Compare yourself only to yourself — I didn’t “run my race” at first and it made me stagnant and not confident in my abilities cause I wasn’t advancing at the same pace as others.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Gee Slab.
Originally from Nashville, Gee Slab has been perfecting his craft since he was eight years old. As an independent artist his hard work is paying off. Gee Slab has garnered the eyes of VIBE, The Nashville Scene and NPR, highlighting his pivotal role in the rising Nashville Hip-Hop scene. His lifestyle brand and multimedia company, BINO (Believe In New Opportunity), gives back to the Nashville community by working with artists, mentoring kids, and partnering with grassroots organizations to create a better city. Taking inspiration from Santana, Gee has been compared to culture influencers such as 2 Chainz, Pimp C, and Big Krit.Gee hopes to take on a persona similar to Nipsey Hussle as he embodies his role in the community by writing motivational lyrics to inspire not only his peers but the future generation. After overcoming personal adversity and helping build the newly thriving Nashville hip-hop scene, Gee Slab is ready to put his career front and center with the release of this cinematic visual and future projects to come.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born in 1990. I grew up “Out East” (East Nashville) My mama mainly raised me. My pops was in and out. I grew up like most young niggas. Seen shit I shouldn’t have seen at my age. I was into wrestling, music and comics mostly. As a kid. I started smoking weed by 12 years old and jumped off the porch a year after hanging in the neighborhoods more. In high school I did a bit of everything; was in scholastic programs to try and be better and was on probation at same time lol. Trying to figure it out. Been in fights, ganged, stabbed, participated in gang activites and other dumb shit i shoudn’t have trying to find my way. I don’t let any mistakes I made define my total sum.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was 15, I heard an album by Julez Santana called “What’s The Game Been Missing” that influenced me to write my first rap. I don’t think I really started taking myself seriously til after I had my child. I was homeless and still writing and working on music. That moment is when I knew I wouldn’t do anything else.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The most interesting thing that happened to me was getting into a fight 4 hours before a show with a crackhead and having to perform with a wrapped arm because I punched the concrete and sprained my wrist lol.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Funniest mistake i ever made was getting drunk before a performance and forgetting half my words and the DJ was mixing me in and out of records. I learned to know myself lol. Some niggas can get lit like that NOT ME lol.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Im working on a collab project with my homie NEGRO JUSTICE called “Respeledent” An Acoustic album. A single called “Jiggy” coming that I’m excited about too.
But out now is TRIPLE BEAM SHORT FILM and BECAUSE I CAN EP. The short film is only part one of a visual universe I’m creating.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
On a fundamental level, diversity is a fabric of life. No one is made the same and everyone’s story deserves to be told. And for our culture to advance we need to hear and see more of these stories.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. If you don’t understand something, don’t sign — I was signed to a label and didn’t know I signed my name away for 3 years.
2. Filter the criticism — early on I listened to people too much and didn’t make the music how I wanted to. Didn’t believe in my vision as I should have.
3. Don’t downplay yourself — I turned away performances or didn’t speak up when I should have.
4. Compare yourself only to yourself — I didn’t “run my race” at first and it made me stagnant and not confident in my abilities cause I wasn’t advancing at the same pace as others.
5. Stay in shape — if you plan to be out here a long time you better be able to be here a long time.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Don’t let this consume you. Music is what you do; it’s not your entire being. You are worthy without any record being sold. Work at your pace.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
B.I.N.O. — Believe In New Opportunity is my lifestyle brand. We promote community leadership, did a saturday school program in my old high school and now work in support of a community organization called GIDEON’S ARMY in Nashville, TN.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My homie/manager Rick does so much. Without him, these interviews and placements wouldn’t be possible. He’s believed in me since the jump. Also my engineer/homie LK who recorded me faithfully since 2016. He stays up till 4–5 am getting mixes and masters out to me. Forever grateful for him. My road manager/promoter E keeps my calendar intact and cultives other moves to get us booked and seen more. Mariyo Deon is another artist who helps me run the community portion of BINO. ALL3Y3Z who has directed all my videos and shot most of my photos in the last 4–5 years. It’s a few but these are my main people who are there all the time no question.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Wake up in the morning and expect to win, then accept the win; never feel guilty” is a quote I came up with. Its is mantra i tell myself to always remind myself that I’m worthy of the good things that happen to me. We all have a little survivor’s remorse if we make it out of bad situations but always accept the blessings. You earned it.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I want to have breakfast with Missy Elliott. I love her music but also want to ask about her journey. Being from a city that wasn’t a major hip hop city before that time and that struggle. Being the unconventional leading lady in music. Working with some of the greatest minds in music. Where did that passion come from…basically everything lol.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!