Meeting up and coming artists is always admirable. Their work ethics vary according to the stages they are currently at in their lives. Most of them feel they have something to prove. The feeling is justified because the music industry is currently flooded with all kinds of talent. Not all of them are gunning for the number 1 spot, but those that are take this shit seriously.
The ones that don’t care for lyrical prowess and are just in it for the fast cash tend to frustrate those that put there all into this. Just imagine how much harder Instagram has made a real photographer’s life. It’s a bit more challenging to stand out when everyone is capable of doing what you take so seriously. Gus Johnson seems to be well aware of this.
Not only does he have a vision of what kind of artist he ultimately wants to be, but he’s taking the right steps towards becoming just that. Born and raised in Harlem to a writer and a bass player, Gus moved around the south between Kentucky and Florida, all while soaking up different cultures of music. He’d soon move back to Harlem and link up with some friends to start making music under the group name Debatable Ethics; a name of which he came up with.
The group consists of his longtime friends Avilies, Mikah, and Ty with every member bringing their own unique backgrounds and perspectives to the group. For a brief sit down, Gus talks up his influences, where he’s trying to take his rap career, and much more. Check the transcribed interview below:
FKB: How long have you been rapping?
Gus: I mean I was writing songs when I was pretty young. And then I was writing raps when I was 18. Mostly when i was living by myself. I lived by myself for about 6 months and I didn’t have shit to do but smoke weed and write rhymes in my phone. I didn’t take it too serious till i started chilling with these guys.
FKB: What or who influenced you to rhyme?
Gus: It changes pretty regularly but at the beginning i’d say Jay. Jay has always kept his consistency and with the classic hip hop moments he’s had, I feel he’s just acquired more respect than anyone. And then of course there’s Eminem because he’s like the best rapper of all time. He’s made as many classic albums in my opinion, as Jay Z.
*Editors note* with Gus’ shocking opinion, a brief hip hop debate ensues within the room, leaving Gus to clear up his statement.
“But Jay knew who he was as an artist on his first album. Eminem was still trying to find himself when he made Infinite.” he says. And I don’t know if I know who I am right now, but i’m 24. I know who i am to a certain degree. A lot more than I did 2 years ago, and I’ll probably say that again in 2 years you know?
FKB: Do you know who you are an artist right now?
Gus: I’d just like a lot of people to tell me they like my music. Thats what I like. And to get paid doing it.
FKB: Exactly cause it’s something you love
Gus: yeah that and I think if I wasn’t getting paid to do this, I’d still find time for it. I enjoy the process almost if not more than the actual project
FKB: That’s cool too. I think J. Cole said something like that too. Cause he makes a lot of his own shit. Even though I think it’s his downfall in a sense that his fans would probably want to hear him experiment with other producers, if its a fail he can say it’s nobody’s fault but his and I can respect that.
Gus: And that’s why I want to get more into producing too cause as much as i like other producers, I also think that no one knows music like I do. I believe it’s almost asinine to think any other way. If you don’t have the courage of your convictions then you’re lacking everything. I don’t like to hear rappers that switch styles because their nervous of what people think of their own style. I applaud Kanye for doing what he likes. He’s getting criticism for it, but it’s him.
FKB: What kind of sound do you think you’re going for?
Gus: I’m trying to make next year’s rap. I wanna focus on not staying in one direction. I want my shit to represent this point and time in my life. Avoiding embellishment along the way.
FKB: What do you want from this 10 years from now?
Gus: I just want people to know that I was being honest. To look at my work and not be able to question anything about it.
Check out a few tracks from Gus Johnson’s upcoming mixtape below: