Gino Haze has always had his eyes set on being a rapper, being born to teenage parents in Inglewood, California. When it comes to his sound, he prides himself in his diversity, being able to go from soulful melodies to relentless bars and lyrics. With each release, he injects honesty and authenticity, always upholding his stature as a hustler and a gentleman.
With his mother from Chicago and his parents divorcing at age 9, he moved to Chicago and quickly fell in love with hip-hop. After watching and collecting Smack DVD videos, he went on to record his first song at age 12. Moving back to Los Angeles for high school and living with his father, he returned to Chicago for college where he met some of the hottest rappers from The Chi today.
Gino’s first album named Confident saw features from Casey Veggies and Dom Kennedy, showcasing his ability to not only spit but put on for his city. Fast forward to 2020, he continues to prove his worth as an MC, releasing his newest single and visual for “I Try.”
AllHipHop: You’re from Inglewood, what were you seeing growing up?
Gino Haze: Inglewood was beautiful. As a kid, I played at the YMCA with the kids from Crenshaw so I didn’t really see the gangbanging aspect of it. I lived in the Avenue, yeah there’s Bloods but we’re able to ride our bikes. We weren’t getting pressed. It’s war zones on the other side but where I grew up was a beautiful little section in Inglewood. I’m always appreciative of my parents for raising me in that area. Definitely the gang influence, you see the tags and all that, but you’re focused. People know the energy you’re bringing.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences growing up?
Gino Haze: Man, Chicago and LA played a huge part in my musical knowledge. Of course Kanye, DJ Quik, huge fan of Snoop. Snoop’s always Top 5 of all time. I love Twista, Crucial Conflict, Lupe Fiasco, No I.D., just the real. From my generation, we’d call it the Golden Era of hip-hop from 2003 to 2009. Anything in that pocket between LA and Chicago, I was definitely on. I remember when DJ Quik dropped “Do I Love Her?” Chicago was dope, people were doing step dances to it. The beat was that dope. Shout out to C-Sick too, my brothers from Chicago. Definitely my favorite producer in the world.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize you wanted to do music for a living?
Gino Haze: To be honest, when I was 12. I asked my uncle if I could record, he’s working at KGLA at the time. He put me in the little studio he had, I recorded something. I didn’t try again till I was 16. I went to school with a lot of Odd Future kids, I was around Casey Veggies and all them. They were poppin’, they’re making s### seem impossible. I didn’t want to step out and try to figure it out, so I went to Chicago and did my own thing. I met Chance The Rapper, Smino, a lot of people from Jeremih’s camp.
AllHipHop: How’d you meet all them?
Gino Haze: There’s a school called Columbia, which is a music school. Everyone from the Midwest who wants to do music goes there. Smino from St. Louis, he went there. Chance from the Southside of Chicago, he went there. I’m from LA, I went there. People who went to the school all networked with each other. There wasn’t sports, it was smoking weed and making music.
AllHipHop: You just released your visual for “I Try,” who or what inspired this?
Gino Haze: “I Try” was inspired by my move back to Los Angeles. I moved back officially as an adult in 2018, and my only income at the time was driving Uber. I was dating a girl, I felt my bag wasn’t right for the type of woman I had and I had to understand that. It was a freestyle. Shoutout to BLXST, BLXST and Bino had the #SavageChallenge. There’s a kid named Kyree Sterling who sang on the challenge, he didn’t win but I loved his sound and music. I reached out to him, we made the song. He brought a certain pain that I couldn’t bring. “I Try” was a freestyle voice memo inspired by the relationship I was in, understanding that Uber wasn’t paying my rent. It wasn’t making sense, I’m f###### trying! [laughs]
AllHipHop: You say “everyday you’re working,” what’s the reality of the independent grind?
Gino Haze: Stack you some dough so you don’t have to look at music to make you some dough. As a young kid, I was 18 and put all my money into the mixtape and had no money for promo. I didn’t know PR. I’m seeing Chance The Rapper and Rockie Fresh running laps around me because they got $15K promo, they got PRs. I don’t have anything. I thought if I was a good rapper, it’d work. Kids, stack your dough and get your own studio so you don’t have to depend on music to make you some money.
In 2020, there’s a lot of ways to make money. Please don’t limit yourself. All the music I made, I only had 3 paid shows even worth talking about to where it adds up to something respectable to say. Oh, I got paid $1500 for this. I got flown out to D.C. to perform at Howard Homecoming. Other than that, I haven’t been making the money that everyone thinks you’re making. This project, the rollout is a lot better because I sat my a## down and stacked my bread. I reached out and talked to different people, tried to get PR and somebody who can help you get on some playlists. You need dough and to know connections or you’re done. Don’t even try, period.
AllHipHop: What do you want out of this music business?
Gino Haze: I want to be the best rapper for myself. I know how good I am and I’m committed to getting better. I want to be the best musician for myself. I have a different sound, especially coming from Los Angeles. It’s not really your typical LA sound right now, something a little less. With this new project, people are going to be able to gravitate towards something different in the city, especially if we push it the right way.
AllHipHop: How was recording “Quarantine Flow” during quarantine?
Gino Haze: “Quarantine Flow” was cool. I wanted to do something more jazzy and myself, bar up a bit. We’re in the house on the rooftop playing video games, kicking it with the dogs. I wanted to let n*ggas know the bars are still up, we’re here. I know we’re quarantining but let’s continue to still work.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your self-titled EP, dropping in October?
Gino Haze: I want to give them the base. I named it the Gino Haze EP after the Kendrick Lamar EP, which is my favorite Kendrick Lamar project. I was introduced to that in high school, that was a great introduction to him from where he’s about to start and go. A great place for me to hear him start his journey. This is a great start for me, for people to catch on and understand where I’m about to take my journey. Ride with me, it’s a great introduction to me. Straight up Gino Haze, let’s get to it.
AllHipHop: Who’s in your Top 5?
Gino Haze: Lil Wayne, Jay Z, Ye, Wiz, Nip. Honorary members are Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross.
AllHipHop: Favorite Nipsey song?
Gino Haze: Damn, I played “Rap Music” when bro died. When he played that song, I thought of myself as a rapper. If you hear the lyrics in the hook, he says “now my face on TV, mama so proud of me.” He said “I’m so happy I made it, this rap s### saved me.” That s###’s so powerful bro, I bang that s### so much. Real Nip fan on this side, shout out June Summers on the hook.
AllHipHop: How did Nip influence you being from Inglewood?
Gino Haze: I went to Westchester. When you at Westchester, you got the 60’s, the Bloods, all that, but then you got the cool kids. You got the Tyler the Creator’s, the Lionel Boyce from The Jellies! You didn’t have to be a gangbanger. For me, it was dope to see somebody tangible. I met Nip twice: once in 7/11 and he did a shoot. He had on all red, I remember. He came up to me, we asked for a picture. I remember he asked the homie, “you got some kush I could buy?” [laughs] I’ll always remember that. It was dope to see this guy’s posters and understand what he stood for.
AllHipHop: Who’s your dream collab?
Gino Haze: Charlie Wilson. “Car #85” is so cold. Nas and Hit-Boy killed “Car#85.” When they threw him on that hook, wow. Charlie Wilson’s adlibs alone took this song out of here.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Gino Haze: Tequila. Marjuana. Damn bro, I don’t even eat junk food like that. I like Vitamin Water a lot, the blueberry pomegranate s###.
AllHipHop: Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Gino Haze: To get this Gino Haze EP out and get some notoriety, pick some steam up from it. I don’t want to knock it out of the park, I just want to land on base. That’s the main goal.