G4 Boyz Speak To Us About Their Spiritual Journey And Pioneering A New Wave
New York rap duo G4 Boyz, Ice Baby and Buggy, are two brothers of Nigerian and Ghanaian descent from Staten Island. Together, they've developed a flashy, energetic blend of trap and gangsta rap, with lyrical topics regularly heritage, money and jewellery. Taking pride in their heritage they use that as fuel to inspire young people to be proud of who they are and be confident no matter the situation.
We sat down (virtually) with the G4 boys to talk about their heritage, spirituality and of course, scamming.
Interviewer Thelma Khupe
Photography Press Images
First things first, What have you been doing during this period of social distancing?
Buggy: I have a little game room here, so I’ve just been recording and playing video games. I also have a studio so working, trying to get as many things done as possible
Ice: For me, I’ve been writing music and stuff like that. Getting ready to drop some heat for y'all. Working, praying and fasting.
How did you come up with the name 'G4' and can you tell me a bit about Gwalla gang?
Ice: In school, me and my brother used to always dress up, always coming to kill stuff in Prada, Gucci etc. We were those Africans that always had to prove ourselves.
One girl called Britney saw me in the hallway and was like ‘damn you’re so fly like the G4’ I was like ‘what?’. I didn’t know what that was, so I went and did some research and found out it’s a plane. So I said ‘You know what? We’re gonna call ourselves G4 boys because we have our own level of flyness, you feel me?
Buggy: We started up Gwalla gang because it’s another part of us. So G4 boys are the duo, but Gwalla gang is a bunch of Africans, Dominicans, Spanish, Asians, we’re all foreign. It’s our street team, full of rappers, models etc. It’s more like a crew vs like the main artists. Like a creative collective.
What was it like growing up in Parkhill with immigrant parents? We’re sure the definitely tried to keep you out of trouble?
Ice: Me and my brother were born in Park Hill but were actually raised in Brooklyn. But growing up was kind of tough. Just being African was a tough thing, it’s like you always gotta prove yourself. We were from the projects and the other American kids would say things like ‘You smell’, just making fun of our food and stuff like that. Park Hill was full of Africans so we kind of took over the situation. We’ve always been about our business, not really trying to get in trouble but as soon as we started to get a bit older, we got into more mischief and we had to move then come back and stuff like that. But I loved it. I learned all my insights into music and the culture, I learned that being African was fly. I was very proud to come from Park Hill and what I learned from that was to be strong, never give up and always fight for what you believe in.
Buggy: For me, growing up in Park Hill New York in the early stages, being African, my mum never let us out. We would be on 24-hour lockdown. The only time we really went out was during school hours, that’s really when we were out and about. Kids would say things like ‘African booty scratcher’ and all these extra things to us, but one thing about me and my brother is that we knew how to fight. My mum used to beat my ass so much I learned how to fight. We used to whoop these n***a’s asses. It was weird to me because it wasn’t just white people saying this stuff it was black people too. Black American people were calling us these names and it was weird, like damn you look just like me and you’re calling me an African booty scratcher? That was the first time I’d witnessed black on black hate. So me and my brother formed our own thing and that’s when people started to gravitate towards us because we started to beat up the people that were supposed to be the bullies. And we started to dress fly. My mum was a hustler (Shout out to Galdice), she used to buy us cool clothes and she helped us to become stronger and more fly.
"In school, me and my brother used to always dress up, always coming to kill stuff in Prada, Gucci etc. We were those Africans that always had to prove ourselves."
You guys didn't really want to get into music full time because you were already well to do, where did the passion and drive for music come in?
Ice: The real turning point was for me was a couple of years ago. My brother Buggy has always been into music. At the time I didn’t care for music because I thought what’s the point? Most of these rappers don’t even have money like that and we have what they have. Patek Philippe? I’ve got that, the cars? I’ve got that, we’re over here hustling and doing what we do. My brother was like ‘yo, you’re doing your thing for nothing. You’re talented’. And I think what really made me say alright I’m gonna focus on music was my brother telling me to get on this beat for Patek Philippe. I got on there and went crazy on the record, and my brother came on the ad libs. By this point, I still didn’t care but my brother did some good marketing and all of a sudden the record blew up in the states. And that’s when Tory Lanez reached out to be on it. And it was at that point I said if we’re going to be doing records we need to change the game.
Buggy: For me personally, I was in this limbo where I didn’t know if I wanted to continue with music. It was around 2016. I just needed some inspiration and like my brother said, we were doing our street thing. But I was kind of losing myself. We were in and out of the music thing for a little while but it wasn’t working out how we wanted to. I started to pray a lot more and find God a lot more. I was starting to feel a bit empty, making all this bread but what for? How far will this type of lifestyle get me? Then I stumbled onto something called secret - it was a documentary on Netflix. When I watched it, it opened my eyes to how you can go about achieving things. It's a documentary based on the law of attraction and how to manifest what’s in your head and it inspired me so much. And then I had an epiphany and it kind of hit me. God gave us the talent to do music. I found this beat and told my brother he would sound so good on it. He jumped on it and came to me with the song and it sounded so good. We recorded it and then Tory Lanez recorded on it. That was the first time that we received that type of energy that was dramatically good. All glory to God!
From your social media and music, your love for jewellery is uncountable. What's been your most expensive jewellery purchase?
Ice: I have a 5980 Patek Philippe watch, plain jane, no ice. I’m always a business dude, I’m a hustler. Regardless of me making custom pieces, I still want to have my money saved into something. Plus I love the craftsmanship of Patek Philippe, it’s one of my favourite watches. I also have a buss down Rolex, 40mm. I have a buss down Cuban too, I spent about 70 bands on there. The most expensive thing would be the watch though.
Buggy: My favourite piece is a custom made cartoon character called gargoyle. It's a super old cartoon from back in the day. My most expensive piece is a Richard Mille, that one I paid like 125,000. The RM30. But all that stuff is materialistic and I’ve learned through my relationship with God and my spiritual journey that this stuff doesn’t matter.
"I didn’t care for music, because I thought what’s the point?...Patek Philippe? I’ve got that, the cars? I’ve got that, we’re over here hustling and doing what we do. I wasn’t really into music and my brother was like ‘yo, you’re doing your thing for nothing'."
"When we were in the street phase we made so much money with people in London. We’ve always had a good connection and always love the style and the music."
Speaking of jewellery, one of your biggest songs is called Patek Phillip, What is your favourite watch from the brand?
Ice: The 5980, 5711, 5273 with the Chrono
Buggy: 5711 all gold. But now I want the AP skeleton
When it comes to Pateks, I love it but not so much as Ice. When we made the song Patek Phillipe it was at the time where no one really knew about the brand or what it was. We made the song but we actually had it. You know, a lot of rappers when they make songs they really talk about things that they want, which is cool. But we actually had these watches, and I’d bought it when I was in 2016/17, with street money.
You guys also got Tory Lanez on the remix, how did that relationship happen?
Ice: My brother does the marketing on most of the songs that we record, we don’t go to nobody else for that. And for some reason, he targeted a specific crowd and Tory Lanez was always in this crowd. It was like strip clubs, night clubs etc. We had a show at club Lust and 50 (Cent) came down. He’d heard rumours about us so I think he wanted to see if we were really real like that. And when the song came on it was crazy. Every single girl you could think of knew the song and the lyrics back to back. Then the next day, Uno (one of Tory’s friends) hit Buggy up and said ‘Yo, Tory wants to hop on this’. He was like ‘yo this record is fire, I love it’ and that he wanted to be a part of it. It was crazy.
In your music you speak about your heritage consistently, What are you most proud of about where you are originally from?
Ice: The will to succeed and that natural-born hustler no matter what, our strive to win and be successful. Ghanaian Jollof rice is the bomb! When we talk about food, the west coast is different.
As you're both of Ghanaian and Nigerian descent, which West African artists do you listen to and would you collaborate with any of them?
Buggy: We listen to Mr Eazy, we actually have a song with him coming. Burna Boy, Davido, J Hus, WizKid
You guys have made a big impact with your record ‘Local Scammer’ which has a UK feature on it, who is it and why did that record speak to you guys?
Ice: So the feature is G4 Choppa, an artist we signed almost a year ago. We’re doing some artist development because anytime we make music we want to make an impact. We have American artists like the Pop Smoke’s (rest in peace) and Fivio’s who take the UK sound but where's the love for the UK artists? We’re so used to people jacking us and taking things from us that we wanted to do something that would change the game. Shout out to Drake too because he was the first to really do that. I came up with the song with my brother and we both structured it so there was a balance between America and the UK. Sometimes we don’t know what ya’ll be saying because you guys have a proper way of English! My brother produced it with another producer named firms.
Buggy: Ice actually found chopper through Instagram, Choppa had reached out to him and he had maybe twenty-thirty Instagram followers. Now he’s at five or six thousand. So many people send us music and for me, that part of the work can sometimes be draining and I don’t want to get flustered. So I stopped listening to a lot of music, but Ice has a keen spirit to want to listen to what’s next. When we were in the street phase we made so much money with people in London. We’ve always had a good connection and always love the style and the music. My older brother had connections out there too. We always knew there were so many Africans in London and you guys accepted us more when we were still up and coming. This guy Blade Brown reached out to us and we made a song with him. If you look at our early songs we’ve always had UK features.
Speaking of Scamming, you guys tell your alleged story about that lifestyle. How hard is it to scam the G4 Boyz?
We are the original Nigerian scammers. The uncles of uncles. Scamming us would be very hard, even for the top scammers.
We are professionals, we can smell a scam from a mile away. In fact, someone tried to go into one of my accounts and I wrote them a message telling them they can’t scam me. I literally went and got the person's address, their email and sent them back their information and said ‘ do you want me to come to your house?’. She got so scared she called me saying ‘it wasn’t me’ and I said do you know what? I’m gonna let you go. So yeah it’s pretty hard.
What are the best ways NOT to get scammed?
Ice: You need to come get down with G4. We will protect you. We will coach you, you’ll go to school and once you graduate you’ll know that you are certified and that no one can scam you.
Buggy: You would have to be under someone’s wing. I’ve just seen a post a few days ago about how someone scammed the white house for ventilators, they sent the guy 64 million dollars and now they can’t find him! Anybody can get scammed if you’re not from the world, it’s possible.
But if you’ve ever called your bank and told them an unauthorised charge was made then you’re a scammer, there’s a scammer in everybody
You guys had an amazing show in London, tell us about that experience and what your UK fan base means to you. Asap Rocky came out at that show to support you guys, where does your relationship with him stem from?
Ice: We sold out within two or three days. Us coming there was so amazing, just seeing how everybody was so in tune with the G4 boyz. The experience of having people go crazy in the crowd was so authentic and such a raw feeling. Our words really meant something to people. And of course Rocky, that’s bro, he heard about it. When we came to London he was already there before us and he heard about the show. Honestly, I love the UK and I love the energy. It was dope and fresh.
Buggy: I was super nervous because it was a whole different country. Even though we knew the love was there, you never know how something will turn out if you’ve never done it before. I got a text from rocky like are you guys doing a show out there? I wanna come! Tion Wayne actually pulled up too, shout out to him, my Nigerian brother!
Who is the most playful and most serious in the group?
Buggy: I’m the most playful and ice is more serious.
Ice: I’m more serious, I’m still fun and laid back but I’m still business. That’s how I am, you feel me?
Post COVID-19, what can we expect from G4 boys? (Any performances etc)?
Buggy: We’re planning a tour, hopefully for the end of summer. We’re also planning to release our E.P. ‘SCAM’ - which stands for still chasing after money. A lot of people are going to be on there, I can’t say who but just know it’s gonna be crazy. Like I said we’re just trying to change the culture. Ice has a sex tape that’s coming.