Texas emcee Gak released his album “Distortion” last month and what impressed me the most about the album was his ability to weave a very important narrative into a diverse music set. At first listen, you leave the album with a certain vibe, however after actually perking your ears up and listening to this album you’ll learn there’s a lot more at play. I got a chance to sit down and talk with Gak about the depth of his album and more.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know who is G@k?
Gak: Gak is a 24-year-old creative and visionary from McKinney, Texas, originally from Sacramento, California. Gak has a strong passion for lyricism, story-telling, raw emotion, and creativity in music. And Gak has a deep love for not just hip-hop music, but rock, soul, and funk music as well.
DEHH: Where did your journey in hip-hop start?
Gak: I wrote my first verse when I was like 13 or 14, but I never really had the balls to go all in and really start taking the music seriously until I was 18 and got kicked outta the house. I stayed in my car for a little bit of time and while I was in there I really started to feel a release from writing and it was the only thing that gave me peace during that darker period of my life and that’s still the way I feel about it till this day so I never stopped.
DEHH: Who are your influences and helped kind of mold you into the emcee you are now?
Gak: Andre 3000, JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, 2pac, J. Cole, Kid Cudi, Nas, Biggie, Eminem, Kanye, Lil’ Wayne, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Game, Ice Cube, and Drake…It’s funny cause Big Boi was really the artist who initially just put me in awe of the craft when I watched him freestyle on T.V. back when I was in middle school, but Andre ended up becoming one of my all time favorites and maybe my biggest influence when I started studying the craft more because of how unique and creative every single thing he does is.
DEHH: Let’s jump in the music, “Distortion” is your album, what was the inspiration behind it?
Gak: The inspiration behind “Distortion” really came from me truly getting to know myself, while observing all my loved ones and the world around me as I’ve grown up since I moved to Texas. I wanted to reflect on different ways I’ve seen myself and other people get distorted, corrupted, and manipulated.
DEHH: What I love about this record is that it’s a lot deeper than it might seem at face value. Even the titles toward the end of the album, evoke a more awakened feel. Tell me about the flow of the album and how you pieced it all together?
Gak: I definitely wanted to create a piece of work that had a lot more to offer than it might seem at face value, so thank you for noticing that. I wanted to create something people could enjoy if they wanted to hear something a little more light-hearted, but also draw people in to dig deeper and hear messages I’m trying to convey if they’re out here searching for answers like I am.
The first song, “Nobody has to Die” is an introduction of everything to come; it’s me in a more reflective state, summing up all the content talked about in the rest of the project.
The next songs, “Southern Comfort” and “Pretty Penny” are songs of me in a more pointing the finger perspective towards dudes and women around me that I feel are fake or jaded.
Then in the songs “schemin’” “I Need That” and “We Ridin’” I’m indulging in many of my vices and falling into a lot of the pitfalls that I criticize others for falling into.
And then in “….sometimes”, “War Ready”, “Insecure is the New Black” and “Balance” I’m starting to really learn and accept who I am, realize where I’m lacking, and understand that there’s always gonna be some bullshit going on, but remembering that it’s all about how you react to it and what you take away from it.
DEHH: What do you want people to walk away with when they’re done listening to “Distortion”?
Gak: Man I just want people to understand how important it is to know yourself and know the world around you as well. KILL YOUR EGO! I really want people to stop pointing the finger all the time and look inward and work on themselves, cause at the end of the day that’s all you really have control over. You’ve got to deconstruct yourself man, cause we’ve all been programmed since birth.
DEHH: “Insecure Is The New Black” is probably the most cleverly titled and very important track on this record tell me a bit about it?
Gak: Thank you, that’s one of my favorite tracks on the project too. It’s funny cause initially I wasn’t even going to put that song out at all because of how personal it is and I was just kind of embarrassed to put that much of myself out there. But after sitting with it for a while, realizing the potential it had, and seeing how it was touching the people closest to me, I knew I had to put it out. It’s a song about the toxic relationship between me and one of my exes on the surface. But digging deeper I really wanted to highlight how so many people get into and stay in toxic relationships because of their own insecurities, whether it’s from not wanting to be alone, not thinking they have much self-worth, not wanting to get hurt, or just trauma from past relationships. In the particular relationship I’m talking about in the song, I knew right from the start the woman wasn’t someone I should fuck with seriously. But me being at a point in my life where I felt lost and without direction made me cling to that relationship and take advantage of her insecurities for my own personal gain, while she did the same. And her being my manager at the time of the relationship also gave me more clout in the eyes of the people around me, so I was tryna ride that wave as long as I could. Whatever I could do to mask the pain.
DEHH: “Distortion” is a great project, but what’s next for G@k, will we see you on tour soon? When we will hear another project from you?
Gak: I appreciate that. I am starting to brainstorm for my next project while furthering my artistry musically so I can better myself as an artist. But in the immediate future I am shooting a music video for the song “War Ready” next month and I have a show on the 8th of September in Fort Worth, Texas. I will also be performing again at least one other time before the year is over and that’s going to be a huge show, but I can’t say too much about that one yet. But for anybody that’s interested just follow me on Instagram: @gak00icah, Twitter: @gakgak00, and Facebook: Mackenzie Logan