Finding substance in the South isnt hard to find, in Lexington, South Carolina, Gemstar Da Goldenchild
is a prime example of an artist that sticks to kicking raw rhymes as
opposed to leanin and rockin. Gemstar embodies the essence of a MC
capable to spitting metaphoric rhymes and witty punchlines, a style
once thought to be restricted to Northern rappers.
early 2006, Gemstar turned heads with his punchline heavy flows on his
debut mixtape "A Star Is Born Pt. 1," hosted by Big Mike. And Gemstars
follow up mixtapes, "A Star Is Born Pt. 2" with DJ P-Cutta and "Star
Stuck" hosted by DJ Jelly, further accentuated Gemstar as an anomalous
Southern rapper where the SC newcomer delivered hard hitting lines that
can be found on his new single "Holla At 'Cha Boy," Gemstar is seeking separation from the Southern MC herd with his lyrical prowess.
it was Gemstars mixtape with the Souths most notorious DJ, DJ Drama,
that convincingly solidified Gemstar as a rising star in South
Carolinas burgeoning rap scene. After releasing four praiseworthy
mixtapes over the past year, and a new one on the way, and a new single
picking up momentum in the Carolinas, Gemstar has successfully taped
the mixtape circuit that allowed his star quality to shine.
AllHipHop.com: You were born and raised in Lexington, SC, how did you develop a Northern flow?
The first record I bought back in the days was the Rap Pack. I used to
listen to the Rap Pack, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, LL Cool J. I didnt grow
up listening to Southern [music]. Southern music wasnt poppin in the
late 80s, early 90s. So thats what I really came up off of,
listening to the Big Daddy Kane and all them. Cause thats what was
poppin. Id still listen to UGK but they didnt have that mainstream
appeal that the East Coast had.
You chose to go the mixtape route in order to build your buzz in the
Carolinas. No one had ever done it on that kind of level as far as
working with big named DJ's. Why did you choose to go that route?
The main reason was that it was an untapped market, no one was doing
it. At the time everybody was putting out stuff for the hood so I
figured if youre going to do it why not do what the majors do?
AllHipHop.com: You did mixtapes with P-Cutta, Big Mike and DJ Jelly first, so how did you hook up with those DJ's?
I was a Big Mike fan, hes really heavy on the mixtape scene and hes
always had the exclusive music. What I did was call the number on his
mixtape. We got in touch with his manager and chopped it up with [Big
Mike] on the phone. I told him what I was trying to do and he was like
cool. He helped me distribute a lot of CDs that I did with him to help
me get a buzz up North. And then P-Cutta, I had a homeboy from DC that
grew up with P-Cutta. He linked me up with P-Cutta. And Jelly, I
started shooting out to the A cause Atlanta started getting hot. And DJ
Jelly had never hosted a mixtape for anyone outside of the [Big Oomp]
Camp. And hes a pioneer down there in Atlanta. So I went to one of
Oomps stores and was kicking it with Jelly like every other weekend,
just choppin it up with him and we put [a mixtape] out like that.
You hooked up with DJ Drama for the Gangsta Grillz mixtape "Star
Studded," which was your biggest mixtape to date. How did you get with
Drama to make that happen?
Around the time when the Jelly mixtape came out, they were shooting the
ATL movie and I had a lot of people come up to me like, you did the
Jelly [mixtape], that was hot but you need to do the Gangsta Grillz.
The same guy that put me on to P-Cutta, he connected me with La The
Darkman, who used to be with Wu Tang. Come to find out, I hooked up
with La and hes like, Im part of the Aphilliates. We went down to
their studio in Atlanta. Drama was there and I was like, I wanna do a
Gangsta Grillz. He was like my name carries weight. If it aint hot
then I cant mess with you. At the time I had the DJ Jelly [mixtape], I
let Drama hear it. He heard a good 40 seconds and he said its a go.
AllHipHop.com: What was the response when you put out the Gangsta Grillz mixtape?
When the Gangsta Grillz came out people were like this dude is serious,
hes messing with the #1 DJ in the game. It sent the buzz through the
roof. When it came out, everybody looked at it like, who are you
signed to? Cause Drama always put out Gangsta Grillz with artists that
have major deals. So people were like, you must be signed now. We got
a lot more phones calls. Cats want me to be on their records, host
their mixtapes. And I aint going to lie to you, South Carolina didnt
really support me on this. We had a lot of advertisements on this,
running all the way up to Maryland. We did radio and television cable.
AllHipHop.com: So how has radio taken to you so far?
At first you might get a little Push it or Kick it now and then, but
now theyre starting to put me in the mixshows. Im killin them on the
Internet right now. But as far as the hometown, its hard to get radio
play in [my] hometown Columbia, SC. I dont know why that is. The radio
came to me and set up a meeting but they still aint put it in full
rotation. I had a song called "Holla At 'Cha Boy," that was in [mixshow] rotation. Songs called "Fall Back" and "Leanin' In My Ride" [in mixshow rotation]. We made a bunch of singles and just let the DJs pick what they wanted to play at that time.
AllHipHop.com: Have your shows picked up as a result of the Gangsta Grillz?
Yeah, everything has picked up. La told me, Youre dealing with Nike
now. And I didnt realize what he was talking about until after the
tape came out. As far as shows, my name is on more flyers now. The
shows have picked up probably about 200%. The recognition is crazy.
AllHipHop.com: How did South Carolina take to the mixtapes you put out?
The first thing they said was he aint from around here cause of how I
rap. I dont have a Southern drawl or that much of a Southern slang. So
first of all they were like this kid aint from around here. Then the
buzz was so crazy because we were putting out so much product. As far
as down here, we were pumping out more product than probably anyone
ever did in South Carolina. Then we started getting a fan base. Once we
had the fan base, I knew it was a wrap.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people have been comparing you to Cassidy when they hear you. How do you feel about those comparisons?
Whenever anyone new comes out they always compare them to somebody. As
long as its a major artist that theyre comparing me to, someone that
gets their props on the mic. [Cassidy] gets it in. Theyre probably
comparing me punchline wise cause nobody in the South raps like that
but Im my own person.
AllHipHop.com: You produced a lot of records that youve put out, how did you get into producing?
I started off producing when I got my studio. At the time we didnt
have anyone to do the productions, so I had to teach myself how to work
the equipment. I started making beats and just thought Id use some of
them. Then as I got better and ventured out we started making income
off of it. I produced about 40% of the Gangsta Grillz myself.
AllHipHop.com: You have your own company, Street Gallery Entertainment right?
We started up in 2004, me and my brother [Rayco]. It really came out of
nowhere. One day my brother came up to me and was like I wanna build a
studio. Built a studio, he called me in like two weeks and was like
its time to get things registered and trademarked, think of a name. I
was like painting pictures for the streets, Street Gallery
Entertainment. Ever since then, thats what it been.
Youve worked with other up-and-coming artists on your mixtapes like
Willie The Kid, Short Dawg and Ransom. Why did you choose those artists
to work with?
I looked at it like, I wanted to find some artists that are making a
movement into the future cause the same guys arent gonna be around
forever. I was like these dudes right here, Gemstar, Ransom, Short
Dawg, Willie The Kid, these those next people right here in the rap
game. Working with them, they make you go harder and make you write
harder. Theyre as sick with the wordplay as any of these veterans out
Youve been going hard on the mixtape scene for a minute. But the
mixtape scene took a hit with Dramas situation, are you going to
continue to pump out mixtapes?
Yeah, when I came out with the Gangsta Grillz thats the only thing
that slowed it down, when [Drama] got into that situation. A lot of
people were like we aint gonna mess with Drama for a little bit. Hes
too hot right now. And now hes hot the other way, theyre putting him
on magazine covers now and people are ready to mess with him again.
Were going full force. Were going to re-release the Gangsta Grillz.
In the future, I got about 4 mixtapes dropping in the next 3, 4 months.
Right now, it aint stopping.
Gemstar Da Goldenchilds website is www.gemstardagoldenchild.com
Gemstar Da Goldenchilds Myspace Page is www.myspace.com/gemstardagoldenchild