Cory Gunz: Youngest In Charge
The son of Peter Gunz, half of the duo who recorded one of New Yorks biggest anthems, Dj Vu (Uptown Baby) is also a rapper. Not just an on the block battling rapper. Gunz got a major-label deal on Tommy Mottolas Casablanca Records and a May release date for his debut, The Commencement. All that and hes only 17.
HipHopDX sat down with Peter Gunzs son to talk about having his pops go pop, his meeting with Mottola and how he got signed after dropping one mixtape.
You must have been little when your dad dropped Dj Vu (Uptown Baby). How was that for you?
It was weird. It was kind of awkward but it was fun because I wanted to rap also. Just growing up having him out it helped me in a way because now a lot of people that Im in the business getting introduced to have relationships with my father. So business is a lot easier.
Do people in the industry treat you differently because of who your dad is?
They definitely do. Cause my father had an anthem. That was New Yorks anthem for a long time. It was known all over. A lot of people that know my father, know of the song and know me. Its cool. Me coming up with him having that big song and having that impact on the Bronx, it was fun.
Do you feel pressure following in his footsteps?
I do because its going to be hard to top that. That record is huge. That was an anthem. I feel that nobody can top that record, especially in hip-hop. That was one of the best records ever.
Is your dad one of your lyrical influences? And who are some others?
Yeah, my dad, Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Ludacris, my dads partner, my uncle Lord Tariq.
Did your dad and uncle ever give you tips or were they hands off?
Hands off. They tell me certain things like if were in the studio and he doesnt like the way I said something, hell tell me you should say it like this. He gives his opinion but hes also a good listener.
Does your dad also help you out on the business end?
Yeah, he shows me a lot. Music-wise, hes hands off. Business-wise he takes care of me. Nobody better than your father. Because hes not going to do me wrong. I got a strong family behind me.
I know my dad told me not to choose the career that he chose. Did your dad ever advise you against being a rapper?
Yes, he does. Thats why hes behind me trying to make sure I go the right way about everything.
When did you decide to pursue a career as a rapper?
I love performing. And I love the studio. When I was younger I always wanted to rap and I started when I was about 11-12. I didnt really start writing my own stuff and being serious about it, wanting to become a rap artist until I was 14.
Have you always loved to write?
I write a lot. Most of my music is things that I see or things that Ive been through. So I write a lot of poetry. Thats how I really started. I wrote short stories and poetry in school and a lot of my teachers would say my essays and reports I did really well. Im a writer. I write every night.
Does the rest of your family, besides pops support you? Are there any other entertainers in the family?
My brother and sisters are supportive. My little brother wants to rap now. My little sister wants to dance my other one wants to sing. They all love entertainment. My family is behind me 100%. Anything I need they tell me I could go to them.
How did you get your deal with Tommy Mottolas Casablanca Records?
Mixtapes, the streets. We flooded the streets with mixtapes and I was featured on different ones. There was a DVD called Smack DVD that was really popular. I put out my own mixtape called The Apprentice. That got a heavy buzz. Thats what landed us the deal.
Were you nervous at all meeting Mottola?
I was excited. I wasnt nervous. I was excited about doing the deal with them because they were the first label that understood me. Nobody else understood that the things I rap about would be believable to an older audience. They understood where I was coming from.
How did you pick the producers that you worked with on your debut, The Commencement?
Some people we would run into and they would have tracks already. These are people that I requested, that looked out because a lot of producers, especially ones with names dont like to work with new artists. Producers dont want to work with you unless you have a name for yourself. I got Nottz, Hi-Tek, Denaun Porter, Ryan Lesley -- whos signed to my label, Casablanca Rockwilder, Trackmasters, Rodney Jerkins did the single Shake, and were looking at Scott Storch.
What collaborations do you have on there?
Aside from my crew The Militia, Peter Gunz, Lord Tariq, maybe Game on a chorus and were looking at Jadakiss. Thats it so far.
Do you have plans to do other things besides rap?
I love movies. It would most likely be acting. Im definitely looking to start my label.
Do you tour?
I just came back from a promo tour. Its fun. You get to hang out and get to know each other better. Its a real cool experience to get to know all your friends and go on the road with people you want to take with you. And just to get to go around and see the sights. Leave the block for once. Be open-minded.
Do you miss school when you tour?
Im home-schooled. I have a year left.
Who is on your wish list of rappers you want to work with?
Its not really a problem who I want to work with. Ill work with anybody.
Do you ever worry that youre missing out on being a kid that youre growing up too fast?
This is what I want. This is the best thing that ever happened to me. A lot of kids are dreaming of being in the position Im in. Its a dream come true.