G-Side Reunite on New Track, ‘Forever’

G-Side at SPIN@Stubb's, Austin, March 16, 2012

G-Side, the Huntsville, Alabama regular dude space-rap duo of ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova are back together. Last fall, they announced their break-up days after ST appeared at the Hopscotch Music Festival performing solo. Interviews with SPIN suggested that the split seemed fairly amicable. The group had hit something of ceiling in terms of success (“It was time to go elsewhere creatively,” ST explained), especially because they seemed unwilling to sign to a major label. “It seemed like we were close to a deal,” Clova told SPIN, a little frustrated. The grind of generating a steady amount of press (like a feature in SPIN’s November 2011 “hip-hop issue”), doing plenty of shows, and still not exactly making enough money to rap full-time can be frustrating. A darkly comic aside from ST’s solo EP, R.E.B.E.L., had him admitting to fans that even as they preached about going on the straight-and-narrow in their raps, he was still hustling to make ends meet: “Who the fuck are you to make a bunch of rap songs telling kids to get up and get a job? / You was talking that W-2 boy shit and still getting bricks in for the 10-5,” he rapped to himself on “We Are The People.”

Following their break-up, ST 2 Lettaz released a solid, if at times underwhelming, solo record called The G…Growth and Development earlier this year. It captured the sound and spirit of G-Side, though it didn’t exactly move their sound forward. Meanwhile, Clova started Lambo Music Group, a rap collective that leaned towards a more radio-friendly style. Both members’ solo work made it clear that they fed off one another’s energy and slightly differing interpretations of hip-hop, off of creating something bigger than the sum of its parts. Meanwhile, G-Side’s production crew, the Block Beattaz, have steadily moved closer to the mainstream, producing a significant amount of work for Stalley of Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group. “Swangin’,” the single from Stalley’s most recent tape Honest Cowboy was essentially a retro-fitted version of the track of the same name from G-Side’s 2008 album, Starshipz and Rocketz. The Block Beattaz seem on the verge of producing for a big-name like Ross himself and their baroque-ambient most certainly fits his sound.

And now, a little over a year later, G-Side are back. “Forever,” the first song from an upcoming album From Gz to Godz (set to arrive in early 2014), produced by The Block Beattaz, speaks to the group’s break-up over an inverted, melancholy rave-rap beat, and by way of a sample from the Danny Boyle movie, The Beach, that says “Nothing lasts forever.” In short, the group isn’t making any long term promises. Given G-Side’s modest scope and sense of honesty about their place in the music industry (namely, that it’s nebulous at best,) it’s cool to see the group bury the hatchet and eat their hats and get back together without making too big of a deal about that. They’re too smart to do that. But surely, there’s a special spark they have together. You can hear it on the explanatory “Forever,” streaming over at NPR.


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