By Yohance Kyles. George Ramirez was born in Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital and raised in the mostly African-American section of College Park, Georgia. The young Mexican-American grew up playing basketball at the local Boys & Girls Club, and he often spent time at the homes of those same neighborhood kids.
It was that Hispanic heritage mixed with those longtime relationships with mostly black friends that would eventually inspire Ramirez’s music created under the moniker Kap G. After he first started rapping in high school, Kap would go on to release several projects including the Real Migo Sh*t series and his first official mixtape Like A Mexican.
The Hip Hop artist’s latest collection, El Southside, presents real-life inspired stories of living in the SWATS (Southwest Atlanta Too Strong) told from the perspective of a 21-year-old rhymer on the rise. The mixtape has several big names attached to it as well.
DJ Drama added his influential Gangsta Grillz tag to the tape, and other acts such as Young Thug were recruited for guest appearances. Kap G’s i am OTHER imprint founder Pharrell Williams provides production. In addition, Squat Beats, KE On The Track, Zone 36, and others constructed the sounds found on El Southside.
Kap G is looking to eventually drop a 10-track studio album via Atlantic Records. But before Young Migo lets loose an LP, he spoke with AllHipHop.com about El Southside. The “La Policia” performer also touches on starring in Dope, Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, and more.
Was it your intent to combine your Atlanta influence and Mexican roots on El Southside?
Yeah, in my own way. I felt like a lot of people rocked with my first mixtape Like A Mexican, but I felt like some people didn’t understand it. So with El Southside, I just wanted to bring them to my side of town, let them know what it is. Kind of dumb it down for the people, but still give my type of style.
Whose idea was it for El Southside to be a Gangsta Grillz release?
It just kind of happened. At first I was going to do an EP. I record at DJ Drama’s Mean Street Studio. One time I had a meeting with my team. We were just talking about what if Drama hosted the mixtape and it’s a Gangsta Grillz. We chopped it up with Drama, and he was with it.
That’s a pretty big stamp of approval when you get that Gangsta Grillz on the cover.
Yeah, definitely. Shout out to DJ Drama. He’s been rocking with me since about 3 or 4 years ago. I met Drama on Peters Street, and he’s been a cool cat ever since. He’s definitely a legend, and I appreciate everything he’s done for me.
On the project, you feature a few Atlanta artists. You have Young Thug, Lucci, and Cash Out. As a young artist from the city, do you feel like Atlanta artists are open to working together?
I feel like we work together. It’s not really too many people that’s on that, “I’m not really f-cking with him.” A lot of people get along. I feel like that’s what makes the culture go further for Atlanta’s music. We support each other.
You have the song “Power” with YFN Lucci. Was the theme of the song’s video based on real experiences?
That was just a concept I had. It didn’t happen just like that. I could relate to it. A lot of it is kind of [based on real experiences], but I didn’t try to do [what happens in the video].
Your song “La Policia” came out before the Mike Brown killing and the Black Lives Matter movement became a big news item. Why was it important for you to speak on that issue at the time that you did?
With my music, I want to be able to touch somebody’s heart. I want the listeners to relate to me. I feel like there’s not a lot of people still doing that. You might listen to the radio and hear songs about having fun, but you don’t really hear songs with substance much no more. I just wanted to give that to people. Also, it was based on a real experience I had. Something happened to me the day before. I got pulled over and the police were on some real f-ck sh-t. I went to the studio the next day and wrote that track. Unfortunately, all the stuff happened with police taking a lot of lives, so the song was brought back into action some months later. I wrote that song like a year before it started buzzing.
One of the things you talk about on the song is how people treat undocumented immigrants in this country. That’s a big topic now with Donald Trump. What are your thoughts about Trump saying he’s going to build a wall to prevent Mexicans from coming into the country?
That’s just pure ignorance. I can’t relate to that. At the end of the day, I feel like it’s just entertainment. To me, it’s not real at all. If it was anybody of color saying that, the media would make it a big thing. But because it’s Trump, they’re not going to say nothing to him. That’s why it’s our job as artists to be the voice for the people.
How involved is Pharrell in your career?
He’s very involved. I just seen bro like 2 days ago. He flew me out to L.A. to work. He’s a mentor. He really supports me. He tells me, “You need to do this with your music.” If he sees anything wrong, he just keeps me on the right track.
He played a role in you being featured in Dope.
Pharrell actually helped me with that. I was in Atlanta. I got a call. They said, “I want you to audition for this Dope movie.” I was like, “Cool, I’m with it.” I play a character named Fidel. He’s like this Mexican gangster dude. They didn’t really want me to play it at first. They wanted more of the typical cholo with a bald head and tattoos all over. They gave me a try, and when I got on set they were happy with what I did.
Do people ever come up to you and say, “Are you a real? Or are you a fake?”
[laughs] Yeah, people ask me that. It’s crazy to have an impactful role that a lot of people remember. I remember growing up watching films that were classic to me. When I see people that were in those films now, I’m like, “Damn, that’s bro right there.” I never thought I’d be in a movie. It’s crazy.
Are you interested in doing more acting?
One of your label mates, Bia, was on Sisterhood Of Hip Hop. Any chance we could see Kap G on a reality show in the future?
Not really. I don’t really do the reality shows. Shout out to my homie Bia. She’s killing. She got that song “Gucci Comin Home.” It’s going crazy.
Are there any particular artists you’d like to work with?
I want to work with Kanye one day. He’s my favorite rapper and one of my favorite producers. I want to work with Pharrell on a song, not on production. We always work on production, but we never did a song together before. That would be dope. And just my partners that’s around me.
You did some modeling for Rocksmith. Is that something else you’d like to pursue?
Yeah, I’ll do that. Anything for the check. Shout out to Rocksmith. I like fashion, so hopefully I’ll get into it more.
You’ve said your music is based on your experiences in life. So with your track “Girlfriend,” are your boys now more cautious of you being around their girl after that song came out?
[laughs] Nah, man. I’m a loyal individual. I wouldn’t do my partners like that, and they wouldn’t do me like that. Like I said, that was real. We take flicks with people’s girlfriends. [laughs]
What else do you have coming up in the near future?
I’m definitely shooting the video for my song “Move On Up.” I want to shoot one for “Don’t Need Em” with Thug. We’re going to have new visuals coming soon.