From the talks we had with Gavin, he came out as an exploratory and free-willed artist who is looking to be become more of a musician making music his soul loves, rather than sticking to a rigid school of thoughts that will box his talent exploration for the sake of conformity. Now, he shares with us an in-depth look at his new album, Before We Die, which is a conceptualized project, as he had explained HERE.
“…I created 3 narratives…2 of which play out in the same sense…of a story from beginning to end. Think of BWD as a book, and all the songs (at least on the standard version) are chapters.”- Gavin
Chapter 1: Searching For love
The intro to the album sees Gavin welcome us with thirst level infinty, his freak on – Jeremih. A combo of suave gentleman, hardcore machismo and smooth operator maneuvers lace the verse, which acts as the gateway into George’s life, granting us an access to share in his endeavors – Before We Die
“Your body a problem I would like to solve
Did that sound thirsty? It must be Thursday
Tryna dive in your waters and just dissolve”
Umm…that was actually meant to be a Pablo song lol. It was something he cooked up with this dude called Freeman…and we were in the fragile stages of like forming PG18…so he ran me that beat so we could collab…I didn’t write for a while but by the time i did it was what it was and it was such a dope verse. And at some point hapo BWD’s concept came into fruition and i was like “Broo just lemme have this”
The hook sample was already in place…and the beat was just so foreign and unorthodox to me at the time (Random Rhythm era)…and that’s why I sat with it for a while. I was involved with this one shawty back then and were hitting it off…we were really searching for something deeper or felt something deeper than just smashing and it kinda came from that. All my verses about women are real life events so that was one of em.
Chapter 2: Jacky, Mary & You
Unable to resist Gavin’s advances, she falls for the bad guy, even leaving behind the one she came with. Now the party is getting nasty as shots are taken and rolls passed around. Your girl is about to lose the ‘y’ and the bathroom will discover how under utilized it has been. So much other uses it didn’t imagine it had. VIC really pulled a great one with the hook on this Stve produced single.
“Admired how you pulled up to the function and left the lame that you came with
Tired of the niggas that tame quick
If you lane switch to me I swear to god you tell your girls that you came quick”
I wrote it…but as usual I still lack confidence in my singing so I ran the hook to VIC. And really that’s a typical summer night…had to add Noir to feed into the narrative of it…cuz I know a bunch of niggas gon hear that and relate. To going out on a Saturday to a place the baddies gon be at and making missions for exploration. Its like this cult house party thing that’s become huge now. No entrance fee but you gotta book it online and reserve a table. Its become part of Dar culture now
Chapter 3: Lamborghini
The wooing continues as we get to the next chapter in Gavin’s life. Poetry meets music as Uhhh steps in to narrate a metaphorical poem, personifying Lamborghini as his fancy lady. As of most deep poems, this one needs beyond surface translation to absorb but it’s pretty straightforward once you understand the underlying message. EreqBeats provided the soundtrack to this desirous flick.
“Let me describe you using Lamborghini metaphors
Slide between those suicide doors and ask for more”
I ran Pablo that beat and i just wanted him to write a poem about a girl and use Lamborghini metaphors. his one is filled with. Cuz it fit my narrative and he’s such a poet…knew he could do it better than me so again it was me letting my bros win instead of trying to do everything myself kama JMY. Its about some Arab girl living in Italy…idk if she wants to be out here like that…but yeah. It was perfect for the story I wanted to craft.
Chapter 4: Fallen Angel
Feelings start to creep in, it’s about time they started dancing with the devil. Love is evol, as Future puts it. This continues to reveal the poetic side of George. The whole verses are not just raps but deep poetic pieces. With AVID intoning the laid back chorus on running keys, produced by Mr. Carmack, Gavin delivers the first two-verse single for the album.
“The temperature of your aura prolly equal to the sun
The enigma unravels I’m dabbling in the undone
When lips entwine I feel your tasty poison in my lungs”
I had it for a while but I didn’t have a solid hook. So it was pretty much scrapped and never gonna see the light of day, but Pablo, Ereq and Domi really forced me to put it on BWD.That’s when I recorded it kwa Avid and I kinda just told him to run something if and if he fucked with it, and it sorted of just happened…Lackluster story for a track that people are especially liking off the tape I know lol
Chapter 5: LOVE
The feelings are getting stronger. Will this be love? damn, it is LOVE. Gavin teams up with Mike Tareto and Naomisia to express their respective feelings about this relationship. Everyone is at the point of oneness as the Me & You have become We. You’ve now become a plus one. Perfection. Life is beautiful, hearts are in heaven (ask Mike), reflections in the eyes (Gavin knows), feet exploring the sands beneath, fingers can’t keep off each others’, while the hands? The hands are religiously resting on her behind (hi Naomisia?). This is a chimerical sunset strut and stroll along Masaki beach. Coubo did great on the productions here.
“Till the day we immortalized, either off of a corny line or the sun in our daughter’s eyes
I know you’re an only child
But please tell your mama you are only mine”
It was my own decision…it was the only track that felt like a single to me…plus it had a feature rap verse, and when you listen to the tape, isn’t love the point? It all boils down to love…so it made the most sense. Didn’t wanna give too much…but I knew I needed to drop at least one track so people would know I’m going for something very different from RR.
Chapter 6: Precious
Things can only get better as the hands rest on the butter (butt-uuh?). Gavin is on his MJ mode collaborating with Kenyan producer Mars on some next level sound. AVID makes a second appearance on the Album with a full verse this time round. This is the climax of love. Riding around and being stupid. it’s that point where reason and and everything sensible seems to fly out of the window as the emotions get unzipped and straps can’t hold the bra no more. And while we will struggle to find the balance when the pendulum starts falling, it’s still up there, at the zero position. Mars has that movie music touch on production, he paints pictures with his music.
“maybe we can drive until we free jeeez
We been smoking potent
She said this shit imported
I guess it’s really heavy in the east jeeez”
The song is really a double entendre…but the main thing is just having the time of your life with someone…and knowing the time is precious and fleeting and taking it all in…which connects with riding round coco beach area cuz its so dangerous at night, from car jackings to car accidents…so it almost like yeah we could die tonight so lets savour this moment. Which on the btw, we really did haha
I kinda discovered Mars on soundcloud last summer, heard what ended up being Tingisha. I just really fucked with how his production was so far left for an East African…very electronic or whatever the fuck that sound is lol…but still juisi enough to drink the fuck up. And that was the moment I realized I wanted to make music like that…very wtf-ish vibrations…strange but beautiful. So I reached out to the dude after a couple months of listening to his stuff and he was hella down to collab. Precious was another beat he’d put on soundcloud somewhere mad lowkey and I found it by accident…the first half reminded me so much of that 80s Michael Jackson groove…and MJ my second dad fr so it almost felt like honoring the influence he had on me. Second part of the beat had the necessary knock so I wrote that verse with ease.
Chapter 7: Good Morning interlude
It’s on that waking up in the kitchen, everyday morning glory, breakfast in bed – eating each other out phase. The picture is clear, two freaks found each other. The rhyme pattern on this one, coupled with Mars’ refreshing nature samples, chipping birds and all, make this one of the favorites on the album. Gavin should get a video to this, demonstrating exactly what he says in the verse. At least do it for the sisters.
“Cuz honestly I love when I put em aside and ask you baby what you really want though?
You reply like “get on me and get inside your G.O.D and Yesu Christ”
We sweating like an exercise
And all the while its “daddy get to work though”
Nah we did Good morning before. I just wanted to blur Precious-Good morning-ATHP. Make it sound like one song if you listened with your eyes closed…again, it fit the narrative. Good morning was kinda the only one that was a real Gav X Mars collab. Cuz the other beats I just got off of his soundcloud. Even tho he said he made the second half of Shade In Paradise with me in mind.
But with Good morning, we had gotten in talks and were figuring out different things to work on…and he hadn’t heard me on any of his production up to that point…I think he’d just listened to Searching For Love.I don’t think anyone’s ever rapped on his beats before…I might be the first haha…so when he sent Goodmorning. I specifically remember him saying “yo check out what I sent you, it’s very unorthodox…you might not like it, it might not be your lane of music…just lemme know if you don’t like it so we can move on to something else.” But the moment I heard it…I was like naaaaah Bruh this shit goes you have no idea. The moment that 808s came in I knew Mars wasn’t from this world…and I was like nah I need to take a road trip to Mars for this one. It was already called Goodmorning as a beat…and I felt like the beat was almost an artist…that shit was really Goodmorning ft George Gavin. I ran him the demo and I think he was mad taken aback that I could actually rap like that. With melody and still be as lyrical and vivid as I was. I know my fans will say different, but Goodmorning gotta be the best thing I ever put out so far. I kinda wanted that to be the single at first…just the track I put out there…but I felt like it standing alone people might not capture the beauty in that shit.
I ain’t Tryna stunt but I said “pass the roach that we were smoking, we might need a lil GREEN, to match the NATURE in these motions. I held my chest when I read that I’d actually wrote that lmao.
Chapter 8: After The Honeymoon Phase
The bed is starting to have some big space, which was unnoticeable in the beginning. Cuddling a pillow, facing the opposite side is not a bad way to sleep after all. Nature is taking its course and if you don’t control the effect, you will discover that the grass is not greener on the other side when the hourglass tilts. Naomisia is really really amazingly talented. This kind of singing, I rarely get to hear, even though I dig some of the most unique lady voices around Africa. If heartbreaks kill, it would kill twice to be separated from Naomisia, because when that song plays broh, you’ll realize how hard it is to hide from good music. Domi pulled a Grammy-worthy production on this.
“How come you never hold my hand or something?
Come through when you should?
Fight for me, not fight me?
Are you really down for me like I thought you would be?”
Well she was a fan…and we got placed in this group together last summer for this show that a bunch of us were doing. From there she slid in my DMs and we started talking…I knew she could sing but she didn’t really have music out. Then EreqBeats dropped his tape and she had a solo on there and wow. Just wow. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever heard. So I told Domi, I wanna have shawty do a solo on my tape…lets make it happen…and that’s when he ran me the beat to ATHP. I sent it to her with the title in mind…and I just explained what I wanted her to do…in terms of the feeling I wanted her to convey. And she fucking murked it…her writing is superb. That’s kinda how she ended up on LOVE as well…there were a bunch of contenders for the hook…I even wanted Ray C on there at some point 😂 She just hit me with “lemme go to the studio and lay something one time.” And here we are
Chapter 9: Shade In Paradise
The fun ran out, excitement is out of the window. It’s at that point where either life begins, or people move out. In other words, it’s the second ring of marriage – the suffering. BRGT brings the fire straight from the introduction to alert us that the lovey-dovey shit is gone. And I’d advice BRGT is not the kinda girl you wanna mess with. It’s evident. Topherjaxx has an excellent vocal mastery, you’d never imagine the vibrational pauses in his melody. This one needed the combination of both Domi and Mars on production.
“You been hearing this and that from your friends?
Like I been riding round the city with tens?
Like every time I’m in the south my DNA’s in someone’s mouth?”
SIP was inspired by Cole’s Lost Ones in a way…I wanted to write a song that takes both perspectives of a girl and guy. So I wrote it and it plays out as an argument. Back when I wrote it (2015) it was on a different beat…but the idea and lyrics was the same…all the way up to a beat switch. The beat switch was because I wanted to place a third part…kind of after the argument…cuz after you have you sit down and reflect on the things you should’ve said but didn’t cuz you were caught in anger yknow?So ATHP – SIP plays out as the girl’s conscious…towards our fight…then my conscious. So it’s her thoughts vs my thoughts during the fight ambayo SIP first part is the platform for the actual fight. Sasa I met Topher from the HOW session with Simba…and mans has a beautiful voice so I really wanted him on there from jump…back then that was the beat and I was gonna do both verses…but I think he didn’t fuck with it lol.
Sasa sometime last year while me and Domi were fucking around working on another project…he ran me the SIP beat and I was like “YOOO this lowkey goes with the whole SIP idea” and when I rapped over it me and Domi agreed it sounded mad dope and decided to revive that song. By then I just thought it would sound way better if a girl got on it Instead…so I ran it to BRGT and she fucked with it. Ran it back to Topher and I doubt he remembers it being the same song lol…but he fucked with this version…and I just told him to be the bridges to our argument. Mars had posted this one beautiful beat on his soundcloud…and he was like yo I actually made that beat with you in mind…the Miguel sample was all throughout the beat but I really liked the vibe so I was like let the sample be a hook and lemme come in and lay a verse. And I layed the switch up verse that I’d written for the original SIP…and decided to attach the songs. Domi was hesitant I remember…he thought it’d sound better as 2 separate songs. But like I said, this tape was influenced by timberlake and Frank…and they always had this thing were a track would just switch and it’d leave you like what the fuck just happened? And I really wanted to make a song like that. Just when you think it’s done…nah bitch kuna Juisi extra hapa. I brought it to the homie Al-keys to do those keys kinda like a layup between the songs…and it was a go from there.
Chapter 10: The Static
The wave is at rest, a straight line. Nostalgia kicks in as reminiscing starts to flirt evenly. It’s like the peace which is there is just the bare minimum, necessary for coexistence. You’re tired of fighting no more, because it’s weary. But you’re clearly troubled, and you start to realize how truer it is that “peace doesn’t necessarily mean absence of war.” Memories get you wishing things could go back to the way they were.
“Why we broke up? We keep telling them different answers
Young Aquarius, yeah girl I can tell that you’re a cancer
Weird cuz I’m dying just as quick without you
Is this really the end of our pretty stanza”
But when I wrote it, I was rapping in the perspective of my homie I went to school with…and we were graduating and he’s not Tanzanian so it meant leaving his girl behind. And they were couple of the school and shit lol…everyone thought they were gonna grow up and get married…they had it all planned out…how long distance was gonna work. How she was gonna apply to his Uni and all that. But 3-4 months after he moved away it was pretty much over and done with…Like they were never everything to each other. So the static is kinda that disconnect…and it connects with the end of SIP cuz I say “this connection is lost.” So it’s that feeling of not knowing why you don’t love someone who was everything to you. Falling too fast…and not being able to deal with that crash when you eventually land.
Chapter 11: Never Again
As sad and bitter as it turns out that the truth is, it’s inevitable and there is utmost beauty in accepting it. Accepting that things are how they are, not by mistake, but by natures. They say the secret to true happiness and fulfillment, which they call heaven, is in learning how to swim in the waves of nature. Otherwise, you will be stack staring at the doors of the past, reality slowly closing them by, right in front of your eyes, as you try to drown all your sorrows forgetting how they have perfected their swimming skills. The result is always a worsening situation but if you make history a friend, you’ll understand how the cycle works, and thus be joyous, knowing that life will extend you an olive branch again sooner or later so you better be braced for another great run.
“And I hate it when you say shit like “you’re only out here tripping cuz you popular”
This argument is a monologue
You never listen when I’m speaking”
Yeah…it’s about this one bad gyal…ironically the same one I wrote Searching For Love for…so it comes back full circle. It was originally just gonna be a verse for Domi’s project…but after he scrapped it…I was like my nigga this is the perfect outro for BWD.
For the sake of concept…the tape ends at Never Again with the car crash…but it was such a downer lol…I didn’t wanna end the project on such a low point…so Tingisha is kind of the light away from the darkness. Those two tracks could’ve been squeezed on the standard…like somewhere between Lambo & Fallen Angel…but I needed em to liven up the mood. When we first made Dhamiri it was gonna be the intro to the PG18 tape…Dhamiri is the one of my personal favorite songs I’ve ever done…just cuz of how we brought that song together….and I couldn’t just make a whole tape about love and not have a “stroke game vicious” track on there. I knew Dhamiri needed to be the first or last thing you hear when you listen to a project. So when it looked like the PG18 wasn’t anywhere in sight I just traded Pablo the song for something else he’s gonna put out on his solo…another PG18 ft. AVID…prolly our best song tbh.