Can - Should - DJs Be Rappers Too?
The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place -lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper: GT Mayne
This Week's Subject(s): The DJ-as-rapper conundrum.
Ask A Rapper: Okay, so you're probably most prominently known as a DJ, right? But you're also a rapper. How does that work? You're like Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince all rolled into one, like some sort of super-musician?
GT: Yes, I'm mostly known to the world as a DJ, although I was rapping first. I compare it to being a two-letter man in high school, like playing football and basketball. Both require deep thought, good timing and concentration, one just has a lot more plays you have to remember.
GT Mayne, "H.O.U.S.T.O.N."
AAR: Ooh, can you please explain why DJ Khaled is famous? That guy is the worst. Did you know he's released four albums? How does that happen? #fml.
GT: He's famous 'cause he helped bring the Miami music movement to the forefront. He was then able to make records of his own with those same artists he help put on.
AAR: How does one go about balancing the responsibilities of being a rapper and a DJ at the same time? We mean, if we were a DJ and a rapper, we'd almost certainly only play our own music. And maybe Drake's "Light Up" too. That's a really good song.
GT: I totally separate the two. DJ GT and GT Mayne are two different people trapped inside one person. Think back to Shock G and Humpty Hump of Digital Underground [laughs]. When I'm DJing, I never try to force my own music on people. If I feel like I have a banger that goes with the atmosphere I'm DJing in, I'll throw it in there.
AAR: Lil' Jon is probably the most famous DJ/rapper of all time. Pete Rock would probably be second. You closer to Jon or Rock? Please say Rock... please say Rock...
GT: I'm most definitely closer to Pete Rock. I focus on lyrics, as well as the music. Unless I'm making a fun party record - which is not often - I like to consider myself a lyricist.
Keep an eye out for GT's upcoming mixtape E=emcee2, as well as his first solo full length CD, The Definition of a Rapper. Follow GT on Twitter at @gtmayne and friend him on Facebook and MySpace.