Changes: King Lil G Leaves A Troubled Past For A Bright Future
King Lil G boasts a tough exterior, complete with multi-hued tattoos that wouldn't automatically qualify the Chicano rapper as a standup guy. Yet, Lil G's “Like That” off his 2014 mixtape AK47 Boyz, features his son Daniel (or "Baby Gunz”) -- a subtle profession of his undying love and admiration for his youngster, where the king gets to rap alongside his eight-year-old legacy's ab-libs and jagged couplets.
“I was writing the song with my headphones on. I kept repeating the verse over and over again so that I could learn it. I didn’t realize that he was sitting down beside me learning every word to my song," he explained to VIBE Viva. "Once I took my headphones off, I tried to say the verse and there he was repeating every word. I paused and let him do his own thing and thought it sounded dope. So I put him on it.”
You can hear it in his voice that the very existence of Daniel is what motivates him to be a better man, pursue his dreams of becoming a notable MC, serve as an inspirational father, and keep his troubled past behind him.
Lil G, originally known as Little Gangster, is unwavering in the faith that he will one day be able to support his family off the strength of his unique lyricism and musical talent. Over the years, the 29-year-old Inglewood native struggled to leave his crime-ridden ways. Today, after years of fine-tuning his perspective on life, King’s learned to channel his frustrations and pent-up anger into music about his struggles.
Growing up in a single-parent home alongside two rambunctious older brothers heavily involved with gang life, King’s adolescent life was cut short upon joining a gang. He dropped out of school, fathered a child as a minor, and soon got incarcerated. Eventually, he moved around South Central L.A. searching for honest work, whether it was selling fresh gear at an urban clothing store or simply working for someone who believed in him enough to offer him odd jobs.
The day King realized all of his comrades had gone off to prison was the day he mustered up the courage to change. He began taking his music career more seriously before releasing his debut mixtape, LA County’s Most Wanted in 2004. He followed up with Underground Chpt. 1 in 2006 via PR Records, and in 2009, King hustled to sell out his shows following the release of Hood Money. By then, the wunderkind had established a glaring message, which hinted at the subjugation of black and brown people in the public eye.
“In Compton, we can co-exist -- Mexicans and Blacks," said King. "I don’t think it’s all negative like how the media likes to portray. I’m just trying to tell the world that we’re neighbors to the people of Compton and we good.”
Although he’s of Mexican descent, the pioneers of hip-hop in of the West and East coasts impacted the rapper's musical style. In songs like “Letter To Dre,” King addresses one of his top influences Dr. Dre and imagines the one-on-one conversation he’s always wanted to have. “The rap game is upside down and now I'm writing letters to you,” King Lil G raps. “Trying to figure this out. Eazy-E f*cked with Mexicans, 2Pac mentioned us. I bet that in Compton you lived next to us.”
Not only is he inspired by California's GOATs, but he also draws inspiration from East Coast luminaries such as The Fugees and Mobb Deep, a reflection of the giant melting pot hip-hop is. With the help of The Sucio Movement, King wants to crush the stereotypes people like Donald Trump perpetuate about his neighborhood and educate the general population on what it really means to be a Mexican-American.
“This is something that the world needs to understand about dudes with tattoos and what being Mexican in L.A. represents. They need to understand that we have a certain code in the street that a rapist is never allowed amongst us, or the Latin culture as a whole. We don’t accept that type of sh*t. That’s like the lowest below scum, like a snitch. For Donald Trump to tell the masses that Mexicans are rapists, it offends us to the max,” he said.
With at least seven complete bodies of work under his belt, King is more set on distributing positive messages. After his most recent mixtape, 90s Kid, reached #3 on Billboard's Heatseekers Album Chart, King is ready to release his official debut album via DEL Records, which aims to pay homage to women. His upcoming single “Worth A Million” is an ode to the ladies and a reminder to hold on to their true self worth. There's no confirmation that Baby Gunz will jump on a remix. However, because of his son’s growing interest in hip-hop, King knows he’ll be more than willing to do it.
“I think our bond has gotten stronger. Now, he understands how to structure a song and how to go about that. Now, he’s really into other hip-hop influences. Recently, I started teaching him about KRS-One. He likes Mobb Deep. He understands the history behind Biggie and 2Pac. He’s really into that.”