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GATECITYCRAIG is standing out among his rap peers by doing one simple thing: being himself. The newcomer’s humble spirit combined with an effortless flow is the key formula to carving his own space in rap.

Born in Pomona, the 25-year-old and his mother moved to Youngstown, Ohio and later Greensboro, North Carolina in 2005. The southern city is what GATECITYCRAIG credits for help shaping him. His mother being a dedicated churchgoer, the rapper’s ear for music began in the church as he was drawn to playing the drums. His household was soundtracked by Christian music and ‘90s R&B groups like Dru Hill, but he drew to rappers like Ludacris, Eminem and 50 Cent. “I used to get those stereos for Christmas,” the rapper recalls.” I was listening to Get Rich or Die Tryin’ on repeat with headphones on when I went to sleep.”

“Everybody doesn’t want to say whatever it is they’re feeling, but I’m willing to say it at the expense of looking a little wild if that means someone else is feeling seen or heard,” he says. “A lot of people try to hold an image and I'm not trying to do that. Take me for who I am.”

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