There are about 184,000 residents in Huntsville, Alabama, and two of those people just started making spectacular rap music again. G-Side, comprised of emcees ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova, took a couple year respite from their world-renowned internet-loved rap group (Dublin, in particular, loves these dudes). They both made some solo joints, Clova started a fashion label, but they came back to do what they do best—and that's work together. From their efforts we get the insanely wonderful new album GzIIGodz. The dudes are doing the same shit they've always done so well. Rhymes about smoking a whole shit ton of weed, sleeping with the finest women, and a whole lot of a chest-bopping bravado.
We got ST and Clova on a three way call from their homes in Alabama recently and like any good conference call we had to deal with some phone troubles, but we sauntered on to talk about the group's current state and their new album. Below, we also have the premiere of their new video for "2004," featuring Joi Tiffany.
Noisey: What was the moment you guys decided to bring it back together and make music as G-Side again?
ST 2 Lettaz: Our birthdays are real close to each other and we always end up calling each other and we got to talking and both agreed it was time to go back in. It seemed like people had been missing us and we for sure definitely missed making music as G-Side. Making this album wasn't just for us, it was for everybody.
Was this whole record made after that birthday conversation or are some verses pulled from the solo work you guys were doing?
ST: Everything is brand new.
Clova: We started cooking this up at the end of last November.
ST: We recorded the album in just a couple of weeks. The majority of it was done in close to a month. I went to Canada for a couple of weeks then came back and we knocked out the last three songs. We were going to drop it in December of last year but we both felt it needed a little more unity. So, we stepped away from it and let it breathe and just realized we missed it too much and finished the product.
Clova: We just had to step away then pop back in and get the levels right and all that shit and put it out there.
What were you both doing while you stepped away from recording the new album?
ST: Just living! Clova's got a fashion label he's been running. For me I was working with our production duo we always use (Block Beattaz) a bit.
Making the new record, are you both in the studio at the same time when putting verses down?
ST: We are pretty much always in the studio together. One of us will get an idea but when we make that idea a reality we like to be together.
After not recording together for a couple years did you guys feel comfortable getting back in the studio together?
ST: Getting back in that groove was easy man. It's like riding a bike. For me it was more uncomfortable recording by myself, making solo joints. We've just been doing this shit together for so long. I always know what Clova's going to bring and that allows me to do what I'm going to do.
Clova: We'd write our verses and then we're so used to banging that shit out together. We just got in there and put our everything into recording those verses man.
Were you both at all worried about the momentum you had built up over the years having dissipated? Worried the fan base was still out there for new G-Side music?
ST: It's always been the same people that show love. It wasn't about a fan base or something. We did this thing in our own studio and with our people from Huntsville. It's been since 2011 that we dropped a project. We weren't worried about anything. We know how dope this music is. It's going to go where it needs to go. We might have lost a couple of fans or something but we got a game plan and that'll get new fans along the way.
How does your production relationship with Block Beattaz work? Do you guys tell them what you want beat wise or do they just bring you a whole slew of beats to choose from?
ST: We can bring something to them like if we want a certain sample. They play what they play and we record what we record.
Clova: Basically, we just try and beat the shit outta whatever beat it is they got.
Do you guys talk beforehand going into the studio making a project about what you want the overall sound or feel to be?
ST: We just get in there and knock it out. Our chemistry is always there. The recording process, we just throw it against the wall and see what sticks and then we'll go back in and figure out what's lacking. We of course will talk through things that aren't working. Like if we want to fuck with a tempo or change up some subject matter.
Clova: We listen intensely to the words and what we're saying to make sure everything is exactly how we want it to be.
On all of your recorded output you guys always work with the same cast of Huntsville artists but is there ever any desire to reach outside the city to work with other people?
ST: Here's the thing, we're not really close to anywhere in Huntsville. We do all the recording here. That's what our last record, Island, was about. It's us out here in our own world, on our own island. We could reach out to people but for the most part we just fuck with those who fuck with us. We don't feel like we need anyone to come in and add their sound or their own elements. Especially on this new album me and Clova were coming back and we wanted to keep it us. Keep it G-Side. We're perfectly capable of delivering excellent records without any outsiders.
Being on your own island, out in Alabama, where do you guys feel you fit in the current rap landscape?
ST: The trend in hip-hop now seems to be to have you own lane. There aren't really artists that are accepted across the board. Everyone usually has their own sect who supports them. I can't say that we do fit in anywhere. However, we can do anything. We could seriously sign to a fucking major tomorrow if we wanted to. We just do what we do and we put out how many albums we want to. There's no box you can put us in.
Luke McCormick will be waiting for your call on his birthday. He's on Twitter — @LUKEmccorn