CHAOS! That’s AG Club — short for Avant-Garde Club.
The Bay Area group’s music is made of the weird things that only happen in your dreams — a place where weird things actually make sense. Holding a conversation with them means sorting out fact from fiction, truth from jokes, and a line of clear logic from the chaotic input of four members all on different trains of thought. Their debut album F*uck Your Expectations exemplifies this bewildering effect. From the acrobatics heard on the rhythmic “A Bitch Curious” to the aggressively blaring “Columbia,” AG Club shows they have the range to be the elite rap band that they are primed to be.
Meeting them in person, their music suddenly makes sense, even if nothing else does at first. The titles of their songs may or may not have anything to do with the song’s content, and as the group’s members take listeners on storytelling journeys, it’s done with distorted sonics reminiscent of early A$AP Mob and Odd Future. They got some buzz last year with their breakout track “Memphis” off their EP Halfway Off The Porch — which received love from NLE Choppa and A$AP Ferg on the remix — and now it’s just about keeping the momentum going.
The group consists of Jody Fontaine, the unofficial spokesperson of the group and also the lead rapper of the unit; Baby Boy, who also serves as a lead vocalist; and Manny and Ivan, who serve as the all-encompassing creative directors of the group. Their mindset is all about never overthinking. Their brand of chaos taps into emotions, not logic, on FYE. Uproxx caught up with the guys to discuss the project and their influences.
Check out our fun conversation with AG Club to get a full grasp of their personalities and everything they have to musically offer below.
I’m excited that there’s a whole new group of younger kids that are tapping into that ASAP Mob, Odd Future energy. Just being from the Bay and getting a co-sign from A$AP Ferg, would you say he’s taken you guys under his wings?
Jody Fontaine: I mean, we haven’t really talked to anybody outside of Ferg, but Ferg showed so much support, it’s crazy.
How did you guys meet Ferg?
JF: He heard “Memphis” and he wanted to hop on the remix and he liked it. I think it was through someone who works with us from AWAL and they told us about it and we were just like that’s fire. We kind of went crazy for that. It had to happen. He came to the studio and he did the verse and we talked to him a lot. We showed him some videos and then he showed us a bunch of unreleased music, some stuff that hasn’t even dropped yet. He just gave us a bunch of gems, he’s really fire.
What’s a gem that he gave you guys that you can remember?
JF: I remember we were in the car when we were doing the shoot and he was just like, “You know, you guys are in a squad, you guys are in a crew so, you guys have to remember that no matter what happens and where you get in the lifestyle, always stick together.
What made you guys want to not go with the known Bay Area, West Coast sound.
JF: I think it was kind of, I don’t think it was really a conscious decision as, whereas it was just like, we would kind of make music that’s inspired by the music that we’re into? We’re from Antioch, California which is like East Bay. We’re not from the big city, like the big hotspots. Everything we got, trickled down. So a lot of our inspiration, we got off the internet as opposed to being down the street from all these rappers, you know what I mean? It’s like we saw that, but it wasn’t really a part of us as much, to the point where we would make that type of music. When we first started making music, we needed to know how to make that type of music.
Baby Boy: So pretty much growing up, I had a mix of very different genres. My grandma used to play Michael Bublé all the time in the house. I really f*cked with Mike. my mom used to play a lot of reggae, so I’d be dancing around with that. When I started to get my own ear for shit, I didn’t have an iPod or whatever it was back then. So, I was just listening to whatever was on the radio. Then my cousin showed me Odd Future, and then I started to really take to that. I really want to create sh*t with me and my brothers. I feel like my taste for music grew from there. That was 2012 and then on, I started getting into music.
The reason why I asked is that, as I said, the music to me, it sounds like somebody has to be very into music, a little bit deeper than the average person.
JF: I mean, I feel like the trick is just listening to everything. There’s good music everywhere. The sh*t you wouldn’t expect is what gives you the ideas, to me. I listen to all genres. I’ll dabble in a little country music, I’m not mad. When you’re in the booth or when you’re trying to make a beat or something, you have more shit to draw from, you have more shit to reference. You got to fill your mind with as much information as possible when it comes to music.
What can fans and new listeners expect from F*ck Your Expectations?
JF: I feel like we tried a lot of sh*t on there. It took us like a year to make. We try to a bunch of stuff, just a lot of different ideas and we worked with some cool people too, really dope people. I don’t know when this is coming out but worked with this dude named Redevil, he’s tight. We’ve been working with this guy named Sam Truth, he’s our homie and he’s really fire. We worked with this rapper from LA named ICECOLDBISHOP, and he like dashed. We worked with some pretty cool producers and I feel like on that project, we just tried to make every single possible type of song good.
So would you say that this next project, are you guys off the porch yet?
BB: We’re off the porch and we just got hit by a bus.
Are there any features you guys can talk about on here?
JF: Yeah, we got Adele on here.
JF: I’m going to shut the f*ck up. That’d be tight.
BB: Redveil, Sam Truth, ICECOLDBISHOP. Those are our three features.
JF: And Kelly Clarkson.
How crazy would that be? Has there been an artist that’s reached out to you guys like, “Yo, I f*ck with you,” but you guys were shocked?
Ivan: I mean, this is not one that was like, “Oh sh*t, no way” but like Lil Xan followed us, and we were like, what? The best person to ever interact with us or follow us was Tay Zonday, who did “Chocolate Rain.” That tops everything else.
Who is that?
JF: Tay Zonday, the dude who made the YouTube video, however long ago where he sang “Chocolate Rain”? He’s a legend. You got to look him up. He’s bigger than Drake, for real.
You guys also have a fire song called “Memphis.” Ferg hopped on it. You have NLE Choppa on it. Tell me about the inspiration behind the song and its connection to Memphis.
JF: That song just came when…I was going to say some sort of dumb sh*t I guess I’ll tell the truth. Basically, we were in the studio and we’d almost finished our album Halfway Off The Porch, and it was super late at night. It was four in the morning. This producer that we were working with at the time, was playing the sample and it was like “North Memphis n****s North Memphis n*****s.” He’s trying to f*ck with it for a minute, and then he just didn’t like what he was doing. He was going to trash it and I think it was just me and him awake at the time. I was like, “You got to keep using that. That’s dope. Try something else, try something different.”
He got the loop right and chopped it. I was hearing the “North Memphis n****s” but all I could hear in my head and just “know, let these n**** know, let these n**** know.” I was just like, “f*ck it, let me just record this real quick.” I recorded that. After that it was like a wrap, we just started writing and just putting verses on. When it came time to name the song, we don’t try to think too much about the titles. We don’t try to get like mad OCD about what the title is and how deep the meaning is and sh*t. It’s either going to be funny as hell or something that came with zero effort or something like that.
JF: When it came time to the name of the song, it was just like, f*ck it, let’s name the song “Memphis.” Like the sample says, “North Memphis” and you know, it can kind of be a shoutout to Memphis. We didn’t know that it was going to be what it ended up becoming. We were just kind of like, whatever nobody’s going to know, nobody’s going to care.
A lot of people care.
JF: Now we got people in our YouTube comments talking about, “Y’all not even from Memphis, y’all can’t come to Memphis — blah, blah, blah.”
BB: “Why do they all have nose rings?”
You guys were talking about weird titles. I thought the “Youtube2mp3” title was very, very funny. It has nothing to do with the song at all.
BB: It’s because we’re thieves, we steal internet stuff for free.
Using a YouTube downloader.
BB: We’re pirates, literally. I can’t think of why we named it that.
JF: I think when we were in the studio making that song, we made another beat after and we used a sample and we downloaded the video from YouTube. Then at the end of the night, one of our producers, always asks us, “What do you want to name the song?” So I’m pretty sure YouTube2MP3 was open on the computer. So we were just like, “Youtube2MP3.”
What are your favorite songs that you guys are excited about? Your fans might like something else, but you want them to listen to this?
BB: We got this one song called “A Bitch Curious”. My wife wrote some of it and she’s featured on it. Her name is Cam. She’s going crazy, she’s on come the up for sure. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album.
She’s getting her points.
JF: We’ve got this song called “Queso” and I really like the verses on it. We made this song called “Queso” right after the last album Halfway Off The Porch came out. We made it in March 2020, and I just really like the verses on that. It almost didn’t make the project, but it’s on there as a bonus and that’s kind of cool.
BB: “NoHo” with ICECOLDBISHOP is going to go crazy.
JF: Oh yeah, ICECOLDBISHOP gave the most insane, alien verse. It was like out of this world, he tapped into a different universe, it’s insane. It’s the craziest double, triple time [verse] I’ve ever heard in my life.
I love how chaotic you guys are. What else should your supporters be looking out for with you guys? We are about to open up outside. Going on tour? What’s good?
BB: Eat at Arby’s.
BB: You know Arby’s, ask for the God Meat sandwich. It’s the secret menu items.
JF: Facts. Arby’s and Del Taco are the sponsored restaurants for AG Club. We’ve never been to Arby’s, but it would just be funny if we did. Arby’s is the chum bucket, but if they sponsored us, that would be sick.
BB: I still wouldn’t eat there, they have to give me a McDonald’s sandwich. I’d eat a lot of things before I’d eat Arby’s.
JF: We love the fans, we love everybody that supports us. Thank you to everybody that is holding us down. We got a sh*t load of videos that’s coming. We got a TV show in the works, we got some films we want to drop. The press is going to go crazy with the pieces. We have so much planned for this year and next year outside of music. It’s going to be crazy. It’s just the beginning. F*ck Your Expectations is just like the pistol start. The race is about to commence.