“Si haces las cosas bien, te van a salir bien,” Kap G’s mother says to her youngest of seven in the intro to El Southside. It’s typical mom advice, but so necessary to hear when you’re taking big strides to stardom.
Hearing his mom at the beginning of his latest project makes sense, because Kap G’s story begins before he started rapping at Tri-Cities High School. His story began when his parents emigrated from a small town in Acapulco, Mexico, in the late 80s. His family settled in College Park, GA, a city near Atlanta that Ludacris and 2 Chainz also call home. There, his bicultural upbringing – a blend of Mexican and American Southern culture – would eventually mold the way he tells stories and makes music, even straight to the project title – El Southside.
Not shy of big names, the DJ Drama-hosted mixtape features Atlanta-raised rappers Young Thug and Ca$h Out. Pharrell Williams, who gave Kap the ultimate co-sign when he dubbed him “the future” and helped him sign to Atlantic Records, also makes an appearance on the 11-track project. His contribution to the production of the mixtape’s title track makes “Southside” a standout song. Another visible standout is the El Southside cover, which shows the Atlanta emcee standing out among his friends, wearing a vaquero outfit, boots, hat, buckle and all. It’s a visual representation of what makes him different in the Atlanta rap scene. Two years ago, Kap released his critically acclaimed mixtape Like A Mexican, which tackled the same identity politics El Southside explores.
He’s not the first Mexican-American in the South, but when it comes to Southern rap, Mexicans aren’t the first that come to mind. That will probably change soon seeing as the South’s Latino population is rapidly rising. Mexicans make up more than half of the Latino community in Atlanta. Kap wasn’t lying when he said “José Got Dem Tacos.”
Over the past few years, Atlanta churned out rappers and producers that have set hip-hop trends and claimed the top spots on national charts. Kap G is starting to rub shoulders with Altanta’s elite rap figures – Future, Metro Boomin, Mike WiLL Made-It, 2 Chainz – and if he follows his mom’s advice to do las cosas bien, he’ll continue carving out his own lane, steadily but surely.
If you want to catch Kap G perform El Southside live, he’ll be hitting up a few stages at SXSW for his third year in a row. Remezcla caught up with him in 2015. Click here in case you missed it.