FLINT, Michigan – Inside Jack’s Record Stache in downtown Flint, the feeling is light and musical. This is where I find Brady Gozza, hip-hop artist, DJ, Gozza Strip Radio host and CEO of EarthMovers Records, browsing a selection of vinyl records by Jake the Flake, Wu-Tang Clan and others. His friendly nature and laid back personality are matched only by his in-depth knowledge of the local, underground and mainstream music industry.
Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, and attending schools in Montrose, he moved to Flint in 1996, and it was there that his musical career began. Gozza’s career began in a group called Down Low Prophets which merged with Triple Chaos to become Chaotic Prophets, later known as The Juggernaut – a reference to the character of the X-Men. The group released a single on cassette in ’95 and toured the Midwest. After disbanding in 1997, Gozza and another member became the Artful Dodgers until 2010.
Now Gozza is a solo artist, who has just released his third album, Black vinyl. Flintside caught up with the multi-talented artist in this new era of his life to talk about hip-hop, lyrical storytelling, and his decades-long career.
âMeeting people the right way and making connections by showing our skills and proving ourselves has been wonderful for me. “- Brady GozzaFlintside: You have a vast and varied history of the Artful Dodgers, Down Low Prophets, Chaotic Prophets, The Juggernaut, and now as a soloist Gozza. What is it about hip-hop that spoke to your soul?
Brady Gozza: âMy brother was the first to play this local radio show for me and I fell in love with the music. I love passion, and Dougie Fresh, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee, Fat Boys, and Beastie Boys were superheroes, larger than life characters back then. I wrote my first nursery rhyme in 87 when I was eleven years old. It was about my mother for homework. I loved [b-boy] dancing, I loved the style, and that was my way of expressing myself, the frustrations and the finer things in life.
Flintside: You brought your first two albums, And trouble comes and Dragon Scorpion 76. And recently you released your new album, Black vinyl. Tell me about these albums.
Brady Gozza: “[Here Comes Trouble], it’s me in 79 as Gozza, three years old. [Scorpion Dragon 76] comes from my love and my taste [of] comics, superheroes and martial arts. So here I am as a hero, and if you make me pump, I will transform into this scorpion dragon. Black vinyl is all about the recordings. I made the beats on all thirteen tracks, but got a basic sample production style. I go through the darkest, strangest, dustiest vinyl records and take little sounds from there, rearrange them and breathe new life into them. Black vinyl is a special dedication to all those who collect and listen to records.
Flintside: There is a noticeable change from those early days of hip-hop. The rhythms have changed and many elements of the storytelling have diminished. What are your thoughts?
Brady Gozza: “Things have changed. A lot of artists have a more modern sound. You’ll never hear me doing an autotune track or singing for girls. I’m still in the b-boy style. The lyrics drive me crazy these days. . They want to play it safe, and they don’t want to get past anyone’s head or use too big words. They tried to rise up with more talk and better concepts in the past. I stick with that. and put a lot of things in my words. “
A photo from Gozza’s two previous albums, “Here Comes Trouble” and “Scorpion Dragon 76”.
Flintside: Although in alignment, how did you go from music to DJing to radio?
Brady Gozza: “By the time I graduated [from the University of MichiganâFlint], I was offered a DJ concert. I’ve been doing this for years, again [making] music, and I was desperately trying to get our music played on local radio stations. I was a DJ, and this guy advertising at Kettering 94.3 said to me, ‘come to this meeting with me, you’re a DJ, and I’ll introduce you to the station.’ I went there and got on really well with everyone. I had the idea to start a show on the station and only play local music. Fortunately, they loved my ideas. When MC Breed died, I started organizing an annual MC Breed Day. I made it my mission to research radio montages from all the local artists. I try to make everything revolve around the community.
Flintside: After being part of groups, releasing music and touring, were there any pitfalls or difficult life lessons to learn?
Brady Gozza: âThere was certainly like betting on the wrong type of horse. I learned lessons where I thought cats would do a lot of things in music and I could help them, and no matter what I did they didn’t want it for themselves. It will also teach you who your true friends are. I have the impression that some people have a hard time being happy for others. Real family and real friends will support you when they know it’s important I think.
Flintside: After interviewing yourself and other musical artists, the music industry and living this life can be brutal. After experiencing pitfalls and setbacks, what is success for you and what keeps you going?
Brady Gozza: âFor me, success would be making my music for a living. To be there and have enough exposure to constantly tour and bring the music to the world. It’s a big part of being successful having a voice. [Overall] it is my love and my passion. This is who I am. I can’t see a life without making music in some form or another. I will probably do this until the day I die. I’m never happier than when I’m writing or producing a song and recording.
Flintside: Finally, when you look at your entire life and your career, what do you remember?
Brady Gozza: “I take it off because it was a good life, there is love. I made great friends and bonds through music. It gave me a sense of my place in the world. Meeting people the right way and bonding by showing our skills and proving ourselves has been wonderful for me. I feel like I belong to this culture. I am 100% hip-hop.
Find Brady Gozza on FaceBook, Instagram and 94.3 FM. To learn more about Gozza, his music, and to request his DJ or music production services, visit his website.