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Interview: G-FrSH

The south London, self dubbed ‘Flash Affy’ is back and in the style in which we know him best. G-FrSH’s new mixtape ‘Legoman II’ is much like its predecessor ‘Legoman’. However, what may separate the two is G-FrSH’s constant growth both as an emcee and a recording artist, which is noticeably apparent in this particular body of work.

For someone that has been involved in UK hip hop since 2004 and has never delivered a half-baked project, G-FrSH can sometimes be overlooked and/or not given the credit he rightly deserves. He reminds me of a gorgeous pair of designer shoes in that respect. The ones you don’t wear everyday, but when you do take them out, everybody notices. The hating people are likely to hate, but the people who appreciate designer shoes will always enjoy and acknowledge them. We caught up with the metaphorical brick stacker to discuss the new mixtape, his prolific bank account and the etiquette behind guest features.

PN: Can you describe ‘Legoman II’ using the 4 Pics 1 Word format?

GF: (after much deliberation)
1. A Brick
2. A Lego Car
3. A Lego Lady
4. Nathan Sawaya’s art

Lego2

PN: ‘Legoman II’ is in your typical style. People who are not so familiar with your back catalogue might find you a bit flash…

GF: [Laughs] I call myself a ‘flashy Affy’ (flash African) as a joke. Music is just an exaggerated expression of one’s self. Even when people make depressing music, they’re not walking around in a grey cloud all the time. I make flashy music, but I’m not a complete show off all the time. I just happen to like nice things and I rap about them.

PN: You released ‘Legoman’, then ‘Purgatory’ which was much more of an introspective view of yourself and now we have ‘Legoman II’. Why that particular sequence?

GF: There are different sides to me as there is with everybody else and I always want to express that. I feel like I have to express all parts of me, otherwise people will just get an acute perspective. They probably may not like me as an artist, but they would understand me as an individual. I want people to understand me wholly and that’s why I did both. ‘Legoman II’ is just me coming back to that. Eventually I’m going to go back to ‘Purgatory’ as well, because there’s going to be a different space when there are different things I need to say about myself.

PN: There are a lot of collaborations on this mixtape; Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32, Krept & Konan etc. What is the thought process behind a project like that, is it a case of ‘I’ll just call all my mates up’, ‘this person would suit this track’, ‘this person is hot right now’?

GF: It’s a mixture of everything I suppose. For me, it’s me looking at songs and thinking, ‘who would best suit a theme of this nature or a beat like this?’ Sometimes you get it completely right and at times you can get it wrong. There are songs that didn’t make the mixtape. There are songs people are going to dispute as to whether that person should have been on it or not, or whether it should have been another person etc… The studio sessions are on YouTube. You will see I literally had about five emcees at once just coming in and out. Everybody was vibesing and writing to different things at the same time. It also adds that element of competition which brings out the best in an emcee.

PN: In terms of healthy competition, ‘The Man’ (ft. Skepta) came out about 4 days ago and immediately everybody went into debate about who had the best verse(s). In your eyes, is it a competition when someone features on your track?
GF: Oh definitely! [Laughs] It has to be. That’s how you make the best song, because you have to step up to the plate. Like, if I know I’m going to do a song with Jay-Z, I will take a week to write that verse. There is no way I will give him a half an hour verse. Some artists may also look at you as fish food. They might come in and give you an half an hour verse and really they’ve just sacrificed themselves.

PN: So sometimes a feature can be used as an entrapment?

GF: Yes. It sounds crazy, but that’s how it works. If you want someone on your song you have to record your part first, that’s the first rule…

PN: There are rules?

GF: Yes. Then you have to send them the song as a whole. So essentially, you’re putting your hands up and it’s up to them to slaughter you and if they don’t then… [Shrugs]. I have to say though, in the case of Skepta and myself, I literally sent him the beat and I kind of just told him the chorus over the phone. Two hours later he had sent me back his verses. He just loved the beat so much he sent it back straight away. So, in that instance it was a bit different.

PN: Wouldn’t it be a bit rude of someone to just destroy you on your own song though?

GF: It happens. There are times when I prefer other people’s verses to mine. Not because they are better, it’s just that they may have found elements in the song that you didn’t necessarily see the first time. It’s also the same when a producer sends you a beat and you reject it, then three months later you hear another artist on it and they’ve made and amazing song out of it. That’s good. That justifies everybody’s existence in the game for me. If we didn’t all bring something different to the table then there would be no point.

PN: Do you think audiences should focus more on the song as a whole rather than who ‘won’?

GF: I think the most important thing to remember is there are no hard facts, it’s just opinion. Nobody can technically ever ‘win’… actually, maybe sometimes [laughs].

PN: Speaking of public opinion, there are a lot of YouTube viewers that want to know where all the money comes from that you talk about in your songs, as most of your music to date has been available via free download. Does it amuse you that people care so much about your finances?

GF: It doesn’t necessarily amuse me… but I understand it completely considering my subject matter. I do a lot more that just music. Obviously, we have the clothing line. I have my own production company. I can’t say I am worried about what people think. Sometimes – sometimes – I worry about what they write, in the sense that people I know might see those things, family members and stuff. Apart from that it doesn’t really bother me. It’s cool. I used to wonder about certain people myself. I used to wonder what Diddy was doing and how he made all his money. Before social networks I always pictured him sitting in a big designer office with floor to ceiling glass windows, in a mad designer chair, with a glass of red wine, just looking over New York and I would wonder… if he’s just chilling…? Diddy will tell us he wakes up at 6am, but he’s in the clubs until 3am, so how does he do it? [laughs]. So we all do it, it’s natural to do that.

- Trina John-Charles

‘Legoman II’ is released on Monday 15th April and available via free download.

G-FrSH was also kind enough to take part in out Urban Artist feature coming soon…



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