22 year old CGB began his journey with music seven years ago. Since then, he has had performed performed in Ottawa and Vancouver, worked with key artists like Mick Jenkins, and released his first full length EP. Continue reading for an interview with CGB about his inspirations and advice.
Interview by Antonio Velarde.
Tell us about yourself- who inspired you to make music? Who inspires you to push your dreams further?
I originally got inspired to make music after hanging out with my homie Cubez. We’ve been friends since we were 8, but we both kind of grew apart until we were like 13 or 14. I went to his house one day and he was making beats, rapping, singing, everything. After that, he really introduced me to the art of songwriting. He did and still does inspire me, but now a lot of my fans push me. Hearing about people using my music as therapy or an escape from whatever they’re going through is my inspiration and helps me get through my own shit.
Tell us about some milestones along the way, what are your short and long term goals?
I want to have a bigger reach more than anything else. I’m not really into this for the money. Like I was saying, knowing people use my music as an escape helps me as push as hard as possible and helps me create the best quality music I can make. Long term, I want to be a name people remember. Short term, I’m really just going with the flow and trying to make impactful music whilst balancing the craziness of life.
Let’s talk about your latest project “Homegrown“. I found that your track list has a lot of special meaning. Talk about the concept behind it.
Homegrown is my debut EP and is really the first project where everything was crafted for me. It was my first real project as opposed to a mixtape of beats from Youtube which I had done a few times already. Every beat was made just for me, and I had different friends working on different aspects of it all. It was just a ‘Homegrown’ product, hence the name.
It’s a story. I made it for y’all to kinda interpret it how you want, but everything is about what lead me up to where I am now, which is where the album ends. It’s the different stages of me as a person and as an artist. Losing my homie made me stronger, my mom beating cancer made me stronger, my girl leaving me made me stronger, and those are all things that are so powerful, music is the only way I can talk about them. I obviously talk a lot about relationships on the project but it slowly transitions into harder songs like 6:04AM and Test Me. It’s a story about a vulnerable and sensitive guy, getting the courage to address his problems which ultimately builds him into a more positive, confident artist.
You’ve lived in two of Canada’s major cities. How would you describe the scenes in Ottawa and Vancouver? Any major differences?
There’s amazing music coming out of both cities but Vancouver has a lot more opportunities. There’s more venues for hip-hop, as well as more supporters that are willing to go out to shows. Ottawa’s in between Montreal and Toronto so when bigger artists go on tour, they almost always skip here. It sucks but it feels like a treat when dope artists do get booked here and they want to involve local artists that might not get to perform as often as artists in cities like Vancouver or Toronto.
Being an upcoming artist, how would you describe today’s hip hop scene?
Like I mentioned earlier, I was never really into trap. A lot of people hate on them but I’ll bump Young Thug, Yachty and all those cats when I’m having a drink with the homies. Sometimes I need more than a cool melody or beat to impress me but it’s cool they’re doing something different. I dunno how I feel about it affecting the culture, though. There’s a part of me that’s ecstatic that sounds are progressing and things are changing. But then there’s a huge part of me that wishes the artists that everyone idolizes were speaking on a more positive note. Music today is way more explicit and violent than it was 10 years ago, so it kinda scares me to think what those 13 year old kids will be like when they’re my age. That’s why I want to create personal, peaceful and positive hip-hop that can inspire change.
If you had the chance to give advice to aspiring MC’s wanting to involve themselves in Ottawa or Vancouver’s music scenes, what would it be?
Participation is key. Even now, I know tons of people in both scenes that won’t even show up to certain events if they aren’t involved directly which is whack. Show up to events, network, get to know other people that are heavily in the scene and show that you care.
Talk about any future plans – anything in the works? Coming soon?
I just released my first line of merch which is available at my website and I’m hyped to have that out after so long. There’s gonna lots of videos. Lots of new music. I’m currently finishing up my 5th project which will be released later this year. I can’t say much about it just yet but it’ll be available on all major streaming platforms and there’s gonna be some crazy features on it.
What about performances? Where would you like to perform in the near future?
I wanted to keep this lowkey, but I believe in putting things out there and manifesting them with positive energy so I’m gonna talk a little bit about this.. I’m currently planning a small North America tour. Nothing huge. I just see the numbers getting bigger and which cities they’re coming from so I wanna go say thank you while traveling and livin’ life. Europe is next, too.
If you could teleport anywhere in the world right now- where would you go?
Probably Jamaica, to be honest. After this long Canadian winter all I need is some island vibes under the hot sun.
As we move away from traditional religion, do you worship anything and what?
I don’t worship any one particular religion, I see great values in a few religions and contribute them into my everyday life. It sounds hella cheesy but I believe in unity over everything. We are the problem, as well as the solution. We are one, and we can’t change the world if we don’t wake up and change ourselves. One love.