South Central, Los Angeles rapper Drakeo The Ruler — real name Darrell Caldwell — was recently acquitted of murder and attempted murder charges by Compton court, but remains in jail as the district attorney refiled charges of criminal gang conspiracy and shooting from a motor vehicle in August 2019. Despite a hung jury, a retrial has begun, leaving the burgeoning artist’s future in at least a little doubt.
However, Drakeo refused to let that stop him from offering the world more of his poetic insights. Today, he released a new album titled Thank You For Using GTL, named for Global Tel*Link telephone system used by the Men’s Central Jail where he’s currently incarcerated — and on which he recorded the verses for the 18 tracks produced by JoogSZN. It’s his first all-new project since 2017’s Cold Devil and features verses from ALLBLACK, Lil 9, Rio Da Young OG, and JoogSZN himself.
Joog explained how the project came together in a press release. “”I plugged my phone into my computer when Drakeo called, and we recorded all the tracks over a period of 36 hours. His aunt put money on the phone so we could do this album. Some lyrics were off the top, some were written. We planned create a tape before he went to jail and I held onto some of the beats intended for that time. I would preview the beats over the phone, Drakeo would pick which ones match for each song. My set up was super simple. I propped my laptop up on a cereal box, hooked up a Beats Pill directed at the phone so Drakeo could hear the beat as he rapped and I had the phone line recording directly into my landline so I could get the cleanest audio possible.”
In addition to this, Drakeo told Uproxx he got the other inmates to quiet down when he was recorded to allow for minimal background interference on the files. The end result is a fascinating collection of authentic reflections of Drakeo’s experiences and unique worldview and approach to rap. “My message to fans is that I’ll be out soon,” Drakeo said in the press release. “I’m not guilty and I’ll keep putting music out till out I’m out. I’m going to always be myself regardless of the situation I’m in. I’m just going to get better and better… Just because I’m in jail, I’m not gonna lower the bar. I don’t do what everybody else does.”
Thank You For Using GTL is out now. Get it here.