Ian Anderson 9:02 a.m., Aug. 20
Gonjasufi Extended Interview
I know many of you are interested in reading Gonjasufi's words that didn't end up in print, so here ya go:
San Diego, being that it’s a border town and shit, and the military - it’s just a weird city because you got so much drugs coming from the border and then you got the military right there in the Gaslamp District and, you know, all the military heads and shit partying on Friday nights and Saturday nights. You know, I grew up in Chula Vista in some crimey parts rolling with some heads, just some like, anti-militant shit and being the way that I look and shit I dealt with a lot of racism up in that motherfucker.
I don’t know, I mean I grew a lot in El Centro, too. I got a lot of family in El Centro. So, SD just got a small, like cool, the underground movement in the 90’s was thick shit, you know what I’m saying? We were overshadowed by the LA shit, by the Freestyle Fellowship and all those dudes. But in ’93, ’94, ’95, if somebody would have come to San Diego and tried to sign my crew back then… some of the most amazing fucking music came out of San Diego back then. It just happens to be that I was one of the only dudes that thus far kind of left Daygo and then, because of that, I feel I was able to be heard. You know, Will [Gaslamp Killer] and I were the only dudes that really left, and Orko [Elohim], you know, Orko’s been across the world and shit.
I roll with my crew, man, you know, Masters of the Universe and Nocturnal Scientist. First it was Nocturnal Scientist and then it was Masters of the Universe and, shit, man, we ran shit, man. Straight up. And when I left, you know, the music I was making… I’ve always been on that singing shit, but it kind of took, like, the other side of the world to acknowledge that shit, you know. Like everyone in the Daygo crew was kind of like, yeah, whatever, fuck this shit. You know what I’m saying? Then Warp signed me and they’re like, oh, ok, it must be the shit. So it’s a little bit of a weird dynamic and shit. You kind of have to exile yourself like Mon did from Jamaica, like Hendrix did.
And I had to leave Daygo and then get the respect from Daygo. And I feel like I still don’t have the fuckin’ respect, you know? It’s like, my ego is like, wants to say, hey, I’m the motherfuckin’ shit out of this motherfucker. You know what I’m saying? Like, it’s my crew in Daygo. I don’t have to be in Daygo to run shit. All my squad’s still down there in Daygo, you know? Sometimes I feel like coming down there and smashing fools up, but, I mean, you know, I really do, man, because it’s like, there’s a lot of young cats there in the scene that just think they’re from fuckin’ Daygo, but motherfuckers didn’t show no records, they weren’t making beats, they weren’t at open mics. Lot of 2000 cats, you know, like the newborn generation, these newbies and shit. A lot of these heads don’t know the history of Daygo and they don’t know me. They think I’m just a fuckin’ singer and I’m not hip hop, quote unquote.
Shit, I’m from the underground fuckin’ scene, man. I smash beats and I’ll rip the motherfuckin’ hats of their dome, you know? I grew up around the cats that were, like, freestyling and making everybody scared to fuckin’ rap. That’s what we still do. So that’s was Daygo kind of gave me, like, being around my squad and it was probably a good five years that I was scared to rap around these cats. You know? But then I left and it was kind of like being in the ring with the champs and you’re scared and you’re getting your ass knocked out, but then when you finally go to another squad, another ring, you can one-hit knock motherfuckers out quick because you’ve been training with champions. You know what I’m sayin’? Like, because of my growing up in Daygo and being chiseled down, going and steppin’ in another ring I’m not afraid of anybody anymore because I feel like my squad, the cats I grew up around, are some of the most innovative, slept on artists on the fuckin’ planet that ever lived, man. Straight up.
I was hangin’ with Orko, Delon Deville, Odessa Kane, Infinity Gauntlet, some of my Chula Vista cats like the dude Complex. Gonjasufi was really a rap group. It was me and my boy Bushbat, you know, Complex. He’s in the pen and doing a lot of time so I just kind of branched out and I’ve still been bangin’ Gonjasufi, even though it was a rap group from like ‘97, ‘98, ’99 when I was runnin’ in Chula Vista and that shit shaped me. You know, I pretty much grew up with Masters of the Universe and Nocturnal Scientist. That was pretty much the crew.
Man, in my squad, we’ve been at this shit for almost thirty fuckin’ years and, you know, a lot of my cats around me haven’t got the due spotlight that they deserve, you know?
[Psychopop] is a very major part of all this shit. He’s really the first person I started singin’ over someone else’s tracks back in, like, 2003. I took him on the road with me last year. So me and Psychopop produced MU.ZZ.LE and that’s coming out in January, and that reflects my sound more. What I want, where my heart is at. There’s no rap shit on there, but, ya know this EP [The Ninth Inning] is different because there’s rap shit and it’s harder. A lot of heads didn’t know I did rap shit. They just thought I was a fuckin’ R&B, whatever the fuck, I don’t know what the fuck they thought I was.
When did you leave San Diego?
2006 - I came out here, straight to Vegas. And I was working with GLK [Gaslamp Killer] while he was in LA and I’d just drive down there and hang out with him and Fly Lo [Flying Lotus] and shit. There’s space out here, man. Just not knowing anybody. Completely different surroundings. The nightlife, fuckin’, the fact that it’s 24/7 and shit. You know, when I drink I can go get a drink at 2:01 and shit don’t shut down. I’m a late night dude. I can leave at 1 o’clock and shits still going on at 4. There’s so much energy here, so many different people and stories man. It’s like, here you are in the fuckin’ desert and here’s this fuckin’ row, this Strip, like everybody comes here to throw all their money and dreams away and it’s just a lot of stories. Everybody meets up here. It’s just some weird shit man. When you’re flying over it’s just dark as fuck and then all of a sudden it’s like the adult Disneyland. You know what I’m saying? You can do anything you want and shit.
I’m fuckin’ happy, man. I find my happiness in teaching yoga. Like there’s something about rendering service to humanity that at the end of the day I feel fulfilled, man, because I’m giving to people. It’s beyond shit. The music, like, comes from me teaching and I almost forgot that shit until I started teaching again. I can teach the rest of my life and be completely happy, you know, never put out another record again and be happy. They’re one and the same, man. In order for me to be happy with my life, I have to teach yoga.
So for me it’s like, I need to teach, man. Straight up, man. In order for me to put out the best music, I have to teach man. That’s it.