On this day 12 years ago (October 10, 2005), I launched my first official website Gentry's World.com! In celebration of this occasion, I would like to take some time to share a story with all my fans (new & old) and bring you guys up to speed on just about everything you never knew about me.
If you were familiar with me before I was a rapper, chances are that you have knowledge of a time when I would upload stupid ass videos to the internet long before the era of YouTube and social media even existed. Here is one of the very first videos I ever uploaded about a young boy named Ivan who was in a tragic freak accident during his childhood that left him both physically and emotionally disabled. (click here to watch it on YouTube)
I was introduced to technology relatively early in life via my first SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) and I was obsessed with video games by the time I was 3. I would use my Dad's computer to play Doom and Wolfenstein 3D when I we first moved to Wyoming (age 6) and we lucky enough to acquire our first dial-up internet connection by the time I was 8 years old. I grew up during the golden age of message boards, Shockwave, Napster, Limewire, MSN Messenger, & etc. so I was lucky enough to acquire a vast amount of knowledge in HTML, CCS, Flash, & more at a very convenient age. I also managed to acquire other useful skills like video editing, graphic design, & beat production. I grew up with a camcorder always in my hand recording anything and everything for no reason whatsoever (now known as Vlogging). Once I hit puberty, my friends and I would make dumb “Jackass” inspired videos on the regular and I would edit them on the computer and then burn them to VHS & DVD. It wasn’t until around 2004 (age 13) when I began to discover a real demand for my style of content especially on websites like Break, eBaum’s World, Newgrounds, & more. Secretly my dream was to always be a rapper but at that time in history I never thought I could possibly have what it takes. People appeared to like my videos though so I figured I should just stay in my lane and stick with what I'm good at.
Fast forward about a year later and I was one of the first popular content creators on Google Video (now known as YouTube) and my videos were accumulating thousands of hits a day. Back in 2005, 3rd party video hosting was still in its early phase with the majority of options often requiring a costly ass membership for very limited storage capacity. The top contenders for free quality hosting included YouTube and Google Video. While I enjoyed the user friendly interface and growing potential of YouTube, for whatever reason they would only allow a maximum time length of 2 minutes per video. Google Video was brand new and incentivized creators with the ability to upload an infinite number of videos with whatever time length and unlimited storage capacity. Given almost all of my videos were over 5 minutes in length, the choice was obvious.
I created my first official website Gentry's World (http://www.gentrysworld.com) on this very day in October 2005 at the tender age of 14 and it instantly became an overnight sensation among my peers. Given my age and the ridiculous nature of my content, it didn't take long for word to get around a town of our size. It became extremely popular and equally as controversial since my demographic included mostly my close friends and other fellow classmates. Students across the entire state were using school computers to watch my videos and apparently the spike in searches and web traffic overtime gave the district officials cause for alarm. For whatever reason, a few of the superintendents at my Jr. High School and the county School District took note of my movement and found my content to be disturbing, offensive, and "non-educational". They took a personal vendetta against me and made an objective to block access to my site from school computers state wide and even went as far as to contacting the parents of any students who were left leaving comments on my videos and on my virtual Guestbook page. At first I assumed they thought I was creating all of this content during class time in which case I could see how they might have cause for concern, however I was doing it all on my own accord at home and my site was not affiliated with school in any way, shape, or form. I was very adamant about this even going so far as to placing a disclaimer on the front page of my website that one would have to agree with in order to enter. I thought this would shut them up for good but this tactic only seemed to piss them off and further their vicious tirade even more.
While the inability for my core demographic to access my content from school computers did cripple my number of views and impressions, the controversy actually worked in my favor as students would flock to their computers at home or at a friends house and this was generating more publicity then ever before. The real devastating blow was when the prosecuting attorney during my first juvenile probation revocation hearing made the decision to address this "controversy" to the judge shortly before receiving my first suspended sentence to juvie. She printed out screenshots of the anything she could use out of context to defame my character and tried to present this to the courts as solid evidence of my delinquency. Although I had a harsh reputation with this judge in the past, she said she supported my creativity and was surprisingly defensive on my behalf for the first and only time ever. She did however agree with the PA that my "inappropriate" content has the ability to influence the general public and due to my age she felt I somehow had the ability to put myself and fellow peers at the risk of danger. It was then added onto the terms of my probation that I would have to limit any attempts at being shocking or offensive on the internet and that I would have to censor any inappropriate language and alcohol/drug/gun related references on all remaining videos and those to come during the duration of my 1 year probationary period. This really stifled my creativity and I was forced to take down some of my most popular videos at the time (most of which were random compilation videos of small clips using various SFX very similar to Vine, Snapchat, etc.) After this, I quickly became uninspired and stopped releasing new content for a good 3 years. I fell into a deep depression and my fan base gradually started to decline overtime. My probation got revoked 11 out of 12 months down the line for a number of ridiculous violations (one of which for failing to censor my previous videos) and I was sentenced to a 3 month evaluation in juvie before being released and reinstated on an additional 12 months supervised probation (which I would then go on to revoke and serve another year in treatment for). This process repeated itself 4 times until the age of 18 when they had no choice but to discharge me from the juvenile system entirely. During my final revocation hearing, the judge determined that there wasn't enough time to serve my 9 month suspended sentence in Worland (military style boot camp) given my birthday was just a month away so she sentenced me to only 1 month in the county jail and then wished me the best of luck. After being caught in the system my entire adolescence, I've never been more happy to go to jail in my entire life. It was my shortest stretch yet but counting down the days easily made it feel like my longest.
I was discharged for good on July 1st, 2009 and thanks to being behind bars for so long, I actually managed to acquire almost enough credits to graduate. I always hated school growing up and carried straight F's for as many years as I could (all with the exeption of English & Writing?). My objective was to drop out once I turned 16 but probation always rendered this impossible for me even after being told I have realistically no shot of getting my diploma (hence the majority of violations were always based off attendance and academic performance). Now that I was free and actually on track for graduation with less then a year to go, I figured that maybe having a diploma would offer some better opportunities should I choose to go to college or film school later down the line. This was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made just in the experience alone. I got accepted to attend IHS which was the alternative high school in my city and for the first time I can honestly say that was a big game changer for me. I started making new friends and things were finally starting to look up for me for the first time in awhile.
By the time my inspiration returned and I was ready to gain my momentum back, the landscape of the internet was entirely different. With the introduction of MySpace & Twitter, social media was drastically starting to evolve and the features that once made my website revolutionary and unique were now accessible to anyone and everyone. People were soon able to make websites using drag and drop methods that were far easier and more affordable then then what I was used to doing. YouTube was dominating Google Video as a competitor after they started implementing higher capacity storage so eventually Google bought them out for $1.65 billion and merged the two platforms into the YouTube you see and use today. Google Video stopped allowing uploads and playback in 2009 and closed its doors for good in August 2012. By that time, everyone and their dog had a smart phone and friends started to drift apart the more we became "connected" and it became harder and harder to organize enough people to create something with the same spirit of our projects back in the day. Eventually my website became obsolete and traffic soon became almost non-existent. I decided to say goodbye to Gentry's World once and for all by pulling the old irish goodbye and never updating it again.
People sometimes ask me how I manage to remain positive and confident and thats because the alternative has never worked in my favor. All I had to do was make funny videos with my friends and stay consistent and I could have been one the most famous content creators in the world. I could have continued creating uncensored videos during the entire tenure of my probation and it wouldn't have made a single difference in regards to the amount of time I served behind bars or the outcome of each revocation. The world was mine until I let slip through my fingers and allow the pressures of society and my environment eat me alive and in return I lost my motivation to create and be successful. While technology had evolved so quickly that I almost didn't see the point in making videos for the internet anymore, I always knew that someday I would return to filmmaking with a more calculated approach like music videos, short films, etc. I decided it was time to maybe shift my focus towards music in hopes to turn this into my primary platform from which I would have the ability to move in whichever creative direction I please and still have my ultimate passion for music as my primary foundation. If you can't tell already, I could have never been more thankful for that decision. It just goes to show how the universe has a way of always working itself out with perfect timing. Had I blown up for my videos, I highly doubt I would have ever had the time and discipline it takes to achieve what I already have as a musician and for that I am forever grateful for it all.
With all that being said, I am proud to announce that pre-production is officially underway on my first full length documentary "The Rise & Fall Of A Site Called Gentry's World" set for release on this day in 2020. This is a project that I will be working on in my spare time over the course of the next few years and it will feature the entire story in detail accompanying by hundreds of hours of never before seen footage and interviews among the cast & crew and much much more. That is all i'm going to disclose on it for now, but if you or someone you know have any stories that you feel would be worth including in the documentary, please drop them in the comments section below and you just might be selected to feature in the film. I will also be releasing new skits and other similar Gentry's World material via my YouTube channel so be sure to subscribe and enable notifications here: http://www.youtube.com/user/gentryfox307.
In conclusion, I can't thank you all enough for your support on my many endeavors over the years. I've always felt like I betrayed my day-one GW fans by turning my focus more towards music in recent years and never really providing disclosure on all the craziness behind the scenes. I'm finally starting to see them come back around and it feels great to see my dreams finally starting to fall into place. I appreciate anyone who took the time to read this and I look forward to consistently releasing content from here on out, much love to all my fans and supporters for being patient with me. Stay tuned for greatness :)
Happy birthday Gentry's World!