Regulus of GAWDS: Legends At the Divebar

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Photo courtesy of GAWDS

Baltimore rap group GAWDS (Going At Whoever Don’t Surrender) consists of emcees Regulus and Pinpoint, vocalist L3, and DJ Rocky Styles. The latest effort from the group is a sonically diverse nod to those who appreciate a good watering hole, Legends At the Divebar.

Legends At the Divebar is a 17-track album that comes to us courtesy of Diamond Dungeon Studios and features appearances by Pawz One, Zen, Sonny Reddz, Fatboi, Mike Brown, Clif Love, Finch Flores, Richard Cranium, ethemadassassin, and Pete The Dark Truth. The project is produced by D2P, Stu Bangas, Tom Delay Beats, Track Pros, Thanos Beats, Finch Flores, and Regulus.

The Real Hip-Hop spoke to Regulus of GAWDS about the dark web, the evolution of his group, and their new album, Legends At the Divebar.

TRHH: Why’d you call the album Legends At the Divebar?

Regulus: So, we’ve all been together for years in the scene. Me and Pinpoint, co-emcee, basically we met through the scene years ago, probably about 2009-2010. We always respected each other’s talents. One time he wasn’t doing much and I wasn’t doing much at the time, I’d fallen off with another group that I was with and we got together and I was like, “Let’s collab or something.” It took about 2 songs for us to collab and then we started like, “Hey, let’s form something.” And we had a third person in the group, and then we added our DJ, and now we have a singer which adds a whole different element to our music and I really appreciate that because I can’t sing worth a lick. He came along, we kind of picked him up from Annapolis. We went to a showcase down there and he wasn’t there that night but we had heard him prior because we were listening to some music and were like, “This dude’s got talent.”

And then we just told him to get the studio and then we kind of formed, man. It kind of came together, I was helping produce some stuff for him and get him out on his foot and just get him heard a little bit and seen locally. Basically, we started making music together and now we have a conglomerate, so it’s good. We all get along and everything’s good. We were always Hip-Hop, like the boom bap and just spitting some conscientious shit, wordplay, punch lines and lyricism. But he added that singing to it which brought in a different element because we didn’t want to be just the same old. A lot of people get caught in that trap of just boom bap and I don’t think you can label us because we can do a lot of things. We’re very versatile. It adds a different element and now we’re just moving forward. That probably started around 2016-2017, probably met him around 2018 and we were trying to go strong from there.

Legends At The Divebar basically was we all have been in the scene for so long — the cats that I was going with my– DJ and us two emcees mainly, the singer came in a little later, but we were always known in the scene. Everybody knows us, we shake hands, everybody knows us, we’re like vets. We’re legends in this area to an extent I guess, but then we’re at the divebar because those were the most intimate shows and the most intimate reaction out of the crowd when you had like 40 or 50 people in there. It’s a small space and you’re jammed tight and everybody’s having fun. It could be different cultures too coming together and that was the best feeling.

I remember doing tours and shit in the past and going to places and being like, “Oh, this place is packed!” and it’d be a divebar in Harrisburg, PA or something. We’d be like, “This is packed. This is gonna go good or go bad.” But those moments always went good. They were always good because you could do personal things with the crowd, whether it was freestyle or do some kind of showmanship to bring them in. Just recognize that we have talent, that’s all. That’s why I came with the Divebar — we all like to drink a little bit, and we were always at the bars at the shows, and playing a lot of divebars to come up in this thing to move forward and get to the next level. That’s the roots, man.

TRHH: What’s the process like for GAWDS when you’re making an album?

Regulus: So, that’s a good thing, man. We like to record right on the spot. We write the songs and if the feelings there and the vibe is there we’ll get it done right on the spot. And usually record our lyrics right on the spot. People like to learn their lyrics and stuff like that, we do that sometimes, but we just feel the moment. We’ve all been rapping and emceeing and doing our thing for years so we’re in the moment, and if the songs right, and the vibes right we’re gonna let loose that night.

That’s kind of been the process and we feed off each other. I might come up with a melody of a hook to the beat and then I’ll hum something, and then my singer L3 will be like, “Yeah, that’s dope.” And I’ll start writing some off of that and then change it a little bit and then Pinpoint will add something else. We’re always involved in our work, and our bars, and different things because we want to get that sample of approval. We want the music to be the best we can make it.

TRHH: The first video from the album is called “Sippy Cup.” The title doesn’t seem to fit the song. Why’d you title it Sippy Cup?

Regulus: So, that was kind of like a song that we had done and we added my homeboy Sonny Reddz on it at the end. First, we had wrote a hook to it and we didn’t like the hook. My singer did the hook and I didn’t like it — I trashed it. We liked the beat and we were willing to try it again and rewrite the hooks. He went and rewrote the hook and we kind of helped him with itm and he wrote a much more fire hook. A lot of people seem to like that song, but some things went left with that song. We added Sonny Reddz in there and he gave it a little different, more street element. We decided to call it Sippy Cup because there’s a there’s a line in Pinpoint’s verse where he goes, “Split the Dutch/I apply the guts in your sippy cup.”

So, we just thought that was funny because a lot of us have baby mothers, or wives, or kids and there’s a sippy cup in the car hanging out with the children they have and I could just picture him doing that. He always likes to smoke and shit, so that’s the type of person he is. So, it was like, “We’ll call it Sippy Cup,” That’s when we had the graphic of just a random sippy cup with blunts on the side underneath a tunnel street way. It was kind of cool and we just kind of went off on just his lyrics for the hook, and then I just chopped the hook at the end — his lyric to make it bring in light. We were just talking shit on that one. It just kind of came together as a unit and I didn’t even expect to release that song. I didn’t even think that song would make it, but then it ended up sounding good in the end so I was like, “Hey, let’s go with it.”  So, that’s kind of the story behind it — nothing really crazy behind that one.

TRHH: The group has such a versatile sound; how do you describe the GAWDS sound?

Regulus: I think we can approach various styles and make it sound good. I mean we’re always trying to elevate, and get better, and help each other. I kind of describe our sound as a universal sound. If you like good Hip-Hop and you want a little bit of R&B there, and a little bit of mix, and you could do a little bit of trap beats but try to stay mainly boom bap, I think it kind of gives an alternative mix, but we’re Hip-Hop, regardless. We all come from Hip-Hop roots and the singer L3 just adds a little bit of different element in it and that brings out the diversity and versatility.

So, that just helps us hit different pockets so we’re not just stuck in that Hip-Hop pocket. We can tone things down and this album we just did an experimental song one night in the lab and it ended up making the album and it’s more like techno shit. I just did like a four-bar verse talking about 80s stuff, not really talking about much just to fill the gaps so the song moved on. That’s what we’re about — we’re not afraid to test the waters and experiment with different things a little outside the realm of Hip-Hop, not just keep it Hip-Hop all the time. We can step outside of our box a little bit.

TRHH: “Dark Web” is my favorite joint on the album. What inspired you to write that song?

Regulus: So, my friend Moody wanted to get on the track and we had picked out a beat a while ago and my boy D2P, which is one of my main producers up in Germany, shout out to D2P, he’s been helping us for years and he’s an in-house producer such as myself. He sent the beat over and my boy Moody wanted to get on to the album. His name is Fatboi — he’s got a new single out as well called “Three Dollar Olive.” He’s part of our camp and he wanted to get on joint — he liked that beat and he messes with that producer too and has a relationship with him. He killed the verse and the stuff he was talking about was a little bit deep and dark and I was like, “Yo, this is like the dark web.”

I started pulling up little samples of dark web and get my DJ to cut them up to put it around it. That’s what I kind of wrote my verse around, just the dark web of the behind scenes stuff that goes on in our world he touched on, and I touched on in my verse and Pinpoint had touched on it, too. We kind of build it in so it’s got a little dark, grimy, feel. We thought it went well — he loved my verse, I loved his verse, and Pinpoint’s got a really sick verse. That’s one of my favorites too, man. It’s just cuts at the beginning, cuts at the end, and just lyricism. Just hitting you with lyrics, layers, and trying to talk about the dark secrets of our world that people don’t like to expose, but it doesn’t get talked upon much. It’s some sick shit out there, man. We enjoyed writing that one and making that happen.

TRHH: On the song “Over the Moon” you question a lot of things, but I think it’s Pinpoint who asks if it’s wrong to sell himself to Satan. Why wouldn’t it be wrong to sell yourself to the devil?

Regulus: Yeah, I don’t know. My verse was more personal than his. He deals with a lot of stuff, I can’t really speak on what he was saying at the moment. He never explained that bar, so you just gave me another topic to discuss with him about why he said that bar. Pinpoint be saying some weird shit sometimes. Some of the bars are a little over your head or intricate — you gotta really listen to them. Some of them are unexplainable, so that’s one that I can’t really explain to you. I just know that at that time he was like, “Yo, I got this verse and it’s all based on questions about world today and our current affairs.” I was like, “Yo, I’m gonna make mine a little personal because that’s what I’m dealing with.” I made it kind of simple, but I made it to my heart of what I’m actually dealing with. He started it off and made it a good song and all four of us in the group were involved in that. My DJ got on there and laid some cuts for us, L3 did the hook, and we all worked that together.

That was one of the ones we did on the spot and other than him just having that verse ready. He just came over and laid his verse, I wrote the rest of mine pretty much behind there, and L3 dropped and it was it. We wanted to do something different, I know there’s been questions songs, like Jadakiss has songs about questions and stuff like that, but we just felt like it was something different and something cool that we could do with a little bit of a different vibe to it. Over the Moon is a pretty decent song. I’ve even had people I’ve played it for say, “Oh Ryan, you’re going through shit.” But everything is true in that song on my verse and his verse as far as the Satan line, I don’t know [laughs]. He’s definitely not a Satan worshiper, if anything he’s with the God. He says some wild shit, so sometimes I don’t know what’s in his brain. But that’s good to touch on, man. I will take that up with him and hopefully get to let you know the answer [laughs].

TRHH: Who is the Legends At the Divebar album made for?

Regulus: It’s made for the people, man. It’s made for the people to just listen to how we progress in this new element. This was like our first album with L3 fully as a singer. Our last album was Gloria, we’ve released a couple singles, but Gloria only had him on a few tracks, where this one he’s damn near on every track. We also have a solo for him on this album because we wanted to push him and we want people to get familiar with him and used to his style as well. Because they’ve been hearing us since about 2018-2019 and we wanted to bring him in and at the forefront and hey, this is the group now. It’s going to change up the styles a little bit, but it’s a good thing. I think it’s a positive direction and he’s a great guy — he’s a stand-up guy.

We have gone back and forth with names, but we have been playing so many dive shows at the time that we were like, “Screw it, we’re Legends At the Divebar.” We’re always at these divebars lighting it up and he was doing the same thing doing a lot of open mics, and that’s kind of how the thing in Annapolis happened when we met him he was doing an open mic. And then he started doing open mics in Baltimore City and we were doing a few crappy shows that we shouldn’t have been doing, but we were just doing it just to show love to the scene and also be there to sharpen up our skills. Now hopefully we could get to touring this summer and do a couple at least one off shows and get some touring in.

That’s why we named it, man, this is something different. This is the first official album with L3 fully on the album and fully a member of GAWDS. We had all decided on Legends At the Divebar because it was fitting to what we were going to. It’s like the baby step approach — we were here a little bit, and we moved back a little bit, but we got a different vibe and we’re trying to push forward. We still got the connections and still all pushing on all cylinders, and I got a camp full of people like my man Sonny Reddz, my man Fatboi, and they got some fire coming out, too. It’s all part of our camp and we’ll look to try to flood the scene as much as we can — the underground Hip-Hop scene and Hip-Hop worldwide with the Legends At The Divebar.

Purchase: GAWDS – Legends At the Divebar

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About Sherron Shabazz

Sherron Shabazz is a freelance writer with an intense passion for Hip-Hop culture. Sherron is your quintessential Hip-Hop snob, seeking to advance the future of the culture while fondly remembering its past.
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