Hailing from Atlanta, Southern rapper Da Great Ape arises onto the scene with his gritty, true-to-the-street bars. Ape dropped his cleverly titled EP, Ape Shit, back in late-2018. Since its release, the ATLien has been keeping the project fresh by updating it with visuals to accompany the songs on the track. Da Great Ape dropped visuals for tracks like “Well Spoken” and “Out Trap Me” months back.
Last month, Da Great Ape unveiled the music video for the extended play’s final cut, “Dreams of a Dopeboy.” While the title pretty much speaks for itself, the story behind it offers much more. “My house was raided by police three hours later. I guess I spoke that into existence,” Da Great Ape tells us. He’s caught the attention of high-profile artists like T.I. since he began rapping and it surely won’t be the last. Check the interview out below.
What’s the story behind the name Da Great Ape?
I let everyone know they called us great apes in slavery. Also, just me being dominant. I’m a dominant, aggressive individual. I’ve actually been making music since I was a kid. I stopped doing music ten years ago and I started going through things in life. That time I wasn’t making music, I was in the streets getting money to provide for my family.
Then we built a studio in one of my trap spots. I said, “man, I’m going to try this music again.” All the people around me were telling me I need to get back to rapping. So I built it and we started letting producers come over and one of my producers whipped up a beat called “Backend.” I killed the beat and started sending it to everyone and they were like “who is that?” It was me, people were telling me I was wasting time in the streets. That’s when I finally got in the hang of recording back to back. At that point, I wasn’t even concerned about trapping anymore. I got confidence and this is my last shot. That’s the story behind me and the music.
When people outside of Atlanta talk about it, they depict a source of fascination that doesn’t seem quite real. What is your perception of ATL?
Gutter, grimy. I’m from the Southside of Atlanta, I’m from Eastpoint. It’s not so pretty on our side like the Love and Hip Hop side. I come from the rough side where the hustlers get their heart broke.
Obviously, there are huge rappers like Lil Baby, 21 Savage, and Gucci Mane that have come out there. Are there any artists who you feel have kind-of laid the blueprint down to be a successful artist from Atlanta?
Definitely, Jeezy and Gucci. 21 as well, he silent. He’s younger than him, I love his music. I’m a trap rapper so T.I. and Jeezy serves as my main influences. T.I.P is like my uncle. I was introduced to him through DJ MLK, his official DJ. He heard the music and fell in love with it because he can relate to it. I gave up trapping for rap and the rest of it is going to be history. T.I. is one of the only ones who reached out to me and showed me the ropes. It’s much for T.I.P
Are there any artists or producers in particular that you’re working with?
Nobody in particular. Just focusing on my craft at the moment, but to anyone who reaches out I’m down.
Let’s get into Ape Shit, what was your mind space like when you wrote and recorded those songs?
I was in one of my trap houses. When I recorded those songs, I was thinking about everything I been through. I’m really big on storytelling. If you listen to that project, you’re going to get my life story.
Last month, you dropped the visuals for “Dreams of a Dopeboy.” Was that recorded in your neighborhood?
Yeah, we did that one in Eastpoint. It’s the same place that Outkast is from. We shot that in my neighborhood and then rode around the whole city of Atlanta. My whole point is to reintroduce Atlanta and show what’s really going on as far as the rough side. My neighborhood was supportive as well. They love me like the Pope.
That record, I actually went through that situation. Everything I talk about in that song actually happened to me. It’s so powerful to me because as soon as we got done recording that song, my house was raided by police three hours later. I guess I spoke that into existence. It’s a deep story to me. It shows the Atlanta lifestyle and where I come from.
Now that you’ve visually accompanied all the tracks off that project, what’s next?
Right now, we finna release this record with T.I. along with the visuals. I’m just working right now, moving around trying to connect all the dots. I’m willing to work with any rappers or producers, let’s get it.
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