When Stephen Harris aka ST 2 Lettaz met David Williams aka Yung Clova at the Boys and Girls Club in Athens, Alabama, they never imagined they would come together to form the rap duo known as G-Side. Clova grew up in an area saturated in crime and drug activity known as Box Alley while ST grew up a street apart in Acklen Hill. Both young men endured many hardships throughout their childhood including poverty, lack of father figures, drug abuse within the family and even homelessness. ST found himself inside the foster care system for 3 years after losing his mother to thyroid cancer when he was 15. Nevertheless, through the struggles, pain and adversities they still found an outlet in music that gave them a positive enough outlook to stay motivated despite the odds surrounding them. Those very struggles empowered the duo to do something affirmative with their lives.
Influenced by rappers such as 8-Ball & MJG, UGK, Scarface, Outkast, Geto Boys, Master P and 2 Pac, in 1999, ST and Clova began to write, rap and perform together as G-Side. Eventually the two developed their own style of lyrics and delivery. ST focused on touching his fans with issues close to home related to his own struggles in life while Clova focused lyrically on the finer things to come. With an initial lack of confidence in the beginning, it took the advice of another local rapper named Lil’ Hunter to challenge the two impressionable youth enough to evolve into both strong performers and men.
Over the years, Clova and ST began to work on their craft. After several unanswered emails and contact attempts, the persistent pair finally met with a producer in nearby Huntsville, Alabama known as CP, one half of the Block Beattaz. This chance meeting would lead to an undeniable studio chemistry that fueled their 2007 debut entitled Sumthin 2 Hate, which had a warm reception locally due to the trunk-friendly production. Capitalizing off their newfound indie success, G-Side followed right back up in 2008 with the much heralded Starshipz & Rocketz that showcased not only more stellar production from Block Beattaz, but lyrical growth from both ST & Clova. However the baby steps between S2H and S&R pale in comparison to the leaps and bounds G-Side would make artistically going into the November 2009 release of their most critically acclaimed project entitled Huntsville International. The HIP garnered rave reviews from the likes of Pitchfork, The Fader, countless blogs and even the New York Times. The critical praise of G-Side's 3rd album increased demand for appearances so much that the group spent the majority of the first half of 2010 performing for crowds abroad and overseas in places such as Oslo, Norway and Canada. They also went on to become the only Hip Hop act to perform on the NPR stage at the SXSW Music Festival. As the year dwindled to a close, G-Side spent the latter half of 2010 in the Block Beattaz "Speed Of Sound" recording facilities crafting One...The Cohesive Album, which was released appropriately on 1/1/11. Fans and critics alike had been boiling over in anticipation for the follow-up to their '09 masterpiece. One continues the tradition of not disappointing with the trunk-rattling bass, obcure samples, introspective storytelling and bravado G-Side listeners have grown accustomed to. The success of the new "cohesive" album proves that these guys are soon to be a staple in Hip Hop.
Although G-Side is now four albums into their discography, they are still viewed as newcomers to the mass majority of music fans and industry gatekeepers. Despite the classic catalogue of solid releases, the group name still invokes a response of unfamiliarity among those on the outside of a very privileged inner circle. While G-Side has come very far, there is no misinterpretation that they still have very far to go. Now in a position to open doors for others on their independent label, Slow Motion Soundz, ST & Clova have a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to making music. Before it was about representing Alabama, which is clear they've always done even when it wasn't fashionable. However now, the focus has shifted to creating opportunities and representing greatness. Given their track record, its evident that they are on their way to doing just that.
Clova and ST
2007- Sumthin 2 Hate (Itunes)
2008 - Starshipz and Rocketz (Itunes)
2009 - Huntsville International (Free on the Internet)
2011- One...The Cohesive Album
Best New Artist
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G-SIDE Who: A hot rap duo who are putting Huntsville, AL, on the map. Why they matter: "They hus...G-SIDE
Who: A hot rap duo who are putting Huntsville, AL, on the map.
Why they matter: "They hustle so practically, yet with such aplomb, like OutKast's plainspoken cousins or the Clipse if they weren't so haunted by the next re-up," says SPIN music editor Charles Aaron. "I mean, the stripper song on their 2009 mixtape, Huntsville International, focused on a nursing student who still gets up and goes to class in the morning! (Their sex talk is more clever than trashy: 'And she know I keep her happy like a Pell Grant'). The Block Beataz production is crucial to why G-Side's records sound so vital—moving from anxiously methodical 808 soul clap to trancey flourishes on their mixtapes, and then on their just-released new album, The ONE… COHESIVE, the songs are just so breathtakingly symphonic, like the sleekest R&B minus the corny pandering. Yet no matter how cinematic the tracks, rappers Yung Clova, aka David Williams, and ST 2 Lettaz, aka Stephen Harris, preach no-bullshit, no-excuses achievement (with time out to luxuriate on Cloud 9 with whatever's left of Gucci Mane's earthly spirit, of course)."
File next to: OutKast, Clipse, Gucci Mane.
Where to start: "Nat Geo," COHESIVE's opening track, featuring Oslo rapper-producer and Spellemannsprisen nominee (Norwegian Grammy) Chris Lee.
The One...Cohesive (Album Review)
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Last year, Huntsville, Ala., hip-hop duo G-Side took message board buzz and rap blog kudos for 2008'...Last year, Huntsville, Ala., hip-hop duo G-Side took message board buzz and rap blog kudos for 2008's Starshipz and Rocketz and turned it into a mini-movement with the ambitious, worldly, blog-obsessed Huntsville International. The biggest musical export from Huntsville last year, however, was Antoine Dodson and the Gregory Brothers' "The Bed Intruder Song", an embarrassing local news clip turned Internet meme that inexplicably hit the Billboard Hot 100.
On The ONE... COHESIVE, G-Side rapper ST 2 Lettaz, the braying, bold contrast to partner Yung Clova's raspy skepticism, makes two purposefully crude references to Antoine Dodson. "Never" features a dismissive aside ("tampons for you Antoines") and on "Came Up", he warns rappers, "like the Lincoln Park rapist, I'm comin' through your window." ST's ire stems from Dodson's complicity in presenting Huntsville as another backwoods hood (G-Side calls it "a mini Memphis" for good reason). But Dodson's use of the web to make a better life for himself and his family is probably something G-Side can get behind.
These guys rap excitedly about blog love with the same joy they do when they talk about, say, not working at the gas station anymore, or the "couple thou" they get for shows these days. This isn't because they're self-satisfied knuckleheads who don't see the bigger picture, but because, as far as they're concerned, right now their doggedly D.I.Y. come-up is all that matters. Tellingly, a highlight from COHESIVE is titled "Inner Circle".
And then there are the beats. On Starshipz & Rocketz and Huntsville International, the production from in-house beatmakers the Block Beattaz mixed Southern thump and rave-rap experimentalism. Those records sounded like a logical but bold extension of the Dungeon Family aesthetic of the late 1990s. For COHESIVE, the Block Beattaz and likeminded producers A-Team, Str8 Drop, Clams Casino, the Basmo Family, and DJ Burn One create expansive, next-level compositions as audacious as G-Side's raps are modest. It's a strange combination-- big, lush beats and stories about small victories-- but it turns songs that are celebratory of simple things (a girl sending sexy cell-phone pictures, visiting Paris for the first time) or full of thoughtful sentiments (supporting family, helping community) into something epic.
Each grandiose beat is stuffed full of pained, joyful catharsis like the music scoring one of those big "Aha!" moments in a heady sci-fi flick. Seriously, some creative kids with extra time on their hands should set homemade montages to this album and stick them up on YouTube: the Coldplay pianos and spacey drum'n'bass of "Y U Mad" to Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, maybe, or "Inner Circle"'s stormy bursts of synths and strings to Inception. And there's a steady build-up to these beautiful beats, with every song playing a crucial part in soundtracking ST and Clova's scrappy triumphs: "Nat Geo" propels the album forward, ever so slightly, and "Never" shoots the album into hyperspace, redirecting its energies for a thoughtful finale.
Despite precious references to the Internet and more than enough mini-myth-making, G-Side remain painfully aware of the blog hype echo chamber. On "Y U Mad", ST asks, "if everyone's a star, then who gonna be the audience?" and Clova grounds the track with an affecting end-run around competition: "Niggas jealous? I'm just trying to feed my fam." "MoneyInTheSkyII", a sequel to a song G-Side released for free last spring (and put together while on tour in Norway), finds the group questioning whether they should continue the independent route, get a regular job, or just return to hustling. Even on their most accomplished, comfortable album, G-Side don't forget this rap shit is complicated.
Oxford American Magazine Belebrates the Year of Alabama Music
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The show finally concluded, and anyone still up for witnessing more of Alabama's sometimes baffling ...The show finally concluded, and anyone still up for witnessing more of Alabama's sometimes baffling musical diversity made their way to the Bottletree Cafe, where the hip-hop crew G-Side was holding forth. G-Side represents one strong future for the state's scene: Internet-savvy and lyrically sharp, rappers Yung Clova and ST 2 Lettaz have built a worldwide audience via blog buzz and endorsements from indie bibles such as Pitchfork. At the Bottletree, the pair veritably glowed with confidence, interlocking their verses with laid-back precision. This musical Alabama has its traditional side -- G-Side's sound firmly connects to the syrupy Southern rap of stars such as the Clipse -- but it's also broken free, investing its pride of place in an international fund of ideas.
Alabama's Year of Music will continue with Oxford American-sponsored events around the state in spring, summer and fall. Meanwhile, young acts such as the Secret Sisters and G-Side (as well as chart-toppers the Civil Wars and Yelawolf) promise to extend the focus on this often-scorned home turf beyond one short period. As connections forged in cyberspace shape a new kind of mobile regionalism, Alabama is turning out to be a player. Hank Williams and Dinah Washington might have loved to be a part of that.
Slow & Steady Wins the Race
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Huntsville should really change its name to HUSTLEville because nobody nowhere works as hard and as ...Huntsville should really change its name to HUSTLEville because nobody nowhere works as hard and as smart as Codie G, G-Side, Block Beattaz and Slow Motion Soundz. No contest, gloves down. Constructing their own lane (more like their own freeway) the town of Huntsville is taking no favors and waiting on nobody to put them in the winner’s circle. And with the arrival of The One…Cohesive, these guys could probably start to relax a bit knowing that they’ve made it, but they probably won’t, there’s still too much work to be done.
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G-Side's latest album is indeed Cohesive. The group's unpredicatability and totally unique style is ...G-Side's latest album is indeed Cohesive. The group's unpredicatability and totally unique style is grassroots Hip Hop at its best.
"The stars look so bright / When you come from a city with no lights," says ST 2 Lettaz on "Y U Mad." Hunstville, Alabama's duo G-Side are most certainly a product of their environment, and contrast nicely against a mainstream still focused on bright lights and big cities. Like Meridian, Mississippi's Big K.R.I.T. or Gasden, Alabama's Yelawolf, newness and amplifying the once voiceless is an ongoing revolution in Rap right now. G-Side's latest self-released album, The One...Cohesive has the hustler's conviction found in Young Jeezy's early work, without the lyrics about peddling dope. Rather, Clova and partner ST 2 Lettaz rhyme mostly about hope - between surviving today's uncertain times, and making it as the Rap voices they've been trying to be for over a decade.
As the case with much of the G-Sides catalog, Cohesive is self-released and both charms and disappoints with its rawness. The crew's extended family does not all possess the same naturally gifted abilities they have, evident the rushed busy-ness of "Never." It's a crowded house, and while the album enforces a family environment, it's easy to get lost in the personnel. Still, the musicality allowed by having talented singers, emcees and instrument players in one place makes this arguably minor album appear major. As was the case with 2008's Starshipz & Rocketz, the sound employed by G-Side and production team Block Beataz is as spacey as their rhymes. "Pictures," a slow motion track with a light dash of female Pop vocal samples feels like the sexual rhythms that the duo and GMane are chronicling. Similarly, "Nat Geo" has a worldly feel, with hard, dramatic percussion and soft background vocals. Through this diverse soundscape, G-Side is able to project their surroundings on the world. Yes, dozens of Rap songs are recorded daily, about packing two Magnums - one for a pocket and one for the kick-panel, but on Cohesive, it's felt. Perhaps because Huntsville is just now getting attention, ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova are forced to do more to explain their world, or why the stakes are just so damn high. While they do an excellent job, their entourage and production add deep reinforcement.
"Nowadays, everybody's a critic / Or they competition / It's so complicated / You can't even compliment me / When I refuse to compromise / My composition / To coincide / With whatever the common trend is," rhymes ST on the album's stand-out, "Y U Mad." Much of this album is about just that. It's about a crowded industry, and the importance of home, and trying to leave it. Largely influenced by Tupac bars and west coast Funk, "Jones" captures. "I know we're about to blow, please stay away." Proving it that they can do it themselves, G-Side has a point.
With a plethora of attitudes, sounds and revelations, G-Side's latest album is indeed Cohesive. The group's unpredicatability and totally unique style is grassroots Hip Hop at its best. This is the type of honesty and authenticity Rap's top mainstream artists are recently attempting, but as the group lyrically gives you a tour of their journey and surroundings, you cannot help but put a fist up, in slow motion.
Album Review: The One...Cohesive
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Keeping up with rap music in the digital age can feel like an eating contest. We log onto YouTube an...Keeping up with rap music in the digital age can feel like an eating contest. We log onto YouTube and gorge ourselves on Souja Boy-size soundbites until we don't feel so good.
G-Side, an adventurous twosome from Huntsville, Ala., makes albums that are worth slowing down for. And while rappers ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova earned considerable buzz in yesterday's blogosphere, the duo's excellent new album practically got lost in the high-speed anarchy of today's. "The ONE . . . COHESIVE" dropped last month but has hardly made a ripple in the contemporary high-speed rapscape.
"Slow motion, better than no motion!" goes the duo's defiant credo during "How Far," a song that borrows its twinkling melodies from Baltimore indie-rockers Beach House. But unlike the recent crop of indie-jacking rap tunes, this one doesn't pander, falling right in step with G-Side's penchant for strange, glimmering, dreamlike beats.
As rappers, the pair has yet to scale the Olympus inhabited by Southern rap duos Clipse, UGK and OutKast - but they sound more comfortable in rap's margins. And be careful with those analogies. "So now the critics be comparing us to OutKast," ST grouses on "Inner Circle." "It's funny 'cause they treat us like some outcasts/Cast away to some rap game Alcatraz." It might be lonely at the top, but it's lonelier on the fringe.
How to Get From Alabama to Harlem? Ride the Internet
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How to Get From Alabama to Harlem? Ride the InternetBy JON CARAMANICA The story of how the debut Ne...How to Get From Alabama to Harlem? Ride the InternetBy JON CARAMANICA
The story of how the debut New York performance of the Huntsville, Ala., rap duo G-Side ended up in the basement rec room of a storefront movie house in Harlem can be traced back, in part, to some money changing hands at an Italian restaurant in the East Village several years ago.
In between came the Internet of course — always the Internet — helping to shape this tale of how hip-hop moves in 2010.
G-Side’s show was at the Maysles Cinema as part of a film festival, Country Rap 2: The Gulf States, that runs through Sept. 2, and was paired with a question-and-answer session and a video presentation.
“The Internet,” the group’s manager, Codie G, said during the Q. and A. “That’s why we’re here instead of the MTV Awards or the BET Awards.”
That’s because Huntsville, while bristling with talent, is not a traditional rap stronghold. But there’s no reason Huntsville can’t be as relevant as Memphis, Atlanta or Houston. The scene is robust and growing, thanks to G-Side — the rappers ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova — and its label Slow Motion Soundz, as well as Jackie Chain, 6 Tre G and others. (So far the only mainstream rapper to hail from Alabama has been Rich Boy, from Mobile.)
“It’s kinda hard coming out of Alabama,” ST 2 Lettaz raps on “This Is Life.” “You don’t realize you slow until you out of Alabama.”
G-Side is a duo in the classic Southern mode of UGK or 8Ball & MJG, one loose and one slick. Especially on its recent album, “Huntsville International” (Slow Motion Soundz), it’s honed a compelling new style in partnership with the producers Block Beataz that’s wistful and mildly narcotic, but deeply pleasurable, a darker take on the Dungeon Family sound that spawned Outkast and Goodie Mob in mid-90s Atlanta.
What’s just as notable about this album is that where others would feature drops, or recorded endorsements, from other artists or major D.J.’s, the ones here are from D.J.’s with a heavy Internet presence; it wouldn’t be unreasonable to call them bloggers.
That shows not just who G-Side’s audience has been, but also its willingness to embrace that crowd and cater to it. And while that might have seemed like a losing strategy even five years ago, today it’s perfectly reasonable. One of the videos the group showed before its set was filmed in Norway, where it performed recently, strictly from the strength of its Internet presence.
The film festival curatorswanted to present at least one film for each of the Gulf states, but there wasn’t one for Alabama. So Slow Motion Soundz produced an hourlong compendium of its music videos dating back to 2003, which tracked the label’s gradual evolution.
During the Q. and A. session, Codie G said of G-Side, “I’ve seen these guys grow from wearing gold teeth to talking about their aura.”
But the G-Side of “I Feel Like I Look,” a charming early song, isn’t that different from the group that made “My Aura,” a dynamic, discolike single on “Huntsville International.” The rapping is better, more technically assured, and the worldview is a bit broader, but even at its most experimental, G-Side is still very much a group in the Southern traditionalist vein.
That was clear during the show, which was less a formal concert than an amiable performance for select family members, many of whom the group appeared to know personally. G-Side was strong on “Rising Sun,” “Speed of Sound” and “Strictly Buzinezz,” less so on the tasteless “Feel The.”
G-Side’s D.J. for the show was DJ Dirrty, of the Baller’s Eve Internet radio program, which appears on eastvillageradio.com. That station began in 2003, when Frank Prisinzano, the owner of Lil’ Frankie’s, the aforementioned East Village Italian restaurant, paid for a micro-station. It operates out of a tiny glass-front closet next to Lil’ Frankie’s, where, when DJ Dirrty is not spotlighting underappreciated Southern rappers, he tends bar.
SXSW 2010: G-Side, Live In Concert
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March 18, 2010 Backstage, in The Parish's Green Room, one of the members of G-Side asked another, "y...March 18, 2010 Backstage, in The Parish's Green Room, one of the members of G-Side asked another, "you nervous?" — the other slowly shook his head, saying, "no." The rap duo really grabbed hold of the audience at our SXSW day party, with everyone in the crowd waving their arms overhead. They show was dedicated to raise awareness of two school shootings in their hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, with the theme of the half-hour performance "Huntsville International". The bass in the venue made the whole bar and every piece of furniture in it rattle and rumble, like a great, historic earthquake. Producer Robin Hilton said he couldn't help but get goosebumps that afternoon.
Huntsville, Ala., is known as "The Rocket City," and for its close ties to the development of the U.S. space program since the early 1960s. Recently, though, the city has also begun to attract attention for its burgeoning hip-hop scene. At its forefront sits G-Side, the rap duo of Clova and ST 2 Lettaz. Growing up in the small town of Athens, located just outside Huntsville, the pair relocated to the city and began working with the production team Block Beataz, which has made beats for many of Huntsville's best.
In 2007, G-Side released its debut album, Sumthin 2 Hate. Its follow-up, Starshipz and Rocketz — along with the Diplo-helmed, Huntsville-themed Fear and Loathing in Huntsvegas mixtape — gained the pair its first taste of media attention. G-Side's latest release, The Huntsville International Project, represents an effort to capture the lives of those living in the city who aren't involved in its most famous industry.
With Clova and ST 2 Lettaz's laid-back rhymes and stripped-down beats, G-Side has been building a fan base up and down the East Coast and into Europe.
G-Side, Huntsville International
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story Sam Hockley-Smith After spending a couple days in Huntsville, Alabama, a couple years ago...
story Sam Hockley-Smith
After spending a couple days in Huntsville, Alabama, a couple years ago, we discovered that their music scene is even larger than we could have anticipated. As the artists began to get some shine, an entire secret rap history emerged, and we get the impression we’re only now scratching the surface of its scene. Huntsville International is the next move forward forG-Side, the Block Beataz and other assorted rappers making local names for themselves. The album showcases the rappers’ versatility, as well as shedding light on the Block Beataz’s ability to incorporate cheesed-out trance in a beat (see also: “Rollin“) without it seeming like an empty cash grab.
Read more: http://www.thefader.com/2009/11/18/g-side-huntsville-international/#ixzz14Q3l5mmB
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I’ve spilled a lot of ink trying to exhaustively articulate the momentousness of G-Side’s Huntsville...I’ve spilled a lot of ink trying to exhaustively articulate the momentousness of G-Side’s Huntsville International (2009) (short version: it’s so trill). On a nondescript Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, ST and Clova took the time to enlighten me on how Huntsville International functions as a credo that informs their work ethic and music-making philosophies. The guys also spoke candidly about their city, their tax forms, and what we can expect from G-Side in the near future.
Cokemachineglow’s Colin McGowan (CMG): I know Huntsville International was a mixtape, then it was a street album, and on and on. Do you consider it a full-fledged work? How did that whole process play out?
ST 2 Lettaz (ST): It did start out being a mixtape, and it took about six months from start to finish. It was only supposed to take, like, two, but then we just kept making records. At first it was just me and Clova in the studio, and then we got CP [of the Block Beataz] involved. When CP started hearing what we were doing, he started getting excited. He started seeing the buzz, and it was building, so he was like “Shoot, lemme get in here and do my thing.” And then the project ended up being most of whatever CP was doing when he came in. It’s not an album, it’s not a mixtape. It’s just a project.
CMG: You guys, with the titling of this project, seem to rep Huntsville really hard. What aspects of your city influenced your music?
ST: The thing about this was, it wasn’t about us trying to show people the city more than just taking us as the city and just taking it international. The city influences everything [we] spit, but we didn’t do it for the city. We did it for the world.
Yung Clova (YC): We tried to show our city the world and the world our city. On Starshipz and Rocketz (2008) we showed the world our city, but it’s vice versa on this one: we showed the city the world.
ST: Yeah, we got a chance to travel and see a lotta shit, so we just tried to bring it home.
CMG: So, G-Side sort of is Huntsville, and you embody your city, and you’re trying to take that global?
ST: Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that. It’s not just G-Side, though, it’s Slow Motion Soundz. ‘Cause G-Side is just the two guys that’s rapping. Slow Motion Soundz is G-Side and the Block Beataz and Codie G, our manager who’s out there on the grind every day.
CMG: How do you guys tie-in with other acts from your city and region like Paper Route Gangstaz and Yelawolf and some of the other rappers on your tape?
ST: Shit, we work with everybody ‘cause we see everybody. Not so much Yela, ‘cause he’s not quite from around here, but, like, PRGz, we see them dudes in the club, and it’s all love. I had a song with the PRGz on the Highlight Tape (2009). So, we try to incorporate the whole city into what we doing, especially now since people have an eye on it.
CMG: How much do those other artists in the city influence you? How does that whole dynamic work?
YC: It’s a little bit of a competition, I ain’t gonna lie. I mean, it’s like the regular rap game. Around here, I ain’t gonna say everybody’s trying to be on top, but everybody’s trying to produce great music.
ST: Yeah, exactly. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to compete, but they doing the same thing, and that’s how you get great music. It ain’t nothing personal, but the rap game is a sport. I love the sport, and I want the ball when it’s crunch time.
CMG: You guys have talked pretty extensively about trying to make the best music in the world. Do you put any additional pressure on yourselves to do that? Do you take a lot of pride in trying to do that, and how does that affect the way you go about making your music?
YC: It’s both. We take a lot of pride in ourselves, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We know the consumer is watching and they’re gonna put us under pressure. In that case, we try to produce some great music, man. Some soul music, really—that’s what we call it.
ST: We not just competing with Huntsville, we’re competing with the world. At first, there wasn’t anybody who was giving Alabama respect, so in order for Alabama to get some respect, we pretty much have to make the best music in the world. That’s just what it is. That’s the mindframe. We go into the studio thinking that shit is way past local…It’s global, so we gotta do this like we the best in the world. And I really think we are, and if we not, then we got someone to beat.
CMG: In what ways do you two complement each other or push each other as rappers?
YC: [ST]‘s more lyrical and I’m more just laid-back and swagged-out. I’m talking about what I know, and he talks about what he knows, but he puts in a way where you wanna get a pen and a piece of paper and try to write that shit down.
ST: He’s just more direct with his approach. My approach is that I’m gonna dance around and come up with crazy cadences, and Clova’s just gonna swag it out. So, the audience that isn’t necessarily into my style, which is that super-lyrical shit where I’m trying to really get into it, they might like Clove, ‘cause he’ll just ride the hell out of that beat and then he gonna sell you some shit. Don’t sleep, ‘cause he’ll say some shit. It’s just balanced; you can’t beat it. I know I can’t let him kill me out, and he can’t let me kill him out. It’s just magic.
And then the killer thing about it is, while we end up going so hard, both of us are competing against each other and competing on that beat ‘cause the Beataz are gonna give you some shit. The fuck you supposed to do with a beat like “Huntsville International”?
CMG: It’s funny, I thought on the first record that maybe you guys weren’t quite at the level of the beats, but on Tha HIP, you guys seemed to really step up to the plate and demolish those great beats.
ST: We got that from the bloggers. They were saying, “Aw, the beats are great, but it’s like the rappers are ehhhhhhh.” I was like “Okay, let’s go back in and step it up.” We used it as motivation. Even on the next record, it’s gonna be even better because now CP gonna try to kill us out on the track.
CMG: Is there anyone else outside of Huntsville you feel is raising the bar, setting a standard that you guys can aspire to or compete with?
ST: Actually, Baller’s Eve in New York. Those are my dudes, and they, in the middle of New York, play nothing but Dirty South music. They support cats from Huntsville, cats like Pill, and they even support cats like Freddie Gibbs. They support all that shit right in the middle of New York. For real, I take my hat off to them dudes.
CMG: There seem to be a lot of ways Southern rap has gone national and global. I know there are a few blogs over in London that push a lot of Southern shit. What other outlets are currently out there pushing Southern rap?
ST: Southern Hospitality is one of them. We headed out there next year, and already got the whole trip planned. We’re gonna see how many shows we can book in a week or two.
CMG: So you’re gonna tour in support of Tha HIP and do some stuff over in Europe?
ST: Yeah, I wanna do an independent tour over there. An all-Huntsville tour: us, 6 Tre Gangsta, Jackie Chain, and acts like Betta Half and all the young cats that’s coming up—PRGz, too—just do a whole tour of that scene over there. They show us a lot of love out there.
CMG: Do you have plans to do some national touring?
ST: Yeah, yeah. See, the thing about it is that things kinda slow down in the fourth quarter, so that’s when we dropped the record. So, like, next year we got stupid trips planned. It’s almost too much to name. Just keep up with us. G-Side TV, Huntsville Got Stars, and all that. We’ll keep everybody up to date. The Twitter. I tweet all day, every day.
YC: It’s kinda crazy. There’s a lotta places we haven’t seen and probably haven’t even thought about yet. ‘Cause after our first album, we really didn’t go nowhere, but then after Starshipz and Rocketz, we went to Cali, and, um, where else we go, man?
ST: Cali, Houston, the Carolinas, Baltimore and the DC area, and New York three times in one year. I had never been outside Alabama, but in one year, man, we’ve been to Atlanta, like, two hundred times this year. That was all just off the strength of Starshipz and Rocketz, so now we’re trying to see what HIP is gonna do. We had 10,000 downloads on our Limelinx link, and then there are two other upload sites that I know got it. So, I know we had over 10,000 listeners.
YC: That in about three weeks?
ST: About a month.
CMG: So what’s the G-Side live experience like?
ST: We actually trying to change our whole show format. We come from down South clubs, and performing in down South clubs is no more than sitting there rapping with a bad system. So, we’re trying to get a live band incorporated into our shit ‘cause that seems like the only way you can just rock out for real and do it like it’s supposed to be done.
CMG: A theme on the record seems to be getting a legitimate hustle. Like, Kristmas has the W-2 Boy thing going and you guys have talked on record a lot about going legit. When did you start to make a conscious effort to get money through music and 9-to-5s rather than through… other means?
YC: I’ve been a taxpayer since, like, ‘03/’04. I started working legit stuff once I started cutting hair at the barbershop. That’s when I started the W-2 movement.
ST: I came round a little later [chuckles]. It was whatever with me. I had a W-2 for a while, but the thing about it that I always have a job, and still do what I do on the side. It was stupid not to. How am I gonna limit myself to getting one type of paper. Like, “yeah, I’ma just sit around and sell dope all day.” Uh-uh. That’s not the move. I mean, you can still be a W-2 boy and be flipping shit on the side. You just get that income tax check, and you ain’t no dummy. And when everybody started rapping about dope, that’s when I felt like I had to stop rapping about dope. Even on Starshipz, you didn’t hear a lot; it was a part of our daily lives, but I didn’t over-glorify it. It doesn’t define me.
CMG: “I’m only 21 / And I’ll probably get more years than that if they find what’s in the trunk”: you seem to wanna show all sides of your hustle and not just talk about the financial side of it.
ST: Yeah, ‘cause that ain’t what was happening. That shit wasn’t all good. So, it is what it is, but now I’m on some other shit. I dunno, I try to leave that shit out.
CMG: Do you guys have any aspirations to become major label artists on the level of a T.I. or a Jeezy?
YC: We do if they give us the right deal, if they gave us control and the right deal…Who don’t wanna be major?
ST: Yeah, but understanding that we have the willpower—soon, the manpower—and the intelligence to do it ourselves. All it takes is time. Everything starts small and gets bigger. We understand that. It took time to make a Jeezy. It took time to make a T.I. We don’t need the majors. If the money’s not right, we’ll just wait it out and do it ourselves.
CMG: Since obviously you guys would wanna maintain creative control and not be subservient to some A&R.
ST: Exactly. I don’t want some kid telling me what’s hot and what’s not. I’m good.
CMG: Anything else on tap that we should know about?
YC: I got a mixtape dropping, but that’s about it. In the first quarter.
ST: Yeah, he got a mixtape, and I was thinking about doing a mixtape, but I think I’m just gonna do a series of random freeestyles. Like, you might just get one on a Tuesday or some shit. And Speed of Sound is the next album. I’m not gonna give no release date ‘cause you know how that whole thing goes. But it’s gonna be a musical motherfucking odyssey.
Huntsville's G-Side Are Thriving on the Internet—and East Village Radio
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Kat Daddy Slim, one-third of the East Village Radio show Baller's Eve, takes a shot at summing up Hu...Kat Daddy Slim, one-third of the East Village Radio show Baller's Eve, takes a shot at summing up Huntsville, Alabama's finest hip-hop duo, G-Side: "Outkast on steroids." His co-hosts, DJ Dirrty and Minski Walker, just nod their heads: "Yep."
G-Side themselves—rappers Clova and ST 2 Lettaz, alongside Codie G, manager of their label, Slow Motion Soundz—are taken aback. There is a moment of modest silence.
We're gathered in the EVR office after a mid-November Baller's Eve episode (there's another one every Wednesday, from 10 p.m. to midnight) heavily devoted to tracks from G-Side's Huntsville International mixtape, released for free online earlier that day. Clova's eyes grow big, taking in that profoundly flattering comparison. ST drawls out an appreciative "Shit . . ." Codie G, for once, has no words.
"I hope that's—hope that's OK with y'all to say," Kat Daddy adds politely. Like anybody's going to quarrel with being called "Outkast on steroids."
The comparison's more than apt, though: Clova and ST drop humanist, down-to-earth rhymes over top-shelf spaced-out production primarily from their hometown producers, the Block Beattaz. They've worked together since 2007's Sumthin 2 Hate, but it was their second album, 2008's Starshipz & Rocketz, coupled with a tiny explosion of interest in the area as a whole—even leading to a Diplo-helmed mixtape called Fear & Loathing in Hunts Vegas—that pushed the Huntsville sound both across state lines and online.
And that sound? Equal parts throwback and next-level. Their beats are sample-based, but the sample sources are out-there, unpredictable: Nas's "The World Is Yours" on "Who's Hood," obscure J-Pop filtered through Auto-Tune for "Rising Sun." Then, the beats are overloaded with live instrumentation, druggy effects grabbed from trance and rave, and goofball transcendent production tweaks more common on, say, an Eno/U2 collaboration than a Southern hip-hop release. The result is some of the most cohesive and expansive hip-hop in a long, long time, not to mention the sort of "grimy" and "timeless" (to quote Kat Daddy once more) Southern rap that Baller's Eve embraces.
"We grew up in an era when there was still decent radio," DJ Dirrty explains. "It wasn't all manufactured. We just translated what classic urban radio was to us and flipped it." In other words, they retrofitted the mix-show format to showcase the ever-expanding Southern rap scene. "It started before we had the show," Walker adds. "Like, living in Atlanta and listening to music with Dirrty, and when we moved up [to New York], we just kind of missed that."
So in 2003, when Frank Prisinzano, in a prescient act of cultural philanthropy, launched East Village Radio online and let Dirrty and Walker play whatever the hell they wanted, Baller's Eve was formed—Kat Daddy Slim joined two years later. And though the show has become a rarefied respite for many Southern rappers visiting New York, a special relationship developed between this team of Atlanta transplants and G-Side. Early in 2008, the duo Googled their then-single, the whirling mission statement and Starshipz centerpiece "Strictly Buzinezz," and found it on a Baller's Eve playlist. They reached out to Dirrty, made the trip north to visit the show soon thereafter (the first of several visits), and now consider the show a key component of their online support group.
Huntsville International spends a lot of time directly addressing that group. Peppered with somehow tasteful references to blogs and Twitter—and punctuated by interludes from Dirrty, alongside drops from other DJs in England, Norway, and Sweden—it captures the rap-world paradox of the past few years: namely, the merging of localized street cred and online buzz. Major labels and the conventional music business be damned, G-Side are perfectly comfortable on Slow Motion Soundz and are working with an ever-growing web of friends and acquaintances. Dirrty even shot a recent video for the group, which, appropriately, came about after a trip to L.A. to shoot a typical "industry"-style video didn't pan out. "This Is Life" was shot on DV in the Village "in less than 24 hours," as Codie recalls, both proud and humble: "We did a video, with a guy that's from the South on East Village Radio, in the Village. All this happened in the Village. All people all over the globe, different people, different cultures. . . ." He trails off and grins.
This approach, hard-headedly homegrown but worldly-wise, is what makes G-Side so fascinating. It's street-level Southern rap atop genuinely tripped-out production and entirely devoid of hustling platitudes—quite a feat. The downside of hustling and the heavy effect of hood life are hardly under-discussed in hip-hop, but they're usually one-track grace notes, not the entire album. Every act of violence and sordid tale of drug-dealing on Huntsville International is steeped in reflection and consequence, a sprawling narrative hailing the minor victories of right-now and the horrifying details of the past. ST kicks off "What It's All About" with a depressive couplet in his wounded, wizened bray: "Momma's youngest son, really I was the middle/Little brother up for adoption straight out the hospital." Clova, all quiet, seething confidence, follows: "I never ate from a silver spoon/Nor a silver platter/Momma tried so that's all that matter." When the "bricks" show up, regret and disgust does, too.
"Rising Sun" features a deceptive Slim Thug sample ("This is for the Gs and this is for the hustlers"), and indeed, that's the intended audience for the song, but it isn't just trying to throw out some more self-justifying trap-rap. "You should go to work!" ST declares at one point; "Why the fuck I want to be a D-boy?" squawks fellow Huntsville rapper Kristmas. As the track fades out, light piano leads to Huntsville International's final track, "So Wonderful." ST soberly begins with "My president is black/But we still in Iraq/And we still in the hood and pills are the new crack," and from that stems, of all things, some "Man in the Mirror"–style hope, Clova celebrating the idea of investing and getting not only one's money, but one's taxes right, too. And the tape's over.
G-Side derive their swagger from hope, and the simple fact that they're rapping, that people are listening, that they don't sell drugs anymore, and that they've been able to see the world, or at least more of it. "I'd never been out of fuckin' Alabama, man," remembers ST with a laugh, until they "dropped Starshipz, and three times, I been up to New York."
Clova expands on their goals: Huntsville International "is a project. It just ain't us. It's everybody. We're hoping it puts us into a position to feed our kids and grandkids. You just can't call it a mixtape."
"That's why it's a project—it's for all y'all as well," Codie adds, pointing at the Baller's Eve crew and rattling off a list of blogs and dot-coms that support the group. "And it's for all of them." He looks me in the eyes. "This article's part of the project, too."
Starshipz and Rocketz Review
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G-Side - Starshipz & Rocketz Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Author: Andrew Noz The Southern...G-Side - Starshipz & Rocketz
Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Author: Andrew Noz
The Southern hip hop explosion is something of a misnomer. While sub-Mason Dixon rappers have dominated the airwaves for much of the 21st century their ascension was less a big bang and more a slow leak, with disparate regions, from Atlanta to New Orleans to Houston to Miami, gradually blowing up one at a time. And, more telling than the national success stories, is the number of creative southern outposts that remain untapped. Alabama's Slow Motion Soundz camp comprises one such pocket and, quiet as kept, they dropped one of the year’s strongest collections of country rap tunes in G-Side's Starshipz & Rockets.
Emcees Yung Clova and ST 2 Lettaz draw heavily on the UGK [click to read] and OutKast pedigree here, but the closest point of comparison is probably 8Ball & MJG [click to read], with whom the duo share certain a subdued chemistry. Their raps are thoughtfully understated, more about conversation than braggadocio or punchlines. It's panoramic rap and it requires repeat listening. When they tell you that "Slow Motion is better than no motion," you can't help but wonder if they're not talking about their sounds, but their message.
Sure, taking rap to the cosmos isn't exactly groundbreaking, especially in The Year of The Wayne, but G-Side stands out in how earthly their theme is. Like Ball, G & ATLiens-era OutKast, they use outer space not as an excuse for oddity or a vehicle for experimentation but as an analog to the space around them: "We on the block, we ain't never seen an astronaut / so I look up to the niggas with the fattest knots."
Space is an aesthetic distinction as well. In house production trio the Block Beataz traffic in just-strange-enough ethereal beats. They clearly owe a debt to the Organized Noizes and Pimp Cs of the world but are never consciously throwback, equal parts southern soul and new school arpeggiated electro. The blippy "Rubba Bandz" could easily find its way onto any post-snap playlist, but it also possesses a certain warmth that, say, "My Dougie" lacks.
And that may be the record's greatest strength - a willingness to acknowledge the past without disdain for the present. It would be too easy to write the group off as empty nostalgists, the Little Brother [click to read] to Ball & G's Tribe Called Quest [click to read]. But Clova and ST are decidedly modern rappers. They can talk candy cars and money stacks with the best of them and could have probably already created a dance craze if they were at all interested in dance crazes. But they're not, because they're old souls. Which is to say that their connection to their past is ideological more than anything else. Unlike so many of their peers, G-Side is actually concerned with such antiquated concepts like album cohesion and, more importantly, humility. Starshipz succeeds by staying down to earth.
Rising - G-Side
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G-Side, the rap duo of Yung Clova and ST 2 Lettaz, come from Huntsville, Alabama, a mid-sized city t...G-Side, the rap duo of Yung Clova and ST 2 Lettaz, come from Huntsville, Alabama, a mid-sized city that has produced more than its share of great and buzzed-about rappers lately, including Paper Route Gangstaz, Jackie Chain, 6 Tre G, and Kristmas. The Block Beataz production crew has given the city's rap scene its own sound: a woozy, synth-based, bottom-heavy crawl that treats big-room trance the way OutKast and UGK records used to treat 70s soul. G-Side might be the perfect complement to Block Beataz' glimmering funk. Both ST and Clova are warm, conversational rappers who talk about drug-dealing histories and future ambitions with grace and perspective.
Together with Block Beataz, Clove and ST make supremely satisfying album-length statements like the 2008 LP Starshipz & Rocketz and the recent Huntsville International. The latter is more a free internet album album than a mixtape; both members simply call it a "project". It's loosely built around a theme of travel, of the duo's joy in seeing their music make its way around the world. Between songs, various European DJs and bloggers show up to say nice things about the duo. But Clova and ST have never been to Europe; they'll embark on their first European tour this spring. Later this year, they hope to release another album, The One, on the local label Slow Motion Soundz.
Recently, Pitchfork caught up with ST and Clova.
Pitchfork: These days, most rappers are solo artists. Why did you decide to work together instead of alone?
Young Clova: We have been group rappers since '98 or '99. We started rapping together just to be doing something. We have always had the same passion.
ST 2 Lettaz: The streets were telling me that there's this dude David; he started rapping and he going hard. And then people were telling him the same thing, so we just met up.
Pitchfork: Both Huntsville International and Starshipz & Rocketz work cohesively as albums; everything flows into everything else. Do you have a strategy for putting them together like that?
ST: We grew up off real albums. Real albums are like dish dinners to us. We believe in it.
YC: People started to notice, and so we started to notice. Now, it's not so much that we have a formula. It's just that chemistry. It's just that magic that happens when we get in there and work together.
Pitchfork: The last two songs on Huntsville International, "Rising Sun" and "So Wonderful", don't sound like anything you've done before.
YC: We recorded those songs like four days before it came out. [laughs] We knew where we wanted to close, seeing what the project was lacking. We knew we had to finish strong. Those two came out of nowhere.
ST: It always be like that. The last couple songs on Starshipz & Rocketz, we recorded those right before the album dropped because we knew what we had to do closing. CP [of Block Beataz] always goes, "I got one more!", and it always be something we can close on. We know what we want to give him.
Pitchfork: Who are some of your primary influences?
ST: 8Ball & MJG, OutKast, Ghetto Mafia, and Geto Boys. And Clova likes Master P.
YC: Yeah, Master P. He was probably the first dude that made me want to rap. I heard "Ice Cream Man", and I went in and wrote my first verse. And UGK probably has the most influence on our music.
Pitchfork: For a relatively small city, Huntsville seems to be producing a lot of talented rappers lately.
ST: I want to get it across it's not just G-Side making great music out of Huntsville. We got a lot of garbage, too. Like Willie D says, "Some of your artists is garbage." But we got a whole lot of talent in this little piece of the world. And then you go a bit further, and you got Florence, with your G Mane and your Bentleys. Or you go further, to Gadsen, and you got Yelawolf. You go even further, you got Rich Boy and Attitude. Alabama is that spot right now. If we all come together and we do it the way we supposed to do it, it would be no problem to take over. I feel Alabama is making the best music in the world right now.
C: We made a vow: We in this until we die. Blood in, blood out.
Pitchfork: What percentage of your audience has heard your music through the internet versus local word of mouth?
YC: The internet alone keeps it at 95 percent.
ST: I can say this: Huntsville is one of the last markets where you can actually sell CDs. It might not go outside of Huntsville, but you can sell units in Huntsville. We are not unknowns in Huntsville. Our new fanbase is 95 percent internet, though.
Pitchfork: You are coming up in a time when albums generally don't sell. Do you think it's still possible to make a career selling music.
YC: We are against the grain on that. We think we can do it.
ST: We think we can sell records.
YC: We think we can do it, man. Anything is possible. Faith in God. We using the internet a lot, but I think we can do it. We gonna have to get people back to buying good music.
ST: We are going to have to stay independent, more then likely, if we put in the groundwork. It takes years and years and years. We have officially been on Slow Motion Soundz since 2004. Slow Motion Soundz has been around since 1999; it's 10 years old already. It takes time. After three records, me and this fool are going to Europe already. iTunes is a perfect tool for independent artists like us. Say we sell 20,000-- well, that's all ours. That's pretty good money.
Pitchfork: What do you expect to see the first time you go to Europe?
YC: Life. I want to see something totally different. I want to clear my mind, just go over there and do our music, man. They want us to do our music, so that is what we are going to do. ST is probably going to smoke his weed.
ST: [laughs] I wasn't going to say it, but yeah.
YC: I am going to see my females. I am addicted to females.
Pitchfork: Clova, you own a barbershop. Is that what you do for a living?
CY: Yup. W-2, that's it.
Pitchfork: ST, is there something you do something outside of rap?
ST: Yeah, me and my brother run a gas station.
YC: I grind at my barbershop. That's a way to get my CDs out there.
ST: Yeah, them CDs didn't pay for me to go all across the U.S. It was the paycheck. We grind to get it, baby.
[from Huntsville International; out now on Slow Motion Soundz]
Artist Spotlight - G-Side
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When most people think of Southern hip hop, they immediately think of prominent artists from Georgia...When most people think of Southern hip hop, they immediately think of prominent artists from Georgia, Texas, Louisiana & Tennessee. Alabama is now making a name for itself and the leader of this new emerging talent is G-Side, the duo of ST 2 Lettaz & Yung Clova. The Alabama group, along with their crew Slow Motion Soundz, has brought lyricism to the forefront along with their progressive sound provided by The Block Beataz. With their latest album Starshipz & Rocketz receiving critical acclaim, G-Side are following in the same vain as legendary Southern duos like Eightball & MJG, OutKast & UGK. Here’s you chance to get to know the group after the jump.
Justin: Where You Reppin?
ST 2 Lettaz & Yung Clova: Huntsville and Athens Alabama. Athens is a part of the Huntsville Metro area, North Alabama to be exact. Huntsville is like a little island city surrounded by country towns and trees!!! One hour away from Nashville and about 4 hours from Atlanta
Justin: Introduce Yourselves:
ST: ST 2 Lettaz the greatest rapper to ever breathe on a mic.
Clova: Yung Clova a.k.a Superstar Hipster Hip Hop’s missing link
Justin: Current projects we should be looking out for:
ST & Clova: Huntsville International is a joint project we did with DJ Burn One at blvdst.com. It will be out November 9th. Then our next album is called Speed Of Sound and on that album we are gonna try to push our music to the furthest limits we can take it. A lot of live instruments, crazy song formats, crazy melodies really just a musical odyssey
Justin: Past projects we should know about:
ST & Clova: Our first album “Sumthin 2 Hate” (2006) and “Starshipz and Rocketz” (2008) both are considered classics in some circles. You should check em out. You can find those albums on iTunes or Digstation.com
Justin: Who are your musical inspirations?
ST: I’m big on Scarface, Jay-z, 8Ball and G, UGK, Outkast, old No Limit and that’s ’bout it. I don’t really listen to a lot of new rap artists. I’m on that R&B heavy… shouts to Maxwell.
Clova: Pretty much the same as ST. i liked that early Cash Money, Geto Boys, really anything. We didn’t have cable so the music acted as movies for us
Justin: How did Slow Motion Soundz come together?
ST: Clov and myself didn’t join up until 04 when i came back to Huntsville to go to college at UAH. I had been communicating with CP via email while i was in high school. Since then we’ve gone through ups and downs, roster changes, and restructuring of the actual company. But now its 09 we’re stronger than ever and ready to take over tha globe.
Codie G (G-Side’s manager): Slow Motion Soundz started in 1999 as a production company, headed by C.P. , that was the sound behind a local label at the time. In 2000, Slow Motion broke from just doing production and started putting out albums. With over 10 street albums, and a few spinoffs here and there, some notable releases were the V.S.O.P. album and Legends in the Making with SouthWest Connection. Both albums were carried by production of the Block Beataz and the hit single “Lacs and Caprices” which featured a pre-Trap Muzik T.I. and was a Uncut favorite on BET.
Justin: Do you feel like Alabama is the next spot to “blow up” in the South?
Clova: I really do. Only thing crazy is the music that we do is going to a bit slower and a little off the wall. Real talk, being that we on an island that sits in the middle of so many states makes our music sound great. Blowing up is the easy part but can we keep hip hop home?
Justin: If you had to pick one song that defined your career up to this point, what would it be?
ST & Clova: “Speed of Sound” from our 2nd album Starshipz and Rocketz because its all about leaving your past situation and moving forward to accomplish your dreams… we’re living our dreams rite now as we speak.
Justin: Desert Island Hip Hop: If you were stranded on an island and could only have on record to listen to, what would it be?
ST: One album: Scarface – Untouchable
Clova: Just give me Ridin’ Dirty by UGK
Justin: Any shout outs or last words?
Clova :Yo shout out to the New Circle from the UK to the USA. Ballerseve Radio, Slow Motion Soundz, 767, Block Beataz, Noz, Rob and Dave in the UK, All my Vancouver fans and Gotta send a shout to Kevin Nottingham.com for the interview.
ST: Tha whole Alabama… Everybody overseas bumping our shit, All tha blog sites for posting our shit. We thank yall for this opportunity. If you got love for us, we got love for yall.
Huntsville hip-hop duo G-Side performs today at NPR party at SXSW
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HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Austin, Texas, meet the Southern rhythms of the Rocket City. Huntsville hip-hop...HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Austin, Texas, meet the Southern rhythms of the Rocket City.
Huntsville hip-hop duo G-Side is set to make an appearance at this weekend's South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference and Festival, the hippest of all hip music conferences.
G-Side - made up of ST (Stephen Harris) and Clova (David Williams) - will perform today at 2:45 p.m. at The Parish in Austin. The gig is sponsored by National Public Radio and will be streamed live on NPR.org/SXSW and on several NPR member stations including some in New York, St. Paul and Philadelphia.
Other artist featured by NPR this year at SXSW include Spoon, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Surfer Blood, Broken Bells, The Walkmen, Visqueen, and more.
Read the NPR feature on G-Side
Download a free SXSW sampler from NPR
"I can't wait," ST said on Tuesday afternoon, hours before he, Clova and the rest of the 14-person crew took off for Austin. Others headed to the festival include the group's co-managers Codie G and Cory Parham, two back-up singers and others needed to put on a stellar show.
G-Side is the only hip-hop act NPR is highlighting at this year's conference. NPR contributor Andrew Noz, a former Vibe magazine writer, recommended G-Side for the set. Noz has written features on the duo in the past.
It's been an exciting three years for G-Side, who have been working with Huntsville's Slow Motion Soundz record company and the Block Beataz production team since 2004.
After releasing their debut album "Sumthin' 2 Hate" in 2007 and its follow-up "Starshipz and Rocketz," G-Side has been featured in theNew York Times, Pitchfork.com and several hip-hop blogs and radio shows.
G-Side's latest album, "Huntsville International," came out last year.
Download "Huntsville International" for free
It's G-Side's sound that sets them apart from a lot of hip-hop acts, said Codie G, later playing a track filled with guitar riffs and soul-inspired female vocals.
"We have our own sound," he explained.
At today's SXSW gig, ST said he and Clova plan to dedicate the show to the families of Discovery Middle School shooting victim Todd Brown and those shot and killed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
G-Side also plans to promote the city of Huntsville and the state of Alabama. Codie G said he's taking "Huntsville bags" loaded with authentic Huntsville gear. And ST may or may not show off his Saturn V tattoo, which covers his right leg.
The SXSW gig is important, ST said, not only for Huntsville hip-hop but for him personally.
The last time he performed in Texas, ST was booed off stage.
"I got something to prove," ST said. "I'm positive I won't get booed off the stage this time."
When the G-Side returns to Huntsville, they'll be gearing up for two more high-profile shows: a supporting gig in Birmingham with the Wu Tang Clan's GZA on March 30 and the group's first international show in Norway in April.
"We want to take the music everywhere," ST said.
An average G-Side show is 30 minutes to an hour. The typical set list would be:
Youth of the Ghetto
In The Rain
Speed of Sound
Hit The Block
PDF RiderG-Side Show Rider
There are no upcoming dates at this time.