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JOSE GUAPO: “A CORE FANBASE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING AS AN ARTIST”

October 6, 2020

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Jose Guapo is here to tell his story, stacking his money along the way. The Atlanta native exploded onto the scene with his breakout single “Run It Up” featuring Takeoff from the Migos and YFN Lucci back in 2015, who’s official music video currently has well over 17 million views and counting. The banger arrived in the earlier days of Atlanta’s trap wave, with the streets catching wind almost instantly.

A 15-year-old Jose would join the rap group Rich Kidz, which formed in the A in 2008, and signed to Columbia Records 4 years later. When the group disbanded, he went solo and continued to work, pushing and navigating his way through not only the obstacles in the music industry, but life overall. Jose reminds us, “I made a name for myself by being myself, I remember being popular before ever touching the mic.”

Most recently, Guapo went viral for his reaction to the interviewer’s use of the word “simultaneously,” going on to capitalize on the moment by releasing his own single with the same title. But what fans love and can appreciate most is the reality of his roots in the streets, which include suffering from depression and PTSD from the things he was seeing.

Flaunt caught up with Jose Guapo in downtown Los Angeles, who was rocking a Rick and Morty hoodie with a Nipsey Hussle shirt underneath, fitting for the moment. Around his neck were both his YRN and XVL chain, the latter of which stands for “together for life & extravagant living.”

Read below as we discuss how his upbringing in Atlanta affected his mental state, what happened with “Simultaneously,” the feeling of performing, top artists in rotation, and more!

What was a teenage Jose Guapo like growing up in Atlanta?

Shit, staying fresh. Making my rounds how I’m continuing to make my money, keeping me some money. Gambling, shooting Craps like a motherfucker. I started on shooting Craps at age 12 with all the big time dope dealers. They used to look at us like our money was easy money because we didn’t know what we’re doing. It was a bundle of us, 9 to 10 people all with 2 to 3 hundred. If you do the math, I’d be looking at it like free money too. I’d be gambling the young n*ggas, showing love and being around pretty women. At 15, we were far off the porch. We were way in it, about to sign at 15.

When did music come into play?

Music came into play at 15 too. Me being popular and the person I am, I linked with Rich Kidz, that’s how I became a member of the group.

Fondest memories from those days?

Shit them college shows, fucking college hoes when I was in high school. That was the funnest shit, and getting paid to do it. Real shit, getting paid to go do a college show and fuck a college hoe while I’m in high school? That’s beyond cool, that’s some GOAT shit.

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Jose Guapo is here to tell his story, stacking his money along the way. The Atlanta native exploded onto the scene with his breakout single “Run It Up” featuring Takeoff from the Migos and YFN Lucci back in 2015, who’s official music video currently has well over 17 million views and counting. The banger arrived in the earlier days of Atlanta’s trap wave, with the streets catching wind almost instantly.

A 15-year-old Jose would join the rap group Rich Kidz, which formed in the A in 2008, and signed to Columbia Records 4 years later. When the group disbanded, he went solo and continued to work, pushing and navigating his way through not only the obstacles in the music industry, but life overall. Jose reminds us, “I made a name for myself by being myself, I remember being popular before ever touching the mic.”

Most recently, Guapo went viral for his reaction to the interviewer’s use of the word “simultaneously,” going on to capitalize on the moment by releasing his own single with the same title. But what fans love and can appreciate most is the reality of his roots in the streets, which include suffering from depression and PTSD from the things he was seeing.

Flaunt caught up with Jose Guapo in downtown Los Angeles, who was rocking a Rick and Morty hoodie with a Nipsey Hussle shirt underneath, fitting for the moment. Around his neck were both his YRN and XVL chain, the latter of which stands for “together for life & extravagant living.”

Read below as we discuss how his upbringing in Atlanta affected his mental state, what happened with “Simultaneously,” the feeling of performing, top artists in rotation, and more!

What was a teenage Jose Guapo like growing up in Atlanta?

Shit, staying fresh. Making my rounds how I’m continuing to make my money, keeping me some money. Gambling, shooting Craps like a motherfucker. I started on shooting Craps at age 12 with all the big time dope dealers. They used to look at us like our money was easy money because we didn’t know what we’re doing. It was a bundle of us, 9 to 10 people all with 2 to 3 hundred. If you do the math, I’d be looking at it like free money too. I’d be gambling the young n*ggas, showing love and being around pretty women. At 15, we were far off the porch. We were way in it, about to sign at 15.

When did music come into play?

Music came into play at 15 too. Me being popular and the person I am, I linked with Rich Kidz, that’s how I became a member of the group.

Fondest memories from those days?

Shit them college shows, fucking college hoes when I was in high school. That was the funnest shit, and getting paid to do it. Real shit, getting paid to go do a college show and fuck a college hoe while I’m in high school? That’s beyond cool, that’s some GOAT shit.

You went viral recently in an interview with “simultaneously,” can you break down what happened?

That was me being myself. I know that actual interviewer, people don’t ever get to see DJ Smallz. Him and Vlad both talk behind the camera so only the person they interview sees them. When the interview comes out, you only see the person. That’s my guy, I wasn’t trying to come at him or nothing. Salute him. He’s from Florida, used to be Yo Gotti’s road DJ. He used to wear chains that hang to his dick and ride dunks with 28” rims on them. He’s back there talking in this nerdiest voice: “so, did you drop all your projects simultaneously…?”

I’m high at the time, too much weed before the interview. “Simultaneously? This ain’t even that type of interview. We ain’t interviewing about who’s going to college, why you using these type of words? That’s too much.” What’s so crazy, I started hearing the word so much after that. When I’m watching TV, I started hearing it on radio. Started hearing that word more and more after that, no cap. Man, they make it seem like it’s a common word now! All press is good press. When the rumors don’t work, they start telling lies anyways so as long as they’re talking.

You were part of the Quality Control family, what happened?

I just know when I try to pay for certain stuff that an independent or major label be paying for, everything can’t be going good with the relationship. The only thing that coulda been said is someone told you something, and now we don’t even have the same connection. I’m calling you, you ain’t answer how you used to answer or you ain’t responding to the text like you used to respond. Obviously, there has to be a “they, he, or she” that done told you something that made you distance yourself from me. It’s business we’re in.

I believe there’s people behind closed doors in these parties, meetings, events, whatever, who put a bad rep on me. In life period, you need to always meet that person before you believe. If they’re saying Micheal Jordan is an asshole, I can’t believe that. What if I meet Michael Jordan and he’s a fan of my music? I meet Michael Jordan tomorrow and he’s like “yo I listen to your shit, lemme get a picture with you.” I won’t think he’s an asshole. People need to take that chance, especially when it’s business and it can help better you financially. Don’t listen to what people say about another person, actually meet the person yourself and get your own read on it. I know it was something going on.

Are you and Gucci Mane cool? 

I’ma forever fuck with Guwop, we never had no bad blood. N*gga gave me so many free verses, so much game. I have 5 or 6 songs with Guwop out right now. Could never have hatred towards, a n*gga never bites the hand that feeds him. He never fed me anything financially, but he fed me game. That’s Quality Control P too. Shout out to the whole CEO, and Al over at Street Execs. I’m older now, I don’t have the same mindstate. Making old mistakes or doing the wrong, I’m not in that same space in life. My shit’s moving, I have no reason to be having bad blood with nobody. I don’t get into no rap beef. I don’t have time for that, no cap. Not finna be on the internet, making videos, tweeting back and forth, subliminally posting shit on my Story, nah. I’m here to get the money. If fame comes with it, we enjoy it.

You mentioned going through it, talk about suffering from depression and PTSD.

That shit’s real. To be 100, there’s no cure for that. I have post-traumatic stress disorder, there’s no cure for that. If you grew up in the hood, you seen a lot of shit from shootouts to people getting shot, people smoking, people doing hard drugs, can’t even speak on all of it. That hood and street isn’t normal for a person to view. A normal law abiding citizen isn’t supposed to wake up and be able to see this type of shit in a lifetime period. When you seen or been through it, you get traumatized. You have to figure out how to cope, deal with it. Plenty people run to drugs. I don’t suggest that, but what else they gon’ run to?

What’s the reality of being in the streets?

Streets came with pain. N*ggas be glorifying the streets, it’s cool. That’s where I came from but not where I’m tryna be. I’m tryna be on some more shit. I don’t think small, that’s how I’ve always been advanced and still the same person I am today. I never thought small, always thought outside of the box. I sold what I sold, did what I did, but I’ve never been trapped. I never been trapped, at least my mind wasn’t. My mind’s always on the finer and better things in life. I came up with Extravagant years ago, my mind’s on the most extravagant things. We aren’t settling for less, we refuse. Where we come from, you don’t make it out. N*ggas dont make it out forreal.

N*ggas taking advantage of every chance they get, stay on top of their shit to where they can say “hey man, we got dreams of being bigger than Drake.” If you dream big, you’ll go big. How can you go big if you don’t dream big? Your dreams are so small shit, your accomplishments aren’t too hard to accomplish. I accomplished a lot already but I got so much more. That ain’t nothing, I got way more shit to do. I’m really for it, we’re going head on with the board. They don’t even make ‘em like this anymore, I’m the last of a dying breed. Like the dinosaurs, my kind is extinct. There’s no more making them. I’m the person they try to kidnap on Mazerunner, they try to take my DNA so they can make more people like me. I’m valuable.

Talk about your come up, how does it feel?

I’m the one and only MillionDollarKidd. If they tell you another, he’s a phony. We eat steak everyday, used to eat fried bologna. Put it on the skillet with butter, right after you take red ring right around the motherfucker. That’s where we come from, we still make the motherfucker sometimes when we’re too high. Drop the motherfucker on the butter till you see black on both sides, make sure you got the best softest bread, you in the game.

What’s the inspiration behind your new project, Baby Face Nelson?

Baby Face Nelson out right now on every platform, I’m getting ready to drop the deluxe. I’m done with the recording, I have to pick the songs to put out. That’s a mixtape I put out for the streets, for the whole Coronavirus shit. Feeding them something because they’re in the house, listening to music. I’m still working on an album for my fans. It’s hosted by Bigga Rankin, a DJ talking on it like back in the day. I wanted to give them that mixtape vibe again. If this is on a mixtape, what’s he doing when the album drops? I want to get on some more shit.

In what capacity?

Anybody listening to Jose Guapo, he on some more shit. I’m an artist, you have to really listen. Sometimes you gotta rewind, you gotta be able to hear and really catch what I say. I talk in lingo. If you don’t understand it, “man that shit weak.” Somebody gives you the explanation, “oh that shit hard.” I say double entendre bars, one bar means 2 different things. Flow crazy. Out of a 12-bar verse, I give you 3 different patterns. 4 bars this way, 4 bars that way, 4 bars that way. I’m not finna give away the game, I do me. I’m tired of giving it to them, they not getting it for free. Not 2021, we not going for it. Originality isn’t even idolized anymore, you get praised to be like something else.

That’s why I’m not bigger than I am, because I am original. I’m not biting nobody. If I was trying to sound like somebody, I’d be bigger than I was. They throw me in that loop “oh he sounds like xyz, but he still sounds good. Xyz sounds good, they gon’ listen to it.

Well, “Run It Up” did its thing!

I have several records that did its thing. I’m just happy where I am. I forget I have a real core fanbase, that’s the most important thing to have as an artist. Without the people, we ain’t shit. They’re the ones who have come to the shows, who have to buy the music. Without them, what the fuck are we rapping for

Do you miss performing?

Hell yeah, we actually did a Rich Kidz reunion concert in Atlanta. A parking lot concert, we sold that bitch out in 2 days. I had so much fun on stage. A n*gga hadn’t been on a real stage in so long. Fuck a club stage, I’m talking a venue stage. I miss that shit. I thought I wouldn’t miss it because everybody thought COVID would fuck up rapping shit, but they don’t understand the streaming check’s going to continue to come in. Sometimes, streaming check is bigger than show check. Some money gon’ slow up, but money still coming in.

Hitting the stage and getting the reaction, that’s the best part when you’re an artist. We know money’s the best part because it changed our lives, our family lives for the better. Do a lot of shit you weren’t able to do but being on stage, the crowd going crazy to your shit, showing you them reactions and singing those songs word for word, that’s another different type of feeling. That shit feels good. I have fun on stage, hit a couple moves. I’m not Chris Brown with the dance moves, I get in a little bit. I’m not too cool to hold my belt and rap, walk side to side on stage. When I do have a show, it’s not even predictable. He gon’ be some fire though, something we can tell somebody tomorrow. “Guapo did this on stage!”

Top artists in rotation right now?

It’s Lil Baby and Future, the whole Detroit wave. I was in Chicago for Lollapalooza telling n*ggas 2 years ago, “Detroit about to have their wave.” When Sosa (Chief Keef) and all them came out from Chicago and they had their wave, Detroit about to be the next city. It’s crazy how big their wave has gotten. I really fuck with all of them. I’m a ghetto boy, n*ggas already know.

“Simultaneously” the single, is that going to be on your new album?

Nah, I put it out because it’s getting so much attention. The studio’s always around so fuck it, make a song out of it. I made money off that song, and I made a merch collection. “What that mean?” on the hoodies, made a couple racks off that.

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