Chris James spends nearly every night of the week in recording studios. He's got recording down a T. Fellow rappers in Dallas call on James — who raps under the name G.U.N., short for Geeked Up Ni**a — because they know he'll always throw down. Better yet, he can do it in a matter of minutes.
One recent stormy evening in May was a perfect example: Sitting in the studio with his friend and fellow rapper Loudiene, G.U.N. agreed at the last minute to jump on one of Loudiene's songs. Climbing in the booth, G.U.N. listened to the track twice more, then went to record his verse one bar at a time. After the play back, he added his signature ad libs. And the whole process took just nine minutes.
“People don’t get to see the everyday life of what I actually do, so they don’t know I’m either making beats all day or I’m just in the studio recording,” G.U.N. says. “All that practice and all that recording adds up to knowing how to be able to walk in and do it just like how I did that damn verse in nine minutes. It just works out when you’re working every single day.”
G.U.N. has been putting in nights like this for a little over two years and has moved to the forefront of the city’s underground hip-hop scene. His brand of rap music falls in line with the very popular trap rap that has made superstars out of acts such as Gucci Mane, Migos, Chief Keef and Future. The music is bass heavy, full of snares and is aggressive in nature, no matter the lyrical content. It’s a sound that few other Dallas artists have done well or even attempted to jump on. G.U.N. filled that void and is becoming one of the faces of the city alongside The Outfit, TX; Go Yayo and Loudiene.
“I reached out to all the key people doing music and I just did features with them and just stood out on songs and people started fucking with me on a genuine note,” G.U.N. says about building relationships in the city and getting his name out there early on. “I work very, very hard.”
He made his breakthrough locally last summer with the release of “Johnny Cage.” The trap anthem caught fire in Dallas and had kids in venues rapping along to all the words in venues and warehouse parties across the city. It went viral regionally and, according to G.U.N. he has a remix of the track with a major national act that's ready to be released, but is waiting for the right time. He's careful about the features he picks, though; getting hit up to do verses or play shows free is liable to bring that Geeked Up moniker to light.
Just last month, in fact, G.U.N. let lose on stage while playing an opening set for Migos at Gas Monkey Live! When the show fell behind schedule, the promoters attempted to cut his planned set time short. "This is our time. This is Triple D," G.U.N. declared, in a scene captured on video and posted to Instagram. "We don't pause for any out-of-state ni**as."
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“I let them know, ‘First of all, you paid me to do a show, you paid me to give a show so I’m gonna give a show and that means giving me my time,’” G.U.N. says of the episode, after which he continued to perform his set. “'You’re in our city, not in yours, and when I’m in yours I’ll come at you the right way.’”
But that combative attitude hasn't stopped G.U.N. from opening doors for himself, including opportunities with touring artists. Over the last year he's established a relationship with the popular rap group Rae Sremmurd. The duo of Swae Less and Slim Jxmmi have made a name for themselves with their brand of over-the-top party raps with the help of super producer Mike Will and worked with hip-hop's biggest acts like Nicki Minaj and Young Thug.
Rae Sremmurd have had songs on Top 40 radio and the Billboard charts for two years now, but when they come to town one of the first calls they make is to G.U.N., who met the duo through their DJ. Most recently the group was in town for JMBLYA in May and during their night out on the town G.U.N. was asked to join their collective Sremmlife Crew, which the Dallas rapper naturally accepted.
Now G.U.N. wants to make sure he's focusing on more than just himself. He's put together an event tonight called Ragefest. The bills features 10 local acts his fans and supporters asked to see, including Loudiene, Pyrex Pirates, the Outfit, TX and Trip Fam. He choose the lineup based on who his Twitters followers wanted to see.
"It's for local artists that aren't known and I'm only charging $5. I'm not getting anything from that," G.U.N. says. "I'm trying to build another show, another avenue for us to do something locally — for our artists [and] just to give back."