Interview: Nate Gicano talks ‘Jalapeno’ and more
Rapzilla caught up with up-and-coming artist Nate Gicano, who create a buzz last year with his “Jalapeno” music video, to learn a little bit more about this Texas native who is making an impact in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area. Since the release of a series of EPs, Gicano has consistently given listeners strong delivery and unchanging message of God’s saving grace.
Rapzilla: When did you make the decision to begin making Christian music?
Nate Gicano: I began making music in 2003 during my senior year of high school. I didn’t truly pursue it, however, until 2011, when I put out my first project called Rep Tha Set. I’ve always loved hip hop, and it was a Christian hip-hop song titled “San Jo San Jo” by Brother Ig that first planted a seed in my life, exposing me to the gospel.
RZ: How long has hip hop been apart of your life?
NG: Hip hop has always been apart of my life. It’s my release. My mom bought me a cassette tape when I was young, and ever since then it has always been something that I have enjoyed.
RZ: If you could describe your style as an artist in your own words, what would you say?
NG: I would describe it as fajitas with splash of lime.
RZ: Did you play a big role in the creative process of your music video “Jalapeno”?
NG: Yes, myself along with Jesse Vasquez planned out the video. We held various planning meetings for several weeks and shot the video in one day at a local hip-hop store called E. Partida’s Music & Video, an Oak Cliff-landmark in Dallas, Texas.
RZ: Was it challenging transitioning from simply recording songs to now having to create a visual?
NG: The song “Jalapeno” basically tells a story of how music has the power to influence and, because of that, the most challenging aspect was simply editing. One of my favorite shots is one of the kids looking up to the sky. It shows that music can be used to positively impact our world, changing worldviews into a positive light.
RZ: Do you think the area you grew up in played a major role in your style of music?
NG: Definitely — growing up in California, I listened to a lot of Kid Frost and constantly listened to west coast music. However, the majority of my family lives in Texas, where I now live, so that influenced my accent. Overall, I love Texas and the West Coast, which makes for an interesting mix.
RZ: What is the selection process for the production used on your songs?
NG: I usually try to find something with culture in it. I also love to have live instruments, such as guitars, on my tracks.
RZ: Are there any particular artists that influence your style?
NG: I actually don’t listen to hip hop oddly enough. I mainly listen to music when I’m in traffic or getting chores done around the house. The main artists I listen to are Los Lonely Boys and Ed Sheeran.
RZ: Do you feel that not listening to hip hop helps you expand your mind when writing?
NG: Yes, I feel like it makes the writing process more pure. I also feel like it allows for me to be myself without running into the habit of trying be like other rappers.
RZ: Where do you see yourself in the next year in regards to music?
NG: I’d love to do more traveling within the state and look forward to making more partnerships. I also have a new T-shirt company called Chanclaville & Co., which I see growing. Both of my projects, Rep Tha Set and Welcome to Chanclaville, have been soundtracks for the clothing company, I look forward to the growth.
RZ: Any upcoming projects?
NG: I‘m currently working on a collaborative project with Texas rap veteran c2six titled Los Cristeros. I drew inspiration from the time period in the 1800s where the government outlawed the church and the Christians had to take a stand for their faith. We expect it to come out later this year.