We sat down with Atlanta-based rapper, Gilles, to discuss his newest video, his influences and personal style.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the video?
I always wanted to shoot something in double time. I’d been talking to Morian (the director) about it for like 2 years. Rap videos are always performance based n shit but..I feel like the majority of ’em are not really imaginative. Hell, maybe you think this one ain’t no different. At least I know I tried to do something with it though. Like, the idea…if you look closely, it”s like I’m in slow motion but the words sync up. I always thought those little subtle editing techniques make for dope visuals. We just shot it in the crib ’cause I fool with natural lighting and my shit is like, lifestyle music so what better way to actually show my life.
How would you describe your sound?
Polished southern rap music. It’s articulate (hopefully) and conversational. It’s my likes, my dislikes, my concerns, my outlooks on different shit, y’know? Like, I really just like telling these stories. Talking about ppl I know, conversations I have. Any line…any record…I can damn near tell you where I was when it happened to me or I heard it. The more truth we can put into this sound, the more we can live to it. That’s what excites me about music. Shit I can live to. Like, I need the whole day…not just the pregame, not just the workout mix. I need the cooking soundtrack, the cleaning soundtrack, the drive home from work, etc. I need this sound to be apropos some way, some how for the whole movie.
What’s your writing process like?
Get a record, smash that shit.
Who are you’re influences and why?
So many, yo. We gon’ be here forever lol. Ok, ok, ok…I’ll just name a few: Big, Jay and Outkast of course…Raphael Saadiq maybe made my favorite album of all time in “Instant Vintage.” Early 2000’s Project Pat found the most perfect pockets in his verses…like EVER. I’d put Future in that discussion too. Stevie, Kanye, Kendrick, Drake, Childish, Frank Ocean…there’s really just so many. Teedra Moses’ “Complex Simplicity” is immaculate.
How has your sound changed over the years?
I’m way more comfortable talking about how I feel about the shit I see. Like, before, it was just a narrative but, now I can tell you a bit more about my specific thoughts on it. What I like, what I don’t. How my confidence has grown. How my bank account has not, lol. How the way I acted that one time with that one chick really made me disappointed in myself ’cause I should’ve been better…more noble, even. Just more truth.
Have you experienced the quarter-life crisis?
Lol, kiiiiiiiiiinda. I feel like I’ve experienced a contact-quarter-life crisis, lol. Like, I’m around all my folks and they’re totally jaded because their quote/unquote not where they thought they’d be. I can’t say that I am where I thought I’d be either but, I know for me, it’s been fun just trying to figure this shit out. Like, just trying to get this music out and remain true to ourselves. But, when my people start feeling that fake ass self-induced pressure, I remind them how talented and smart they all are (except the dumb ones, lol). Seriously, though, did you really think you just graduate to the late 20’s and get a house and crib paid for? Like, is that a right of passage somewhere in the world? If so, I need to move, lol. Point is, when you’re 16, your mid 20s, late 20s and 30s seem soooooo far away. Now you look up and oh shit! Dere it is, dere! (*Drake voice*) Just keep working and concentrate on the things that make you happy. Become obsessed with those things.
What are 5 things you’d tell your 20 year old self?
1. YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT.
2. Don’t shave your head voluntarily. Turns out, a lot of chicks dig hair. Thank God, I figured this one out before it was too late, lol.
3. Don’t shy away from an opportunity to get some money. Your contemporaries will make it seem like your art is less pure if your less poor. Nay, bro. You’re an indie artist. That means you’re self-funded. So, do you want to be self-funded at Wacarnold’s or you want to be self-funded at somebody’s office? How does the saying go, again? “Don’t make decisions when you’re hungry,” right? Seems to me like you’ll be prone to making a lot of dumb ass decisions if you on that starving artist shit, lol.
4. And, while I’m at it, your degrees don’t mean shit. One: they don’t equal jobs, they don’t equal a better quality of life, they don’t even necessarily equal “smart.” The only thing that should matter to you from now until forever is, how far is the road between you, right this second, and happiness.
5. Buy condoms from Sam’s Club. That Trojan 40 pack gon’ take your life to new levels.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I was listening to a sermon once and there’s this scripture tombot “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” Well, the ill shit about it was, the pastor said, “Look! Now, nobody said it wouldn’t be formed.” That always stuck with me…Like, it made it easier to roll with the lil’ bullshit you go through. Like, just be resilient. That’s all you can do. We all go through shit.
Either that or, I’ll have to quote from the Book of Hov, “Anything,” Verse 3, lol. “Don’t listen to your crew, do what works for you.” Sometimes, you just gotta know what YOU need. It might be different than what other people have or, God forbid, what other people THINK you need. Stand on your own two, breh.
How would you describe your personal sense of style?
Well, I like my shit fitted…I know that off the rip. Like, I even go get my jeans tailored, lol. Anyway, I think I do an ok job of mixing the staple pieces with the statement pieces. A good chunk of my closet is thrifted…basically, I’m drawn to those unique pieces you can’t find anywhere else. That exclusive shit ’cause it’s rare, not that exclusive shit ’cause it’s expensive. Then, I mix it with the traditional menswear items that we all know about but, with my own spin on it ’cause I’m also super into accessories. Like, I pretty much always have 3 bracelets on, might have a pocket square, might have some buttons, might have a hat, etc. I’m just out here seasoning up my shit…blending all the flavors together.
Also, I don’t wear socks…Fuck socks, lol.
What are your upcoming plans- a full release? A tour?
Shhhhhhhhhhhh, it’s a secret. Gon’ listen to that “Super.” though and hit me on the socials. Finna announce some stuff soon.
Any advice for millennials who are just starting to pursue their passions?
Yes! Do. Figure out a plan and do. Your plan will change EVERYDAY. Still, do.
Aight, I’m done.
See Gilles’ never before released video Queens and Castles below.