Train of Thought: Gunplay Breaks Down His Verse on A$AP Rocky’s “Ghetto Symphony”

Last October, MMG breakout star Gunplay hit quite a few career speed bumps following an infamous brawl outside the BET Hip-Hop Awards and an ill-fated meeting with a former accountant, eventually landing the 33-year-old on house arrest awaiting trial and a potential prison stay. Be that as it may, the charismatic MC has been letting his music do all the talking—his string of guest verses for the A$AP Mob (“Coke & White Bitches: Chapter 2”), Alley Boy (“I’ma Shooter”) and even his fellow Maybach Music cohorts Rick Ross and Rockie Fresh (“Clique” freestyle) have since helped blur those drama-ridden headlines. Just recently, the Miami native starred alongside A$AP Rocky for the latter’s Long.Live.A$AP album on the bonus track “Ghetto Symphony” (also featuring A$AP Ferg). XXL caught up with the MMG livewire to speak on his verse (seen here below). —Ralph Bristout (@RalphieBlackmon)

Whippin Whitney, my mama as a witness/Bitches lickin’ and locking up my swishas/Once she blow my whistle, she know it’s dismissal/Spread the news I’m official, now hop out my foreign vessel/Before I get aggressive/Forget it, war ready, already tested/Tears and blood invested/Till my cardiac’s arrested and my 40 oz. is empty/Show me whatcha owe me and a porterhouse with that/Black magic on the tires only I/Rolling down the lonely mile, phony smile/ Warrants/Police on me now, still touring/And my chain it may slow me down cheer for it/Pain, in it’s purest form/Don’t complain I came to reign/From here forward, still ’noid/So crib got clear doors/Burning grains in my air force/And all I can see is clear ports

XXL: You delivered some standout guest verses in 2012, from Kendrick Lamar’s “Cartoons & Cereals” to A$AP Mob’s “Coke & White” and even “Power Circle” with your MMG clique. How did you approach adding verses to these records?

I do my thing and I try to complement the artist, and at the same time just do me and try to tap into their fanbase and see what their fanbase like. If I’m doing a record with somebody that raps for the hoes and shit like that, then I’m gonna talk a little bit to the hoes. If I do a record like I did with Danny Brown and A$AP Mob, I know where to go with it—cocaine and white bitches and shit like that. I just be trying to do my thing, man. I’m not trying to out-rap anybody. I’m not on that shit.

You delivered one heck of a verse on A$AP Rocky’s “Ghetto Symphony.” How did that record come together?

He had reached out, sent the record and I knocked it out. It was dope—I liked the vibe on it and he killed it. I just gave my point of view, put my two cents in. Ahout out to that boy A$AP. I definitely needed that at this time, [with] all the controversy and everything. [The fans] definitely needed to hear that music.

It felt as if you ripped out a page from your life’s tale with this verse. For example, for one of your lines, you rhymed, “Tears and blood invested/Till my cardiac’s arrested and my 40 oz. is empty/Show me whatcha owe me and a porterhouse with that.”

Yeah, the title is “Ghetto Symphony” and that word ghetto, if you’re not from there, if you’ve never been there, you couldn’t tap into that realm to even talk about it—you see what I’m saying? When I think of ghetto, I just go back to where I’m from and what I’ve been through and shit like that and I be serious with it on them types of tracks. I don’t just be tryin’ to “blah-blah-blah” you to death with a bunch of “killa this” and “killa that,” I’m gonna give it to you raw. Just real shit.

“Whippin’ Whitney, my mama as a witness.” That’s a bold line.

See, shit real. Got you cooking that shit—microwavin’ the cup and shit like that, on the low, early morning, “What you doing?” Shit like that [Laughs]. Just them little times and those little things that stick in my head.

“And my chain it may slow me down, cheer for pain, in it’s purest form/Don’t complain I came to reign.” It must be surreal when you think about those days and seeing how far you’ve come since then.

Fa’sho. I feel like I double paid my dues. So when you get on one of those songs where you really have to spit that real shit, I just go back to them days, man. I transport right back to being 15, 16 years old, thinkin’ I’m gonna be the Nino Brown of this shit. [Laughs]