Are you doing whatever it takes to make your music dream come true? Get ready to challenge your beliefs when you hear what my guest has to say! This week, I chat with Gasz Monroe about his recent career shift, his feelings on going legit, working with celebrities, the value of Only Fans for musicians, and his practical advice for rappers who are working towards a dream of fame and fortune.
January 2023 Interview with Gasz Monroe
Photobombshell: Hey Gasz! It is always good to work with you! The last time we had a formal chat or sit down, I think, was about two years ago when I had you on Photobombshell Radio for the Friday Night Frequency Show. I imagine a lot has changed in that time, so give us a quick rundown of you, your music, and how things have progressed since we last talked.
Gasz Monroe: Well, first off, I want to say thank you for having me. I have taken what seems so planned out, but the complete opposite lifestyle change since then. I dropped my album. ‘Quarantine Mobbin‘ in 2020, based on life from my perception of the pandemic. Coincidentally, I got hired to work at a COVID testing lab at the end of 2020, which was life-changing for me. I never thought I would go from making music like my song, ‘Essential,’ dedicated to the essential workers in the pandemic, to becoming one.
I eventually got my license and became a COVID Compliance Officer, and in the past two years have built bonds with over 20 A-list celebrities from working on sets nationwide doing Covid compliance. This took my financial stability to another level as well. Life has been great. Personally, 2022 has been one of the most successful years of my life. I spent most of the year working with rapper Waka Flocka as an artist under BSM WEST Brick Squad Monopoly West. Eventually, I branched off and got a new deal under Empire based out of San Francisco. I dropped my first project under them on December 22, 2022, called ‘Aries State Of Mind 2.‘
Photobombshell: That’s awesome. I am so glad to hear that you’ve been doing well and reaching some of those personal goals. I’ve seen from your social media that you are doing some big things and working with celebrities all the time. You mentioned that you are working on sets. How did you get into that space, and do you find that it competes for your time in making music?
Gasz Monroe: Yes, it is crazy because I spent my whole life trying to make it in the rap game, and in one year of working in film, I have met more rappers and superstars than I have in my whole life, before being a Covid Officer. I wasn’t worried about rap at first. I was enjoying being around so many actors and artists. In 2021, I hid my rap career and didn’t let the actors, cast, or crew know about my rap life.
In 2022, I started working on Love and Hip Hop and Only Baddies with Waka. By then, there was no way for me to hide my talent anymore. Once the celebrities found out about my talent, they motivated me to get back into the lab. It was hard to balance, especially in film, when you are on set for twelve hours a day, faithfully. I found time, and it’s all a dream now. I love it, especially when I have so many celebrities supporting me based on meeting me as CCO Nick, then finding out about Gasz Monroe.
Photobombshell: That’s incredible. It’s wonderful to have that kind of support, especially from people who are in the industry and have come up from the start. You mentioned your release, ‘Aries State of Mind 2’ earlier, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to talk about it. I featured it on our release calendar, but talk about that project a bit for me, how it came together, and what it means to you as an artist.
Gasz Monroe: Well, I dropped ‘Aries State of Mind 1’ on my birthday, 4/17/2015. That was my first official release since changing my name from Young Gasz to Gasz Monroe. I usually drop all my albums on April 17, but I wanted to prove myself to Empire, so I had to drop a project before 2022 ended as part of my distribution agreement. I’m a dedicated Aries. I love my sign. I’m pretty in tune with astrology, and I think I am the perfect representation of an Aries.
I’m not an asshole, but a confident and loving person. I’m a leader. I stand by what I say and don’t back down from anything. I have very sexual and physical love language, and I am very vocal. This project represents all of that. I’m no longer doing albums that are 12-15 tracks. I am only doing EPs or 8-song projects. These eight tracks represent the life of an Aries and the conception and direction of my thoughts and personality. ASOM 3 will drop on April 17, 2024, God willing.
Photobombshell: I think you explain yourself so well, and I agree that it reflects in your music. What has been the most rewarding part of putting together and releasing, ‘Aries State of Mind 2?’
Gasz Monroe: The biggest reward was the money I had while making it. Usually, I have to be in the streets, putting my life on the line and having things going on that make my music more one-way (gangsta rap). ‘Quarantine Mobbin’ was my first project where I got away from thugging every song, and I went more pop-rap, then hardcore. It allowed me to sing and have fun and made me evolve.
For this project, I was financially stable during the creative process, and my money didn’t come from the streets, so I could think of different things outside of hustling, guns, and violence. This album is more of an expression of life and feelings. It was fun making it, and the feedback has been the icing on the cake. My family and friends have been more supportive of this album than any of my old projects. I’m just in a great mental space. It really could have been a double album. I made a lot of songs; I just split them in half.
Photobombshell: It’s incredible how you can have such a significant change in mindset when you feel stable financially. Being that you have been in a better place in the last couple of years, what do you think has been the most challenging aspect of being an artist and musician? Do finances still play a role there?
Gasz Monroe: Even though I have had way more money to record this project and promote it, the hardest thing has been balancing my kids, health, and making money, then finding time to record. It’s very stressful because you always have to trade something to make something. I have to record on an off day. Ok, great, but I can’t make it to my son’s football game, or I’ll miss my daughter’s event.
I work a good-paying job to finance my dreams, but I’m always on the road, so I never see my kids. I’ll be so busy that I’m not eating right or taking care of my health. Being independent, everything I do that the world sees comes from my pocket, and being a rapper or artist is very expensive. In an average week, I spend $500 on marketing, promotion, and advertising, and I don’t have a label backing or budget. I have to work a lot to make sure my kids have a great life and bills are paid, then whatever is left, I put into my music and pray it pays off one day.
Photobombshell: I think that is something so real and relatable for any artist who is a parent. There are so many competing responsibilities, and it’s a challenge no matter how well we think we are doing. From your experience, how can independent artists and musicians best position themselves for success in 2023?
Gasz Monroe: I think the best way to position yourself as an artist in 2023 is by making industry friends. It’s so expensive to build a buzz, so I’d suggest making as many genuine friends as possible. That way, maybe it will cut some of the expenses in half. I don’t want anything free, but if I can get half off on a high-definition video and edited top-tier quality, that will help me be successful. When I’m no longer trapping, scamming, or scheming, making $1000 a day. Spending $500 to $1500 isn’t logical when you work a regular job unless you save up a budget.
Rap is so common now. Everybody does it, so you have to find a way to make the best opportunities for the best prices. Making bonds is the best way, plus staying consistent and pushing a hard line on your social media branding. Content creation helps a lot these days. Nobody cares just about the music anymore. The quality of the music is like 30% of it now. It’s 50% social media, 25% image, then maybe 25% talent.
Photobombshell: I think that is something many creatives struggle with, often wanting to create art or music, not realizing that as an independent, you have to do it all. I think you share some great advice and insight there. It seems like you are moving in the right direction, and you’ve got your plan for success in place. What is something you are looking forward to in 2023?
Gasz Monroe: This year I am looking forward to becoming a superstar. I’ve been chasing this since 2004, so now is my time. I’m famous now just from making bonds from my COVID job, and big-name producers, actors, and artists know who I am. I’m balancing my music, and it’s easier because my reputation has finally evolved, and I am noticed. I also have some of my other businesses growing well, and I think I will see my first million this year if my investments keep going as planned. If that is the case, my music will only continue to grow because of it.
Photobombshell: Speaking of your musical growth, I know you’ve tried some out-of-the-box ideas for your music. I think you were doing Only Fans for a minute when you had your song ‘Only Fans‘ that we touched on when we chatted on air in 2021. Are you still doing that? Does it have any crossover with your music, and do you feel there is a benefit to other artists using that platform as an income stream?
Gasz Monroe: Yes, I love the people that do Only Fans. If that lifestyle is compatible with you and won’t affect your relationship, morals, religious beliefs, or family’s reputation, I say do it. Sex sells, and even if you’re not having sex on Only Fans, anything seductive, exotic, or appealing pays bills and gets attention.
I stopped putting content on there because I have just been too busy, traveling from state to state and working 12 hr days on these film sets. I don’t have time for Only Fans, and I ran out of content ideas. Because I was never on there having sex, I had other cool stuff on there, like me performing amongst naked strippers in the strip club or once I interviewed a stripper nude. Lately, I haven’t been doing shows, so I haven’t used it all of 2022, but I think it’s a great way to see how dedicated your fans are.
Some artists do virtual concerts there, and they have so many loyal fans that pay monthly subscriptions to see their favorite artists do freestyles and performances that are exclusive to their Only Fans subscribers. I think it’s super lucrative in many ways. I plan on dropping an EP called ‘Too Short and Uncle Luke Raised Me.’ It will have ‘Only Fans’ and four more super sexual songs on it. I have a song with a very well-known porn star on it, and we plan on having an explicit video for the single that will only air on her Only Fans page. Her name is Layla Red Cakes.
Being from Oakland and growing up around so many pimps and prostitutes, becoming a pimp at 17, moving to Vegas, and buying a home at 21, I have a lot of strippers, prostitutes, escorts, porn stars, and Only Fans web content friends. Selling sex or soliciting the body for currency is commonplace and a part of my life. Even though I’m out of that life now, I still have a lot of friends in it, so it is normal for me. Would I want my kids making Only Fans content though? Fuck no. 😂
Photobombshell: I think that’s a refreshing and honest response. People probably don’t even realize that Only Fans can be a way to make additional revenue streams for their creative ventures without having sex on screen. While you’re out here dropping gems, what is one piece of advice you’d give another independent artist who is just starting?
Gasz Monroe: The best advice I can give is, don’t become a rapper unless you are willing to take some illegal risk to fund your rap dream because unless you are rich, no job will pay enough money to fund a rap dream. Make sure you aren’t sensitive or too anxious because it’s not an overnight come-up career. People won’t like your shit at first, no matter how dope you are, because we are in a time where if you don’t have a large social media following, nobody will even give your music a chance until they see other people talking about you.
Be ready to spend a lot of money and be ready for rejection. If you can overcome all that and are willing to do whatever it takes to finance your dream, go for it. If not, do something else. There are plenty of six-figure careers in music. You don’t have to be a rapper to live a good life and be in the industry.
Photobombshell: Gasz, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and share your responses here. Some of the experiences and advice you’ve shared based on real life are invaluable to this audience and other musicians. Is there anyone you want to shine a light on?
Gasz Monroe: I want to shout out my whole Monroe family, especially my kids. They are my biggest motivation. I’m pushing hard to get a major deal by 2024, and I hope the world starts to see what I bring to the table. Gasz Monroe is more than a rapper. I am a podcaster (The Gaszstation Podcast). Catch the new season in February on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube. I’m a content creator, an up-and-coming actor, a father, a businessman, and a motivational speaker (look up Friday Fill Ups on my Instagram and YouTube). I do a lot. I’m dedicated, and I just want to be heard and seen.
Photobombshell: That’s awesome. I see so much change, growth, and progress in your career and mindset. I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings for you. One last chance to plug those projects! What do people need to tap into right now?
Gasz Monroe: The podcast starts back again at the end of February. Live Instagram interviews and shows will be out after that on all platforms. Aries State Of Mind 2 is out now. My EP ‘Bitches Need Love 2’ drops on Valentine’s Day, then my next album, ‘Aries Season,’ is set for release on March 21, 2023.
Love you all, especially Photobombshell! If anybody wants to collaborate or work with me, hit me up. My prices are reasonable.
Photobombshell: Love you right back, Gasz. It’s always a pleasure to have you, and I am looking forward to helping promote those new projects. I know they will be worth the wait. Keep me posted on what you are up to for the rest of the year, and tell all your famous friends about me! 😂 In the meantime, folks can connect with Gasz Monroe on Instagram and catch his work on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and iHeart Radio.