In Depth: G00SE // In The Balance Records
“Even when it's hard work and some bits are long, hard work helps with getting to where you want to go. It's all part of something I love, every aspect of it is completely joyful. It's about building momentum and keeping it going.”
Hailing from Hereford, G00SE became a recognisable UK hip-hop talent many years ago. However over 2018, G00SE has made huge impressions by releasing his well-received solo debut and shelling down stages across the UK and Europe. Since moving to Bristol in 2010, G00SE became a familiar face on the inner-city hip-hop circuit from hosting weekly rap shows with Scribble N Scratch. Following years of live hip-hop experience and secret basement recordings, last year G00SE dropped his first official release, alongside his homegrown Verbal Highz collective; Halfway To Nothing. His momentum carried him into becoming closely acquainted with legendary emcee Verb T, who later signed G00SE to his newly formed label, In The Balance Records in 2017.
Since the turn of 2018, G00SE has enacted many career highlights, from performing his first abroad showcase in Austria to releasing his official solo debut; Living Poets Society EP. Boasting a consistent work-rate, G00SE feels his time is now following years of “fannying around when I first moved to Bristol,” G00SE recalls. “I've always thought I've just waited lots of time not releasing stuff, but it's given me a chance to network and meet other people in Bristol. Work on my craft until it's to a point where I am now, I'm fully happy with the music I'm putting out. Whereas a few years ago, I may not have been completely ready to release stuff. Now I've finally got my craft to a place I'm ready to be.”
Although G00SE is becoming more recognisable for his solo steez, his past defines the character that drives him. His career essentially kick-started from becoming member of Verbal Highz, a lively young hip-hop collective featuring “Chillman, myself, Coosie and Entra P - all from Hereford,” G00SE paused in reminiscence. “It was originally Coosie, Chillman and KP, but sadly KP passed away a few years ago. Me and Entra P joined a few years ago, doing festivals mainly over the years. Everyone brings their own personal energy and individuality onstage, so there's a lot of dynamic interactions - especially at festivals when everyone's going wild anyway. We always try and bring it as loud as we can. We finally got our first album out last year, with all four of us on it.”
Using his experience from turning up stages, G00SE moved to Bristol and soon started hosting a hip-hop event called Scribble N Scratch. Here G00SE met local rapper Social Conscience, who both went on to emcee in a band called DeCyphers which continues to host live shows, on top of performing at a few festivals over the years. “With Scribble N Scratch, there was already two of my mates already running that,” G00SE explained. “Nathan and Mister Sleven who does all my artwork and stuff. After they asked me to host it, I started helping to run it as well. Same with DeCyphers - me and Soc started turning up, then they asked us to host it. In a way I haven't actually put on these events myself, but having gotten involved you bring your own character and creativity to the way it is. There's a healthy hip-hop scene in Bristol. There's a lot of heads that like it and a lot of decent promoters that manage to get local acts in. As well as international acts, there's always a bit of hip-hop going on in Bristol every week to some degree.”
“A show we had with Dr. Syntax at DeCyphers was quite good,” said G00SE, recalling a highlight regarding hosting live shows over 2018. “DeCyphers is on a Monday so it's always a bit of a mixed bag, but it's going from strength to strength. We've done gigs on a Saturday that have been less busy than the Monday nights, so it's good to see the scene come out on a Monday when everyone's probably hungover and still coming back.”
On April 13th, G00SE released his long-anticipated solo debut with In The Balance Records, Living Poets Society EP. “It's a six track EP all self-produced by me,” G00SE said, giving insight into the project. “Self-producing it was nice as it gave me key creative control. Being able to make the beats, I'll find a right sound then I'll spit some shit. I've got features from Verbal Highz on there, also a track with Verb T. Social Conscience is on there, also my sister is on one of the songs - a professional singer. It was nice to feature her as well.”
When it came to sorting the artwork, G00SE had only to look to his Scribble N Scratch family, enlisting Mister Sleven for the design. “I met DJ Habitus who owns a studio, where he records and masters my music,” G00SE answered, explaining their affiliation. “DJ Habitus brought me along to Scribble N Scratch, that is where I met Mister Sleven. He did artwork for the Verbal Highz album, as well as a video from Living Poets Society EP as well. The track Rugged Cuts, which has live graff and a high speed police chase on kids bikes which is pretty funny. It was fucking jokes to film, so hopefully it looks jokes and people enjoy it. He's done loads of live paint shows, he's fucking sick man. Mad talented, mad humble as well.”
Fast forward to July, Wordplay met G00SE again at Nozstock Festival on the Saturday afternoon. On the Friday night, Wordplay witnessed G00SE perform a spotlight stealing performance alongside his increasingly notorious Verbal Highz Collective. “It's a shame Chillman couldn't make it down because he was working,” G00SE said, looking back on the show. “So we had our mate Rancid step in, he absolutely killed it off. We also had DJ Habitus on the decks, he came and smashed some tunes as well, kills it every time with the cuts. Our setlist was mainly tunes off our album halfway to nothing which dropped last year. We also did a few solo tunes, I did some lifted from my EP, Coosie did a couple exclusives off his album coming out, Entra P did a few from his upcoming album as well. At least four or five of the tracks from the set weren't unreleased yet, so it was good to try them out onstage.”
Following the crazy crowd reception they received, we asked if G00SE had anything he’d like to say to the people who witnessed the Verbal Highz performance: “Big love, that was fun,” G00SE grinned. “We've been playing here almost annually for years, that was the sickest crowd we've had man, big love. We were asked to play so many festivals which we just couldn't attend as a group, so I think this is our lot for the year. And it was worth it, just for that set. We'll be back next year for sure.”
G00SE, thank you for your time. Any final shout outs?
“Shout out you and the whole Wordplay team, Social Conscience, my In The Balance family, Ben Laird and all my Verbal Highz bastards.”
Words by Evo