Sacramento Proud

The Master, the General, The Gatlin

Over two dozen live performances, twenty music videos, six albums, a diss track/diss video combo, and a partridge in a pear tree later, Greg King, aka The Gatlin had one hell of a 2018. The culmination of it all came with the last minute, final quarter surprise release of his most introspective album to date, The Master of Ceremonies.

Gat pulled up on me with a few jars of weed, and we hotboxed the Porsche in the middle of Art Alley while he waxed poetic on an array of topics from his music, to turning a corner in his life, to creating the perfect soul food sushi bites.

Yeah. Soul Food Sushi. You read that shit right. I was grossed out too, but we are just going to ignore it. For the greater good of us all.


Resident Stoner: “Oooh shit that smells good, what’s that?” I asked as I practically buried my nose into the small glass jar I had just been handed, diving my senses into the scent of crystalline cannabis.

The Gatlin: “Ummmm….. it’s weed?” he chucked back.

RS: “Oh ok, it’s going to be that kind of interview huh? I see you, Gat. You know as the founder of The Stonerettes, I know it’s weed.” I laughed while twisting the top back on and handing it back to him.

TG: “I’m messing with you, but nah in all reality I just bought a bunch of stuff and kind of forgot what it was or which one was which.”

RS: “Gotchu. Well, lets just smoke the mystery marijuana and chop it up for a bit. How you been? How are you feeling now that the album has been officially released into the world?”

TG: “I’m good for sure, just taking it all in still.”

RS: “How’s the response been so far?”

TG: “It’s definitely been surprising. People’s feedback has been unexpected but positive as fuck.”

RS: “Why do you think it’s surprising? Is it because of the tone of the album being a little left of center compared to your previous work that came out this year?”

TG: “I think it is the most transparent project I’ve ever dropped. Everybody can relate to this stuff in some way. The grind. The struggle. The come up. The hustle. The stress. The struggle. The wins. The losses. It feels like folks always wanna celebrate the wins, but I like to celebrate the losses just as much because the losses are where the lessons are, and I’m here for the lessons.”

Pause

Oof. If you’re like me, dear reader, when you read the above quote, it managed to hit you in a particular part of the feels. The kind that of feels that smack you straight in your subconscious and cause you to start to shift in your seat. There were definitely a lot of lessons that year had to teach us, and it seems like Gat decided to take all of those lessons and lay them out into an album meant to leave an exclamation point on the end of 2018.

Unpause

RS: “So is that the motto of 2019? Here for the lessons?”

TG: “I think it’s more about transparency. That was probably the biggest lesson that I took away from 2018. Being transparent and honest with yourself and others. Transparency in all facets of life. Transparency. Yeah that’s definitely the motto for the year.”

RS: “Was this album a practice in transparency for you?”

TG: “This album, honestly, like, on some real honest shit? I think this album came from me being kinda fucking depressed all of 2018. My sister passed away in 2017 and I was at the point then when I was about ready to quit rap, and it wasn’t getting easier. But that felt like some old quitter type shit. Instead I ended up turning a corner and deciding to dive into the music. This album is the result of that deep dive.”

RS: “Yeah, this year definitely felt like a journey.”

TG: “It’s been eventful. Let’s just say that. We take from those events and we either end up getting made, or getting broken by it. I almost broke, but I decided to keep it pushing and make something out of it.”

RS: “Speaking of making something out of it — you released what, like 433 albums this year right? How do you even manage to turn out so much content so fast? It’s mind blowing.”

TG: “Ha. It was definitely a lot. We did six projects this year, dropped a ton of videos. Honestly, it’s just my work ethic and my teams work ethic have to match. I’m the General, and they keep pace, and they do that shit hella well. When it comes to the music… what can I say, I did a lot of cooking in 2017 and 2018 between this process. There was so much that happened in that time for me. So there was a lot of music for me to give.”

RS: “You know that brings up an interesting point. The amount of giving that you have to give of yourself in order to put it into your music. It can be a lot of work, blood, sweat, tears, time and money depending on your situation and how you manage to put it all together. It makes me wonder, especially for an independent artist — like, what’s the goal? What is it that you are trying to do?”

TG: “For 2019 it feels like the goal right now is me being really focused on this corner that I am finding myself turning. I’m trying to do some different shit. I could have dropped Master of Ceremonies in the beginning of 2019 and rode the wave out, but I wanted to drop something extremely powerful in 2018 to sort of set the bar for myself is set at such a high fuckin level for 2019. I’m focused on the branding a little bit more. I’m focused on leaving the city a lot more. I’m travelling a lot but if I could I would always be gone. If it weren’t for my babies, I would be gone constantly. I love my city to death, but the crab in the bucket mentality can really hinder a muthafucker, you know?”

Pause

Alright. Let’s talk about this for a minute yall, because that sentence is something I have heard mentioned by more Sacramento artists than I care to count, and not just since I started writing about the scene. I have been in and around the scene for the last 8 years, and would be a a solid millionaire if I had a dollar for every time someone said that or something similar.

Crabs in a bucket. For those who may not be familiar, the term comes from the way crabs will act if placed into a bucket together in numbers. Crabs will automatically scramble to get out of the bucket, as their instincts tell them it’s not the place to be. The problem is that if there are multiple crabs? Literally or figuratively, they would rather rip you limb from limb than see you get out before them. It’s an ugly visual. It’s even uglier to hear artists in your city mention that’s how they are feeling.

I’ll talk more on that in a later piece though. Just wanted you to feel what he we was feeling when he said it. What all of them feel. Despite the bravado of most artists, you can tell.

It hurts.

Unpause

TG: You just gotta pay attention to the signs, and sometimes there is an outside force pushing you to go. Not to pick up and leave, but to pick up and know that you’re gonna be okay without that safety net. I’m pushing that vibe this year, for myself, and for those around me.

RS: I love that. Taking a leap of faith in yourself. It’s so hard but it’s so important.

TG: Pshhhhh it’s the most important. Folks just don’t always realize it.

RS: Or if they do it’s too late.

TG: That part. We just have a lot of talent in this city. So there are so many folks that are trying to compete for that top spot. I’m not trying to compete against anyone except myself. That’s my job this year. Be better than me. Better than I was last year. Better than I’ve ever been.

RS: Is it all music related? Or are you branching out to even more things this year?

TG: I’m branching out. I mean we already got the Stoner boutique up and running, and we are still making that move. Now I might be delving into some new stuff. My goal is gonna be to get my restaurant up and running. That’s the long term goal.

RS: (me in shock despite knowing Gat for years) YOU COOK LIKE THAT?

TG: Oh yeah. I whip a little cheffery in the kitchen. I want to try and do a healthier soul food. But infuse it with other cultures. Like a soul food sush.

RS and Vanessa: (Vanessa has been sitting in the back seat smoking silently this whole time): UMM NO.

TG: Hear me out!

RS: No.

TG: Just imagine fried chicken, wrapped in a collard green leaf, with some cornbread crumb dustings.

RS: Get out of your own fucking car. Just leave. It’s time. The interview is over.

The interview wasn’t over. We kept talking for a bit, finished up another joint expertly rolled by Gat, hugged, chit chatted, and went back to our day. The interview was long enough that I probably could have written a small novella about the work Gat is doing.

But.

I’d rather let you do the WERK, as Gat says. Take a minute to learn a little more about the music, the hustle, and the drive.

I’m inviting ALL of you out to Blue Lamp Sacramento on Feb 8th. The Master of Ceremonies project will be performed live with a full band, in a completely “unplugged” performance. Trust me when I say that basically EVERYONE in the hip hop community is going to be there. This is one of them bring folks together type jawns.

Don’t miss your chance. Flyer with all the info is below:

Also. Peep the full album, Master of Ceremonies, anywhere where music is available for steam or sale. Spotify link below:

Lastly….

He’s got a new project coming that is one of the most creatively inspired undertakings I have heard of and he has some BIG moves coming.

Do the werk.
Keep tuned in.
Find out what’s in store.

Until then, you know where to find me:

IG — @thelivstyler
FB — facebook.com/thelivstyler

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Olivia Monahan

January 25th, 2019

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