ve spent some time at the Jersey Shore. Have you ever thought of auditioning for the show?
I don’t know man! (laughs) I don’t think I’d make it. I’m brown. I don’t think they’d let that slide. I can go get a fake tan just to see about it. I might do it now. I didn’t think about it now, but I might have to do it just for kicks! If HipHopGame sponsors my Jersey Shore demo, I’ll do it!
Fuck it, let’s do it. I’ll take some time off from my life to do it. They’d have to let me smoke though.
What’s been your coolest experience in the game so far?
Man, there’s been so many. It’s just cool ot meet these cats where you grew up listening to. I’ve been immersed in this game my whole life. I shared the stage with Raekwon. I’ve been listening to him since I was 13 and I’m 28 now. I shared the stage with Black Milk and he’s one of the dopest MCs. I just love the live shows. Watching Freddie rap is dope. I don’t know, man. I see them all.
You used to be known as Mr. Green. Why did you switch names?
Because Pacewon and Mr. Green started blowing up. I went back to my government name and kept the “Green.” I thought this dude was already doing his thing and I didn’t want any confusion on his end or on my end. My name wasn’t ringing that heavy at the time to where if I changed it it was going to make a lot of trouble for me.
You have a lot of fun on Haze Diaries. Will your album go in that same direction?
Haze Diaries is a smoker’s getaway. If you’re a smoker and you just want to chill for an hour, put on Haze Diaries and you’ll have a blast. Child of an Immigrant, my album, is more focused on my upbringing and growing up in Long Island, where it’s primarily white or black, depending on what area you’re in. There will always be that fun element of lightness that I bring to the table. I don’t ever take myself too seriously. You’re not going to be listening to lectures. That’s not what I do. It’s going to be fun. I’m not here to be your teacher. This is not school. Music is art. It’s supposed to be something you can do to have fun in your downtime. I don’t want to take you through a process where it’s not fun for you to listen and it’s not fun to make it. Cats do what they do but I do what I do and I’m having fun and enjoying the ride as it comes. We’re not really going to change the game too much.
What kind of a deal are you looking for today?
Am I happy with where I’m at? Yes. Would I look into other situations? Yes. I’m not against signing a piece of paper with a team that’s down to progress our situation together. I’m no dummy and I’m not going to sign the first thing that comes my way. Would I like to be on MTV Jams and featured on XXL and all of that stuff? Yes. Have I chipped away at doing that as it comes? Yes. I’m not going to close any doors until I actually get to them. We take it as it comes.
Who would you like to work with next?
Oh, man. I’d like to work with who I think could actually work and we could do some good stuff together, right now I’m in the process of getting Currency on a joint and Wiz Khalifa is somebody that I would be interested in doing a song with. I’m a big Joe Budden fan. Shout out to Zach at Dice Music. Hopefully one day we can make that happen. As far as dream joints, Jay-Z would have to be at the top of the list. I would love to do a song with Raekwon and Joe Budden because of that situation and Jay-Z and Joe Budden. I would like to do a song with Big L, Biggie and Pun. I don’t even have to be on the song. I would just like to be in the session!
Where’s Gotham Green gonna be a year from now?
I want to continue the way it’s going. I want to be on XXL’s Freshman 2011. Nah, just joking. I want to be everywhere. When you open up magazines or whoever you are, I want you to read about Gotham Green. I want to hit Europe up this year and do a college tour. Shout out to college radio all over the country. They’re really supporting your boy right now and I want to do something for the colleges. I really just want people to support and tell me they like what I’m doing.