Kap G Talks 'Dope' & 'Bringing Two Worlds Together' as a Mexican-American Rapper
Atlantic Records newcomer Kap G may not be a household name just yet, but he’s working on it.
On Tuesday, Kap released new single “I Be Up” featuring Nechie on iTunes and all digital providers. Come Friday, the Mexican-American rapper makes his formal theatrical debut -- as the character Fidel -- when the buzzy coming-of-age flick Dope premieres nationwide. The film’s accompanying soundtrack also features the Kap G track “Cocaina Shawty.”
“I’ve been going hard for a while,” says Kap G, who first attracted mainstream attention in 2013 with “Tatted Like Amigos” featuring Chief Keef. “To see that work finally paying off means I’ll just be going harder.”
Also featured on the mixtape Catch the Throne Vol. 111 from HBO’s Game of Thrones, Kap G has been co-signed by Wiz Khalifa and Kirko Bangz (on the “Tatted" remix), as well as T.I. and David Banner (the remix of “La Policia”). Now the newcomer is wrapping up his forthcoming debut EP, El Southside. Below, the 20-year-old from College Park, Georgia -- born George Ramirez -- schools folks on his rap alter ego and first-time acting gig.
His rap handle: When I started rapping, my crew was called Kids at Play. And growing up, people called me G.
Getting started: I could always rhyme ever since I was young. I built a studio in my apartment in 2011 to record tracks and make videos. It was putting out the song and video for "Tatted" that began building buzz for me. [Then-Atlantic A&R executive] Kawan “KP” Prather saw the video, and from there he helped me get signed to the label.
His bilingual rap style: I’m bringing two worlds together: raised in a Mexican household but living in an African-American neighborhood in Atlanta. That’s a unique lifestyle within Southern rap.
Parents’ reaction to his rap pursuits: My mom and dad were shocked. They’re from a very poor place in Mexico, so they looked at this as not ever going to happen. They believed in the regular -- go to college then find a job -- and weren’t into the dream come true. Now my mom will be doing a cameo on my EP.
Landing the Dope cameo: KP is good friends with Pharrell, who was looking for someone to play the Fidel character. Pharrell told the film’s writer/director Rick Famuyiwa about me. I auditioned and they liked it. It was crazy -- my first acting gig. I was a bit nervous on set because there was a bunch of people in the room when I was shooting, including [Dope stars] Chanel Iman and Quincy Brown. I scratched everyone out of my mind and went hard. Everybody says I did great.
El Southside: It’s just about me bringing people into my world; talking real stuff in English and Spanish about what I go through and experience like on “La Policia.” I got pulled over by the police 18 months ago or so ago. I felt it was racial profiling as there was no probable cause. In writing the track, I thought many people could relate to it. At the same time, I’m young and still want to talk about girls and cars. So the EP is a mix of both sides.
Working with Pharrell: When Pharrell brought me in the studio with him, I played him a lot of my songs and we just connected. He likes that I’m bringing something new to the rap game as a Mexican-American. But he also believes I can be a top rapper -- not just a top Mexican-American rapper.