Yesterday, we ended our conversation speaking on Eyes on the Ring. Today, we pick it up with, well, Eyes on the Ring, some more personal questions, and some controversial opinions on Ferguson, New York, "white-washing" in rap, and more. There will be no pictures, so focus on the words.
SOTB: So, can you tell people a bit more about Eyes on the Ring, both the album series and the website?
TG: Eyes on the Ring is a brand that needed to happen. I didn't want to have to play politics, I wanted to take a look at the business from a real perspective. You know I've been hands on in professional wrestling and I felt like we needed an outlet for our unfiltered thoughts on the business and somewhere to really showcase some of the newer folks who are just breaking in. We gave Darius Lockhart his first interview and put the spotlight on a few other guys too. It's amazing to do that.
Eyes On The Ring part one, the album was monumental. It was a soundtrack to a brand new wrestling brand, which has never been done before. I was asked to make it a series and I figured "why not?" So it's coming in March or April 2015. Details are scarce, but it will be better than the first edition. Trust me.
SOTB: I guess I've got to sample JTG's theme this time around (laughs). But, both EOTR and DAR Radio are on hiatus, why is that?
TG: I just needed a break. Eyes On The Radio moved too fast. I was doing too many shows at once. DAR Radio had been draining me, so I just decided to take a break, focus on dating a bit (laughs hard), and just take my first break in 3 years. Which, I have been putting more energy into music so when I stop recording for a few months, I can focus on the radio and websites more again. Both Eyes On The Ring Radio and DAR Radio will be back soon. 2015.
SOTB: You mentioned your hands-on experience in pro wrestling. Before moving on, what's the most rewarding part of that? I mean being a young black kid who used to watch WWF and WCW every morning, it had to be surreal, right?
TG: I have done something that not many people can say and that's truly lived my childhood dreams. It was beyond surreal. I grew up watching Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Getting to interview him and meet him while I'm working a huge event like Wrestlecade is a dream come true. I'm sitting there with DDP, Matt Hardy, etc and they're like "I've heard of you man, your show is pretty cool too." And at that moment, I'm marking out internally.
I'm at a Duke basketball game with Chris Hero, who was the hottest free agent that month after being released by WWE. He's telling me that my music is dope, he's heard my shit, and more. It was amazing. Being the only black dude at the table with AJ Styles and a bunch of rednecks eating is a moment that felt like "damn I've arrived". I got to meet legends, interview legends, do commentary like I was the black Jim Ross (laughs), and I'm grateful for that experience. That's something on my resume. I'm blessed.
SOTB: Now before moving onto some social questions, I have to bring up the mother of your child again. She leveled some harsh words towards you, and with your dating luck, I'm asking this as an interviewer and brother. Is there any truth to her claim that you're not over her?
TG: No. It's not at all.
SOTB: Care to elaborate?
TG: Sure. We broke up a while ago. At the beginning, everyone who knew me was aware, I wasn't over it. I mean honestly, who wants to see that fall apart. And the way it did was terrible too. So, I had trouble dealing with that. Personal reasons. I spoke about my father on albums and I swore never to end up that way. And I wanted to give my daughter the true family environment that her mother and I both envisioned back then. It didn't work. Life goes on.
I wished her best of luck, apologized for my role in it falling apart on "Zuri's Song" on Soul Revival 2, and told her that as long as she's happy, I'm happy for her. That was a long time ago. I have never once referenced getting back with her, wanting her back, or anything since. It's as simple as that. Good luck. Let's be adults, raise our child, and live life. I don't know where she gets this idea in her head. I think she wants me to still want her subconsciously? I don't know. I wish her the best regardless.
SOTB: So, with the Alexes thing going south, and other romantic flings all going awry for you, do you ever put the blame on yourself?
TG: All the time. I'm self aware. I know what I did wrong with Alexes. I know what I do wrong in every situation and I try to learn from it. I know what happened with the other chick from Cali story from early in the year too. I take blame. I'm not perfect man. I might be picky but I have to be. Like I said in the interview from the other month, I'm not looking for temporary relationships. I know that when the woman I'm meant to be with comes in my life, I will know it. I said it on Three7One, when we find each other. Until then, I'll keep on doing my thing and working on being better. That's it.
SOTB: So, be honest, how is the dating game out here? For you, at least?
TG: Annoying as hell (laughs). I mean I have a gift of gab, which is how I'm able to have success with women. It's crazy though. I remember my online dating experiment over the summer man. Shit was hilarious and documented on the DAR blog. But it let me see a lot of what's wrong out here. Women were on there looking for friends, women were married and looking for platonic hangout buddies and shit. Like, make some friends in the street or go take your married ass off the site and spend time with your husband. It was crazy to me. Like women are on there looking to waste people's time. They come on dating sites looking for friends, knowing damn well niggas ain't trying to make no friends on a DATING site (laughs).
SOTB: I mean, I've made some friends through OKCupid.
TG: But, still--it's a dating site. Then, in the clubs, there's nothing there man. Nothing. Bunch of good-time girls, always in the club, looking to turn up, same drunk bitches every week. I venture to the book stores out here, social events, and it’s just crazy. I'm honest man. You know how brutally honest I am with women. I let them know things upfront. I don't run game. So, that makes it tougher. You know how people put up the veil and hide so much early on in dating? I don't do that. That's good and bad, I think. I can bring them in because they're refreshed by the honesty initially and then it becomes a turn off as we go along. I'm well aware of these things, I just can't change it man. I am who I am. I can't do that fake shit (laughs).
SOTB: Tensions are high these days in the world today it seems, right? Elections came and went, Ebola was supposed to kill us all, innocent black people are being killed...it's insane to say the least, right?
TG: You might as group those first two together. Ebola was a massive emergency and after elections were over, now look. It's all propaganda. You know the government, man. They have their spin cycle. Like, with the protests going on, they had a kid who apparently was dressed like Marvin Gaye in the '70s fake crying while hugging a cop.
They spread it around and called it "the pic that's touching everybody's heart." I felt nothing. Then it comes out that the shit was staged. Imagine that. The reality is grim out here man. This is the system we live amongst. Fuck them. Fuck the police. Fuck the government. Fuck the people who keep blinding believing in them after all we've seen. Wake up. Also, RIP to Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones, John Crawford, and all the countless black folks wrongfully murdered by the pigs who are meant to "protect and serve."
SOTB: So what are your thoughts on Ferguson and New York, with the lack of indictments?
TG: It's disheartening, yet expected. Darren Wilson getting off for murdering Mike Brown was a shock to no one. I think the reality of this country has alluded the average person's mind, or maybe they just enjoy being delusional. Ferguson is protesting for justice. New York and other areas are protesting for justice. This is all about justice. I think what we fail to realize is that this system wasn't built for US to obtain justice unless the murder is at the hands of one of our own. Truthfully, the protests are just the start.... I hope. I've taken part in a few protests here and there since the Ferguson incident, and I keep wondering what's next. I speak daily with people in the middle of all this and they are also lost on what to do next. I think the time comes for proper planning and unifying so we can begin to--to...prepare for battle.
SOTB: What about people who say this isn't a race thing?
TG: They are delusional. That's just it. I encounter people who say it's a class issue versus a race issue, but I think that's their way of deflecting. It's easier to make it a larger issue for all races, preferably the white race, while the only ones getting murdered and not receiving justice are black people. It's not hard to see anymore.
SOTB: Would you call yourself a "racist?"
TG: Oh wow (laughs), what a question. No. I'm not. I'm pro-black but I'm not anti-white. I hate everybody (laughs), but not because of race. I just think a large group of people in this world are idiots (shakes head and laughs).
SOTB: What about your feelings on white chicks? You've made it clear that "[those] cave bitches" aren't really worth your time in a relationship. Is it amplified for effect in your music, or do you really have that much disdain for white women?
TG: It's a mixture of both. I don't hate white women. Speed, you and I have been out and about pulling the "snow bunnies." I've been intimate with a decent share of white women, but it's a personal decision for me to not date one or be in a relationship with one. I know some cool white women. I know some idiotic white women. I know some whores too (laughs).
The " cave bitch" term was really done for effect, but I just doubt I'd ever date a white woman. I've seen a few that looked so good that I rethought my position for a second, but that's just surface. Nothing can compare to the black women, Latina women. I'd dare say Asian women as well, since I have some experience with them now as well. Nothing against white women in general, just not for me in that regard. I have white women that I consider associates and friends.
SOTB: Do you hate Iggy Azalea and people like her who have "whitewashed" hip-hop? Or is the idea of "whitewashing" rap music just some bullshit to you?
TG: I don't hate Iggy. I just don't give a fuck about her. She's trash. Her mind, her music, that fat transfer butt she's acquired over the last couple of years, etc. I saw her music video once, laughed, and have tried to avoid her music as a whole since. But to answer the question, of course there's whitewashing. Always has been. Vanilla Ice came in as a mockery of hip hop. He cashed out, sold records, and got a legacy. Eminem is a talented artist, but what good shit has he put out in 12 years? Encore? Relapse? Recovery? MMLP 2? Shady XV? These projects were all underwhelming, so how is he still in the running to be a top-five legend? He shouldn't be. White America embraces him as the best or the greatest and that's just how it works.
People said Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke brought R&B back, meanwhile I'm listening to Bilal, Eric Benet, KEM, Antoine Dunn, Luke James and countless other black artists thinking to myself, "it never left." Macklemore winning a Grammy? For what? "Thrift Shop?" That song was fucking garbage. Macklemore made a song about the lesbian and gay community and all of a sudden he's an activist. He's a big voice now. The Grammy's were supposed to be about quality of the music mixed in with other elements. Macklemore had the worst quality album of the nominees, yet he walked away with wins. There's an agenda being pushed. Riff Raff, Rittz, etc... It's an overload of white rappers with minimal skill getting attention and pushes. I respect the ones with skill, but at the end of the day, it's clear what's going on. Watch Iggy get nominated and win a Grammy this upcoming February (Ed. Note: Iggy has, in fact, been nominated for a Grammy).
SOTB: Do you think of yourself as a troll? I mean, musically, on Twitter, wherever?
TG: No. I don't really get trolling. I think a lot of people on the internet do it, but it was a concept I didn't understand. I started out years ago using the AllHipHop Ill Community forum, but I was just a simple user. Go in and talk about hip hop topics, log out, go back to life. There's a ton of forums, wrestling, hip hop, entertainment, et cetera--and they were full of trolls. It never registered with me. Not my thing.
SOTB: And what about some of the trolls you've interacted with on Twitter?
TG: They're just some strange people. I liken the internet trolls to members of the IWC, the Internet Wrestling Community, that sit in momma's basement on a desktop getting revenge on the world for what was done to them in school days. A lot of cats who troll usually do it with stupid jokes and when they're bored, but you got a lot of cats who were bullied in school, got those wedgies, punched in the face, lunch money stolen, and they get revenge by bothering people on the internet. It's like "yeah I won the internet because I get people to block me." Get a life man (laughs). CM Punk talked about it recently and it's hilarious.
The internet breeds cowards, man. Everybody is a tough guy on there. Everybody wants to expose people they don't know. Everybody wants to be famous for nothing. I just talk what's real. You either relate or you don't. The internet gives people an outlet and I can respect that, but make your time useful. I see it all the time, man.
SOTB: So. where do you see the team going these days?
TG: To the top. DAR has all the tools to go to the top of whatever industry we aspire to jump into. The 2015 plans are really shaping up and we've got some great things coming. The audience growth is what I believe needs to happen now. We are getting there and hopefully in 2015, we will be firmly where I envision.
SOTB: Speaking of the team, what did you think of Apollovelli?
TG: I think it’s a great album. I'm proud of my brother. His project is so diverse and he goes from lane to lane perfecting his style. Apollo and I have been rapping in a group or duo dynamic off and on since 2001. We were in class writing songs like "Smokin Dat Reefa" and little songs about hoes in our school days. To see where we've gone to now is a blessing. He's improved on everything as an artist to where he is competing with some of the best on that level. Apollovelli is a great project, I think the fans will be happy with it. He's got some heat.
SOTB: Who's the strongest member of the team? Or would it be more like "I'm stronger at X, Speed is better at Y," that sort of thing?
TG: That's a tough question. I think naturally, it boils down to what we are talking specifically. I'd say overall, if I had to choose, I'd say myself obviously, but I believe there's something to be said for every member of the team. I feel as a lyricist, I'm one of the greatest out here. I've been put on people's top 5 list and I think as an artist, that's where I shine greatest along with my flow on the beat. With you Speed, I feel like you're one of the best producers today. I produce and Apollo produces too, but I think your production talents are on a level most can't reach. With Apollo, I think he brings his diversity to the team. He's strong at hooks and concepts. Axel is the Energy God on tracks. His ad-libs, the aggression on tracks, that's his lane. I don't think any of us can duplicate it. So, we all have our lanes and strengths that complement each other. That's what makes us so deadly as a team. We all bring something to the table.
SOTB: I know Exodus is a ways off but what should the people expect?
TG: Exodus is a few months away, but people should expect an enormous growth musically from what they got on Genesis. I think everyone has stepped up. Musically, we have some new sounds, some throwback ideas, just all around a great project. We're bringing something fresh to the table for the game. When people hear it, I expect them to be blown away. It’s going to be fun.
SOTB: Is Axel still the "young boy" of the team?
TG: Axel is still the young boy of the team (laughs). He's the youngest, but he's still a talented dude and his age just signifies that the best is yet to come. I think he's like a younger brother in a lot of ways to us all. I can't wait to see his growth as an artist.
SOTB: Last question: who's the one artist you would just love to meet and say "yo, you suck at life, you suck at music, and I will take your deal, turn it sideways, and make something out of it that you couldn't: a hit" right before you just, I don't know, Stone Cold Stun the fuck out of them.
TG: Umm...no one. I don't care enough about these mainstream artists. Or their deals. I don't want to take their slave deals and make something out of it. I'm good on that (laughs). Most of them suck and make trash music but that's expected in the mainstream. I'd stun the execs and A&Rs for marketing this filth before I fault the puppets--err, artists who play by the rules.