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GHAIS GUEVARA - Interview

Yeah, I converted three years ago. My grandfather converted in prison during his 44 year stint. It kinda just trickled down for me...

Interviews
Interviews
GHAIS GUEVARA - Interview
ETHEREAL.PRESS

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Date
August 22, 2023
Read
18 mins
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ETHEREAL.PRESS

Talk to us about Ghais Guevara.

GHAIS GUEVARA

Rapper x Producer from Philadelphia. Came up off 'There Would be no Super Slave' and 'Black Bolshevik' got a lot of credit, those projects turned that into something more with 'Goyard Comin' mixtape and with the 'Goyard Ibn Said' album that's currently a work in progress.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Tell us a bit about your project, 'There Will Be No Super Slave.'

GHAIS GUEVARA

Yeah, it was supposed to be a follow up to 'Black Bolshevik'. [It] blew up out of nowhere on the Internet, amongst communist spaces and political spaces. I just wanted to follow something up with something longer, heavier, that showcased a bit more of my technique and personality.

While recording, I bounced between Little Drummer Boy Studios in South Street and home. Mix, mastered, and produced it myself with the help of my homie Mal Griffey. Shout out Mal.

It took us a couple months - we finally got it all together, and we just threw it out hoping that it will follow the hype. It exceeded all expectations.

Well, everybody's expectations but mine.

My homie Aladdio, was telling me you literally manifested everything that you wanted. You were like Fantano review, publication features, so on.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

I'm always on Rate Your Music and I see when something goes crazy on there. It went wild on there. Then you had Fantano review it & I think Pigeons and Planes featured you right?

GHAIS GUEVARA

I was very excited about that. Yeah.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Can you speak on the historical significance of the album art?

GHAIS GUEVARA

The background is just a photo of my ex's painting which is on my wall right now actually. She painted some colors, streets, and put some gold flakes on it. I took a picture of it & just edited it and changed the colors.

IDK what made me search for these photos. I was just searching historical stock images that I can't be sued over. These images were more available / widespread, found on a historical tree. The first photo on top is Samory Touré - Ahmed Sékou Touré's grandfather the president of Guinea. That was the capture of him at the hands of the French.

The bottom is based off the Agojie group that fought for the African Kingdom of Dahomey.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

On your social media there's so many references to civil rights figures, leftist commentators, etc.

Can you speak to some of the literature, art, or media that influenced the subject matter of this project?

GHAIS GUEVARA

My first answer is going to be somewhat of a surprise but Drill Music. The sound, the attitude of it, not only the anguish, but the ability to carry energy in the way that genre does. Drill period. Not just Brooklyn drill or UK drill - it's an unmatched hypeness for what you're rapping about.

I remember listening to a lot of Woods and a lot of Armand Hammer. I still am for my next album getting inspiration from them - great writers. Same is Earl Sweatshirt and Ka.

Trying to keep myself sharp with my pen. Trying to keep myself on my toes with the references and stuff like that. Trying to match their pen.

Autobiography of Malcolm X - Consciencsim by Kwame Nkrumah typical communist shit like that. Pan-Africanist readings, Religion, The Koran, etc.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

We've noticed a lot of Arabic writing on your albums on top of an Instagram post of you celebrating Eid Mubarak.

How does Islam influence your creative pursuits?

GHAIS GUEVARA

Yeah, I converted three years ago. My grandfather converted in prison during his 44 year stint. It kinda just trickled down for me.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

That's really powerful. Do you think after that conversion that it affected the type of art you put out and inspired you in a different way?

GHAIS GUEVARA

Definitely, you start seeing things in a different perspective. My first and second Eid were celebrated with a friend of mine. You got to see how the community cherishes each other. The emphasis on giving to each other - protecting one another and so fourth. It makes you want to become purposeful with your art so you can contribute to that community in the ways you can.

Instagram - @ghaisguevara

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Can you talk about your Instagram bio, 'humility above it all.'

GHAIS GUEVARA

It's just a reminder to myself to keep myself grounded. I started out doing organizing and political work. It's a big part of why I blew up was because that community was sharing my music around. With me being rooted in socialism, which is the peoples political ideology, it's a reminder to myself to keep myself about the people and for the people.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Upcoming we have an interview with McKinley Dixon, and we saw you had a feature on 'Live! From the kitchen table.'

How did that track come to be?

GHAIS GUEVARA

Yeah that's my brother. Always looking out for me. There when I need something. Calls and checks up.

I came up on his Spotify recommended. I think 'Fuck The Nordic Model' came up. He texted me and said, 'bro you're fire. I saw your name and your name looked interesting'. We just became friends after that.

I went to Chicago for the Mutulu Shakur fundraiser. We did 'Live! From the kitchen table' before the album came out. Everyone loved it. Great guy to hang out with.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Some of your song titles off 'There Will Be No Super Slave' such as, 'This Ski Mask Ain't For COVID' or 'I Personally Wouldn't Have Released John McCain,' are intentionally provocative.

Why do you choose to title your music this way?

GHAIS GUEVARA

When you think of the first things people see you - they don't think your music first. They see your album art, name, and song titles. You know what I mean?

I do it. I check out an artist, I scroll down, I see what song titles draw me in.

You look at Yung Nudy, there's a meme around him because he names his songs after food. That type of shit sticks with people.

I believe in giving a person every opportunity possible to fuck with you. So if it's a song title, album art, music, lyrics - you don't want to half ass any semblance of your art. You want someone to grasp on to something.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

I think with introspection this comes out naturally. You want it to be as reflective as who you think you are.

GHAIS GUEVARA

Exactly. I've been told I am a funny guy. My father was big on humor to de-escalate and figure things out. He told me not to lose that ability. I want to try to live that through my music.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Humor breaks down barriers with everything.

Can you talk a bit about the formation of the rap collective, 'Free Breakfast For Children?'

GHAIS GUEVARA

Lil super group thing. That's the homies Tew World Order, shoutout Qué, shoutout Chris, shoutout NASA (spelled NVSV), shoutout Yoko, all of them. All of the homies. Money over Zombie, it's Zen, Blizz and Black Water, shoutout the Brooklyn Homies. I knew Zen from DJ Banana Peel, one of the people that hosted the tape. Introduced me to Zen when Black Bolshevik dropped and introduced me to his collective. Tew World Order hit me up for a show in Baltimore and fucked with what I was doing. Those are a couple of brothers in the industry, I love them all to death.

I want to do something. I wanna collab with people. I want to work with people. I want to make a bunch of songs. I want to bring mixtape culture back. They were all down to do it.

We had two sessions where we were all together to record it. We attempted to raise money for a youth program Yeah Philly at a release party. It was a nice little thing to do.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

That reminds me, you talked about in another interview that you always had ideas for what you wanted to be writing.

GHAIS GUEVARA

For sure, definitely.

I think it's less so about what you talk about, it's how you say it. I don't like filler, I don't like just saying things. I want to say it as unique, cleaver, or witty, whatever reference I can pull. I wanna make it artistic in a way.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Since a lot of your music is intertwined with activism. What do you think the most common misconception is regarding African Americans in the United States?

GHAIS GUEVARA

That's a heavy question.

I was just talking about that movie 'They Cloned Tyrone,' it's a great movie. The overarching theme and message is manufactured oppression and how it's used to turn us against each other. It's a very eye opening conversation when we think about caricatures and the way we act / behave. You always hear the, 'why can't we get along,' type shit - as if it's our own doing.

If I had to answer the question it would be, 'They Cloned Tyrone.'

ETHEREAL.PRESS

What's next for Ghais Guevara?

GHAIS GUEVARA

I'm in the midst of writing a new album, getting my features together. It's titled, 'Goyard Ibn Said' named after Omar Ibn Said who was a Muslim slave from Fula Toro (Senegal). He was brought over to America and has an autobiography written in Arabic - one of the most prominent documents for Muslim American slaves.

That's what it's based off. I don't want to give too much of it. I wanna let the music speak for itself.

We're readying it up after the show in London.

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