King Lil G
On the surface, King Lil G is a rebel. He's been involved in gangs, he's been arrested and served time, he fathered a child before adulthood, he dropped out of school and, to match his record, his body is covered in tattoos. But beyond his troubled past and rough exterior, G is a true artist with a message of HOPE.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California by his single Mexican mother, King Lil G turned to the streets shortly after his parents divorced when he was 12. Soon enough, gang activity would catch up with him, landing him in Juvenile Hall and then house arrest. But G didn't let the imprisonment discourage him, instead, he used the time to reflect, finding solace in writing rhymes.
Inspired by his own struggles, trials and tribulations that had shaped him, G looked no further than his own life for material. With no formal training or music background, he began to self-teach and, as a result, master the art of storytelling in its most raw, honest and simplest form of wordsmithing. Additionally, he was influenced by the G-funk flavor of 90s West Coast rap about women, weed and palm trees, especially that of California hip-hop staples Snoop Dogg, Too $hort and Dr. Dre, among others, as well as Mexican folk ballads called corridos music and the passion and emotion of one of his all-time favorites, Tupac.
"I wanted to rap about the struggle - real street stuff that I was going through," says King Lil G of his gangster hip-hop sound. "I also started reading, including a book called Quotationary (Leonard Roy Frank)... [which] inspired me to write a lot of the songs I write now. It taught me a lot about friends, women and family."
And, in the bigger scheme of things, G hoped to inspire others to stray away from committing some of the same mistakes he made and instead strive to achieve their goals and dreams, just as he was attempting to do then. His mentality was, and continues to be, if he can make it so can anyone. Furthermore, if he can use his platform, however small or big it may be, to help others, then that's exactly what he plans to do.
"There are so many things I want to do, but to begin with I want to do a lot of things for kids... not just the kids that aren't healthy, but how about kids that have no hope?" G explains. "The ones that can get help but don't have money and parents don't know a way to help them out. I want to be that person."
With this goal in mind, Lil G compiled a slew of his best music and released it via the mixtape Blue Devil 2 in 2011CK, followed by his second release, King Enemy, in 2012CK, and before he knew it, he had gained a sizable viral buzz and hardcore, loyal fan base (currently he has over 43k+ followers on Twitter, over 359k+ likes on Facebook, 192k+ subscribers to his YouTube channel and 301k+ followers on Instagram).
He began performing locally while quietly building an army of fans across the country. Today, he's selling out performances around the country. His fans came in a myriad of colors and shapes, from Mexicans to Whites to Blacks and others, and his word began to make its round and stick with even the unlikeliest of listener. He made the hopeless feel hopeful and the grittiest of gang banger feel like today was a better day, maybe even good enough to put the gun down and seek a different path, a more positive one, much like G did.
It was this very appeal that made Lil G a hot commodity to labels and, as a result, in 2012 he was scouted by and signed a joint venture deal with MIH Entertainment. With a bigger machine to help him spread his message of optimism and promise, and motivated by his vastly growing popularity, King Lil G created the Sucio (Spanish for "dirty") Movement, which, in his own words, is "a positive movement that has to do with freedom and not being afraid to accomplish and do things... it's empowerment for those that don't think they can make it and come from nothing."
Similarly, his latest project, AK47Boyz, hopes to motivate and inspire. Unlike what might initially come to mind when reading the title, the reference to an AK 47 riffle represents "power and knowledge," says G. "It means do whatever you want. When you figure out that person out there is not smarter than you yet that person is doing great things, you will see that you can, too. This is what I want to open people's eyes to."
Released last March, AK47Boyz is his most well-received album to date; it's been downloaded over 36,000 times on Datpiff.com, with 128k views to date. Songs like Hopeless Boy, a true-to-life depiction of his bout with drug dealing and going through financial hardships, finds King Lil G rapping, "Motherfucker, I had guns in my mother's closet, the day she caught me, tear drops started falling / then she slapped me in the face, looking broken-hearted, how the fuck do I explain that my hood is stronger?" over a looping snare and static drums by NutKase. An accompanying video was shot and will be released soon.
El Alpachino, with a church-like chorus topped by double-speed drums helmed by Five Oh Trez, compares G's own life to that of the character of Al Pacino from the movie Scarface. "He came from nothing and made his story happen by linking with people," explains G. "Like when he was working at the sandwich shop and then built his way up - that's my life and a lot of people can relate to that."
Meanwhile, there's Love Kills, a sexy number about unfaithfulness and relationship woes, atop a galactic production by AAP Jermz Jedi Keyz and featuring Krypto, and Joey and Jasmine, "a song that teaches the difference between a hoe and a good woman," says G bluntly. Other producers include Drummer Boy and Lewis Parker and guest appearances from David Ortiz and LA Gun Smoke, among others.
"I want to make music with a purpose," closes King Lil G. "I want to inspire others. It'd be beautiful. How much of a difference would it make if a hardcore gang member would be like, 'let's not kill today, let's change our lives'? As my career goes on, I want to keep pushing this positive vibe... and if I start helping others, that will make me successful."
Music saved King Lil G. Now, the reality rapper is ready to pay it forward