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Rapper Glass Joe is straight outta Nashville, TN, -- a.k.a. Ca$hville -- and is busting the Cowboy Belt at the buckle with his Felonious Records debut, Glacious set to be released nationwide on May 31, 2005.
Not an Original Gangsta, most def, and not a New Jack, either, Glass Joe rolled into Ca$hville from Fayetteville, Georgia, in 1990, where he and his sister came from a nice family, whose mom was from Seoul, Korea, and whose father worked his ass off.
“I gotta praise my father for where he’s at now and where he took himself. It’s all about giving somebody that credit, because a lot of people don’t wanna do that.”
But just because Glass Joe didn’t come up a thug, dodging bullets and pushing crack, doesn’t mean he don’t know what’s up. Yeah, he’s warm and funny – in conversation, but Glacious spits street cool all the way.
Glass Joe’s unbreakable street cred is endorsed by Pimpin’ Ken (Snoop Dogg), who steps up and steps in to the clip for the album’s lead single, “Big Wheels.” These two bruthas, who’ve known each other for years, share the common goal of using their respective street games to elevate their communities; just check out Pimpin’ Ken’s improv in “Big Wheels.”
“The song is for the club crowd,” Glass Joe says. “You can call it the comin’ out party. And this is the invitation. So many people talk about gangstas and bling-bling and all that ol’ sh**. We gotta elevate the gangs, and talk about something bigger than that. You gotta give ‘em something that’s gonna catch their attention, and once they listen... We bait the water for ‘em. I got all kind of flavas on the album; ‘Big Wheels’ just opens up the club vibe.”
The album’s highly controversial single, “Police,” has already put him at the top of rap’s most wanted list. But unlike certain old school tracks from O.Gs. and more recent throw-downs from New Jacks that have raised the ire and eyebrows of law enforcement and the so-called moral majority for their blatant lyrics and violent invocations, Glass Joe inadvertently sounded a false alarm with “Police.”
To say that “Police” is misconstrued is an understatement, but then, most true artists are subject to misinterpretation when they challenge the intellect and affect the emotions. Artistic controversy is a badge of honor, really, although not one that Glass Joe contrived to earn.
“It was filled with truth,” Glass Joe laughs. “You could do all the research behind the words and it will hold up. I wasn’t trying to look for negativity; I was just trying to make people aware. It wasn’t just talkin’ about the police department, it was trying to let you know that everybody around you in your crowd could be the police. Anybody could be the police. One verse is dedicated to the police department, and there’s one for the girls, and one for the people around you. The song is laid out for people, but you know how it is...”
Two years in the making and 18 tracks later, Glacious is destined to set a new standard for rap music.
“I’m tryin’ to reach those dudes and elevate their minds. Take your money, man, and do somethin’ with it. Do somethin’ constructive.”
On a more immediate, personal level, Glass Joe sees Glacious as “therapy,” not only as his own creative catharsis as he was building tracks such as “Strugglin’” and “What Will U Do,” but for everyone who could use the help of music to do the talking.
“You could put it on a certain song that will say everything that you’re thinkin’ in your head. If you have somebody in the car that you’re angry with, you could put one of my songs in and they’re gonna be sittin’ there, like, ‘Hmmmm, is he tryin’ to tell me somethin’?’” Glass Joe smiles slyly. “There’s every aspect on the album. I’m tryin’ to let people know that they’re not the only ones thinkin’ the way they are. The album is almost telling them what they’re going through. There’s a song on there for all of that, like ‘Movin’ On.’”
Eighteen tracks – now that’s some real ‘going through,’ but Glass Joe actually recorded “hundreds,” a testament to his prolific ability to write meaningful “poetry with a beat behind it,” as well as to his core-deep empathy.
“Glacious is from glacier; a large, slow-moving body of water. Being from the South, we don’t have a lot of popularity right now,” Glass Joe points out. “But we’re slowly dripping down to give y’all a part of us – what’s going down in the South. New York and L.A. are doin’ their thing, but don’t forget about us. You could learn a lot from us.”
He stands strong and holds true to his beliefs, making him an “authentic ni99a” in the best possible sense of the term.
“I have goals and sights. It’s gonna be hard to deter me from my path. People say stuff and people do stuff, and you just gotta keep a level head and aim for your goals. Don’t let people make your decisions for you.
“The streets is a level of the album,” Glass Joe explains, “but we’re not hustlin’ in the streets to get to the streets. We’re tryin’ to motivate ourselves and expand our minds. Give ourselves opportunities.”
Look through Glass Joe and pick out the song you can relate to. He’s a class act you’re going to want to follow.