“My reputation precedes me, man,” says Gunplay, referring to the “wild n***a” persona that has overshadowed his legacy as a great MC. “I’m obsessed,” he emphasized during a recent visit to MASS APPEAL HQ. “I could tune out the world. I could record for days. ‘Go to sleep, Gun!’ No! When my body shut down I’ll go to sleep.” That’s how much he loves the art of rapping.
Sitting inside the MASS APPEAL recording studio, the rapper born Richard Morales Jr., spoke about being born to a Puerto Rican father and a Jamaican mother and raised in the Bronx and Queens, New York before moving with his mother to Florida. “It was 88–89 when I left,” Gunplay recalls. “So we [in the hip-hop community] were just getting solidified as a genre of real music. Not just a fad. I just stuck to it, man. Followed my dream. I had a passion for writing, for music, and DJing and the culture. Once I was like, ‘I could rap too. I go through stuff too. And I got something to say.’” I wanted to do the shit for the rest of my life.”
Gunplay traces his rebellious streak to the first time he tried marijuana. “I smoked weed when I was 12 years old, right?” Gunplay recalls. “Once I hit that joint and I got high, I looked at life and everybody in it in a whole different situation. I looked at my mama different. I looked at my daddy different. I listened to what they said, and I analyzed shit and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute. I got the keys. I got the keys now!”
While following his musical dream, Gunplay got involved in a fair amount of trouble in the streets. Looking back now, the artist who also goes by Don Logan believes that his chosen name might have had something to do with the drama he encountered. ““Look at Khaled: We The Best. Right? You say that over and over and over again, and other people saying it over and over, guess what? You’re gonna be the best… When you say the word Gunplay over and over and over again, the universe don’t know that that’s your name,” he reasons. “All they hearing’ is “gunplay.” So ‘Gunplay’ got Gunplay in trouble over some gunplay.”
Check out Gunplay’s Studio Interview to learn how Gunplay first met Rick Ross back when Rozay when known as the TeflonDon, how he began working with Kendrick Lamar, and why he recorded some of his greatest records while on the run from the law. Press play on Gunplay.
Subscribe to Mass Appeal here:
What started as a humble graffiti ‘zine in 1996 would soon grow to be one of the most trusted outlets for youth-spawned urban culture. Today, Mass Appeal is a media collective led by authentic voices and inspired minds. They are a platform for radical creatives who are transforming culture.