Hella Juiced: Almighty Suspect

February 4, 2019

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Almighty Suspect is not only a part of this new LA wave, he’s one of the originators. Equipped with a voice and sound that’s unlike any other, it’s his warm personality that proves to be the biggest breath of fresh air. Growing his fanbase organically all on his own — with a little help from his phone and social media — real name Beron Thompkins proves hard work, dedication, and passion will yield positive outcomes. Read more…

From being locked up behind bars to now locked in the studio perfecting his craft daily, Tha Grimy Gurber is ready to take his artistry to the next level, unleashing the same dark, heavy bangers that put him on.

Can you talk about what Grimy Gurber means?
Gurber is kind of a saying where Gurb is a saying, and then you a Gurber. Grimy Gurber, it’s my character. My side persona type thing.

Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop?
Right now, it’s developing. I belong in the hall of fame — give me 20 years. An innovator in hip-hop. That’s what I see myself as, an innovator.

What part of LA are you from?
I’ve grown up in LA my entire life. Every part. I’ve lived in 100s of LA, I’ve lived in the 30s. I’ve lived in Torrance, Carson, all types.

Where were you in high school?
I went to Dorsey which is by Crenshaw, by the Baldwin Hills plaza with the mall. I went to City of Angels in West LA, but still South Central though. I was getting kicked out of school a lot, so I was moving around. I got kicked out of Carson, Narbonne, Dorsey, City of Angels. I just ended up stop going. [laughs]

Bring us back to life before music, I know you said you started only 3 years ago.
I come from a musical family. Since I can remember, I’ve been in the studio. Before I was rapping, I was making beats. There’s pictures of me at 3 years old with a keyboard and headphones in the studio. Always always always been about music. Life before music, I was a troubled kid. Steady in jail, back in forth in and out of the halls, just a lot of the miscellaneous bullshit. Music was a hobby for me.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
When I was in the mall with my mom and sister, a girl came up to me and started crying. I was like “damn, I guess this is real.” Once my family started feeling the effects of me rapping, then I knew it was real. My sister’s still in high school, they call her Lil Almighty at school. She can’t get away from it.

How old is your sister?
My sister just turned 17. It’s not just affecting me, now it’s affecting my entire family.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
To be an artist and you’re not from here? We’ve started a lot from even the 80’s. From culture, to how people were dressing, to how people talk, a lot of stuff came from here.

I’m from the Bay, so I would beg to differ.
You sound like my stepmom ‘cause she’s from the Bay. Gang culture? Ya’ll don’t have Crips and Bloods in the Bay. Crips and Bloods sparked off in America, in Europe, all of that. That’s LA gang culture, that spread across the entire globe from early 70’s.

I mean, the streets are bad up there too though.
This is true. I’m not knocking the Bay. It gets grimey in the bay. I go to the Bay all the time, they get it in too. Me being from LA, when you’re an artist from another place, you gotta come here. We got Hollywood, all that. It’s like a hub.

What was the inspiration behind your name?
I got the Suspect from 1) being a bad ass kid in the neighborhood. Every time something went missing, they came knocking on my mom’s door. They started calling me the Lil Suspect. 2) I was playing PS2 — everybody who’s my age, they’ll know this — Def Jam Vendetta Fight for New York. Suspect was an unlockable character. All the way at the end, all the stats was up, you couldn’t fuck with him. He was beating everybody up. He was a great character and you didn’t know who he was. He didn’t have a face, he was a suspect. Once I started getting a little older, I was like “Suspect is kind of short, let me just put something to make it stand out in front.” They were like “oh you think highly of yourself,” so I just threw Almighty in front of it.

“WhereYoSafeAt” is almost a mil on YouTube. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
No, it’s a crazy story how that song came about. One morning, Chike FaceTimed me. We made “Licked Up” and “WhereYoSafeAt” the same day. Same house, same day. I heard “Licked Up” and went to his house. We had Low The GREAT pull up. I recorded my “Licked Up” verse and was like “man, I need my own one of these. This shit is hard.” I told Low to take all the sounds out that beat. I just wanted the bass, snap, clap, and sound effects. I didn’t want too much going on. He made the “WhereYoSafeAt” beat and it just took off. We shot the video the next day.

I saw on YouTube you have a lot of visuals out. I fuck with that because you’re working and grinding.
2019 just started, I already got 3 or 4 videos out — and I’m sitting on a few. Visuals make the artist. You can blossom way more when you have nice visuals to go with your music.

You say “I’ma goon, ain’t ever need no face tat.” Who you coming at?
I’m not coming at nobody. Growing up, I always noticed n*ggas with face tats try to intimidate you, and I know a couple n*ggas who was bitches before their face tats. Like “you was a bitch, you went and got face tattoos, you still a bitch. But your face tattoos make you look a little extra,” so I’ma goon. I never needed no face tats. I’m not knockin’ n*ggas with face tats, ‘cause I know some n*ggas with face tattoos who be trippin’, but I’m talking about the people who was not like that, got face tats, and now they feel like they thugs. I don’t got no face tats. You don’t need ‘em.

You dropped Almighty last year. Talk about the creative process and how long it took you.
At first, I didn’t know if wanted to do a mixtape or an album. This my third year rapping and I have a total of seven projects, but I never had an album. Me and my engineer/producer Big Boo were in the studio. We popped 2 addys at night. He executive produced the whole album. He was like “man you gotta try some addys bro, you gotta stay up.” Because I be doing a lot of lean. I be asleep. He like “man, we ain’t never gonna get this shit done. He told me a story when he was in college, he was doing them and aceing all his tests. I was like “I’ma try it,” and it worked. 12 songs, 2 nights, and it was done.

You said you have 7 projects, how are you funding yourself? How did you get the resources?
At first, I was broke. I just had good relationships with people. I’ve never paid for a music video in my life. I’ve never paid for studio time in my life — on my daughter. I’ve never paid for a beat. None of that, ever. All off relationships. How I first started recording, I had a studio in my garage. The first video that I dropped, it hit 2 million on YouTube. I didn’t have to pay nobody for that video.

The first video that I dropped, it hit 2 million on YouTube. I didn’t have to pay nobody for that video. “Up,” Almighty and FRosTYdaSnowMann. I’ve never paid for nothing. I’ve never had to pay 50 an hour for no engineer. Big Boo has recorded me since the beginning. We tight, that’s like my brother. All my producers, we close friends. My cameraman, I literally play 2K with my cameraman all day. I wish the fuck he would charge me for a video.

That’s why I have a whole team of people under 18. They do everything with me because we build. They know once they do the video for me, I’m gonna promote it heavy and people gon’ pay them. [claps] My engineer’s studio was booked and it was all off me and Frosty in the beginning. People wanted to come where we was recording. It’s like a barter system. Shit, I just act like we ain’t got money. You do something for me, I’ll do something for you. That’s how it works. I’ve never paid for nothing out my pocket as far as videos, beats, or engineer.

Can you take us back to you and Frosty’s falling out? If you want…
Look, I don’t have beef with nobody. I’m in way too much good of space to beef with anybody. I’m a snap away from being a millionaire and I don’t want no bad vibes with me at all. I don’t beef with no LA rapper period.

Me and Frosty started in 2016. I met him in juvie. We were badass kids. I met him in the halls and the n*gga banged on me. [chuckles] I was always the dumbass who had to take my shit to trial and be in there forever. He got out first and I remember he wrote his number and Instagram down on paper. “When you get out, hit me. We gon’ link up.” I swear to God, it’s like a movie. I got out 4 or 5 months later. As soon as I came home and got comfortable, I went on Instagram and hit him like “I’m out nigga.” He start pulling up on me. We were just riding around in the streets, being teenagers. He had a song out called “187.” I had a studio, he didn’t have nowhere to record. I was like “shit, let’s do some songs.” That started “Up.” We wasn’t trying to be big. We would just have fun in my garage because I had a studio and I was the only person who could record us.

Over the next 2 years… how the whole rap wave sounds right now, it was birthed from 4 people: Drakeo The Ruler, FRosTYdaSnowMann, me, and Ralfy the Plug.

What happened to Ralfy?
They’re all in jail. I’m the only one from the first wave. I’m the only one from the originators and the innovators of the new rap wave, I’m the only one that’s out.

How does that feel?
Crazy. The only one that’s still around in the mix, it’s hella crazy.

How does it feel to have so many people come up, like Shoreline?
It’s crazy. That made me wanna stay on my shit, because I just watched how fast within 6 months, new group, Shoreline, pop up. [snaps] Within another 9,10 months boom, Chike pop up. Boom, OneTake. Everybody was popping up. I’m like “I like this.” That made me wanna work hard because I felt like a fake OG. I’m coming up, but I’ve been around. That made me stay on my toes. I’m not gonna be one of the has-been categories. I can’t be the has-been category, so I just worked harder. I stepped my game up. Once me and Frosty split, I became my own and just kept it going from there.

Talk about your new single “PayForMyPresence.”
I posted the clip for “PayForMyPresence” and it got 40K views on my Instagram, just the preview. I was like “oh shit, 40K? Jesus christ. They want it. It’s just a 30 second preview.” I knew that was the one to push.

What is it that you want fans to get from your story?
When you hear my music, you can tell it’s not made up. You can feel it. I just rap from my past experience and past history. I get all my anger out in music. I be calm as hell throughout the day, because I be angry as fuck in the booth. A lot of people tell me they use my music as a stress reliever, when they in the gym or when they trying to turn up. It’s feel-good music. Music is one of the biggest mood changers, I’m just trying to change moods with the music.

What was it like performing “Slidin” with Blueface at the Novo?
It was crazy. I had my own show that I was doing 45 minutes prior. I had got off stage and Bluefaced called me like “come do ‘Slidin’’ with me at The Novo, I go on at 12:30am.” I was already in the car in East LA, tired, just leaving my own show. I went over there and pulled up on them. We walked in together. He brought me out as a special guest, and I went crazy.

You’re only 21, what are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I’m trying to be like Rick Ross. I format what I’m doing off MMG. In 10 years, I wanna be Rick Ross sitting up under some Wingstops and some duplexes. I want to have me a Meek Mill, a Wale. I want to have my artists around me who are changing shit with their own sounds.

‘Cause Meek Mill is a n*gga. You wouldn’t even think he’s under Rick Ross because he made his own. That’s why I made Almighty Millionaires, I got it tatted on my arm. That’s my brand, my record label. I try to duplicate MMG. I already rap my ass off, hits, Grammy awards, etc. Then I pass the torch to you. Now ya’ll doin ya’ll thing, then you all pass the torch. I’m just trying to have a whole solid team that’s going to be remembered.

What was the longest you’ve been locked up?
A year. I missed Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, my birthday. It was the worst. Calling home on Christmas and hearing my sister walk into my Granny’s house, hearing everybody greet her and shit. I was like “this is terrible, I am not fucking with this.” I hated it.

What was the biggest lesson you learned going to jail?
When you go to jail, you always start praying “damn, I hope this shit get better.” I had to learn “bro, you say that every time you get here.” Instead of praying for better days, I started praying for better ways. I started acting different so I wouldn’t get here. I would only stay out 2 or 3 months before I’d go back to jail. Come out, do something else, then go back to jail. Stupid.

Once you get there, stop trying to think of how you can do the crime different, and think of how you can change yourself. Every time I hit the cell, I be like “damn, maybe if I would have ran this way, they wouldn’t have got me.” The first night in there, I be like “damn, how the fuck I get caught? Fuck, I seen the police coming, I should’ve done this.” I swear, that’s the first thing I’d always think. After the 5th time, I’m like “damn, this shit over with. How can I figure out how to not do the crime? How can I figure out how to stop being dumbass?” My baby did it, I totally sat the fuck down.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I would be in somebody’s jail or somebody’s cemetery, for sure. That’s what I was on the path to. I remember one of the key days that made me change this shit and want to really start rapping, my mom called me and told me she was getting ready to plan my funeral. I swear to God. I low key blew up on her like “you trippin’,” because I didn’t get it. I was 17 like “did she just wish death on me or something?” But every day, I’m in something. She just called me crying one day like “I’m planning your funeral. I’m just preparing myself because how you’re living, that’s where you going.”

Then within 9, 10 months, I had my daughter. That same month, me and Frostry dropped our first video on YouTube in March 2016. The shit was an omen. I was like “alright, I gotta do this.”

What can we expect next?
Expect Lil Yachty to be on my “WhereYoSafeAt” remix.

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