Maryland rapper Gage recently caught up with Salute Magazine to discuss his latest single, “Black Sinatra,” a song he recorded for his forthcoming album, More Rich Than Famous, while touring through London, England.
SALUTE: How did you get your start in music?
GAGE: My whole family is a musical family. My mom had a ton of records, The Temptations, and Diana Ross. My dad and my uncle [his brother] were DJs, so I kind of grew up in the music.
As a kid, I’m not going to lie, I just fell in love with Michael Jackson. Funny story, my mom used to play “Thriller” because I used to be a bad kid, so it used to scare me, but I ended up liking the movie. So I watched it every day and it became my favorite movie. That was my whole thing, just following Michael and I was like “Yeah. That’s something I can do.” That’s where it started. And as I grew I got into Run-DMC and Big Daddy Kane.
Really, my older brother Missin Lync is who really put me on. My career I probably started in 2000. That’s when I started to take it seriously.
Tell us more about where you grew up and some of the artists you look up to?
GAGE: I grew up Silver Spring, Maryland. That’s right by D.C., so we’re more like D.C., we claim it. I look up to a variety of artists. Not even the hip-hop genre. I like Frank Sinatra. I like Luciano Pavarotti. I like James Brown. See… I’m like all over. Then when it comes to hip-hop, I gotta keep it like all the old school, but like the current time, my era? 2Pac and Biggie that I was immersed in. That was all I wanted to do. And then later on, Nas and Jay-Z and all that.
What do you think of artists out there in the music scene today?
GAGE: The game is trash. It’s trash. The reason I say that is because we’re talking music. I understand people want to have fun, but you always gotta give people some substance.
We had N.W.A. and Snoop Dogg, but then we still had Public Enemy. We had different things still teaching us. The whole culture is trash. We need to get back to the essence. I understand people want to party. Everybody can party but we gotta take it back to “back in the day” because if you see everything old they’re trying to bring it back. They don’t try and emulate nobody now. It’s all just a big conglomerate and a game. It’s deeper than that. It’s like politics. To answer your question the game, right now, is very low. But luckily my new music drops at midnight so we’re definitely going to turn this tide around.
Tell me more about your new single, “Black Sinatra”
GAGE: I actually recorded in London. Mantis did the beat. The cover artwork was actually done in London too, so big up all my people in London. But yeah we were in the studio it was really organic. He started going through some samples, and he picked the one you hear used on the song and was like “use that.” Then he chopped it up and as he was doing it, I just came up with the whole rhyme right there. So it was really organic. We were messing around in the studio. I had the idea that I wanted to make a track called “Black Sinatra” but I didn’t have a beat to it.
When I was out there, I said this is going to be it. It sets the mood. You really hear it has that groove. It’s really like lyric-driven, street-hop. Bringing it back to the essence. You know bars, feel-good music, you can still chill with it. But I got a ton of music coming out this year. I have already released my other single, which I released last year, “Wonder Woman.” So, I’m just going to keep pumping it out and then I’m just going to drop the album.
Have you recorded any of the songs for your album yet?
GAGE: I go off of vibe, but I actually have an idea and some things locked and loaded, ready to go. That’s the beauty of being an indie artist and not having to ask my label “can I do this?” I can do whatever I want. It’s on all streaming services by the way.
I basically have the album. It’s called More Rich Than Famous. I recorded it in D.C., London and in Miami. It’s going to be like Gage. If you’ve been a fan of my s***, I’m just going to do me. Like me, I never wanted the fame. That’s why my whole album is titled More Rich Than Famous. And it’s not a monetary thing, the rich part, it’s like being rich mentally, spiritually, and in other parts of life. Because there are different kinds of wins. If I could make an album or make music and not have to do all the famous people stuff, I would, but you know it’s impossible.
Who are a few artists you want to work with?
GAGE: Right now, I have to do the work to put myself on. But when I’m at the top tier, oh my goodness, like hip-hop wise I would have to go with Nas and Jay. I like Pusha T. Scarface. It will just be an album of my favorite rappers. I’ll probably even get some old school rappers. People will be like “why the f*** he put them on there?” And I’ll be like “Nah. That’s who I grew up listening to.”
Get some Dre beats. Timbaland beats. Swizz Beatz. I’ll make it real all-star that would be the future but the budget would be crazy because all the people I mentioned, that’s like major dough.
You always gotta have faith. Anything is possible.
What’s next for Gage?
GAGE: Right now I’m focused on singe which drops on every single streaming service. I got some more music coming. I’m basically just dropping some music a couple of weeks after that. I’m going to let this one marinate, “Black Sinatra,” and then I’m going to drop two more songs and then I’ll probably just give them the album.
Try and get the culture back. That’s the main plan. I got some merch for the future. Just trying to get there. If I could not have the fame and just be okay, I’m good with that. I’m just trying to take my brand to the next level. Just keep making that street, lyric-driven hip-hop at its purest.
We’re all underground trying to get there. I’m just trying to bring awareness to project. Once you get the eyes and ears and bring everybody in because the little guy is not getting the looks.