Drill. Trap. Scam Rap; Call it what you want. What cannot be disputed is where it all started. After all, taking a couple ingredients from her recipe and calling it something else doesn’t detract from the fact that grandma created that dish. Brothers Ice Baby and Buggy created an original sound of gritty music which would later disperse into new sub-genres of Hip Hop that the world wasn’t used to. Together, they are known to the world as the G4 Boyz – and as their name suggests – they really practiced what they preached. 

At the time of their rise, Hip Hop was littered with artists who could conceal their true personas and lifestyles with catchy hooks and imitated verses. But G4 Boyz have never been in the business of deceiving their cult following. On the contrary, their African roots and love for the fast lifestyle has been deeply embedded in their sound from the jump. After all, you can’t be called G4 Boyz without a love for the lavish. If it ain’t Prada, it’s simply not G4. But their message is different from others — for them it’s not about how you make the money, it’s about what you do with it. Which is arguably the most African thing one can do or say. 

There’s something to be said about artists who never stop proving themselves. G4 Boyz represent a continuous vacuum of African style, culture and references that remind the world of who they are — money chasers in their adopted habitat of Brooklyn with an unwavering ability to connect Africa to the world. The self-proclaimed, ‘uncles of all uncles’ are not here to partake, the takeover is now and you’re either with them or against them. VIPER sat down with the Gwalla Gang founders to discuss their unapologetic African heritage of spirituality, scamming and their deeply-rooted love and influence on UK Drill. 

First up, who are the G4 Boyz? 

Ice Baby: The G4 Boyz consist of Ice Baby aka Big Baba and Buggy, aka the Deacon. 

You’re biological brothers, right? 

Ice Baby: Yeah, I’m the oldest by one year. 

How would you describe your music journey since ‘Control Your Jealousy’?
Ice Baby: For me, I believe it was about giving people a little bit of what’s to come. We went from that to ‘African Plug’ and we’ve always put the African spice in from the beginning. In [places like] Africa and London, they love you. But being African in America, unless you were singing ‘Kumbaya, kumbaya’ it wasn’t hitting. But the journey is about growth and we were coming with it. What about you? 

Buggy: For me personally, being from America there weren’t too many African rappers who were born out there that were happy to claim they were African. They ended up saying it later once they reached a high level of success – the likes of Tyler, The Creator  came out and said he Nigerian, A$AP Rocky told us the same too. Wale – shout out to Wale – he took us on tour in 2016 and we found out he was Nigerian a year before [the tour]. For us, we’ve always repped it, even before the cool. Where are you from? 

Nigeria. Yoruba boy. 

Ice Baby: Come on, my guy! 

You take a lot of pride in your heritage – what do Nigeria and Ghana mean to you?
Ice Baby: Our mother is Ghanaian, she’s from Tema and our dad’s Nigerian – he’s from Lagos. Originals! 

What’s your take on where African music is today? 

Ice Baby: I’ll let Buggy go first on this one because I do get a little emotional with it.
Buggy: I do wanna say, shout out to Wale because he was one of the first artists to do it on an international level at a time where nobody would. I think the level [of where Afrobeats is at] helps. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people getting in tune with our culture so I love it. But with G4 Boyz, we’ve always been doing this — we can’t hide it. You can see it in our features, how we talkin’, what we rap about — we African. No one really touches on the topics that we talk about; the new generation, they know. Our topics have been prominent in African culture for years. The evolution of where we are now was always bound to happen – you cannot deny African G’z. 

Ice Baby: First of all, I would like to give credit to London. It has been at the forefront of the African music movement with hardcore African beats. You come over here and no one claims to be English – you hear “I’m Nigerian, Ghanaian. I’m from Senegal.” This is why we love London so much. In America, we were reppin’ African hardcore and we were getting pressed to be those guys. But we were those fly guys — hopping on jets and living life… Before you know who, know what I’m saying? It’s truly a blessing to witness the acceptance of African culture from everyone, from the whites to the Spanish — they are visiting the continent, dancing to the music. Africa to the world! 

How did growing up in Brooklyn influence the music you both make?
Ice Baby: Yeah, we were born in Staten Island and moved to Brooklyn, but we got our name in Brooklyn. The influence was just raw, every borough; whether it be the Bronx or Queens, it’s a raw effect. There are many Africans there and we do what we do. Every time you come out, you’ve got to be the baddest. Number one, never number two. Our flag is green, white and green. That means we gotta get the money at all times! 

Buggy: Like what my brother said, when it comes to New York you’ve got to be a real demon. It’s the reason why me and my brother can travel the world and do shows – all glory to God. London was our first sold out show and that goes to show what the London scene means to African culture. When you hear people like Burna Boy and Davido, they respect the London scene too. When you hear our music, you don’t necessarily hear Afro music, you hear street music and the topics we talk about. If you ask anyone in New York about us, “Yo, do them dudes really get money?” Humbly we really do; respectfully and disrespectfully. 

How do you apply your spirituality and relationship to God as both artists and men?
Ice Baby: Hallelujah. Alhamdulillah. All praise to God. Me and my brother have been through a lot of dirt and pain. Being African is not easy! The hate has been transformed to love as a passage, like a book in the Bible; Job if you will. The path is simple, you’re going through something but that’s the way to the top. God has the plan and blessing for you. They can hate all they want, they can try and swagger jack us, take our flows – it doesn’t matter. The blessing always comes back to the originators, so I always give glory to God, every single second. Because God has taken care of us and shown his miracles through us. 

Buggy: As far as spirituality goes for me, I don’t want people to get it confused – we’re not trying to glorify God whilst talking about scamming. At the end of the day, life is hard. Me and my brother ask God for his protection from any wrongdoing, which everyone is guilty of. We gotta eat and we all want to get to a certain place. On the journey, you’ve got to give glory to God just for being alive. This is the life we live and I tell all my hustlers — get the money and do something great. 

Facts. And that’s why Nigeria probably has the highest concentration of God-fearing scammers.
Buggy: Damn right. The opportunities for people like us aren’t there, Africans don’t choose to scam [for the sake of it]. Being black and African, they don’t want you to get to a certain level. When the justice system is fixed to keep you at a certain level, what does one do? 

Scam Rap? Drill? Scam Drill? How would you define your music?
Ice Baby: For me, it’s scam Drill that we created as a lane for ourselves. I define it as talking for those who can’t talk. The real Africa. That’s what they don’t want to talk about. Me, you, them – we all know what’s up. We are going to talk about what it is. We are the fight-back generation. We’re not glorifying anything, we are just telling you how it is. With other rappers, it’s about “kill, kill kill” or “shoot, shoot, shoot” and that’s their thing. Not mine. More power to the people. 

Buggy: We are speaking for the youth, for our culture. I don’t want people getting crazy but when I was about 15/16, there was no one rapper I could relate to. No one was from America or London spitting like the way we do. The only African artists were singers or Afrobeat artists. But we speak for the new hustle. And not just us – just go look at the white man, everybody does it. If you’ve ever called your bank to dispute a transaction you made, you’re a scammer. If you ever took more benefits that you were entitled to, you’re a scammer. So when people look at us [in disbelief], we have to [refer to] the n**** that talked about killing people. I would be a liar to come up here and rap about lifestyles I don’t know even though we get busy. So yeah, we speak about what’s going on in our culture which not many people have been able to make it out of. 

This is an extract from the SS23 issue of Viper Magazine. Buy physical and digital copies here.

Photography: EDDIE CHEABA 




Location: BLANKBOX 

Creative Direction: EDDIE CHEABA 

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