After the release of NEOGEO it became pretty indisputable that a young, talented Washington DC collective called GRAMFAM was really about their business. rMell’s debut album saw great success back in December. Today it’s Matt McGhee’s turn to step into the limelight, and please believe ya boy is shinin’. AWARD is Matt’s debut. It has all the same trappings of greatness that his fellow Grammy hopeful’s did, and as such in the small amount of time (literally like 2 hours) since its release it’s got Twitter going crazy. Although the two worked together closely on the project (and I mean all of the project, from production to lyrics to artwork even to promotion), it still manages to have a distinct vibe that sets the two artists apart. One important thing that the projects have in common, though, is that they’re just plain fun to listen to. And, I mean, that’s what it’s all about, right?
Check it out below and be sure to keep scrolling for an AHOODIE exclusive interview with Mr. McGhee.
Matt: Ok. It’s working now.Reese: This Gmail s**t is convenient but annoying. [laughs] It says you’re offline, but whatever.Matt: I think I got my s**t on invisible. [laughs] I don’t know how to change it.Reese: Yo, as long as it’s working forreal. [laughs] Like I said, sorry about the hold up. I just wanted to get the t-shirt post out there.Matt: [laughs] Aight. It’s all good.Reese: So introduce yourself to the readers first and foremost. Who are you? Where are you from? Who ya representin’? All the demographics and whatnot.Matt: Aight. My name is Matt McGhee. 1/6th of the infamous GRAMFAM collective. I’m from Prince George’s County, Maryland. Clinton to be exact. 19 year old rapper, producer, engineer, and all around musician.Reese: Word, word. Speaking of the t-shirts, how’d that come about? How do you know Marshall?Matt: I found out about EVGD and Marshall (the creator of the brand) through a high school friend of mine, Tommy. He basically linked us up via Twitter mentions. It was right before they put out their holiday collection and I really liked how they set their lookbook up and just how everything was structured. I felt like if GRAMFAM made clothes, that’s how we’d go about it. [laughs] There was a sense of mystery that I liked. So rMell, Miles and I all decided we should just f**k with them. Marshall liked our music and everything, so it all just clicked, and I presented the idea about the t-shirt a few months ago. I wanted to take one of their popular designs (the ‘House of Worship’ neon sign design) and make some GRAMFAM s**t based off that. So that’s how it happened.Reese: Ahh. I see, I see. I was actually going to ask whether the House of Worship was a real place and if we could expect a show there, but that answers that! [laughs]Matt: Oh, yeah. It’s just a made up place. [laughs] It would be a cool a** place to do a show though. Maybe sometime in the future. But definitely not now.Reese: I feel you. You and the team got any performances lined up yet? What with NEOGEO out and AWARD on the way, and of course you guys’ past stuff you could definitely have a nice set.Matt: I have one show in DC on the 16th at Art Under Pressure, but we don’t really have any shows lined up. Hopefully we can get on some after AWARD drops. But yeah, our sets are pretty nice. We just gotta get in some bigger venues so more people can see us perform and s**t.Reese: Oh word? I wasn’t hip. I’ll have to try and make it out there for that, no doubt. What’s been your favorite performance so far? Tell me about it.Matt: I don’t really have a favorite performance because I haven’t really done a big one that stands out, but I will tell you that the best ones have been in pretty intimate venues. There’s a few videos of me going in the crowd of people while I’m performing. That shit is fun as hell. But yeah, you should come to the show on the 16th. I’m expecting it to be pretty wild in there.Reese: Pretty wild is definitely the move. [laughs] I saw Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul at Soundstage in Baltimore a while ago and it was crazy, but they got in the crowd and started rapping and took things to a whole other level. That connection with the fans is important.Matt: Definitely. I usually do it to get s**t poppin’. I remember when I performed at Georgetown University last year, I was on stage and n****s was lookin’ at me like I was f*****g crazy. So I got off stage and started rapping in peoples’ faces. They started f*****g with me after that. [laughs]Reese: Good move. [laughs] So what would you say is your strongest asset as a musician? We already touched on the ability to deal with a crowd, but what else are you good at?Matt: I think I’m good at being able to relate with people. Since I’m a regular person that goes through regular s**t, I can speak on different topics in my music and people will be able to relate to it. Feel me? Like ‘Why I Don’t Drink’. A lot of people relate to that song. [laughs]Reese: I feel ya, for sure. Let’s talk about AWARD though a little bit though, cuz that’s the main reason why people will be reading this forreal. [laughs] First of all, why that name? You trying to get a Grammy off this joint?Matt: [laughs] Well, yeah. I am trying to get a Grammy. If not off this project, the next one. But AWARD stands for “Always Working At Reaching Destiny.” I named it that because i feel like its my personal destiny to be a successful musician, but I have to put in the work to be successful. So I’m working to reach that. That’s the basis of it. But part being a successful musician, to me, means eventually winning Grammys. So it all ties in together. AWARD, destiny, Grammys, GRAMFAM. All that s**t.Reese: That’s quite the goal.Matt: Word. I’m learning that everything happens for a reason. Everything that happens in our lives is a part of a bigger picture that we don’t understand yet. That was my whole mindset during the creative process of the album.Reese: That’s the second time you’ve read my mind, dude. I was gearing up to ask where your head was at making the album. What was driving you?Matt: A lot of s**t. Mostly seeing a lot of my friends making names for themselves and being successful in their crafts. It made me wanna work harder and prove to everyone that this music s**t isn’t just a hobby for me.Reese: That’s real. You make it sound like AWARD is about to have a real heavy “young n***a on the come up” vibe. What can we expect it to sound like?Matt: People could get that vibe from it, but I think it’s more of a “damn. I don’t know how i overlooked this kid before” vibe. [laughs]Reese: [laughs] Aw man, epic. Favorite song on the project?Matt: Hmm… well right now, my favorite is the song “Cold” which features rMell.Reese: Go figure. [laughs] Who produced it?Matt: Me and rMell did.Reese: Like I told rMell, I realize you guys do pretty much everything on your own. The production, the rapping, the artwork, the whole thing is in house. How’d you guys get so good at everything? Does each person bring something special to the table or are all y’all just all around masters of all the arts? [laughs]Matt: [laughs] We all do everything. Except Jaylen doesn’t rap. He just makes beats. Chelsea sings and she plays guitar. But we all have humble beginnings. We all had to learn how to do s**t on our own because no one else would do it for us, you know? We had to have beats to rap on so we made our own. We needed artwork for our projects so we made our own. We didn’t have the money for studio sessions so we set up shit at our house. When you’re doing everything on your own for so many years, you eventually get pretty good at it. [laughs]Reese: That’s cool though. You gotta respect the work ethic. So whats next for you guys? Whose album is on deck? [laughs]Matt: Well… NEOGEO is out. AWARD comes out February 19th. Then Miles has PERFECT coming soon… and Jaylen may or may not be cooking something up. [laughs]Reese: Word, word. Well keep us posted. It’s been real though, chatting it up and all that. Any final words you got for the people? Shoutouts? Random proverbs?Matt: Buy my shirt. Keep supporting me and everybody in GRAMFAM. Download NEOGEO and AWARD. Shoutout to everybody that don’t like me. Shout out to everybody that does like me. And in the words of the great Jaheim, “Keep ya h-e-a-d……..u-p.”Reese: Swag, swag.