“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But what about when you are in Durham, North Carolina? Yes, the same rules still apply. You may ask why is Durham special? How about the Duke University/ University of North Carolina intercollegiate rivalry, the Historically Black University -North Carolina Central University, along with the Durham Bulls, which are all based in Durham.
Walking around the Duke Gardens, and other places in downtown Durham, you’re going to get hungry. So you must try Dame’s Chicken and Waffles. And when you want to do some shopping, how about the Runaway Clothes store? I have a strong inkling that while you are hitting these city hotspots, you may encounter another Durham-bred gem pulsating through the speakers; that would be the artist, poet, and rapper G. Yamazawa, or simply G.
ON THE ARTIST
At a young age, G embraced the arts community. Starting as a poet, he began honing his gift as a wordsmith by sharing his love for poetry. Yamazawa shared that being on stage and performing poetic pieces gave him the confidence to face an audience by himself. Learning how to be comfortable with silence and artistic tension, combined with the use of vocal dynamics were crucial elements cultivated onstage. The Durham poets are a very tight knit community, who always push each other to be forward thinkers and to strive for artistic excellence. So the transition to hip-hop had to be G’s destiny.
Naturally, Yamazawa’s influences in the hip-hop industry came mostly from the South. T.I. and Outkast were major influences; however, G speaks very highly of Lil’ Jon and his ‘crunk’ music era as well. Listening to G talk about these artists that he grew up listening to you can understand his attraction to artists who give their fans lush soundscapes that, with only about two verses and a chorus, put them in the moment.
ON THE ROAD
Some of the places and experiences that Yamazawa speaks about are Dubai, his religious experience while traveling to Indonesia, and his excursion to Guam. During a layover from Hawaii to Japan, he had the opportunity to visit Guam. He still remembers vividly how terribly hot it was there. “I just remember how hot my eyeballs were,” he said. G got past the heat and was able to digest the culture and political landscape of the island. Always the artist, he was even able to put together a performance while on the island.
For Yamazawa, the downside of being on the road for the majority of the year is the sense of instability and the lack of dependability he offers his family and close friends. Speaking with G it is quite evident that he has a strong sense of family, but at this stage in his life, he is married to his music and his craft. Although some days can be a little challenging, the hard work is paying off. His brand new musical project entitled, Shouts To Durham, is a testament to his hard work.
ON THE ALBUM
Shouts To Durham is a concept album for G. His goal for this project was to be the album of choice when you’re in your car looking for good riding music. The album opens with “Highway 751,” a jazzy ode to the main thoroughfare in the City of Durham. The following track entitled “North Cack,” is one of the more popular tracks on the album. G’s lyrics on this track take you back to a time when life was much simpler, and the hook oozes Durham. Other album standouts include the cool and mellow “Ego Trip,” the gut-punching “What It Is,” and “What’s Good” will definitely test your bass capacity of your car speakers. Yamazawa, a sports enthusiast, loves all the greats and like those greats, he is also competitive and is constantly striving for distinction. Shouts to Durham reflects that spirit.
ON WHAT’S NEXT
His creative mind is always working, but he makes a special mention to a live experience that will incorporate both poetry and rap. G is trying to get used to the new levels of “fandom” as he calls it, and with that, he is constantly trying to expand his artistry for the people. With G’s contribution to the cultural and artistic renaissance of his city, you may consider a trip to Durham, North Carolina long overdue.