G Perico, of South Central Los Angeles, is a throwback, in a sense. I’m not just talking about his trademark Jheri curl or his music’s late-’90s, G-funk sensibilities — although those do contribute to an almost eerie sense that the cloning lab from Jurassic Park somehow got a sample of Eazy-E’s curl activator-infused DNA and decided to get into the music game.
Instead, what gives Perico that sense of agelessness, like a time traveler plucked from the past and transplanted to the present day, is his ethos. Whereas modern era music entertainment theory seems to hold that the gimmick is everything, Peri sees the image, the presentation, the packaging as secondary to one thing: Authenticity.
Back in the day, LA rappers were often identified more readily by their neighborhood affiliation than their record label or the designer label tag on their clothing (to be fair, half of the West Coast was signed to Death Row back then, and pretty much everybody wore either Dickies and Nike Cortez or Levis and Chucks). G Perico harkens back to that era musically, stylistically, and philosophically.
He never puts on airs or fronts about the things that are important to him. He doesn’t flaunt his wealth or perpetrate a superstar image. He remains approachable, down-to-earth, and focused on the same things that mattered to him before the fame: His family, his homies, his neighborhood, and his set. His music makes this evident; he doesn’t try to dazzle with lyrical trickery. His flow is simple and straightforward, his beats full of that traditional west coast bounce.
He debuted his unique, yet familiar musical approach earlier this year with All Blue, but like the independent west coast gangsta rappers of yesteryear, spent little time resting on his laurels. Instead, he got right back to creating, crafting an immaculate follow-up that continues in the same vein of South LA gangster funk called 2 Tha Left.
After cruising the city with 2 Tha Left on repeat, I took a final listen before braving the Northbound 101 traffic to visit Perico in his North Hollywood studio, where he graciously shared his insights into the creative process on the latest album. We chopped it up about a number of topics, from the subtle ways he tweaked his musical direction to his thoughts on the current sociopolitical climate of America, as he broke down all the ways in which 2 Tha Left reflects his old-school values and genuine street credibility.
Let’s talk about the title of 2 Tha Left — a lot of people are not going to get it, but it’s deeper than what they might think. How did you come up with that title and what was your first thought when realized that this was the name of your next album?
I had dropped “to the left” a couple times in there and that’s the perfect depiction of my lifestyle. I grew up blue, I talk about blue shit, so that’s my whole story. It’s based on the shit that I been through and my affiliations, so it’s no sense in me hiding and trying to pretend. It wouldn’t be fun, it wouldn’t be believable. Of course, that’s some Crip shit, my homies, my neighborhood, my area, is what molded me, my way of thinking, and the way I operate. It’s me stepping out into the world and doing what I do. It’s all based from my family, my hood. It was only right.