GYYPS has been through hell and back, and now he’s putting it all in his music. Coming up as a child in an environment surrounded by drug addiction and violence both inside and outside the home, the Los Angeles native finds music to be not only his passion, but a coping mechanism and outlet for all his life experiences. With each release, the rising star injects his own perspective on self-empowerment, self-love, mental health, reminding the masses that they are not alone in their feelings and emotions.
The rapper and singer prides himself in his roots in San Fernando Valley, stating “I do a lot of different things, pretty much everything. I produce, play drums, I make art. A little bit of a renaissance man type of vibe. Other than that, I keep it cool and I smoke weed.”
To date, GYYPS has accumulated over 80 million global streams as an independent artist. Fast forward to 2021, he releases his highly anticipated new single titled “Careless,” speaking volumes to his own carelessness—reminiscing on the feeling of leaving someone, but knowing you have to move on to bigger and better things.
Flaunt caught up with GYYPS via FaceTime to discuss his upbringing in the valley, biggest influences, turning point in his music career, how he got his name, inspo behind “Careless,” friendship with Felly, studio essentials, and more!
Growing up in San Fernando Valley, how does that play into your life and career?
That molded who I was for sure. Growing up, I moved around Reseda, North Hills, Granada Hills, Canoga Park, Porter Ranch. I soaked up a lot of the valley, I always try to reflect that. I always try to express the energy of the valley in my music, my beat choices, my lyrics. The first song that got me going was this song called “Canoga Park” that gave me some buzz around the valley. I started to get some respect in that way.
Biggest influences growing up?
I’ve always looked up to the greats. Eminem, Drake, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, J Cole, Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Wiz Khalifa. I grew up on all that, but I’m also heavily influenced by a lot of Lincoln Park, 311, and Incubus. Hardcore music as well, I was really into hardcore metal in high school. I played drums in a metal band. I’d go to hardcore shows, I’d be at every Warped Tour. I ended up going to college to study drums. I got a huge mix of music I pull from whenever I’m making shit. I like to blend all sorts of things.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
We got a call to go on tour and play a couple shows. My buddy Felly, we started this thing together. Got a couple songs going. When I started getting the call to go on tour and having people say “yo GYYPS, wassup!” that’s when I knew this is for real. But I’ve always known this was for real, I’ve wanted to do this since I was 5. I told my mom I wanted to be a rockstar. I’ve always taken music with some sort of seriousness, I could actually do this. I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t have anyone in my family that does music, but I’ve always been attracted to being a rockstar. Obviously, everyone wants a little bit of limelight.
What’s the meaning behind your name?
It came from a nickname from college, we all called everyone GYYPS. Oh you smoke a bunch of weed, but you’re not a stoner? You don’t do nothing, you’re still on your shit. It stuck with me so I took it and made it a rap name.
New single “Careless” out now, what are you most excited for?
This music for sure is new to what I’ve been doing, there’s a lot of singing. I put a lot into this song. It’s produced by Wallis Lane, they’re incredible. We had a lot of session musicians in there. I put a bunch of live percussion and live stuff on there, sound effects. It’s a journey so to speak, without being real cheesy. The music goes this and that. It’s a new sound for people who are my fans. If you’re not my fan, it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever made. It’s honestly undeniable. I’m excited for people to hear it and really vibe with it. JThe reactions I’ve been getting from people in general: “yeah, this a great song.” The video’s crazy too, it’s kind of a new beginning.
Why is it a new beginning for you?
I’ve gotten a lot of things together in terms of figuring out this music business from an independent artist side, actually getting my team together on a real level. Also getting my music to the level I’m at now. I know what I want to say, I know how to do what I want to do now. The attention I put to detail is different than the other ones. I put out some mixtape vibes, this or that. It’s really new because of a lot of mental changes in my life.
2 or 3 years ago, I crashed my car, got a DUI and went to jail. It definitely gave me a perspective like “man, don’t be fucking this shit off.” It put me on a more straight path to really focus on the music and telling my story. I have a story to tell about a kid growing up in the valley seeing shit, growing up young and moving around with my mom. There’s so much to tell. It’s not one of those storytelling songs, but one of those feel-good songs. One the firsts ones to feel good about where I’m at now. I’m in a mentally clear space, you can hear that in the music.
How is music a coping mechanism for you?
It always has been. When I was younger, I had a drum set. Whenever there was anything, I’d go bang on the drums. Even till this day, music is such a release. However you want to feel: released, safe, angry, sad or happy. Whatever you want, music has your back. You can really change people’s energy through vibrations literally. You get out of whatever real life situations you’re in and get into music. As a kid going through some traumatic things or any person, you can get into an instrument or a song. It helps.
What are some things you do for self care?
I do a lot of meditation, stretching, yoga, trying to get more into working out. I like to eat good with my friends and with my girl too, enjoy quality time. A lot of meditation. I’m vegan too, I’d say I’m 98% vegan.
What’s the other 2%?
Sometimes some chocolate or something random, I’ll just cheat. Or In N Out fries. They have a bunch of different ones but there’s nothing like In N Out original flavor fries.
One thing you want fans to get from “Careless?”
Obviously a sense of carelessness and authenticity. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing and make your own choices, and it’s going to hurt. There’s this line: “on to bigger and better things, I still hate to watch things die.” You gotta keep moving on. It hurts to see things go, but you gotta do it. It’s not good for you.
What’s the reality of the independent grind?
It can be very different for different people, but it’s a lot of making things work. Trying to get people to be down for you and help you out. At least in my situation, I don’t have huge budgets for things so I have to work with people in ways and make things shake. Especially when I want to get my point across, that’s only at certain levels then you keep it growing. You see it with Larry June or Curren$y, the biggest thing is consistency wins over anything. I’ve seen it in my own career. The times when I keep pushing it and staying consistent with it, that’s the key, to keep going and protecting the spark inside of you. Whatever it is that gets you to keep making songs, stay creative, and keep going, protect that. If you have to meditate to do that, then meditate. It’s definitely real, but it can really reap the benefits if you do it right.
Talk about collaborating with Felly on “Slim Jawn,” and your guys’ friendship.
Felly is my brother, we came up together doing this thing. He influenced me to rap in a more serious way than I was, and I started recording. We actually lived together, so he told me, “Hey, I want you on this song.” I said “I’m with it,” it’s fire. We have a bunch of different songs we worked on even if we haven’t put them out. We work constantly, critique each other’s music and give feedback. We’re definitely trying to work on some more music and get some stuff out this year or next year. Whatever it is, we keep it going.
Best memory from the “Slim Jawn” video shoot?
Treading through the snow cold as hell in some Bapes with jeans. [laughs] I only brought video shoot clothes, I didn’t bring any clothes to stay warm or be in the snow. I was cold for 3 days. [laughs]
3 things you need in the studio?
#1 is probably some Rapper Weed, peanut butter pretzels, and a jug of water. I’m pretty boring.
Do you write your lyrics or freestyle?
It’s a mix. I can’t say there’s one particular way I go at songs. Recently, I’ve been more and more freestyling.
Do you have a love for fashion as well?
Oh yeah for sure, I’m trying to do the whole thing. Model and work with these clothing companies. I really want to be the creative director for Vans one day, that’s a goal of mine. Shit, also try to figure out how to make fashion a little more sustainable.
What can we expect next music-wise?
Expect some music around the corner, more music and more videos. I definitely have a project on the way. I’m not announcing the name yet, but I definitely have a project in the works.