I took some time out to do a little interview of a rapper named Joy Gunz, a really great up and coming rapper from PA, check out the interview below:
Rahat: Alright bro why don't you give yourself just a little bit of an intro.
Joey Gunz: Aiight well My name is Joey Gunz, I'm 22. Born in the Bronx, but I'm currently a Lancaster, PA resident. I've been dabbling with music almost my whole life, and I feel as though I have the skill set to take it to the next level, so it's time to go hard.
Rahat: Good shit I'm from the Bronx myself, so how'd you get the name Joey gunz?
Joey Gunz: Well my name is Joey Gonzalez, but when I was younger I had a fascination with G.I. Joe's and guns lol. My uncle Dave used to call me Joe Cool, then it went from that to Joey Gunz.
Rahat: Interesting, how did you get into rap?
Joey Gunz: Growing up, I was raised in a very musical household. From salsa to meringue to reggae. My uncles actually got me into rap by playing me a bunch of records and showing me some old VHS' of DJ battles. I used to love listening to the music, but at first I wanted to be a DJ. From there around maybe at age 7-8 I wanted to start making the beats, but being that the equipment was so expensive and out of my reach I started writing my own little bullshit raps lol.
Rahat: lol So when did your "bullshit raps" make you start thinking you could start making your own songs and record them?
Joey Gunz: It took years from that point honestly. I got older and I used to be really into comic books and writing my own stories. The better my writing skills got, the more confident I got in using it in other aspects. I remember my cousin used to rap and she would give me beat tapes, like OG beat tapes on casettes lol...she encouraged me to write rhymes just because I was that good of a story teller out of all of us.
Rahat: Interesting you bring the story teller part up, would you consider yourself to be more of a rapper or a story teller?
Joey Gunz: I'd say at this point I've sharpened both skills. I used to be more of a story telling kind of guy that was heavy into concepts, but the more I would rap the more I wanted to explore for lack of a better phrase. I had something to prove so I kind of shied away from the story telling aspect and around 8th grade and well into my 11th grade year I was going hard with strictly bars and trying to deliver bangers. It took a while to realize that that kind of music wasn't really for anyone and in an attempt to try and make music for everyone, I started getting back into my stories and trying to bring my imagination back into the mix.
Rahat: Sounds good what kind of concepts do you like writing about the most?
Joey Gunz: I like flipping aspects of my past and trying to expand on them. I come from a broken home, my father was a pretty big drug kingpin, and my mother worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs to make sure we didn't go without. There have been times were there were certain things I wanted to rap about, but couldn't directly do it due to pending legal issues...so it turned into me writing stories using pieces of my life and weaving them together. A lot of the time it just depends on what the beat says to me. I have to have a deeper connection than "oh that beat goes hard," to spark that story telling mode in me.
Rahat: Cool, so as far as your beats go you mentioned earlier you wanted to make beats on your own when you were younger, what about now? Do you make your own beats or do you have producers who you get beats from?
Joey Gunz: I dabble in beat making, but for right now, I use a lot of beats from producers who I've connected with through various forms of social networking as well as forums. I have the skills to put beats together, but being that I'm so critical of my work, I want to sharpen them before I start putting stuff out and using them. I've showed some friends some of my work and they all enjoy it, but then again being that their friends, I'm not sure if it's being straight up, or if it’s just because we're that close. Then again I could be over thinking it. Nevertheless, I would like to learn how to play piano and step up my musical knowledge so I don't have to rely so heavily on sampling, especially since that’s a hindrance business wise. Don't get me wrong, I love samples and they're incredible when done right, but I don't like the idea of someone else knocking on my door and taking that huge of a percentage off top.
Rahat: Lol I know what you mean I don't like having samples in my own music either, do you feel it's easier now to make beats then it was when you first got into music?
Joey Gunz: From the technical aspect, hell yeah. I can slap together a beat pretty quickly. It's just the quality I'm more concerned with. Being that technology is so crazy nowadays that you can do damn near anything, you're faced with more choices. With all those choices come the 'work-flow killers'. I tend to get stuck on sound patches and drums and stuff whenever I sit down to make beats. I have a bunch of rough ideas, but they never sound as hot as they do in my head. I gotta work on that a bit more
Rahat: Gotcha, so what's your process when making a song, I like just listening to a beat over and over before I really start writing but what does your process go when you begin writing?
Joey Gunz: Pretty much the same honestly. I'll play a beat for about an hour or more. Sometimes I like to sit in the dark with my headphones on and just vibe. Other times I'll listen to beats on the way to and from work and freestyle in the car and try to use lines that I remember and build off them. It all depends on how I'm feeling that day. I used to just force myself to write daily when I was younger, but now certain moods dictate how and when I'll write.
Rahat: How much of what you write goes into the final song?
Joey Gunz: Sometimes all of it, sometimes I end up trashing a good amount of bars before I get the finished product. I tend to write line by line though. If I'm not feeling the bar I'm on, I'll delete and start over...If I like it, I'll keep it and just build. I try not to use filler lines
Rahat: Have you ever read back on something you wrote earlier and went "what the fuck was I thinking?"
Joey Gunz: LMAO all the time bro. I still have random really old songs from when I was like 15 and I must've been smoking some good, cuz I was really really delusional. Not really bar wise, but mainly content wise, like wtf.
Rahat: lol Good shit I'm actually listening to your SoundCloud right now any songs on there that you feel really proud of lyric-wise?
Joey Gunz: I would have to say Practice one, simply because that was a push style wise as well as lyrically. I got kind of comfortable in the past about how I wrote things, and that kind of broke the mold as far as how I would write.
Rahat: Yea I noticed that song seemed to be a little different from the others. I'm actually really liking that Lil Wayne impression you did
Joey Gunz: Hahah aw man thanks lol. I was sick and playing around with that auto-tune VST and that’s what came out of it haha.
Rahat: lol So are you working on any big projects, album/mixtape anything like that
Joey Gunz: Yeah actually I have a few on my plate at the moment. OBM Vol. 1 will be the Mixtape that’s closest to being done. I'm trying to follow that with a concept tape from the point of view of my father from rise to fall. Then I have an ongoing beat tape I'm working on that's just a side project right now until I can get to where I wanna be musically. Hope to sell some of those and probably keep some for myself.
Rahat: Good stuff how do you think you'll be distributing them? or too early to tell right now?
Joey Gunz: Yeah still kind of early...I had plans of pressing up a bunch and putting them on bandcamp as more of a "pay what you want" type of thing as well as hitting the streets out here and handing them off...I gotta see where I'm at financially though when I get to that point
Rahat: Sounds good bro looking forward to hearing it. Anything else you want to let everyone know?
I'm going extra hard with every song and if people are tired of the manufactured cookie cutter crap that’s being force fed to them, keep a close eye on me because I promise to keep it as real as possible.
Rahat: Alright bro thanks alot!
For those of you who want to check out Joey Gunz you can do so on the links mentioned above, also tune into the Underground Online Music player at the top of this page, we got Joey Gunz “Practice Freestyle” on rotation. Hope you enjoyed and check back for future interviews with more underground artists!