After a five-year run including a major deal and handfuls of million-streaming songs, Perico is recharged and reset. He is now focused on building his Innerprize label and expanding top clothing brand, Blue T-Shirt, along with his prolific art. “I’m having fun with it; I love making music again,” says the rapper who has heated up 2021 with a string of catchy singles ahead of LA Summer and his upcoming August EMPIRE-backed album, Play To Win. Titled after a tattoo G has had for years, he refuses to settle for less than victory. “Most artists grow up doing music and then find the streets for their image; I grew up in the streets and discovered music as an outlet,” explains G Perico. His music is dripping with an authenticity that traces back to a ‘90s and 2000s upbringing in South Central LA’s gangland. “As a kid, I joined a gang and became super active. As far as music, I’m just exploiting that lifestyle,” Perico shares. “I paid the most expensive debt to live in that lifestyle for so long.” Surviving shootouts, jail bids, and constant dangers, Perico earned his name as a hustler. By the 2010s, he carried that authentic perspective into rap. “I found music by chance when I came home from my first bid.” Recognizing that rap is not always a lucrative profession, G admits, “I looked down on music. Now I realize that it was something to look up to.”
After releasing handfuls of songs, 2016’s Shit Don’t Stop and its title track caught fire. The entertainment industry took notice. NBA-star-turned-exec Baron Davis brought G with him to events, while Nipsey Hussle featured Perico on Slauson Boy II. The rapper insists the attention and seven-figure streams were due to his originality. “My whole thing since I was a kid was zagging when everybody else is zigging.” Throughout the second half of the 2010s, G Perico’s profile continued to climb. By 2019, he inked a partnership with Roc Nation. Collaborations with Freddie Gibbs, Curren$y, and Mozzy streamed into the millions. The gangsta rapper with the Jheri curl and lowriders honored vintage West Coast traditions while sprinkling something entirely new and exciting into the rap game. However, during 2020, G Perico decided to recalibrate his career. He refused to compromise for a radio hit or chase a viral moment. Instead, he returned to his DIY days. While launching Innerprize, Perico also built a streetwear company. “Amid a music situation not going right, things fell into place. I decided to start this line, Blue T-Shirt, but nothing is blue.” The “All Blue” rapper sells out of the red, black, and other shirts that read “This is a blue t-shirt.” “Nothing is ever really what it appears,” Perico says of a deeper message about perception. The company, which launched in G’s kitchen, now has a staffed office space. He also recently purchased and is renovating the building where he recorded early hits to become a studio and boxing gym.
Beyond the clothing, real estate, and community outreach, G Perico is about music. He opened 2021 by flexing on funk classics with songs like “Pull It” and “Keep Killin.” In July, he dropped the appropriately-titled LA Summer. Songs like the video single “Traffic” began as freestyles that Perico made while driving his Corvette around town. He raps to his phone to capture the natural flow and cadence, then formally records these songs in the lab. True to Perico’s style, the tracks are straight to the point—rarely longer than three minutes. There is a sense of urgency to the message, despite the laid-back delivery. Play To Win celebrates G Perico’s refusal to deviate and his grind.
“I know that I’m different, and I embrace it; I’ve got the strength to accept myself.”