We had the pleasure to meet him
after his show at Run Di Danz - Leoncavallo promoted in Milano by Serious
Thing, Calabash Crew and Junior Sprea - to talk about his latest productions
and what he’s working on.
JAmusic: This year you released lots of new music, one of the biggest EPs was ‘The Baddest’ produced by P-Money, how did that collaboration start?
GR: For the
last four years I’ve been going over to Australia and New Zealand and I got the
chance to work with the number one producer from New Zealand, so when I was
there we recorded this EP, The Baddest, then we shot the
video for the first single, Baddest, in Melbourne, Australia.
And yes it got great reviews and a lot of spin and it’s still growing.
JAmusic: A different project you worked on and that has just been released is “Gappy Ranks meets the Dub Club”, very interesting project and very different from The Baddest EP.
GR: Yes, you
know for very long I’ve been working on different music in different territories
around the world, this next EP is done with the collaboration of the Dub Club,
the number one Reggae club in Los Angeles. I’m very happy, we already shot a
video while I was on tour in the US and Mexico, and the first single will be Spread
My Wings, so yes look out for it!
JAmusic: Can you tell us something about the Vego Wales single?
GR: I was born and raised in London, in the north-west area, a place called Harlesden. Well Vego Wales was an area leader, a community person, a producer, a radio station owner and a promoter who always tried to uplift ghetto youths and artists in the community, and I remember him from a very young age when he founded the radio station which is still going on right now, called Beat FM, and it was a very important radio station for me. Probably the first radio station where Gappy Ranks’ music have been played. And he was such a great spirit within the community, he loved to see people make it, whether it was music or something else, no matter what they were doing, he just loved to see people making it, especially the ghetto youths. We lost him this year, and you know in Reggae music we sing about our experiences and our people’s life, things that happen around us so I had to sing about Vego Wales ‘cause he played a very important part in Gappy Ranks’ career.
JAmusic: Earlier this year you released the ‘Beware’ EP, where you have a collaboration with Beres Hammond. How was working with him?
whole idea came from Flava McGregor, who produced couple of tracks from the Shining
Hope album, so he put the two of us together and we got great work done
and for me it was great to have a tune with him. Big up Beres Hammond ‘cause
over the years he has always been such a great inspiration for Gappy Ranks;
anytime I saw him and talked to him he always gave me great advices, so you can
imagine I was really happy to collaborate with him.
JAmusic: Over the years you have done many collaboration, are there any specific ones that stand out in your memory?
really, I really just make the songs and leave the people to choose what is
special or not. If I say “this is special” maybe some fans will agree and go on
this way and only listen to that, so I like the people to listen by themselves
and then have their own choice of favourite. If people like it, they like it.
JAmusic: Are you working on a new full album?
GR: Yes, my
fourth album will be released next year; it’s called Guide Me. I can’t say too
much because we are still working on it and finishing up the last pieces but it
will definitely feature my single Murderer produced by Asha D which is
getting lots of spins at the moment. Everything is been done independently by
Gappy Ranks so we just continue the independent work and hopefully push to the
best, and the album will be distributed by VP Records worldwide.
JAmusic: You just came back from Ghana, how was that experience?
GR: Oh it was beautiful man, such a beautiful place! Shouts out to Stonebwoy! I was there with other UK artists like Stylo G and Reddman UK and many more and it’s a good look and I’ll be back in Ghana again in March with Luciano, so Africa look out for Gappy Ranks again!
JAmusic: You travel a lot around the world, and in these travels you also reached Japan during the 2011 earthquake.
GR: Yes, it
was my first time in Japan, first time to go there to sing Reggae music and
obviously it was a great thing for me. But then the day I reached was the day
of the earthquake, and you know I come from London and there’s no earthquake
there so when I was there I was shocked and really didn’t know what to do. But
then when things like that happen to me I like to sing about them, so I made a
song “I was there” and all the money from that song went and are still going to
the people of Japan through the Red Cross. I got to visit Japan again this year
in June and it was great, big up to Crossfire, Unity Sound, Mighty Crown, Risky
Dice, the whole of my family out there!
JAmusic: You just mentioned Mighty Crown and you released a mixtape with them, how was it working with Simon, Sammy and the rest of the team?
GR: Yes they
are really good friends of mine, and supported me since very long, so it was
inevitable that we decide to create a mixtape, we called it “Chopsticks” and
it’s out for free download. As I said before Mighty Crown made an important
part in Gappy Ranks’ career, not only being a big sound from Japan, but also a
great inspiration as entrepreneurs and business men and idealist.
JAmusic: I know you own a sound system, Sound Gappy the Harlesden High Power, how important is the sound system culture for you?
GR: It’s very important, very important! All the reggae industry started from sound systems and it was obviously very important for me while I was growing up. On the sound we have three selectors who play the sound: Flash, Coolie and DJ Soldier who is in Costa Rica and they are the ones who actually play the sound. And next year Sound Gappy is going to go on the road.
JAmusic: What do you think about the weed legalization process that is happening around the world?
GR: Well it’s good and it’s bad. It’s good because it’s going to be less stressful for people that will be able to smoke freely, but then it’s going to be bad because the big cigarette companies are going to take over the market and they are going to grow, and there won’t be any more money for the farmers, so this is the bad side, but in everything you have a good and a bad side and you have to work with it. But, as long as weed can be circulated around the world and scientists can go into finding new cures, then it’s good. And in five year time in the whole Europe marijuana is going to be legal, and especially here in Italy: I come to Italy over and over and I know it’s hard for the people in terms of work, finance and feeding their families, but something like this, weed, it can help Italy as this is a place known to grow good soil so this can bring lots of money for the people: you can make the clothing with hemp, medicals and so on. Trust me, in five years time all Europe!