What does the “L” in Gangster L. Crisis stand for?
“The L is Legendary,” GLC answers with a wry smile. “Cause growing up in the streets of Chicago and making it up out of there in one piece, that’s legendary status in itself.”
The Chicago MC who has made a name riding shotgun on Kanye West tracks like “Drive Slow” and “Spaceships” has finally released his debut album, Love, Life & Loyalty. The one-time member of Chicago’s Gangster Disciples (now regarded as Growth And Development) is ready to show a more balanced portrayal of his hometown that has been going through some well-publicized growing pains.
“Right now you all may know Chicago as ‘CHI-raq,’ that’s what CNN’s calling it,” he says. “It’s crazy but at the end of the day, you can take all of the negative things that was in your life and you can either succumb to it or you can make something from it. And that’s what I chose to do.”
In an interview with TheUrbanDaily.com he talks about how he linked up with the quixotic Kanye West, the motivation for his album’s title and the changing landscape of his hometown.
TUD: There are only a handful of families left in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green Housing Project. Tell us about what is going on with the gentrification in your hometown.
GLC: They knocked down just about every project in the city. Cabrini maybe has one or two buildings left but pretty soon they’re going to be out of there too. Projects are in prime real estate, close to downtown, with beautiful views and things of that nature. It is a quick commute downtown from the projects. So at the end of the day, they (The City of Chicago) were like, “We could get this money, so we are going to tear this down and spread all the people that were living in the projects throughout all of the communities.” Now, the people that spread out to those different communities, they might not be in tune or at peace with people in those communities and that raises the violence. That’s why Chicago is–it’s crazy out there. When you have people coming from different areas living amongst each other that don’t really know each other, ain’t really up on each other’s life style and things of that nature [it] may often cause a conflict. That’s what we are seeing right now.
Speaking of different lifestyles, you and Kanye West quite literally come from opposite sides of the tracks. How did you two meet?
We met through a mutual friend. See, I went to public school. And my friend went to public school with me but then he elevated his status and transferred to the magnet school. That’s where Kanye was. It’s crazy cause I lived on 87th and May but right from 87th and May to where Kanye went to school, which was Beverly, it’s only five minutes away from each other. One of them is very dreadful neighborhood and the other one is a very uplifting, prominent neighborhood. So at the end of the day, my man left my school and went to his school. His name is Andre Frasier. He is actually on my album. He introduced me to Kanye.
The Go Getters was a beautiful thing. We were young teenagers all in the pursuit of happiness. We all wanted to move forward and it was the nucleus of what you see today. Kanye West, Rhymefest, a guy name Mickey Halsted, my man Arrowstar, he co-produced “Flight school” with Kanye, myself, there was a guy by the name of Timmy G, Really Doe, Shayla G…there was a lot of us but the primary group was GLC, Kanye West, Timmy G, and Arrowstar. Everybody else was part of the nucleus [but]everybody had their own thing going on. We were a family, a crew in Chicago. We were on the radio, getting a lot of action from the young ladies. It was a beautiful thing being young cause in Chicago you don’t really have a music industry in Chicago so when you make it on the radio, that’s like “Man, I’m on the radio!” Then the girls they hear you on the radio and the calling, trying to manifest with you. We were on top of the hill for a minute. We made it to the magazines. We had the record for the summer for Chicago. We were just growing and developing.
Why did you name your album Love, Life and Loyalty?
It is basically a story of my trials and trbulations and my quest to get paid, manifest my izm and spread my message. I grew up in a street organization in Chicago, it was called Growth and Development. Those were three of the six principles we had to embrace being a part of the street organization. We had to have love for one another, an appreciation for life, and we had to live it to the fullest. And Loyalty, it is a commitment to a given order of things. We had street rules and regulations, laws and policies that we followed. It kept down the violence, it kept down the foolishness and everything was great. And also in my father’s obituary, his name was Willie, one of the l’s in his name when they broke down his name was Love, one of the other l’s was loyalty. So it stems from the womb all the way to adulthood. At the end of the day, they look at love like it’s a bad thing. You always hear people saying “they some haters,” as opposed to spreading the message of hate, just show a little love. Cause in Chicago people always saying, “don’t mess with Chicago” and this and that. At the end of the day as opposed to saying that just mess with the people, grow and develop with them. Then they will have an appreciation for your life, which is your body of work.