In late May and June, the Smokers Club Tour crosses the United States. As fans pack venues to see the likes of Cam’ron, Smoke DZA, The Underachievers, Pro Era’s Nyck Caution, and others, they will encounter G-Jet, likely for the first time.
A product of Columbus, Texas, G-Jet (an abbreviation of “Go Hard Jetson”) challenges the notions of how a Lone Star MC can move the crowd through his delivery. On songs like “Richard Pryor” from 2014’s respective A3C Compilation, Heads heard a fervor and grit that was much more early ’90s Willie D than late 2000s Slim Thug. Part of that likely comes from Jet’s Battle Rap roots, as well as his key influences.
In the time since, G-Jet signed with New York City-based Babygrande Records (GZA, Freeway, Grand Puba). Gearing up for May 25 mixtape, Die Rich, the MC unveils the lead single he recorded in Austin, which breaks down his unique blend of palpable hunger and impassioned angst. Premiering at Ambrosia For Heads, “Born Broke, Live Good, Die Rich” is more than a catchphrase. For G-Jet, it is a survivalist’s mission statement.
The single “Born Broke, Live Good, Die Rich” is filmed on the outskirts of Austin. Directed by Jeff Adair, the affair captures a day in G-Jet’s life, for a ride-along in a vintage Cadillac convertible. The blending of country imagery with skills-driven Hip-Hop places Jet in a lineage not unlike Alabama’s early Yelawolf, or Mississippi’s Tito Lopez.
“I started freestyling with my brother and friends around junior high [school]. We would freestyle everywhere, malls, Taco Bell, outside [of] clubs, wherever,” explains G-Jet, who grew up in a small town outside of Houston. In H-Town, the MC cut his teeth in the battle space. “[I would] never ever write. I did not take music seriously until 2011 or so.” It was in this time, that G-Jet would leave high school and run into legal troubles.
Speaking about his unique attention to the word, he says, “I love lyrics. I grew up on that. Jay Z, Nas, and Andre 3000. I remember where I was when I first heard ‘Ether.’ I take pride in that. I freestyle-battled all over as well, and battled across the South with Texas Battle League.” Like many artists rising through the ranks, he feels he has earned his place outside of competition. “I don’t battle anymore but, I got it if it’s ever called for.”
Asked about what crossing the country alongside some higher profile artists means to him, he explains, “[Being on the Smokers Club Tour] means opportunity. Where I’m from, that’s hard to come by. It is legendary. One of my favorite MC’s of all time is headlining, Cam’ron.” Cam, a platinum veteran, has previously worked with Lone Star MCs such as Lil Flip. “That’s crazy. I’m gonna show the world. I was asked if I wanted to do it, and you know the obvious answer.”
G-Jet’s previous two mixtapes are 2013’s Born Broke and follow-up, Live Good. Die Rich completes the trilogy, through its single. “[Born Broke, Live Good, Die Rich] comes from being from a humble beginning and never giving up,” Jet says of the expression. “[It is] never accepting ‘no’ for an answer. We worked for everything. My family doesn’t own anything. My little brothers were the first to graduate high school. Music was never realistic to me. But God is good.” He vows, “I’m gonna show what ‘rags to riches’ really is.”
Whereas Texas artists are known for their DIY approach, G-Jet cites his own reasons for partnering with a veteran independent. “Resources. Marketing. Know-how. Reach,” he lists. “What I got to say has to reach more than the small amount I have been reaching. The world. They can spread it global, with their experience. They too, haven’t had anyone like me. So, it’s about to be fun.”
With the colorful video showing G-Jet’s upbringing and climb ahead, he deduces, “I am most proud of Die Rich. It is the official beginning. It changed my life. People won’t understand until later.” He stamps another mantra that has carried him this far, “No explaining. No complaining. All work.”