It’s no secret that real-life drama sells records, and no one uses this to their benefit better than rappers. Shootings have become so routine, so often tied with release dates and single debuts, that when the target actually walks away alive folks get suspicious. So when 29-year-old Brooklyn MC Gravy was shot last Wednesday (April 26) in front of New York’s Hot 97 studios and managed to still go on air for his interview with Funkmaster Flex, the rumors started flying, saying that it was all a set up. But was it?
To hear it from Gravy, who is a native of Bed-Stuy’s Lafayette Gardens housing projects, he’s ready to move past the drama. After a well publicized beef with Maino and a falling out with Foxy Brown last year following her tiff with Miami rapper Jacki-O at Gravy’s recording session, he wants to focus on the music. Gravy was signed to his first deal by DJ Clark Kent under Virgin Records as a member of a group called Da Franchise in 1998; his second deal was under Violator/Loud in 1999. Now with his own label, Dirty Money, inking a deal with Warner Brothers last December, he’s preparing his appropriately-titled debut God Willin’ for a late summer release. But before that, Gravy is honing his acting chops, gearing up for his chance to play the Notorious B.I.G. in the upcoming Antoine Fuqua-directed biopic. Ladies and gentlemen, Gravy is ready for his close up.
Since getting shot, you must be getting a lot more attention from the media, right?
I’m getting a lot of attention from the media. I never got that before, but that wasn’t my plan. I went up there to do the right thing and it just got ugly. I think sometimes God has his ways to make you stand out, but this ain’t something to be proud of, you know.
The unfortunate truth is that getting shot always seems to do wonders for a rapper’s career. Do you think it could be a blessing in disguise?
Yeah, it probably could be a blessing in disguise.
There’s a lot of rumors going around saying that the shooting was all a set up just to get hype.
That’s the haters, man. Nobody want to get shot for no fame. I was already known. I already had my own fans, doing my own thing. The whole New York know who run the mixtape circuit. It was me and Papoose runnin’ neck to neck for a long time. I already had a name and I already had money and the deal. Now I got to change it around and make it positive when I was already a positive dude, period. [For] none of this was a gimmick. This is real life. I gotta clean up all the dirt now, ’cause there’s a lot of dirt on my name, saying it was a publicity stunt to try to get fame. You got people calling up radio stations saying, He frontin’, He trying to get some fame, Who does he think he is? But at the same time, it’s a blessing in disguise because I really got the spotlight on me now. I got more fans now. If you didn’t know me then, you know me now.
After you got shot, it must have been difficult to still go inside and do your interview with Flex.
Yeah, and it was a bad move because that makes it looks like it was planned. But that wasn’t it, it wasn’t about [that] at all. I didn’t know how serious my injury was. I thought I got grazed, you feel me? Nah, it felt a little worse than grazed, I’m lying. I ain’t gonna front. But I could’ve sworn I got grazed ’cause I was moving so fast to get out the way. I thought that if I [was] hit, I would’ve fell, but nah. When the shots went off I was already trying to get out of there so I didn’t see the police. I just wanted to finish what I was doing. That’s my job. What am I supposed to say to Flex? Yo man, dudes were shooting at me, I can’t do it? Come on, that don’t even sound right.
It started bleeding a little too much, then it started bleeding crazy and then it started getting ugly. Then my leg started hurting and that’s when I felt it with my hand. I touched it and I felt a hole and that’s when the whole shit broke off. Flex and all the niggas that were there they didn’t know I was shot. They didn’t know nothing was going on. I’m a big dude and I had my hoodie on. I’m all about high spirits. I’m always the one catching the beef: the Maino beef, Cocaine City beef. I’m always the one everybody want to beef with. I don’t start beef. I’ve got too much money, I’m too positive a person to be worrying about that stuff.
Why do you think people want to beef with you?
That’s Brooklyn, man. When you trying to be the man, everybody want to be the man. If I happen to be successful, it’s because God be on my side and I don’t be trying to be the man, I happen to be the number one nigga. I spit with everybody. A lot of people can’t touch the people I can touch, and that’s what it boils down to at the end of the day. You can’t be the king, the king’s dead. B.I.G. was the king. I ain’t here to be nobody’s king; I’m here to do my job.
The police seem to think that the gunman was somebody rolling with you who got upset after you wouldn’t let them come up to the interview.
They making up stuff. It ain’t about nobody on my team want to shoot me. They know what it really is. I’m just trying to make a hot album, but nowadays you gotta get your security. I been wanting to do that, but I didn’t feel there was really a need for it. Now there’s a big need for it.
What steps are you taking to increase your security?
I’m not going to be playing no games when I’m in the street. No more thinking everything is sweet ’cause it’s not. You know I got my stuff together. I ain’t gonna tell people how, but it’s together now. Trust me.
Do you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing that the NYPD is now installing a surveillance camera outside Hot 97?
They been saying they had cameras with N.O.R.E., Capone they been having cameras out front. So what happened? Where were the cameras? Don’t look at me like I caused the trouble. I’m the third, fourth incident out there. After Game, 50 and all that, don’t put that on me like I caused the trouble. I’m just trying to do an interview.
There’s a lot of rappers on the mixtape scene right now. What do you think sets you apart from the pack?
My style is totally different from everybody else. I know how to make songs and I got the biggest deal. The other rappers don’t have deals. They trying to get deals when this is my third deal. I separate from the rest ’cause I do big things. I rhymed with every major person there is. My name is bigger than my music ’cause my music ain’t out yet.
You worked a lot with Foxy Brown in the past right? Are you guys still cool?
Yeah, but I didn’t speak to her for a while after the incident with Jacki-O, so that really put a dent in it. It was two females, you know how it is. She got mad at me cause I had Jacki-O on the record. I guess she wanted the first verse and it just didn’t work like that. I would’ve moved it for her, it ain’t that serious, as long as I had two females on the same record. But I wish her well; I hope she’s alright.
Has anyone ever told you, you bear a strong resemblance to Biggie?
Oh yeah. I’m trying for the Biggie movie. I’m up for [the lead] in that, so I got a lot of pressure for that.
How did you get involved with the Biggie movie?
I mean, you can look at me. What do I look like? God willin’, I’ma get that role and it’ll be a good setup. I just got a call from Mark Pitts to come and do the casting pretty soon.
Did you get a script for it?
Oh no, not yet. But when they do, I’ll be the first up for grabs. I’m in the top three.
Is that what they told you?
Nah, that’s what I know. I’m definitely in the top three.