There’s something anachronistic about G-Worthy, the newly-formed trio comprised of L.A. rappers G Perico and Jay Worthy, and Dallas producer Cardo. The Jheri-curled Perico consistently draws comparisons to Eazy-E in terms of both style and sound, Jay Worthy has made a name for himself as a street lyricist with a nostalgic West Coast sensibility, and Cardo, the versatile hitmaker behind a bevy of bangers like “Goosebumps,” “Grammys,” and “THat Part,” is at his best when he’s channeling Warren G and DJ Quik. The group’s eponymous 7-track debut EP feels like a vestige of classic G-Funk. It’s vintage, done right. However, despite their throwback West Coast aesthetic—or maybe because of it—G-Worthy sounds as new and exciting as anyone out.
Perico’s a South Central Crip; Worthy’s a Bompton-bred Piru. They welcome the comparison to Westside Connection. For 22 minutes the two rap effortlessly about the life of a G—hustling, rubber-band-tussling, dead homies, pimping, brown paper bag chilling. Underneath the street stories, Cardo’s reimagining all the best features of G-Funk: the laid back hooks, vocoder melodies, bass-heavy synthesizers. G-Worthy is simultaneously folkloric and fresh, a refreshing piece of classicism.
Above, you can check out the premiere of the trio’s video for “Ain’t Trippin’”. Below, in a phone interview with Complex, G Perico, Jay Worthy, and Cardo spoke about how the G-Worthy collaboration came together, whether or not they consider themselves to be throwbacks, the significance of a Blood and a Crip working together, and the state of West Coast hip-hop.
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How did the G-Worthy collaboration come together?
Jay Worthy: Cardo hit me up on Twitter like, “Man, we gotta do a project together.” We were both homies with Yams. Perico, I knew him from the streets, from gangbanging. We were already homies. I hit Cardo back like, “We need to do this shit, to be damn near like the new Westside Connection, the Blood and Crip coming together.”
G Perico: I’ve known Cardo since Kush & Orange Juice. I met Jay Worthy right before I went to jail, maybe 2011. Jay was already working with Cardo and said it’d be dope to bring me in.
Cardo: Really it was through the late, great Yams. He was like, “Yo you gotta fuck with Jay Worthy and G Perico out in LA. They’re two rappers, one’s a Blood and one’s a Crip.” I listened to them and the shit was fire. It made me wanna work with them.
The project is steeped in a classic, nostalgic G-Funk vibe, do you consider yourselves to be throwbacks to a bygone era of rap?
Jay Worthy: Nah. I just think we’re from Compton, South Central, and grew up listening to all the classic West Coast stuff like Dogg Pound and Ice Cube.
G Perico: I grew up on that type of music but I consider myself something different. The bounce is similar but it’s a different vibe. I consider myself something new. A lot of people say that we’re bringing certain shit back, but that’s not my intention. I wasn’t there to bring it back, so I can’t really tell you shit about back then besides as an outsider looking in. So we on some new shit. It’s West Coast of course, but I’m definitely not looking to reinvent anything.
Cardo: It was like, let’s present something new. Not technically new, but new to the millennials. They’re not familiar with that sound of G-Funk. I just added my little twist to it and put a little sauce on it.
Do you worry that because of the project’s old-school sound, you might not connect with the younger generation?
Cardo: Nah, it’s not really a concern. I’m already in touch with the youth; they know me from Wiz Khalifa, Travis Scott. So they’re aware of Cardo, they’re just not aware of all the shit I’m able to do. So when I present something to them, they’re like, “Oh, shit,” because they see my name attached to it.
What was the recording process like?
Jay Worthy: This EP was made in one day. We just went in there, caught a vibe, and told Cardo to cook up the beats.
G Perico: I’m in there competitive. I think Jay Worthy was the same way and Cardo was the same way. So we was all competing against each other to make the dopest project.
Cardo: I already had a couple ideas that was already made but wasn’t finished. I was playing them because you might get different feels from artists when they hear them. So there was a couple beats on there that was half finished and I ended up finishing them up, and that was the whole process. We finished the project that same week.
Where is the West Coast sound at right now, and where is it going?
Jay Worthy: There are a bunch of different types of sounds going on in L.A. You got your classic sound that a lot of people would say is that ratchet L.A. sound, Mustard and YG and all that. And then what I did with LNDN DRGS, I feel like that was completely its own sound, different from what G-Worthy’s thing is. It’s hard to say what the L.A. sound is. There are a lot of great artists doing their own thing right now, and some of it sounds regional and some of it doesn’t. You couldn’t tell me that Kendrick Lamar’s album sounds regional; it sounds like a great album. But I know the G-Worthy shit definitely sounds like some West Coast shit.
Cardo: It’s going in the right direction. It’s going back to its essence. Everybody has their own sounds nationwide—Atlanta got their own shit, New York got their own shit, the South pretty much has their own shit, the Midwest has their own shit, the West Coast has their own shit. It’s going back to where it was in the ‘90s, when you would go to L.A. and only hear L.A. shit on the radio.
Jay and Perico, talk to me about the Compton/South Central dynamic. How are your L.A. experiences similar, and how are they different?
Jay Worthy: Compton is our own city. I’m a Piru and he a Crip, that’s two different worlds, period. But they’re both very similar worlds, and not only that, I could get to Perico’s neighborhood from my hood in five to seven minutes, know what I’m saying? It’s a hop, skip, and a jump around the corner. It’s two different cultures, different neighborhoods, but at the same time they’re very similar.
G Perico: L.A. is divided up in so many different sections, with so many different gangs. People think different, talk different. It’s so much different shit once you cross those lines. Jay Worthy’s hood is maybe a mile and a half from mine. And it’s totally different. They’re Bloods, they talk different, they from Compton, they got a different belief, they operate different. At the end of the day, it’s all tribal shit.
One of the first lines on the project is “Blue and red, that make green.” Is there any special significance to—or stigma associated with—collaborating with someone from a different set, or does it not matter much anymore?
Jay Worthy: I’ma come clean—back in the day this shit would’ve never happened. But this is cool to me because we on some new wave, just showing them like, fuck the bullshit, we can come together and get money together and put out dope music together. It don’t matter if you a Crip and I’m a Blood and all that. This is the message I wanna get across—we’re doing some positive shit. Two different sides, a Blood and a Crip coming together and we’re making dope music. It’s never really been done before in L.A. like that, especially with the new generation. It’s about unity, making good music, coming together, and seeing each other win.
G Perico: Music started like that. You had Westside Connection, that’s when the murder rate was at an all time high out here. [Nowadays] it’s not necessarily that bad. I met Jay Worthy over there—I was in a Blood hood by myself in a room full of Bloods. So as far as our side of town is concerned, it’s not really a big deal. But I think as far as the country is concerned, and the entire city, it is a big deal for people to see that we putting all the differences aside to do something big for the city, for the culture, for the L.A. rap scene.
What’s your connection to the streets like these days?
Jay Worthy: I’m trying to get all the way out of this shit so I don’t gotta be in the streets. I’m just gonna keep it a buck—when they hit me and say, “Jay Worthy, you’re on tour and we got this amount for you to do a show and you’re booked for the 30 days,” then the streets is goodbye, it’s bye-bye for the streets.
G Perico: I’m not completely removed from the streets yet. I don’t think I ever will be, it’s just a part of myself that’s always gonna be there. I got a lot of young homes that’s coming up after me that need guidance. I wouldn’t say I’m active doing crazy shit like that no more, but I am on the scene just making sure that my young homies not out there doing crazy shit, throwing their lives away. I’m blessed to be here, because I did everything that the dude that got life did. I did everything that the dude from my hood that got killed did. So me being around is important for the young dudes coming up that ain’t got no guidance.
What was it like working with Fool’s Gold on this project?
Jay Worthy: Shit, the one thing about Fool’s Gold, they give you all creative control of whatever the hell you wanna do. So that’s all I’ll say about that.
G Perico: Fool’s Gold is dope. They understand the culture, the hipster world, the hypebeast shit. It was definitely a good experience; I was happy I could work with them.
This seemed a little like a one-off project—are we going to get more G-Worthy music?
Jay Worthy: Shit, I think that’s the plan. Me and G is friends anyway, why not? Part two, come on, let’s go.
G Perico: We definitely will see real soon. I know it’s a few dates coming up so we definitely gonna do a few shows. As far as more music, we got some joints in the cut.
Cardo: Of course. The anticipation is building up already for a part two. I’m like, “Jesus Christ, we just put out the first one.” But it’s dope cause I sorta had a doubt in my mind where I was like, “Is everybody gonna fuck with this shit as much as we do?” But already people are asking for a part two. It’s a new sound to them. It’s different compared to everything else out there. So we wanna go left while everybody else go right.