Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Rappers are known to quantify their success and their statue. They like giving everyone verbal status reports of there they stand - how much money they have in their sock drawer, how many cars they have, how much weed they smoke, how many broads they hook up with and how clever they are in turning phrases and making other phrase turners seem like dickheads. There's also a very healthy obsession with talking about unsuccessfully grinding it out, trying to make ends meet, still hoping that they'll be able to brag some day. It's not likely going to stop them from looking the part in the interim, but the reality is months of unpaid utility bills. Huntsville, Alabama, hip hop group G-Side makes a point of talking about the potential of their lights or water being turned off at any old random time due to their delinquency. They also sound like they're doing everything they can do to pull themselves out of their poverty. They seem to be conspiring against the shit-talking ladies in their lives, who see them only as dreamers instead of breadwinners. They wonder how they can call themselves real rappers if they don't have a deal. Apparently, these ladies have never heard of indie rap, or indie anything. They'd like to see the dollar signs and the feeling's mutual, but the members of G-Side have a firm grasp on the specifics of economy. They speak about being compared to Outkast at one point on their latest album, "The One…Cohesive," and about how that couldn't be a more apt comparison, as they're treated like real outcasts. They've been hated on and doubted for so long - by the hoes, by the fellas - that they've learned to stifle their most boisterous claims, though they still keep them close, as principle and guidance. They are working men, doing what they have to in a crazy fucking world. They sound as if they read long books and they're as street-versed as you could ever hope to be, all of it giving their tales of sunken spirits and deflated dreams - though many of which aren't being forgotten at all - the right splash of perseverance. The difference between those in G-Side and other rappers is that it doesn't seem like it's all as a front for a money grab, but more of a need to make just enough to have the lights on in their homes and food on the table. It's more about the craftsmanship of the writing and the music. They rap, "Ride by my lonesome cause your fellas ain't your fellas," and it's seems like the kind of melancholia that we pluck from indie rock songs, not from Southern hip-hoppers. It's touching and it's personal. It's the kind of real, non-showy rap that makes you want to give them a hug and tell them that everything's going to be alright, even if you're not sure it will be. They explain, "I'm 'cross seas doing big things/They say big money talks/So when I talk I make sure I scream/Niggas jealous, I'm just tryin' to feed my fam/The hoes say I'm stupid cause I do it with no hands." It's less of a brag than a mission statement and it's one that anyone could get behind.