Genre: Hip Hop | Interview

Letzten Samstag hiess es in der Kaserne Basel wieder „HipHop Strikes Back“. Und Hip Hop schlug mit einer geballten Ladung Frauenpower aus Los Angeles zurück. Die gerade einmal 23-Jährige Gavlyn machte auf ihrer bereits vierten Europa Tour einen Stopp in Basel und liess den Old School im dicht gedrängten Rossstall Einzug halten. (NFA & GPA)

Schon im Jahr 2006 beginnt Gavlyn, Tochter einer Tänzerin mit spanisch-irischen Wurzeln und eines DJs argentinischer Abstammung, die ersten Gehversuche im Hip Hop zu starten. Inspiriert durch den 70er-Jahre Funk und Spoken Word, entsteht ihr erstes Mixtape „Habit That You Blame“. Schon kurz darauf landet Gavlyn beim underground Label Broken Complex Records und beweist mit ihrem ersten Album „From the Art“, dass man in dem von Männern dominierten Business auch ohne Klischees und Macho-Gehabe guten Hip Hop machen kann. So zählt das Video zu ihrem Song „What I Do“ auf Youtube schon locker über 5 Millionen Klicks. Mittlerweile ist ihre zweite Platte draussen und Fingerzeig hatte vor dem Konzert die Gelegenheit mit ihr über Kitschmusik, Rap-Rock, Boom Bap und die Träume eines kleinen Mädchens zu reden. Wir stellen vor: Gavlyn!

Fingerzeig: Is this your first time in Basel?

Gavlyn: Yes, but I’ve been to Switzerland before. This is my fourth tour here in Europe.

FZ: Wow, so you are very popular in Europe if this is your fourth tour here already.

Gavlyn: Yeah it’s been working out for me.

FZ: Why do you think you are doing so well over here? Are you more popular here than in the States?

Gavlyn: I’m more popular here in Europe. I have a fan base in the States but it’s not as big as in Europe. I don’t know, my first two records were all Boom Bap, so I think that’s also the reason why I’m doing so well here. Plus, through Myspace I’ve been talking to people and producers. A lot of producers on my first album are from Europe. So yeah I’ve been networking with Europe since Myspace (laughing).

FZ: How about the crowd? Are they different here?

Gavlyn: Oh yeah. Completely different.

FZ: In which sense?

Gavlyn: Obviously it depends where you go. A lot of people don’t even understand what I am saying but the shows are still successful. And the energy is really tight, everybody is really into it. And even though they don’t understand me, every time „What I do“ comes on, they go crazy. It’s really cool

FZ: Is it more difficult to get a solid fan base in the U.S.? There seems to be such an oversaturation of new artists.

Gavlyn: Yeah, it’s a little bit different. Also my music was more underground at the time, even though the Modest Confidence album still has some Boom Bap in it but I try to blend to the new age  sound.

FZ: So would you say that the European fans worship the old school sound more?

Gavlyn: Definitely. For sure.

FZ: Are there any hot spots in the United States where Boom Bap is very popular at the moment?

Gavlyn: Not so much. I mean, you never hear Boom Bap in the clubs in L.A. unless it’s some kind of a bar. It’s very rare.

FZ: So did the people lose their roots to the Hip Hop culture?

Gavlyn: No, not necessarily. It’s just what the people are into at the moment. It was popular at its time. Music is just going through a shift. There are underground hip hop clubs that still play this music at certain nights.

FZ: Boom Bap has its origins in the east coast. You are from Los Angeles. Do they worship the west coast sound like G-Funk more over there?

Gavlyn: Yeah that sound is still there. Like DJ Quik, Suga Free, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, stuff like that.

FZ: Are you into that kind of sound?

Gavlyn: Me? Oh I love that sound.

FZ: But you don’t make that kind of sound.

Gavlyn: No, I just haven’t found the right beats and the right producers. I mean if someone wants to make the west coast sound, it has to be done right. If you just imitate it, it just sounds cliché. I also don’t want to make a west coast sound attempt out of nowhere. It would sound fake. I still haven’t found something that sounds natural. But I would love to do it if I find it.

FZ: What kind of music are you into besides hip hop?

Gavlyn: I’m into everything. Except country music (laughing).

FZ: How about Techno?

Gavlyn: Well I like house music, I like Jungle, Dub and Drum&Bass. I don’t like Dubstep, Trance, and Hardcore. I hate all that shit.

FZ: Would you consider doing something in this genre of music?

Gavlyn: Oh yeah I would love to. Maybe some house music like Azealia Banks does it.

FZ: You could sing to your music.

Gavlyn: I don’t have a good singing voice (laughing), so no. Maybe sometime I will learn.

FZ: But I read somewhere that you wanted to become a singer in the beginning.

Gavlyn: Yes I wanted to sing much more than rapping.

FZ: What happened to that dream?

Gavlyn: It’s still there. I plan on learning how to sing. I just rap because it’s easier for me. I’m a very impatient person, when it comes to creating sometimes. That just kind of worked out for me.

FZ: To what music would you sing? RnB?

Gavlyn: I don’t know. More like Electro or House. I grew up with that stuff. My older sister is really into House music, so growing up together that’s all we listened to. And my dad listened to Funk and Disco.

FZ: Have you ever thought about mixing Rap & Rock for example like Cypress Hill?

Gavlyn: I don’t like it so much when people do that. I mean Rage Against The Machine is cool but I’m not too big of a fan of Rock and Rap together.

FZ: Your first album was very influenced by Funk, Jazz and Soul. Your new album sounds very different from the first one.

Gavlyn: Yeah I’m trying to find myself though music. Doing Boom Bap music is so easy for me. I don’t want to sound like an asshole but it’s easy for me. But I also want to challenge myself and be able to rap to everything.

FZ: Would you count yourself to a specific female Hip Hop artist movement?

Gavlyn: Yeah I guess. Jean Grae and Lauryn Hill that’s the shit I was into. But one of my favorites is Azealia Banks, she is so cool.

FZ: Any female artists from the old school?

Gavlyn: Mainly Rah Digga, Lauryn Hill, those kind of girls. And of course Jean Grae. I love this kind of monotone sound.

FZ: Is it still hard to be a female MC in the Hip Hop business compared to the earlier days?

Gavlyn: I wouldn’t say it’s easier. It depends what the female wants to do. Is she trying to be an underground rapper? Is she trying to have fun? It depends on what you are comfortable with. But if you are an underground rapper who’s not trying to be sexy or girly then it’s going to be hard for you. If you are willing to embrace your girl power then it’s not so bad.

FZ: Why are there still so few female rappers compared to males in the business?

Gavlyn: Oh well, it’s a man’s world (laughing).

FZ: Would describe the new age sound of Top Dawg Entertainment or A$AP Rocky as a corny way of mainstream music?

Gavlyn: Oh no I think it’s really tight. I love TDE, I love Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q.

FZ: So what is corny music for you?

Gavlyn: Rock & Rap (laughing).

FZ: Are you trying to break out from the underground and go mainstream?

Gavlyn: I wouldn’t say break out. But yeah I want to succeed more with my music. Even If I get more successful it will always be a part of me.

FZ: Can you live of your music?

Gavlyn: So far, yes. So far. But don’t get me wrong it’s okay (laughing). I’ve been lucky and blessed.

FZ: Mainly from touring I guess?

Gavlyn: Yeah mainly from touring and merchandise.

FZ: Where would you draw the line in becoming mainstream?

Gavlyn: Doing something like David Guetta or some Skrillex shit. I’m down for anything but not that. But don’t get me wrong though, if I had to do it I would do it (laughing). I am always willing to compromise. I think as an artist you should do things that you normally would not do. That’s what it really is about. Challenging yourself.