On the set of their new video, "Tattoo," Philly MC and singer talk new albums and studio time with Will Smith and Mannie Fresh.
Philly MC, Gillie Da Kid and Chi-town crooner Jeremih recently met up in Cali with director Erica D. Hayes (Tyga, Ledisi, Marsha Ambrosius) to shoot "Tattoo," Gillie's latest music video. BET.com was on the scene to get the inside story on how they met and their forthcoming albums.
"Tattoo" comes on the heels of Gillie's "Tryna Get Me One" with Pusha T, and the viral video that shows fellow Philly native Will Smith going ham to one of Gillie's hits. And though the two had only just met in person for the first time the night before the "Tattoo" shoot — at Hollywood's famed Supper Club — Gillie and Jeremih were open in talking about how they linked up, what's next and how Mannie Fresh stood up to Cash Money on Gillie's behalf.
How did "Tattoo" come together?
J: It had to be like January, he sent it to me. I thought it was dope when I first heard it ... it was history ever since.
G: I was thinking about somebody who I could put on there to really upgrade the sound and take it to the next level, and he was one of the people that came to mind, so I reached out to his peoples. It was all love.
J: I f---s with Chief Keef. When I first heard his sound, I thought it was new and fresh. The world is just viewing Chicago in a broader daylight because of people feeding into someone with a voice that represents the youth. I would say Chief Keef does represent the Chi, not necessarily saying he's violent and bang bang and all that, but I just think when I ride around, I see a lot of Chief Keefs and I think he stands out because of his music, because of his movement and I think the world kind of really embraced him in a different way.
Gillie, you've got an album (Welcome to Gilliedelphia) coming later this year, aside from Jeremih and Pusha T, are there any other collabos we should be on the lookout for?
G: I ain't gonna name drop. I'm gonna surprise you.
What about producers?
G: I got everybody pretty much, but one of my favorites is Mannie Fresh, 'cause we just got that chemistry from our Cash Money Days. I never got a chance to put an album out when I was on Cash Money, so me and Fresh got that chemistry. We go outside the box.
Mannie's got an album coming out with Yasiin Bey, any thoughts of you and Fresh also teaming up for a full-length album?
G: I mean, you know, Fresh like my brother, he always been like my brother since the days of Cash Money meetings and at the studio when he stood up in front of the whole label and said, "We need to put Gillie's album out." So we always been brothers. Anytime I touch down in Houston or the N.O., he gonna be right at the airport, we gonna go to the crib, we gonna get the work done, and it's just the mutual respect and the love that we got for each other.
And Jeremih, you have an album coming out towards the end of the year too. What can people expect from your third studio release?
J: Thumpy Johnson's the name of it. It's got a lot of great records, great features. I got a chance to move around the states and even overseas and grab a couple producers for this record. If people like my very first mixtape that I put out last year, [Late Nights], I'm hoping you'll love Thumpy.
Gillie, you recently connected with Will Smith and set the twitterverse on fire when a video of him really feelin' your work came out earlier this week. What was that experience like?
G: I kinda pattern my situation after Will, he started off with rap and he do the acting, of course. I started off with the rap and now I do the acting as well as producing movies, I produced my first movie, starring myself and Ving Rhames called Brotherly Love that, if you seen the footage, that's the trailer I was showing Will when we was in the studio. He just came through, he hopped on a record, listened to a bunch of records, went on the radio the next day in Philadelphia and showed me all the love, so you know, I just respect it — that an icon of that stature would even take time to come to the studio and kick it with me for three hours.
What advice, if any, did he give you?
G: He said you got big records. Just make sure you keep working and eventually God will bless you. I feel like I’m getting my blessings. I work, I put the hustle in, I've been putting the hustle in for 13-plus years. Everybody in the game tried to sign me, Jay-Z — first I was signed with Tony Draper, I was signed with Cash Money, 50 Cent, but now I got my own situation, I feel like I'm the new Jay-Z, I feel like I'm the new Baby from Cash Money, I feel like I'm the new 50 Cent, and I'm trying to open the doors and provide opportunity for other artists, mainly coming out of Philadelphia.
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(Photo: Paul A. Hebert/WireImage/Getty Images)