Gee Dubs Interview
Gee Dubs doesn’t just rhyme to a track. He destroys it, lets it get back together, and then destroys it again just for good measure. Peep this dope interview with the Queens product and hit the Audio Page to hear his latest.
You’ve been on the grind for a few years, consistently putting out quality music. What’s it been like for you seeing more fans catching on to your movement?
It’s been good, man. It’s been a grind, really. As far as that, what I learned about this game is that it’s all about networking and who you know and just keeping those relationships with people. I’m really just hands on with the craft. That’s what I got into this shit to do. I didn’t get into this to play the politics. As far as that goes, all my connections that I have, I’m cool with different people and I came across a lot of different people, but those are different connections and they have their different connections. It’s been good. I like the shit. I like making music. That’s the main thing. I don’t really like all the extra shit that comes with it, but I like making music. I like writing, I like being in the studio, and I like listening to fly beats. That’s what I got into this shit for. And as far as people catching on, it’s good to get recognition for the work that you put in.
You mentioned that you enjoy making music but don’t enjoy the political side of the game. How much of your time, as an indie artist, is spent doing things you don’t necessarily love, like checking email and networking?
I mean, in this day and age with the music, that’s the majority of it. It’s no longer about the music and how much skills you have. It’s really all about the relationships. What you know and who you know will determine how long you stay there. That’s really playing the politics part of it. I’m just more old-fashioned with my approach to the music. A lot of people look at this now, and I was talking about this with my people, if you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, you could easily sell drugs or rob something. For me, I got into this shit to relieve what was in me. I just love to write. That’s what I do. As far as all the politics, it’s beneficial when someone else catches on and loves your music. But as far as the music, I would rather it be an organic thing because of the skills and they love what I do, not because of all the ass I had to kiss. I just try to stay focused on the music. Nowadays it’s all about marketing and shit. If you got a couple dollars and you make some good music and get it out there, and if people catch onto it, they catch onto it. But for me, I do this for me first. I appreciate the people who really support me because I know they’re supporting me and I know they’re not supporting anything else around me but me. I appreciate that more than any of the other shit going on.
Johnny Walker from Cold Heat is the one who put me on to your music. How’d you link up with him?
At this point, we’re not doing too much work with each other, but as far as how we met, I did a Webster Hall show at the end of 2011, early 2012, something like that, and that’s pretty much how I met him. We knew some mutual people prior to that. But he was at the show, he liked what I was doing, and we exchanged contacts and started doing some work. Since then, I think I did three or four of his beats. Three of them are out already, it’s the one featuring Jak Danielz and Blacastan called “Microphone” featuring DJ JS-1 on the scratches, “Chemical Mix,” and he also just produced the last single I put out called “Built Like This.”
You guys definitely have great chemistry on the tracks. One thing I really enjoy about your music is how well you can adapt to a variety of beats while still being Gee Dubs. How does a Gee Dubs song come together?
It’s pretty much like you said, man. The beat kind of tells me what to do and where to go. I listen to the beat and when it comes on, I see different things. I see patterns and I see colors. J-Love can tell you about that. He has thousands of beats and he plays 500 beats at each sit in. He’ll tell you that I say, “I see this, I see that,” when the beat plays. I’m not one-dimensional either, where other artists just like certain beats like something jazzy all the time or something uptempo all the time. I already know what I got in my arsenal and know what I need to re-up on. It’s really what the beat tells me to do. I put it on paper and sometimes, when it comes to making the shit, I never go in with the mindset that I need a bridge here and a hi-hat there. I sit down and whatever comes out, comes out. The joint I did with you for HipHopGame was a 32 bar verse with a hook. That’s what that beat told me to do. Go with the flow and that’s how you’ll always get something organic with the music. I just listen to the music and whatever the beat tells me to do is what I do.
You mentioned J-Love. Can you talk about your project with him?
Yeah, it’s called Hands on Ice. It doesn’t have a definite date yet, but we’re 95% done with the recording. I just have to tighten a few screws here and there and then it goes to the mixing process.
I’ve heard he can be pretty meticulous in the studio. What’s it been like for you?
It’s real easy. That’s the best way to put it. To me, J-Love is a Queens vet. He’s been around for a lot of years and I’ve always been a fan of his instrumentals. When we first got up, he was at that same Webster Hall show and I guess he took a liking to what I was doing. We got in the studio and he was with one of his artists that he works with, Prince Original, and we were just kicking it, smoking and vibing out to some beats. Whatever he’s putting on, I’m rhyming over. Prince Original just came out and said my flow was just meant for that type of beats, that it was a perfect match. I’ve always felt the same way and J-Love gave me that look that said, ‘Fuck around and let’s do a project.’ We work once, twice a week, sometimes more than that. We get in the studio, roll up a little weed, talk, and bullshit. That’s the thing with a lot of people, man. They try to do albums with people but they send stuff on email and you can feel that there’s no chemistry there. The chemistry with J-Love is already there. We’ll talk for hours and just sit there and build on certain things and then when it’s time to get the beats on, this guy’s been doing it for so long. He’s got beats that I’ve heard from ‘96 and ‘97 and you couldn’t even tell the difference. I’m honored to be working with him and expect a dope album.
Are you working on any other projects besides Hands on Ice?
I’m not one of those cats that likes to overfill my plate with a bunch of shit. I like to hone in on what needs to be done at that time. I’m just doing Hands on Ice but of course I’m still doing side recordings of different things. I put out a free LP in 2012 with Mike Cali and Mike Chops, who produced two joints on there. That was AM Shift. AM Shift wasn’t always the title of the free LP. it was a duo of me and Mike Cali. People can expect more AM Shift. Cali is really my in-house producer from day one. You can always expect new music from the AM Shift and that’s pretty much the next project after the J-Love project. And my man in the Bronx, he goes by the name of Silent Someone. He and I are definitely linking up and we’ll put out an EP or something. We got some chemistry. He’s a real cool cat and a family man. He’s always sent me beats, real to the core and real organic beats. It’s in the same vein of what I do so it’s definitely inevitable for him and me to get together. I definitely have some tracks with him but I don’t want to predict the future too much but you can hear a lot with me and those two producers in the future.
What have you been listening to on your iPod?
Honestly, you can catch me riding around the city bumping 107.5, WBLS. Old soul records fill my iPod. I love what I used to hear in the crib, what my moms put me on to when I was younger. That’s what I listen to the most. As far as hip-hop goes, it’s the cats that got me into this in the first place, like Nas, MF Doom, the early Mobb Deep era. Pretty much that Golden Era of hip-hop, the people that stayed true to the form.
I also want to give a big shout out to HipHopGame. It’s one of the few sites that was real early on with documenting the hip-hop culture and putting it on the internet for people to see. What I respect about it, being that I’m still an avid reader of the site, it’s real easy now to get a 1080p camera and just sit in front of a motherfucker and talk and people are in their underwear just watching a million fucking videos. What I like is that you guys are sticking to your format and making cats read the interview of their favorite artist. I feel like people don’t use their brain and I appreciate the format you guys have and I’m glad that you guys reached out and I’m excited to be a part of the relaunch. Big ups to HipHopGame. I’ve been a fan of the site for years.