Cory Gunz: The Best Kept Secret

In the Roc-A-Fella film Backstage, Jay-Z had a premonition. He said that somewhere out there there’s a kid sitting at breakfast, eating some Apple Jacks, writing some s**t. And that hungry young dude is going to be the next big thing in Hip-Hop. While one can argue Jay wasn’t speaking about anyone in particular, after hearing the demolition of Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” beat, you can’t help but wonder if the “God MC’s” vision of a Hip-Hop golden child was the young Bronx native named Cory Gunz, son of rapper/ghostwriter Peter Gunz who, along side Lord Tariq, had everybody screaming “Uptown baby” with their hit song “Déjà Vu (Uptown Baby)” ten years ago. Suffice it to say, Cory grew up in Hip-Hop. After proving himself to be a potential monster in the rap game, Peter began mentoring Cory on the finer points of making songs. From 2005 to 2006 Cory began building his street buzz with a steady presence on the mixtape scene. After a brief hiatus he hit the ground running, delivering noteworthy tracks all over mixtapes and the Internet including the infamous “A Milli” freestyle. But even that’s no indication of what the future holds. So take a minute to familiarize yourself with your favorite MC’s dream MC, Cory Gunz. You were a fixture in the mixtape scene back in 2005. It was said that you were dealing with Tommy Mottola and people were hearing you a lot but after a while you kind of faded away. What happened? Cory Gunz: As far as Tommy, shout to Tommy Mottola first of all, he took me to Def Jam. He orchestrated the whole Def Jam move and sat me down with Jay so if anything, he was trying to help. In '05 I was at the pinnacle. I had a crazy buzz in the streets and all he was trying to do was help. It was really me. I took kind of a hiatus because I was kind of turned off on the industry and the transition I felt it was taking. At the end of the day it's all fun and I consider myself like one of the greatest at it and a genius can always find a way. So that's what I'm doing right now, grinding.

“Shout to Wayne because that song gave me a chance to gain some notoriety.” With all the different file sharing sites, social networks, and digital labels coming out the Internet can be your best friend or your worst enemy. What part will it play in your movement?Cory Gunz: It's going to play a real major part. The Internet has its ups and downs in the music industry. It kind of killed the whole going out and buying an album thing but people are still paying the same amount on iTunes for an album as they would in a store. So it's all about finding a way and coming up with a scheme. Well, I wouldn't even call it a scheme but, coming up with a way to promote yourself on the Internet. I look at the Internet as the biggest promotion tool in the world. On top of YouTube and MySpace and different things like that, anything is possible. People check those things everyday. There are actually record labels looking at people's YouTubes and MySpace looking at their listens and views, seeing who's paying attention to who to make their jobs easier. Who's getting these views, who's paying attention to that kid so if we put some money behind him he's going to sell these records so we'll be able to recoup? That's all they're thinking about. You just got to find a way man and if you're a genius and you love the craft, and you're as passionate about it as I am you'll come up with something. Charles Hamtilton & Cory Gunz “Neh, Neh, Neh” I got the chance to speak with Square-Off, the rap group made up of Doug E. Fresh’s sons. Cory Gunz: Oh yeah, those are my n****s right there. They said they had problems growing up because of people knowing who their father was. Did you experience any of that?Cory Gunz: At the end of the day, that's crazy because everybody gets that. I call it like 75 percent hate. Well, I can even call it that. I call it like 65 percent hate because the majority of the people on my block and in my neighborhood coming up was my whole family. I have a big family and my family basically built this neighborhood that I grew up in. It had its perks, it was cool. Of course you had the haters, the cheesing and the fake friends but, it comes with the territory. Of course now it seems worse because people are automatically comparing me to my dad and I have to fill those shoes. And I know with Square-Off they have the same pressure. When your dad makes a mark in history so big and makes records like that that make history, well, I don't call them records, I call them anthems. But it’s a lot of pressure to have to live up to something like that.Cory Gunz “Richer Than Richie” Given who you father is and the overall historical significance the Bronx has in Hip-Hop, do you feel any pressure when it comes to representing where you’re from?Cory Gunz: I love the Bronx, I keep the Bronx in my heart. The Bronx is always in my heart I'm going to rep the Bronx in my heart forever. But I'm a world artist. Well, let me not say world artist but if I do something like a down south track with a Bronx flow, you know that gritty, New York flow to it, it's still me. Like, I'm trying to be bigger. I want to represent good music. And I'm not saying there's not any good music out there, shout to everybody doing their thing right now, but I'm doing my thing trying to carve a certain lane so that's really the pressure for me. Speaking of carving your lane, what you did to the “A Milli” beat got a lot of people’s attention where some were saying your verse was better than Wayne’s. Did you ever receive any feedback from Wayne?Cory Gunz: I'm going to keep it all the way 100. Like, this is not for no controversy or to start no beef and I'm only saying it because we're 100 percent on the record, but I haven't heard from the homie since I sent him that verse. Shout to Wayne because that song gave me a chance to gain some notoriety. Shout out to every DJ that played my version and helped get that heard. That song definitely got me out there so there's no beef. I know Wayne is busy and he's doing his thing. I'm just focusing on doing Cory Gunz and getting me where I need to be. A Milli (Feat. Cory Gunz) - Cory So what are you working on?Cory Gunz: I'm working on some things. I got a lot of deals on the table. Labels have been quietly hollering at me but I got a lot of deals on the table and a few really, really good independent deals on the table too. But I'm going to keep making music. I got a couple mixtapes coming out, I got one with Square-Off, my Militia family got mixtapes coming out. We're just going to keep making music.

“When you mention Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Luda, I want to be in that category. You can't forget about the legends like BIG, Pac, and Pun, may they rest in peace, but I want to mentioned with them.” What’s your relationship with Shaquille O'Neal and how is he playing a part in your career?Cory Gunz: Shaq knew me before I knew me. When I say that I mean before I was even born, Shaq knew me. That's my God dad so he's always going to be there for me and I'm going to ride with Shaq to the death. But yeah, that's my family for real. When it comes to Hip-Hop, some do it for the money, some do it for the fame, few still do it for the love. Why do you do it?Cory Gunz: I've been saying this since I was young. I want to be one of the best. Like in somebody’s top five of all time. Like when you mention Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Luda, I want to be in that category. You can't forget about the legends like BIG, Pac, and Pun, may they rest in peace, but I want to mentioned with them. Body Bags - Cassidy ft. Cory Is there anything else you want people to know?Cory Gunz: DJ's and everybody can hit me up on the MySpace, I check it myself so hit me up if you want to get at me. Also, shout out to AllHipHop too because y'all been rocking with me from the beginning.