When you hear GQ Marley’s music, you can instantly relate it to a mellow, chill and carefree sound. The self-proclaimed “carefree hipster” has a niche and brand that works well for him. Being influenced by Notorious B.I.G, and hailing from Texas, his music is ‘sonically compelling.’ His latest track, “Quaalude$” break barriers and is quite a catch for new ears.
I recently did an interview with GQ Marley to discuss his latest music, his upbringing and influences, what’s next for him as well as some insight of his brand and artistry.
Tell us about yourself and your music.
GQ Marley: I grew up on the Eastside of San Antonio and spent majority of my time with my grandparents. Both of my parents worked hard to provide for my older brother, my little sister, and myself. My brother was the first person to introduce me to hip hop music. The first rap song I ever heard was 112’s “Only You” remix featuring the Notorious BIG. From that point on I fell in love with hip hop, and picked up songwriting as a hobby and way of self expression. However, it wasn’t until high school when I heard “The College Dropout,” that my outlook on music changed and I was inspired to take music seriously.
My music is heavily influenced by lyricism and melodies. I studied the greats of the past, as well as the top artists in the game today to help develop my own sound. My first two mix tapes “DREAM” and “DREAM 2” focused primarily on lyrics and story telling. My upcoming EP “Side Effects” focuses on the same elements of my previous projects, but dives more into my personal life and general outlook on life now that I’ve decided to pursue a career in music.
How would you describe your sound?
GQ Marley: My sound is very unique and combines elements of all genres. The voice is an amazing instrument that can be manipulated in so many ways, so I usually start off freestyling and experimenting with different melodies and lyrics to create an idea for a song then usually build off of that. I always strive to be original when creating my sound because I do not want to be compared to other artists. The resulting sound is very honest and entertaining to listen to. I strive to make music that motivates and inspires others to chase their dreams.
Talk about the experience making your song/mixtape.
GQ Marley: When creating a song or body of work, I first think of the overall sound I want to use as the theme. For example, When I created “DREAM” I was all over the place with sounds and subject matter. This helped with the creation of “DREAM 2” because it showed me my strengths and weaknesses. From that point, I could craft my own dynamic sound with room for growth, evolution, and an emphasis on memorable music. With “Side Effects,” I took a little more time because I wanted to focus on a more organic sound that embodied all aspects of my artistry. Working with my in-house team of producer Platinum PAT and artist Doc Strange, I was able to focus on finding the right production and developing an unique, new sound. With this approach, I was able to experiment with melodies, cadences, and pitches for the upcoming project.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects? Shows?
GQ Marley: I’m currently in the process of finalizing my collaborative EP with my collective, “THE GRADUATE$,” which will be making its debut at the end of the month. It will be a fun and wavy project that will leave you asking for more music. Following the GRAD$ project, my debut EP “Side Effects,” will be released late August. I do not want to speak too much of that project, just know it’s going to blow your mind.
As far as shows I’m currently in the works of setting up a possible tour, but I will have more information in regards to dates and locations as we get closer to the release of “Side Effects.”
What has been your biggest highlight in your music career this far?
GQ Marley: I have had so many amazing opportunities throughout my career, but I would say of those highlights the biggest in my music career thus far would be the release of my new single Quaaludes on Dirty Glove Bastards. I am a huge fan of their blog, so when they decided to feature my music it really meant a lot to me. I have been following that site for quite some time and being featured on one of your favorite blogs is surreal.
Name your ideal collaboration: mainstream or independent artist(s)
GQ Marley: If I could collaborate with any artist that’s in the game today it would be Jay Z, Kanye West, or Fabolous. Those three artists have had a heavy influence on my taste of music, plus HOV was Biggies’ big brother. As far as current top artists I would love to work with Drake, Big Sean, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance the Rapper.
Name something random that people do not know about you.
GQ Marley: There are so many random things about me that people do not know. For starters, I attended the greatest university in the state of Texas; Texas A&M University. I am a father to a beautiful daughter, and I am a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
What’s one thing you have learned or discovered while being in the indie music scene/industry?
GQ Marley: There is no such thing as an overnight success. It really takes a hard work ethic and a true passion for music to make make rap a career.
What can we expect from you in the future?
GQ Marley: Timeless music. I know if given the opportunity I will leave my mark and transform the genre of hip hop. Even if it takes one fan at a time, I will make it and leave a legacy like Biggie.
Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
GQ Marley: Yes, follow me on all social media. Just look up GQMarley420 and you will find me. Listen to my music and get at me with your thoughts, as I truly believe that there is always room for improvement. Also, for those who have been following me since day one, thank you for your support, and just know that I’m only getting started. Stay blessed.
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