Huntsville's G-Side Are Thriving on the Internet—and East Village Radio

Southern rappers Clova and ST 2 Lettaz stare down the Manhattan–Alabama hip-hop pipeline

"Rising Sun" features a deceptive Slim Thug sample ("This is for the Gs and this is for the hustlers"), and indeed, that's the intended audience for the song, but it isn't just trying to throw out some more self-justifying trap-rap. "You should go to work!" ST declares at one point; "Why the fuck I want to be a D-boy?" squawks fellow Huntsville rapper Kristmas. As the track fades out, light piano leads to Huntsville International's final track, "So Wonderful." ST soberly begins with "My president is black/But we still in Iraq/And we still in the hood and pills are the new crack," and from that stems, of all things, some "Man in the Mirror"–style hope, Clova celebrating the idea of investing and getting not only one's money, but one's taxes right, too. And the tape's over.

G-Side derive their swagger from hope, and the simple fact that they're rapping, that people are listening, that they don't sell drugs anymore, and that they've been able to see the world, or at least more of it. "I'd never been out of fuckin' Alabama, man," remembers ST with a laugh, until they "dropped Starshipz, and three times, I been up to New York."

Clova expands on their goals: Huntsville International "is a project. It just ain't us. It's everybody. We're hoping it puts us into a position to feed our kids and grandkids. You just can't call it a mixtape."

"That's why it's a project—it's for all y'all as well," Codie adds, pointing at the Baller's Eve crew and rattling off a list of blogs and dot-coms that support the group. "And it's for all of them." He looks me in the eyes. "This article's part of the project, too."

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