Why Rapper Kap G Prioritizes Creative Freedom
“Creative ownership to me means owning your stuff.”
Atlanta rapper Kap G surprises you with his honesty. His lyrics are relatable and unapologetically about his upbringing and heritage as a Mexican-American. Kap G released his Atlanta Records mixtape in 2017, SupaJefe. In an iconic move, the rapper outfits himself with a mariachi outfit and strolls around College Park on top of a horse on the mixtape’s cover.
“When you make a song with a vibe, it makes you feel like you’re doing your job right. It feels good to me,” says Kap G during an interview at Atlanta’s Bravo Ocean Studios. “If I’m talking about something very heartfelt, I like to be by myself.” But he also likes the party vibe while recording — since he likes to make music for the clubs.
The conversation was part of Patreon’s A3C Festival partnership with Raedio, the new label co-founded by actress Issa Rae with Atlantic Records. Raedio aims to serve artists and creators in every audio-first platform — think music, commercials, podcasts, film and TV projects, and more.
Raised in College Park, Kap G is the youngest of six children and discovered his knack for writing rhymes at eight years old. He grew up in a supportive household, but had to find his way on his own as he navigated his Mexican heritage in a predominantly African American neighborhood in Atlanta.
That balancing act gave him a unique upbringing that he raps about today.
His music carries heavy influences from 2Pac, Jay-Z and Kanye West. He started recording with friends and releasing track while a senior in high school and quickly he gained fans through his music videos, like “Tatted Like Amigos,” which got over one million views.
“My music is very relatable to my fanbase. I like to touch on my culture being Mexican-American and a lot of stuff that we go through.” He speaks to police harassment, illegal searches, racial profiling, and more on his track, “La Policia.”
He wants to show that Mexicans are more than stereotypes and are more than the daily struggle within their communities — he wants to be a role model too.
“In my music, I talk about so much stuff that it touches people,” says Kap G, who has amassed nearly half a million followers on Instagram.
“I remember when I was young. It’s not easy. Everybody doesn’t have role models. If I could make it easier for somebody else through music, I do it. You know? That’s who I am.”
The music recording industry isn’t famous for being transparent. Creative entrepreneurs in the industry are often plagued with lost royalty, complex contracts, and hard-to-understand music rights during production. Now with streaming services complicating things, the road for musicians to succeed can feel like you’re blinded the whole way.
Most recently, the future of music initiative Rethink Music released a 12-month report that showed that “that anywhere from 20-50 percent of music payments don’t make it to their rightful owners.”
“[There are] a lot of people who don’t have that information,” says Kap G. “I signed a deal years ago, I didn’t really know. I came from nothing […] and nobody was telling me about this stuff. So I love how people promote it now — own your stuff, own your masters.”
Kap G has seen success with tracks like “Girlfriend” and fan favorites featuring Young Thug and YFM Lucci. His 2017 single, “Marvelous Day,” featuring Lil Uzi Vert & Gunna saw more than 17 million streams and climbing. He’s preparing for his full-length record, after the release of his 2018 Big Mood mixtape.
The main lesson he learned as he continues to grow as an artist — patience.
“If I could give advice to my younger self, I would probably tell myself to be more patient,” Kap G says. “Sometimes when you’re in a very vulnerable place and you don’t know how your rent is going to get paid, stuff like that. Sometimes it could make you settle for a certain thing.”
“If you’re really great at what you do, it’s going to happen for you. It’ll work out. However you do it, it’ll work out. Just believe in yourself.”