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ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Catches up with Pasadena artist Gangsta Ric as he tells us about his Life Struggles and Passion for Music
ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Catches up with Pasadena artist Gangsta Ric as he tells us about his Life Struggles and Passion for Music
Mistah Wilson: Yo, Gangsta Ric thanks for coming through for this exclusive
Gangsta Ric: What up thanks for having me, been a fan ever since I first seen your magazine since I am in the music scene and a born and raised
native. Business as usual working hard and pushing my music projects. Pasadena
Mistah Wilson: It’s an honor having you here with us today! Before we go any further, can you give us a quick background of yourself?
Gangsta Ric: A quick background on myself, Born and raised in Pasadena, grew up in Altadena on corner of Woodbury and Lincoln. Raised by a single mom with 4 kids on public assistance. My father was in and out of jail my whole life and an illegal immigrant from Mexico so also always getting deported (Music was the only father I ever had; it let me know what was going on out front). Grew up with family all living nearby my uncles across the street, who where in original Pasadena Gangs and one was murdered in a drive by on Fair Oaks Ave, another serving life in prison, another passed away recently from over dosing on drugs, and my lil cuzin in and out of prison for the past 10 years. So these are all big influences in my life that I grew up around and learned a lot of my street game from. I remember my uncle cooking up rocks on my kitchen stove. But my momz regardless taught us how to respect and have courtesy and be positive people. My momz had me playing baseball in the little league at
. I played for 6 years even made all stars teams; I was one of the best 1st baseman and hitters. Just before Junior High my momz remarried and my new step father moved us out the hood to the suburbs of Victory Park La Verne (right next to Pomona) for 6 years. It was a big change in my life I told my momz were moving to “TV Land” because I didn’t know such nice places really existed I just thought places like that were on TV only. Finally got a taste of the finer things in life new clothes new shoes that were name brand not second hand or off brand. I remember telling my momz “ooo the kids gonna get in trouble they left their bikes on the front grass”, my mom said “no son they don’t steal bikes around here you can leave yours outside too”. So a lot of changes that most people that ain't grew up in a hood wouldn't even think twice about and it tripped me out. Unfortunately the good material life style came with a big price of a new step dad, who was a Vietnam War Veteran with a grenade shell still stuck in his head, a coke addict and hard alcoholic. So needless to say I took a lot of beatings in junior high, got so bad I remember my 6th grade summer I wasn’t allowed to go outside and play because my momz was worried someone would see and report the bruises and lumps on my face and head from the beatings. He also made me quit playing baseball, made me walk everyday from school that was 3 miles away. When I finally hit high school 9th grade I hit the streets hard, ran with everyone from the hood, cuz simply that's where I got love from and treated right. Which then lead to me selling drugs, gang fights, getting shot at multiple times, using drugs, partying, failing school etc. To sum that up, I was 15 years old with a countless misdemeanors such as drunk in public, school fights, documented as a gang member, and a Felony and 1st Strike facing 15 months in Juvenile Hall and formal probation, hospitalized from crooked cops jumping me badly and saying I was jumped by rival gangs, Expelled from multiple schools and forced to go to continuation high school which worked out better for me. After 9th grad my abusive step dad went to jail for 6 months and my mom saw that as her chance to escape and get us away from him, so we packed up lost the nice house and moved back home to Pasadena. She didn’t want us kids in Pasadena public schools because they were so bad and cuz of my lifestyle and knew it would be bad news for me, so my last 3 years of high school my mom drove us out to La Verne everyday for school. By the time I hit 12th grade I had gone through a lot of counseling required by my probation and court orders, so I got serious about school and made sure I graduated that last year, it was a lot of work but I did it, I was proud even though I was not allowed to walk in the graduation ceremony because “I was a threat and a deadly target” that the school did not allow me to be present during the graduation ceremony for the safety of all the other students. Anyway after high school I worked regular jobs and still did my thing with the homiest kind of slipping back to old ways, then I got into a bad car accident that messed up my back up which left me paralyzed for 2-3 weeks. Since I couldn’t work unloading trucks anymore as I was before, I got different duties at work and decided to enroll myself to a Vocational College ( Bryman College in Alhambra) for a 9 month program in Business Administration. So I worked full time and went to school full time, this left me no time to be on the streets and started changing my ways and goals, I’m not going to lie, I would be on break with the security guard at college I was smoking weed, getting drunk with the teacher and classmates, I cheated through a lot of the testing but I learned all the assignments and educated myself. Once I graduated my life changed, I got a better job in downtown Los Angeles doing office work which was so easy and boring but making way more money, I bought myself a brand new ride and was geared up. Still partying but not so much gang Fontana for 6 years, after 2 kids and 5 years of marriage it went sour, and we separated, but after I almost got murdered, we tried to work it out again. I was almost murdered at a backyard party event that took place in Pomona with people I went to high school with, (the odd thing was I almost got murdered a couple years after I had stop gang banging) but things happen. Unexpectedly because of someone else I had just signed to my label, 6-10 guys came at me from behind blindsiding me knocking me out unconscious with hard alcohol bottles, turned me face up, beat me with yard tools shovels etc, to my head.. for a good 10 minutes, then drug my body out to the middle of the street to run me over but swerved last second. Anyway a friend drove my unconscious 6’1” 265lb body to the hospital in Loma Linda to the Trauma Center, I was in ICU for 4 long days, in a coma, the docs told my wife I either won’t make it, or ill be a vegetable, and she would have to later decide to pull the plug or keep me alive but unconscious. Unexpectedly I awoke fully responsive, all the docs said they never seen anyone survive the injuries I had and I better thank god because I am one lucky s.o.b.. I replied with “I drink alotta milk that’s why my skull hard and protects me”. When I looked in the mirror my head was 3 times its normal size, my face was all messed up with cuts black eyes swollen jaw and mouth. I did not recognize myself, all I could think about was my 2 daughters and how I never want to leave them and thank god everyday that they didn’t lose their dad that day. It took 5 months on bed rest and lot of medication just for me to recover enough to get my memory back (I had lost a lot of my memory temporarily) and to be back on my feet, and another year after that to learn to talk normal respond normally to any conversation instead of slow responses, and to walk again without help, I have now made a full recovery 4 years later (all though I only have some permanent memory loss, can’t go on rollercoaster rides or do anything that involves a lot of movement/shaking to my head etc. or else I can slip back into a coma again and not wake). I would never put my loved ones through that again. So I dropped everyone around me, and now if I ever get killed again, it will only be for myself or my family, never for “homies” cuz there ain’t no such thing in the world as a true homie. I trust no one and never will. I have been in and out of jail myself several times for assault on officer etc.., even prison just because of overcrowding at county jails, but I handled mine and of course rolled with my southsiders, but I was determined not to be like my father, I was determined to be there for my kids and give my kids a home and everything they need, and more than anything the love they need from both their mom and dad. So still to this day I practice that hard with my 4 kids. I’ll do anything to keep my kids out the lifestyle I lived and make them happy at home and want to be home and not out in these twisted
Mistah Wilson: I’m sure you do more than just rap. If I’m correct, you also make some of your own beats and design some of your own banners and flyers?
Gangsta Ric: Correction, I do not make my own beats, that’s probably about the only thing I don’t do (yet). I do all my own artwork designs, (Flyers, banners, album covers, ads, mobile phone app design) and more… I do everything myself because I hold everything I do to a high standard and I’m very picky and a perfectionist. I can easily pay someone else to do it for me, but I won’t like it and their heart ain’t into my work as mine is. My new album that’s out, I created the covers front to back, CD print, and everything in it. I also record, and engineer all my own music in my home studio (pro tools 8 – Mac). After I finish engineering a song I do send it off to professional mastering, because quality is huge to me, I only want to hear the best possible and give you the best quality possible.
Mistah Wilson: First off, I want to talk about your debut album “Keep It G”. I’ve been following the video shoots and everything and it’s finally here! Tell me a little about what went into this project because I remember you saying that it was completely designed by you…
Gangsta Ric: “Keep it G” (the street album) Double Disc CD+DVD, I released Sept 13th 2014 hard copies only and it will be up on iTunes shortly. What went into this project? Well to start off, this is my very first album ever, and has been 3 years in the making. I wrote and recorded over 150 songs, and only 13 made the cut onto this album. As I stated earlier I write record and engineer my own songs, then get them professionally mastered. Also it comes with a self created DVD which I'll get into later. As for the music, I have great features of artist I grew up on, and lots of new talent. You are guaranteed to like at least one song on the album no matter which walk of life you come from, as I kept it well rounded: Was this completely designed by you? Yes, I designed all the artwork from the covers, to the CD prints; this took a lot of self teaching, a lot of trial and error,
Mistah Wilson: This is really more than just a debut album. It actually comes with a DVD! What inspired you to create a double-disc product?
Gangsta Ric: Yes, this debut album is double disc which includes a DVD called “G-RIC TV” based on my YouTube channel. The DVD includes, 2 music videos both shot by producer LA Hitman, Live performances at cancer benefit car shows, club performances etc, my Home Studio Session Footage, and of shout outs to G-RIC music from supporters and fans (so you can see whose bumping my music already) I love to give back to my fans and share them with you. This DVD may not be the most professional quality, but is self created with my own camera men, allowing you to see me live. What inspired me to bring a double disc product? Considering the fact that I am a “new” artist, I want you to get to know me and feel me; I am a real person and am out here doing real things. So I brought a product that allowed you to not only hear my music and stories, but also to See who Gangsta Ric is, and see what I’m out here doing, so you can be part of it one day. Basically my goal with this double disc album is, if you don’t know who Gangsta Ric is – which most people don’t yet, I guarantee you, you will know who Gangsta Ric is after bumping my CD and watching my DVD.
Mistah Wilson: Tell me about the some of the collaborations and features on the album.
Gangsta Ric: Collaborations on the “Keep it G” album: I have lots of great collaborations on this album. First let me start off with the pretty girl on the front cover, my singer Mz. Jova, She sings on almost half of the songs, even has her own song on my album featuring myself “These Guyz”. She is my wife’s sister, and is very loyal only working on my projects and no one else’s per her choice.
Mistah Wilson: Have you collaborated with any artists from Pasadena?
Gangsta Ric: I have collaborated with “J-Real” of Pasadena, young singer/dancer who was in the hip hop game as well. I used to run into him at Kings clothing shop on Washington all the time where we would sometimes record, also my ex brother in-law JC Aquil was his best homie for a while so he’d be at my pad sometimes. We linked up on a track which did not make the album, but he’s really good at what he does with his light unique voice. I would like to work with more Pasadena artist, I just never go looking for people to feature just if it happens it happens is how I do it.
Mistah Wilson: Now, that I finally got you here I want to ask you about the Cali So Dope video shoot. If I’m not mistaken, it took quite a few months to get all the prospective scenes. I also remember seeing one of the Lowriders with you getting pulled over by the police lol what was that about?
Gangsta Ric: Cali So Dope music video shoot. Yes, it was shot by LA Hitman who needed to test out new video equipment, cameras etc… So I brought him here to our lovely city of roses. I brought out the car club “Pasadena Hightimes” & “LA’s Finest”. I also brought out my camera guys, and my “G-RIC Girls” (one being my Wife Yadira G.) So it did take several different days of shooting, which including shooting at the Pasadena Rose bowl, Suicide Bridge, Old Town, Altadena on Woodbury. Yes in my music video you will see one of the Lowriders getting pulled over, this was because we rolled through Old Town, anyone from Pasadena knows they like to keep us “locals” away from old town to not scare off the tourist. So on the last block of old town we were about to dip out and boom they lit up one of the low lows, right before that they pulled up to the rag top glass house I was rollin in, and told me to put on my seat belt, lol. Because the other lowrider’s tags were out of date (which the president of the car club said he shouldn’t of brought out the low low in the first place due to that), the cops actually impounded his lowrider on site on Los Robles and Colorado, and also took him into the Pasadena Jail right then and there for intoxication. Lucky for
Mistah Wilson: The thing I respect the most about the video is that you were really out there shootin it. I mean, like, really swangin’ tha lac’ on tha Suicide Bridge. No green screen necessary. Would you say “Cali So Dope” is the official single off the album?
Gangsta Ric: Thank you I’m glad that you respect the fact I was really out in these Pasadena streets shooting my video, I take pride in my beautiful city and love to
Mistah Wilson: What was the most challenging thing you had to do in order to make this project come together?
Gangsta Ric: The hardest thing I had to do to make this album come together? Was I had to believe in myself, and pull all these resources together, from car clubs, to beats, to studio equipment, and so much more. It took some time due to the fact I work full time and have 4 kids, so I made it happen on the side because it’s my passion, and in a way, it seemed like the more music I produced and put out, the more things “fell into my lap”. It was a lot of hard work, hours of blood and sweat, sleepless nights, learning, failing, and pushing to succeed. And this album came from my heart, so there was no stopping me.
Mistah Wilson: The thing that strikes me is that you’ve done quite a bit of work even before releasing this album. What was the vision for “Keep It G”?
Gangsta Ric: Yes, I’ve recorded easily over 150 songs to create this 13 song album. My vision for “Keep it G”, was to bring you not only the best music of mine from beginning to end, but also a well rounded album. Meaning that you can skip to a song if you wanna hear sum gangster as G shit banging music, or you can skip to a song to bump when you rolling with a lady that your hella feeling and feeling good with. So my vision was to bring you an album that you can hear all sides of me as a human, from gang banging, to lovin’ a female, to bettering myself while
Mistah Wilson: What would you say your favorite track is off the album?
Gangsta Ric: I would say right now, my favorite track is #1 “Suspect” featuring Jasper Loco, simply because it takes me back to the fun days when I used to gang bang, hoping fences running from the cops, going to the hide out, and I as you listen to that song you feel like you’re there doing it with me, I take you on that trip lyrically painting a picture for you so you can be part of the action. One of my realist tracks I’ve done so far.
Mistah Wilson: So, give me some info on your performances and stuff. What venues have you performed at and how was the experience?
Gangsta Ric: I have performed at many shows over the last 2 years. Including cities such as my own Pasadena (club Terrace), Whittier (green turtle), Downey (stardust), Riverside (the vibe), Moreno Valley (el rodeo), Pomona (house
Mistah Wilson: Are you currently rocking with any management or label or are you still moving independently?
Gangsta Ric: I am 100% independent. I am currently under my own homegrown unofficial label called “On Lock Ent”. I choose to push my own music because I can finance it myself, I can do it myself, and why let anyone dig in my pockets when I can do a better job than them? Also I am not a mainstream rapper my shit will never be on the radio (all though 99.1fm KGGI in IE wanted to play “My Drop” on the radio and asked me to radio edit it which I never did (which I regret till this day), my music is strictly for those who share the same mentality as me.
Mistah Wilson: So, you have you own official mobile app! A lot of independent artists don’t think on this level. What made you get one?
Gangsta Ric: Yes, I have my own Mobile Phone App for smart phones (Androids & iPhones) called “Gangsta Ric” and it’s free for everyone. I actually got my Phone App made about 2 years ago, I seen it as a service that “Reverb Nation” offered. I said wow, everything is on mobile phones now as appose to desktop computers, everyone on their face book and social sites through their phones. And everything else is heading that way, so I’m going to take advantage of this before anyone else does. So I paid for the yearly service, and till this day it’s my best investment I ever made, today right now 31,283 people have my Mobile App installed on their phones across the world. It allows you to play any of my songs, watch my music videos, view my photos, and see my show schedule and buy tickets directly from your phone. So this was easily the best investment I ever made. Most artists I hear say “that cost too much”, well truth is you’ll only invest in yourself as much as you think your worth. After every show I hand out flyers of my mobile app, at shows, car shows, music stands, events, anywhere I possibly can. And the reaction I get is “wow you have your own mobile app”, yup sure do even your favorite commercial artist don’t have one, but Gangsta Ric does.
Mistah Wilson: Who are some musical influences that have inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Gangsta Ric: Musical Influences? I can name the day artist and song that made me fall in love with music and open eyes and make since of what I was seeing outside. Ever since I heard Eazy-E’s “Real Muthaphuckin Gs”, it was a wrap. I had an
Mistah Wilson: So, tell me about some of the things you got coming up. What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
Gangsta Ric: Near Future? I am still finalizing Keep it G and will do a final release soon onto iTunes and other internet mainstream shops. My next big project is a music video I’m going to shoot to “Feelin You”, It will be different then my last 2 music videos and on a much higher level, I am flying a producer out from Texas to shoot and produce it, because his quality is over the top and fits my vision. Once I set the date booking his flight, I will then schedule my models, cars, Kozme and everything else I need to provide for a great video. I am also working on writing a commercial to promote “Keep it G” and my Mobile App, to help spread my music a lot further on cable TV channels to start with, and also on a chain shoe store in the malls will be playing the commercial thousands of times a day across the country. I will also be booking shows soon across all the states along the west coast, a mini tour to perform in as many cities as possible handing out free merchandise. Also I am designing new “Gangsta Ric Women’s Tops” for the females to rock and look sexy in while repping this new music. I also am looking into getting a promo car with a car wrap to promote my new album. So I have a lot on my plate that I am working with to accomplish what I set out to do, and with no assistance all self created self written self designed. Whatever you see is 100% Gangsta Ric.
Mistah Wilson: Do you have any positive, encouraging words for any up-and-coming artists who are interested in becoming a musician?
Gangsta Ric: I’m going to say it like this, don’t try to be like your favorite rapper, or anybody else. Do you, because simply no one can do you better than you. And the rest will follow. Also, don’t get in this game for the wrong reasons, you think your gonna rap and make money and pull females? Not even, the music game has changed a lot, everybody and their baby mamas rap. People can go and get their
Mistah Wilson: Where can people find your music online?
Gangsta Ric: Everything of mine can be found in one location. (www.GangstaRic.com)
Mistah Wilson: Yo, Gangsta Ric it’s been a pleasure having you here for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock Magazine! We’ll be following ya’. If you got any shout outs, now’s tha time to drop em’!
Gangsta Ric: First off shout out to WilsonBlock Magazine for having me today and recognizing real work. Honored to be here. Big s/o to my wife who helped me make my dreams come true with this music. S/o to all my true supporters and fans who bump my music loudly and submit fan pics and video shout outs. S/o to everyone that ever took the time out they day to collaborate with me. S/o to the
Monday, October 6, 2014
Our dream is to shoot for the stars, watching out for all roadblocks and speed bumps on our road to success.
SOKG Entertainment and Production Company Milwaukee,Bay Area music group with dreams of pursuing dreams. Our goal is to impress the people and accumulate funds for our group and any sponsor or investor who believes. SOKG is broken down into many subgroups representing the acronym SOKG
Later in success we plan to introduce the world to more talents like comedy, which will bring us ShowOutKomedians
SOKG plans to be beneficial all over the world. As far as our community we plan to show lots of corporate social responsibility.
When we formed SOKG oursenior year in high school, attending Antioch high School in Antioch Ca. we basically just fed off of MacDre's Hyphy movement
But back to the entertainment of SOKG ENT.
SOKG seeks the help that would help us distribute our product, we need a lending hand that understands the struggle, not only the struggle but the drive on our road to success.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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