If it wasnt for the Bronx, this rap s**t probably never would be going on"...Those were the famous words uttered by Peter Gunz in the now classic summer anthem Deja Vu. Now seven years later, a grown man is here to prove that the now infamous words spit by his father are not just a matter of opinion, but a fact. At 17, Cory Gunz has already received praise from the streets over his well accepted mixtapes, The Apprentice I and II. Now signed to a major label, the rumors have even swirled of a possible move to Def Jam. The young rapper even addresses being in the same room with Jay-Z as an achievement, so that may be something.
Cory is facing the world to show that he doesn't need the strength of his father to knock down doors he has demolished. You'll also see why exactly although he is a teen, the life and reality he has faced is way more harsh than even some adults can imagine. AllHipHop.com caught up with Cory for round-two, after christening his career with the first not too long ago. Welcome to the wild side, welcome to the life and times of Cory Gunz.
AllHipHop.com: Why did you choose to name your debut The Commencement?
Cory Gunz: Well The Commencement as an album is to put out the old and come in with the new. I am really here to bring Hip-Hop back to its truest form, you know, none of this candy coated, ABC-123 stuff, but spit real Hip-Hop. Being from the Bronx and from the streets, I have an ear for [real Hip-Hop]. My father really taught me about real music, and how you put it out, and thats what Im here to do, and thats what The Commencement is going to show.
AllHipHop.com: We know Peter Gunz is your father, but what made you want to get into Hip-Hop?
Cory Gunz: I wanted to be a rapper, because I saw the fame that my father had. I looked at it like, You can get money doing what you love, I want to do that, but I never really got into deep. It wasnt until my uncle and fathers partner [Lord Tariq], came and hollered at me about the Smack DVD that I really got into it.
AllHipHop.com: About the DVD, how did that come about because that was actually your introduction to be heard by the streets?
Cory Gunz: Yeah, it was crazy, some friends and I had started a group called the Militia and my uncle [Lord Tariq] heard one of the songs and was hollerin at me to get on the DVD, so I did. Like the dude Smack was interviewing Tariq, and showed me at a studio session. At the time, I didnt think it would blow up like it did to [the point] where people was checkin for me like, Yo, thats the kid from the Smack DVD. I mean its crazy.
AllHipHop.com: How was it recording your debut major release versus your mixtapes?
Cory Gunz: It was kinda hard because a lot of people liked the mixtapes, because it was so real and so street. I mean, on a mixtape you can say whatever you want because its for the streets. But with a major album, you have to be more careful, because it crosses the hands of everybody. Overall, I think a lot of mixtape artists out there can spit, but cant write songs. So I have to keep in mind that these are songs [that] I am writing, and I cant just come straight out and write about whatever I feel, but paint a picture so those who dont know where Im from can get the point of why I am saying what I am saying at such a young age.
AllHipHop.com: Are you feeling pressure to live up to the hype for your debut that your mixtapes have created for you?
Cory Gunz: Yeah, I definitely feel pressure. My mixtape became so huge for me because of the DVD, that I am feeling as if I need to keep doing me [like I did on my mixtapes], but I cant because the world aint ready for that raw Hip-Hop and truthfully, I am not ready to live up to the whole idea that my stories will create about me. So I am going to break everybody who dont know me in easy, so they will recognize that what I talk is real and not mistake it for some Hollywood hype that was made up to get a deal.
AllHipHop.com: How was it on tour with Jae Millz, did you find that people across the states knew who you were?
Cory Gunz: Yeah we got a lot of love, especially Millz, because people already knew him from his single No No No. [He] is a cool dude and it was cool touring together, it was a great experience and we learned a lot together.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of the beats you used on the mixtapes were classics like the Tupac/Bone Thugs beat you used on The Apprentice Vol. 1, what made you choose that beat to rhyme over?
Cory Gunz: I chose a lot of them because they were classics. See, what people dont know is that I grew up listening to Rakim and Big Daddy Kane, but I was also listening to Jay-Z and Nas because they was the legends around my era. So just me listening to that [type of music], naturally made me pick up the finesse that all those rappers have when they flow.
AllHipHop.com: With that being said, how do you feel about a lot of people comparing you to both Jay-Z and Nas because of the way you spit and your delivery and also how do you feel working so close with Jay-Z?
Cory Gunz: I feel its a dream come true, because there are a lot of dudes that would do anything just to be in the same room with [Jay-Z]. He is a real cool dude and as far me being compared to them. I appreciate people saying that but I feel I still have more dues to pay. Because Jay[Z] and Nas are like pioneers, so I cant even think of even being in the same category as them right now.
AllHipHop.com: Are you feeling any pressure of being compared to your father and uncle, whether the comparison is good or bad?
Cory Gunz: Kind of. Out here, Tariq has a street album out, Barcode that has a song featuring me and my dad. My dad is a straight up musician, so he has a whole bunch of other things going on. Although he and my uncle parted ways for the time being, they are planning to get back together to do a collabo album. So with them doing all that and people comparing me to them, it definitely hard because its difficult for me to even think I could make a record as huge as Deja Vu, I mean that record was bigger than In Da Club and that was a huge record. So to me, thats crazy, but I just hope that I can receive half the love that my dad has received. But I also look at him being my father as a blessing, because he is totally behind me 100 percent.
AllHipHop.com: With that being said about your father, what is a plus side to him always being with you for every decision you make regarding your career.
Cory Gunz: Him being there. I say that because I know he wont double cross me, he makes sure that I get marketed right, that my money is right, he does all that. My family is not materialistic and my father really is here to make sure that I dont make some of the mistakes he made such as blowing off all my money on dumb stuff. A lot of people will say that him being so close is a bad thing, but in our family, we have never been concerned with money. Thats not saying we didnt need it, its just saying that we do what we have to do and make sure that we dont have to ask anyone for anything. But on the flip-side, we arent so concerned with money that we step on our people [to get it] either, so its definitely a plus to have him in my corner.
AllHipHop.com: What would you say is the down-side. Because with you being 17, there has to be something that you want to do that you felt was cool and your father disagreed...
Cory Gunz: Not really, my father and I are like brothers, so we are real cool like that. I mean during my whole 17 years my father has never hit me, because when it comes to him I know my limits. So there is never a time when I wanted to go against something that he truly felt was wrong for me.
AllHipHop.com: Coming into the game, you have already been compared to a lot of people from Jay-Z to Nas and even your father and uncle. But for those who havent heard your mixtapes, how do you feel about being compared to other kids your age thats out right now, such as Bow Wow and Romeo?
Cory Gunz: I give them dudes much respect, as far as for getting rich and capitalizing on whatever they do. But I cant be compared because thats not what I do, I dont rap what they rap. I mean Im not trying to take anything away from them dudes, as far as whether they from the street or not, but I know Im from the hood and I know I have seen a lot of things thats crazy, so I can only speak on what I know.
AllHipHop.com: What are you most and least looking forward to in your career?
Cory Gunz: To be one of the best rappers that ever did it. All I want to do is be in a hall of fame somewhere. As far as what I am least looking forward to, that would be flopping. I just dont want to fail or be a one hit wonder. I mean I know that with success comes a lot of pressure and fame, but I am still going to live around my way and come around here, I dont want to be that dude that is to good to come back or that they say cant come back to the block. So I am definitely going to do what got to do to ensure that I am successful.