By: Brittney O.
Hip-HopVibe Entertainment Editor
We’re excited to have you on with Hip-Hopvibe.com, Great Ape! We see how hard you’re working and we respect it. Starting off, tell us about being brought up in a household with 7 siblings in East Point, Atlanta.
It was hard. My mother was a single parent, but a hustler also. She did everything she could and made every situation work. It was a struggle but we are a praying family also, so with faith in God we always kept it pushing.
Growing up as a hustler yourself, who were a few artists that you had in rotation the most?
T.I., King of the South. Young Jeezy, shout out to the Snowman. Rick Ross, shout out to the Biggest Boss, and Future, shout out to Pluto. Those rappers right there helped me get through a lot of situations.
We have similar taste in music. Tell us about your first time interacting with T.I. specifically.
T.I. embraced me like family. He was my first big feature. I’ve been doing music all of my life but just started taking it seriously maybe the last six months.. and Tip really treated me like family. Shout out to the entire Hustle Gang over there. That’s family.
“I gave up trappin’ for rappin” is something that you’ve stated. What made you confident that your skills on the mic could potentially make rapping a full time situation for you?
I’m competitive. I was naturally born with talent so my confidence has always been there – I just feel like can’t nobody do it better than me. Put me anywhere! I’ve won talent shows – I don’t get shy. All gas no breaks for me. I love music – I’m a music junky.
Why do you think people gravitate towards your music the way that the do?
Because I rap from my soul. I’m a soulful rapper. My favorite artists are Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, artists like that.. I’m from the South and I have a lot of soul. I come from a musical background, my family were competitive choir singers for over 30 years. I’m just built in music, it’s just in my blood.
You also create clever visuals that really bridge your music. Do these ideas come from you, the Directors you’re working with, or both?
From the beginning, it’s been me. I’m a creative individual. I’m a Pisces so I’m a dreamer. I love apes! That’s also how I came up with the ape theme. My favorite movie is Planet of the Apes. Now you’ll see people dropping the ape emoji under my social media posts all the time. I’m dominant and proud to be the Ape of Atlanta. Apply pressure every day.
Did you start out with a team or did you have to build along the way?
I built a team. I took every situation around me and created a sound. I didn’t want to use producers that all the other rappers were using. I took dudes from my hood, East Point, that I knew were into music and reached out to them. My main Producer is Bizzie Major, that is my little brother, he’s been with me from the start. When you hear the tag “Yo Bizzie!” that’s my sound. We are all like family – my management – we are all from East Point community. That’s why everything locks in the way that it does around me.
Tell us about #LastDopeBoyLeft Mixtape.
I feel like I’m the last trap rapper alive. Seriously. I think Jeezy was the last one we had. After Jeezy, I’m the last one that will ever talk that trash talk – the real street sh** – for niggas out here trying to provide for their families – the 1st and the 3rd, I really come from this culture. Dealing with crackheads and drug users and prostitutes, I really come from that!
You’re constantly putting out music which means you’re constantly working. Naturally, you’re a hustler. You acknowledge your Mom for how she hustled while struggling to raise all seven of you.
My mother is Lashaon Evans. She’s the mother of 7 kids, 6 boys and 1 girl. She is going to go out and get it! She always made a way. No matter what my Mom made sure that we had clean clothes and looked presentable. She worked hard to take care of us so that’s who I do everything for. When I want to give up in life sometimes, I think about her!
Most hustlers/trappers, prefer to live a private life. What’s the transition like now being in the spotlight and how it’s growing Great Ape?
Well I’ve been running from the County for years! This is my first Instagram page! I was brought up by older cats, I’m only 30 years old. I never hung with cats my age, my brother is 2 years older than me and I have older cousins I’d be with. The dope boys with money were always picking up me and taking me out shopping and out for ice cream since I was a child, I mean like 5-6 years old! I really come from this. This is not a façade. This is my real life story. My Dad was a dope boy with money too.
Do you feel like you owe it to East Point to make it in this music industry?
Yeah man .. I lost a lot in my neighborhood. Lots of friends, to the jail cell, the graveyard… so now I’m trying to strive to be one of the greatest.
Speaking of losing people, you’re aware of the young man in Georgia, your home state, named Ahmaud Arbery who we saw get hunted down and brutally murdered…?
Yeah that’s CRAZY man.. and the dudes not being arrested.. it’s sickening. We are going to pray for him and his family. Times like this should really draw us together.
What do you think we can do as a culture to make sure that these things stop happening?
First we have to stop hating on each other, and come together as African-Americans and really just everybody! We all need to stick together in this World. There’s always going to be something, from this virus and so much other stuff that people are online more than ever right now so we all need to just stop hating on each other first.
On a lighter note, “Quarter Brick” drops tonight with Rick Ross and we’re excited to hear it! How did that come about?
It came about because of Chris Atlas at Warner Music – shout out to the label. Shout out to Ray Daniels, shout out to GNZ , shout out to Day Day, shout out to Chris – My whole management team that put the space together. Chris is a good friend of Ross. He sent it (the single) over to Ross and I’m guessing he loved it! Ross don’t just jump on anything so I was surprised myself.
Are we going to get a visual for it?
Oh yeah, the visual is coming very soon! I’m thinkin’ we will shoot it in Atlanta. It’s crazy how everything happened! We were at Core Religion DJs event in Atlanta back in February for a performance. Rick Ross was there! I performed a few artists after him, and we got a chance to brush shoulders backstage and now it’s really full circle for me. I’m Blessed. I’m so humbled.
Was that your last performance since the pandemic has locked down everything?
I actually performed one more time at a strip club before everything shut down. Ace of Diamonds. My last time on stage, man..
How are you maneuvering now as an artist? I know that there is nothing like hitting the stage and performing.
Oh, I’ve been in the studio. It don’t stop for me. I took all my energy away from the trap and the streets so all of my focus is on the music. It feels so right and I’m providing a better life for my family.
We wish you much success here at Hip-HopVibe.com and we thank you for taking the time to speak with us today!
And I appreciate you so much, for taking the time to speak with Da Great Ape! You guys make sure to download and show the kid some support. “Quarter Brick” streaming on all platforms: Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal, it’s everywhere! And ya’ll can follow me on Instagram @dagreatape1010.