Rising above the influence with Flint musician and producer G-S tha DreaM

FLINT, Michigan -- On the northside of Flint, the home of music artist and producer, G-S tha DreaM is anything but quiet. Amidst its walls, erected more than 140 years ago, captures the rumblings of a lively and picturesque Black family. His fiance Kiara facilitates the magical happenings of their six and seven-year-old daughters, Layla and Kerielle, on Spring Break from their online classes. That is in addition to their two dogs, Juno and Simba.  

But tucked away downstairs in a room with blue painted walls, hand-drawn photos hung up, a couch, several chairs, and a few lights is his CloudzVille self-engineered studio. It is where business happens, music is made, and family comes together. In between being a husband, father, and musician, G-S tha DreaM sat down with Flintside to talk a bit about his journey and how “it’s cool to be Black. It’s dangerous, but it’s lit.”

Flintside: I admit I recently became a fan listening to your 2019 album, Malcolm Y. I can’t help but believe this was a play on the life and legacy of Malcolm X. What inspired this project—especially the name?

G-S tha DreaM: “This was me saying this project would be Malcolm X, but of the Y generation. I wanted to encapsulate what it felt like to be black. These are the ups, downs, paranoia, and some of the stuff we might have been raised around. You grow up and learn that it’s not the worst thing in the world. When I was writing the song Black Love, I wrote that with a video in mind. That whole song was just different moments and snapshots of being black—the good, the bad, everything.”
G-S and his youngest daughter, Layla, enjoying playtime in the kitchen.Flintside: The album and its follow-up, Survival, both have a smooth feeling. The lyrical content of your music is different than most Flint artists. It reminds me of Common, Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, and others. Do you consider yourself to be a “conscious rapper?”

G-S tha DreaM:The thing about it is I wanted to create music that’s thought-provoking. I like making stuff that you can listen to in your car and not necessarily have to dive deep to excavate all the things I’m trying to say. But, I also create music that means something when you sit down and listen to it. Going back to Black Love, as simple as that song is, somebody might hear it on the third or fourth listen and snap back to a moment in their childhood. I wanted it to be relatable, listenable but make you feel like it’s teaching or bringing you something you didn’t have before listening to it.”

G-S and his oldest daughter, Kerielle, inside his CloudzVille studio making music and enjoying the vibes.Flintside: Often, when we think about success, we focus on money, material things, magazine covers, etc. How do you define success for yourself and your career?

G-S tha DreaM: “I do want to use music to open some bigger doors for myself. I want to facilitate a lane for people that I grew up with, that I love, who make music to make money and be able to take care of their families. I feel like we don’t need to be working for other people for too much longer. I feel anybody that puts in any amount of work wants to feel recognized for their contributions. But if I have to be a ghost to live comfortably off of music, spend time with my kids, and take my fiance on vacation and stuff like that, I would be fine with that.”

Flintside: Not only is your music different, but you also have two exceptional children, an incredible fiance, and a full-time job. How do you balance all these things?

G-S tha DreaM: “A lot of the balance comes from having my fiance [Kiara]. She gives me a lot of support, space, and the opportunity to create. If I need some time to come down [to the studio] and do something, she’ll pick up some things on her end. It’s times that I had to do so for her (too). But the fact that I have somebody that believes in the dream as much as I do and allows me to be the best version of myself, that’s dope. If I didn’t have her, things would be a lot tougher.”

Flintside: Everything from your music to the merchandise is under the name CloudzVille. Where does the name come from, and why build your own studio?

G-S tha DreaM: “I had an idea where people could be so above the influence—where they don’t have to deal with whatever people put on themselves or live by certain things. There’s been times where I was desperately trying to get in the studio, but I didn’t believe in myself, or I saw a studio I couldn’t afford. I had a computer that I got on a scholarship from my church, shout out to Mount Olive, and I took my open house money and bought a mic. Then I was rapping in Audacity [software]. I learned how to engineer myself and make beats. I set myself up where if everything goes to hell tomorrow, as long as I have my equipment and a place that I call my own, I’m good.”

Flintside: You have a unique connection with your supporters. In a sense, they’re like family, and you make sure to keep them updated. Now during COVID, how fortunate is it to have the type of support that you do?

G-S tha DreaM: “[With Survival] I wanted to release something directly to the people that want to support me as an artist or tap in with me and what I’m doing. I have a group of people that I send snippets of songs that haven’t come out or bounce ideas off because I know they enjoy my music. I just wanted to have a way to give back to people that have supported me on that level. As an independent artist, support means everything, and the likes, shares, comments, all that stuff means everything.”
G-S, his fiance Kiara, daughters Kerielle and Layla, and the dogs Juno and Simba enjoy family time watching TV and talking about the day's events.Flintside: Before we go, for your long-time supporters and newcomers alike, what do you want to leave them with about who you are?

G-S tha DreaM: “I want them to know that I’m human. I am going to make mistakes. I’m not perfect. I also want people to know that this is the beginning. I’m building something. This is far from the last floor of what I am going to be. Buckle in and enjoy the ride.”

You can find G-S tha DreaM on Facebook and Instagram. You can stream Malcolm Y, Survival, and purchase all CloudzVille merchandise and music beats on his website.
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Read more articles by Xzavier Simon.