By Lynn Lieu
CITIES OF ORIGIN: “I’m originally from El Monte but I moved to the high desert in the early ’90s. However, where Gatsby was thought out and originated was in San Bernardino, and the IE in general, which is where I really started exposing people to my music and making more connections in my industry.”
KINDRED SPIRITS: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco and Drake.
RECENT RELEASES: Underestimated mixtape (June 2011); The Vendetta mixtape (Aug. 30 2012).
FREQUENTS: “. . . I’d say the place I’ve frequented the most in the IE has been The Common Ground [at The Vibe in Riverside].”
The IE has often been criticized for its “lack of venues” for all genres. But local hip-hop artist Gatsby disagrees. “I think there’s a lot of venues to perform at it’s just a matter of getting in touch with the right people to perform there,” he says. According to Gatsby a lot of booking is very political. For up-and-coming bands the struggle to find shows isn’t about the availability of venues but knowing the right people and having the drive to make it happen. “A good example of that would be The End Of Summer Festival that was put on at the WigWam Motel by Choospacamp and Black Cloud Music in Rialto,” says Gatsby. “That place is traditionally a motel but bring the right people and the right idea and you can have a full on festival venue.” Gatsby’s been doing a lot of this himself and that’s why he’s our BOTW.
How did you get involved in music/how did your band form?
I’ve always had my roots in music my whole life. My Dad played the guitar for 15 years and even had his own band so music just picked up naturally to us. My dad also liked rap as well though and once he introduced me to NWA back when I was like 12—it was a rap after that. I’ve been trying to write ever since. I eventually got my brother to start helping me with beats and soon enough we started working on what would eventually become the albums for Gatsby.
Can you tell us about The Vendetta?
The Vendetta is my second mixtape release that I have put out since I’ve become Gatsby. The title and the feeling behind the mixtape was basically an evolution of the ideas of my first mixtape Underestimated. Basically I got to the point where I felt like I’m no longer anu nderestimated rapper trying to make something out of myself but I was becoming an artist that would make music my full-time vendetta. A vendetta to become successful and recognized no matter what.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I have two new releases coming out in 2013 with one being a full album with all original beats and being produced fully by my brother. So if you guys like what your hearing so far stay tuned in because we have a BIG 2013 planned for everybody!
Gatsby at iesbestkeptsecret.com’s toy drive at Garage Inc. Pizza, 1535 E. Highland Ave., San Bernardino; iesbestkeptsecret.com. Fri, Dec. 14. 8pm. $5.