A CONVERSATION WITH GENTRY FOX by AAHIPHOP.COM
Rock Springs, Wyoming, rapper Gentry Fox wears many hats as a hip-hop artist, producer, and entrepreneur. Owning and operating a small indie label called SUB|ROK RECORDS fills up his day planner; “I rap and make beats, videos, graphics, websites — and other cool stuff,” Gentry tells AAHH.
After catching on late to his RARE DEMO SHIT project, we decided to learn a little more him, and what he has cooking (it’s been three years since RDS). Aside from his stacks of instrumentals he’s been dropping on YouTube, he’s been quietly working on a sequel.
Check out our interview, below.
Tell me about the music — describe your sound.
100% genuine and authentic hip-hop from the motherf*cking soul. When I am not spitting bars trying to demonstrate my capacity as an emcee, I am crafting something creative and introspective in hopes to further myself as a better songwriter and storyteller. People tend to categorize me as “old school” I think because my style is relatively lyrical and has a heavy boom-bap influence but I still like to think I can be pretty versatile.
I use music as a means of escape, so I enjoy creating soundscapes that are a reflection of both my environment and the hip-hop I grew up on. Itʼs certainly not for everyone but I have still managed to acquire a pretty loyal fanbase and carve out a nice niche for myself and for that I am incredibly grateful.
How did you get involved in music?
Iʼve been heavily into music particularly hip-hop & rap ever since I could remember, I started making beats at age 12 and writing raps at 13 but iʼve only been doing it professionally since I was 21. For some reason, I never thought I had what it takes until I got a bit older. When I was growing up in Wyoming, the music scene wasnʼt particularly very active, and for this reason, there were not a lot of my favorite artists that would come through on tour so I would have to travel to places like Utah or Colorado to see any of them perform live. After meeting a local opener in Salt Lake City named Pat Maine, I was introduced to several other dope artists from the area like Yze, MC PigPen, Burnell Washburn, Dumb Luck, Dusk Raps, Linus Stubbs, Task Rok, Phil Maggio, Malev Da Shinobi, DopeThought, Worth, and much more. I remember being fascinated by how active their scene so I decided to move there shortly after graduating high school in hopes of pursing similar opportunities.
It was around this time that I became good friends with Burnell Washburn who was another local rapper and organizer of a monthly event called Hip-Hop Roots SLC; he invited me to stay with him and his team of entrepreneur homies for about a year and encouraged me to perform at one of their upcoming monthly events. I played my first show at the Canyon Inn in Cottonwood Heights, SLC on November 28th, 2013 and began performing regularly right after that.
The following summer I accompanied him on the “Life Doesnʼt Suck” tour along with fellow artists Lost The Artist, Site Saturn, Ocelot, Omeed The Nag, & DJ Nizzle. That following year I decided to return to Wyoming with some of my newfound resources and help flourish the growing hip-hop scene that began to bloom while I was gone and I have remained there ever since. As of now, I have performed live at over 33 different events in 7 different states and counting. My goal is to double that by next year.
Who/what were some of your influences?
My earliest exposure to rap was during the late 90ʼs when I was about 10 years old after purchasing “Big Willie Style” by Will Smith (fka DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince). I was later introduced to more aggressive artists like Eminem, Ice Cube, DMX, 2Pac, Biggie, NWA, Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, etc. This was about the time when mainstream media started focusing mostly on the southern influenced club/trap oriented material. Due to the rise of the internet I was able to discover artists like Atmosphere, Eyedea, Immortal Technique, Murs, Gang Starr, CunninLynguists, People Under The Stairs, MF DOOM, Jurassic 5, AZ, Nas, Beastie Boys, Living Legends, Hieroglyphics, Dilated Peoples, AOTP (Army of the Pharaohs), Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Mac Lethal, and countless others. These are just a few to name, but generally, a large amount of my influence comes from early to late 90ʼs “golden” era rap as well as a bunch of mid 2000ʼs underground shit. I donʼt listen to any new artists to come out after 2010, but if I did, then they would probably include Phora, Self Provoked, Mac Miller, Snak The Ripper, Logic, J Cole, Tyler The Creator, and Token. Non-hip-hop influences would likely be bands like Pink Floyd, Cky, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, Sublime, Rage Against The Machine, and Metallica. Don’t judge me, bro.
What have you released?
In 2014, I released my first official project RARE DEMO SHIT (Vol.1) on my label SUB|ROK RECORDS. The project was an accumulation of some songs I had been working on the previous years in addition to the material that I had been performing on stage during that time. You can purchase and stream it on just about all popular digital media platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, & more or you can download it for free via my website. Since then I have managed to remain relatively quiet aside from some instrumental production that Iʼve released here and there on Soundcloud and YouTube, but I plan to change that in the months to come.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently finishing up the long awaited sequel to my first project RDSV1 with RARE DEMO SHIT (Vol.2) due out hopefully sometime before the end of 2017. Iʼve invested every dollar Iʼve ever made into my camera equipment as well so I have been preparing some super incredibly high-quality music videos that I look forward to releasing extremely soon. I am also working on three mixtapes titled Project Alpha, Project Delta, and Project Infinite all of which are still TBA. Additionally I am also working on my first two full-length feature album “Forever West” and “The Inversion LP” due out in 2020. I may release an EP or two in between that time frame as well.
What have been some of your biggest achievements thus far?
Probably the release of my first EP and going on tour for the first time. Next, it would have to be opening up for some of my idols like Mac Lethal, Reef The Lost Cause (AOTP), Casual (Hieroglyphics), One Be Lo (Binary Star), and Scarub (Living Legends). Iʼm super proud of this new album and some of the videos I have prepared to align with its release too, canʼt wait for people to hear what iʼve been working on. I am also extremely proud of the local Rock Springs hip-hop scene that has been growing in my home state of Wyoming and all of the artists and promoters that are working hard to make that possible, thereʼs a lot of undiscovered talent here that I canʼt wait for the world to find. I still have a long way to go as far as career goals, so I try my best to be grateful for both my failures and successes as much as possible.
What are your goals in the industry?
“Place my city on the map, make the future generations learn Wyoming far from whack.” Honestly, I just want to continue to grow as an artist while making a living doing what I am passionate about doing. I am fortunate enough to have found what I love to do at an early age and I feel like this is my one real purpose on this earth. I want to become a master of my craft and lead by example to inspire others to pursue their passions as well. I want to be the voice of that generation from the middle of nowhere that felt like they never got to have one and a friend to anyone that feels they could use one. I hope to pay my dues to a culture that I am incredibly fortunate enough to be a part of and to bridge the divide that exists in hip-hop today and create a new era of creative and collective consciousness for everyone.
What’s next for you, professionally?
Well aside from that garbage, I hope to expand my experience in the area of film, marketing, business, development, and more. I also plan to use my experience and resources to help build up my company SUB|ROK LLC and legitimize future departments in areas such as music, video, radio, magazine, design, photography, merchandising, etc. I also hope that during this journey I will attract more like minded individuals to help collaborate on these efforts with me as well.
Follow me on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube) @gentryfox and visit my website for music, videos, tour dates, merchandise, & more. You can keep up to date on SUB|ROK RECORDS, and follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube @subrokrecords or contact via email at email@example.com for business, booking, media, press, etc.
For personal questions and other unrelated inquires, feel free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big ups to Above Average Hip-Hop for the interview! Check them out here: http://www.aahiphop.com