G Perico Holds the Torch for West Coast Gangsta Rap

With this being a fruitful period — and debatably the second golden age of West Coast hip-hop — it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the genre’s new heroes are steadily becoming legends. There’s that, then there’s G Perico.

Last year, the rising jheri-curled rapper was shot as he left his studio in South Broadway. After a very brief stint in the hospital — think a couple of hours, not days — Perico was onstage that night at the Roxy. As he cemented his legend as a magnetic performer, the rapper born Jeremy Lane has never let that moment take away from razor sharp focus.

Calling him a throwback would be lazy, though his laid-back flow and swagger reminiscent of G-funk’s finest and its DNA to a certain degree. His relentless work ethic rightfully landed him on many must-watch lists for 2017, and he hasn’t disappointed. Last month, Perico released the much-anticipated, equally well-received All Blue. The plaudits heaped upon an equally lauded rapper could have easily gone to their head. Not Perico.

“People on the streets have really been fuckin’ with the project,” he says over the phone on his way to yet another studio session. “It’s expected, but not really. I wanted it to do well but I never thought people would be fuckin’ with it across the country. I’m just trying to create that fire.”

Being bequeathed the unofficial titles as the next great West Coast rapper can be a blessing and a burden. It’s served rappers like Kendrick Lamar well, but others, not so much. As anyone familiar with the 27-year-old’s demeanor would assume, he’s used it as motivation.

“It’s easier to focus,” he says. “Before people were starting to catch on, I don’t want to say I was frustrated or worried, but it was the type of feeling that I hoped people fucked with us. I know what I’m doing is working and it’s letting me know that me staying in the studio and coming up with these dope ideas is working and making it to the people. It’s putting pressure on myself that I need to do better shit the next time.”

What separates Perico — legendary theatrics from his Roxy show aside — from his contemporaries is his dynamic live show. A cursory search of “G Perico live” on YouTube will net you a slew of results that will leaving you gasping and wanting to see more.

“The performances are the best part of this,” he says. “When I came out with ‘All Blue’ and seeing the people going with me word for word, there’s no better feeling than that. That’s what I work hard for. I’m not just putting together clever words; I’m telling a story. I grew up around crackheads, and this is a crazy analogy, but when I see people enjoying my stories that I worked so hard to put together in a musical format, it’s like seeing people trying to chase that first hit. Facing that energy when I go onstage, it’s some crazy shit that I can’t explain.”

As he balances All Blue with a wider audience and performing behind it, Perico has a busy rest of of 2017 in store. As he mentioned he was heading into the studio and has plans to release another EP and another smaller project this year. Perico is cognizant of the hard work necessary if he’s to achieve his goal of becoming a career artist.

“If I keep doing the same shit, it gets kinda redundant,” he explains. “It won’t be as tight. I want to reflect what’s going on right now and keep that fingerprint [of vintage G-funk] still in there. I have to corner my market now, that’s what’s up.”

G Perico performs at the Constellation Room, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.observatoryoc.com. July 8, 11 p.m. $15. All ages.

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