An Interview with Greg Bussie
"To be honest, there is no specific sound coming from Huntsville because I look at the city as a melting pot of different cultures..."
Evan Dale // February 25, 2023
We didn’t know what exactly to expect last Summer when we flew into Huntsville, Alabama for an emerging music showcase called Hidden Gems. But once Greg Bussie took the stage, the scene, the crowd, and the extensively wide-ranging music being belted from a barrage of names, all began to make sense. The festival was titled with purpose. The whole city is a hidden gem. And the artists that are pushing the envelope not only for their city, but for music, style, and art at large represent a key part of a larger cultural renaissance sweeping the region’s lesser known locales. We spoke with Greg on that scene, on what it means to his music, and on what his music means to not only it, but the continued rise of a web of Southern cultural hotspots.
RNGLDR: When it comes to music, is there a particular element of the sound coming from Huntsville that feels specific to the city? And if so, how would you describe it, and from where does it source its influence?
GREG BUSSIE: To be honest there is no specific sound coming from Huntsville because I look at the city as a melting pot of different cultures. So, it’s a lot of people spread across genres other than Rap and R&B. One element I do feel is that the Deep South sound, whether that be in samples or just through vocals, roots show!
RNGLDR: We’ve worked a lot of local shows and festivals all over the US, but something about shows in the South always bring a unique energy. And that’s all about the crowd that shows up. It feels as though there’s a genuine love and interest in local art, fashion, and music in cities like Huntsville, Nashville, and Memphis, where non-performatively, people show up, give themselves to the art in front of them, and reciprocate it with a whole lot of their own energy and respect. That isn’t always the case elsewhere - especially in cities outside of the South. How do you feel about the support of your city and the cultural fabric of the South at large that pushes you and other artists forward?
GREG BUSSIE: Well, as far as my city the support is felt on my end, but not every artist going to be able to say that because the city (Huntsville) tends to only show love when statistics are involved. Nobody is rooting for you till they see everyone else rooting for you, and I feel that’s something we have to do better as a community. We should be pushing each other the same way we push these artist we don’t know. I will say that it’s a lot of love though and I do appreciate the ones in the city and South overall playing their part.
RNGLDR: Speaking of the South and its identity, there are a lot of things that feel innately Southern about your own sound. Specifically speaking on the unique cultural web that is the South, who are some of your influences that provide insight into the way you make music?
GREG BUSSIE: Well, my influences are fueled from so many different areas from Texas to Memphis to New York. But I will say some of my major influences from the South are Isaiah Rashad - his music really helped me find a specific sound I was interested in during my teenage years and molded my taste in music; as well as The Ghetto Boys, Project Pat, and The Last Mr. Bigg. That’s where a lot of that South sound you hear from comes from.
RNGLDR: And moving out of South, who are some other artists that have inspired your sound?
GREG BUSSIE: Boldy James, Nas, Earl Sweatshirt, Mavi, MIKE, Freddie Gibbs, and Drake just to name a few.
RNGLDR: In Huntsville specifically, that has a large, young scene of hyper-creative artists all making something unique, who, aside from yourself, should we be looking out for? And what makes them not only special from your perspective, but also important to a continuing Huntsville renaissance of sorts?
GREG BUSSIE: Mjestik. She is beyond talented, can sing and rap, and just really has that it factor, not to mention she’s one of the best writers I know. The way she’s able to put words together is crazy. Her presence is beyond needed. Also, we have Dope TAF he’s incredibly talented to the say the least. He’ll be gaining a lot of eyes soon when he drops his upcoming album. He weaves in and out of a lot of genres.
RNGLDR: On the subject, we love exploring hypothetical collaborations. So, if you could work with one other artist from the broader renaissance happening across cities in the South, who would you work with, and why?
GREG BUSSIE: I would love to work with BigXThaPlug his beat selection is crazy and I feel like we could make something so hard!
RNGLDR: And how about outside of the South? Who in music would you love to get a chance to work with? And what would the outcome sound like?
GREG BUSSIE: Joey Bada$$ we would make something crazy! He’s incredibly talented and I’ve been a fan for a long time.
RNGLDR: As far as your own work is concerned, your 2022 album, The Art Gallery, is a truly complete and immersive project through both the lens of your own musicality and in terms of a cohesive, thematic exploration of your mind. What can you tell us about what inspired the project? And what does it mean for you as an artist and a person to have it out in the world?
GREG BUSSIE: My situation and growth at that time inspired most songs, and a lot of those songs were more so a test at different sounds and new flows which I had the most fun with.
RNGLDR: What inspired its name? And how did Angela Bussie’s introduction come to life?
GREG BUSSIE: It was my showcase of my new work after 2 years and my chance to really put my art on display. And truthfully I needed a host and I was looking for somebody, then it popped in my head who better than my mother?
RNGLDR: For us, ‘Him (Weekends in Memphis)’ is a track that both shows how lyrically in touch you are, and how seamless you’ve become at weaving your lyricism into a track with an addicting hook that people can really move to. Is that balance something you pursue in ‘The Art Gallery,’ or is something that happens naturally when you’re making music?
GREG BUSSIE: It just happens naturally. I really felt inspired while working on The Art Gallery I was really happy around this time as well it’s the most fun I’ve had making music.
RNGLDR: ‘Honor Roll’ weaves in the unique flow and lyrical tendencies of fellow Huntsville rapper, Sincere Hunte. When did you start working with him? And what do you have to say about his impact on the city?
GREG BUSSIE: I started working with Hunte in 2020. I heard his first couple songs and I had to work with him, and honestly I don’t think he's appreciated in the city as much as he should be. Very talented artist
RNGLDR: We see you’re playing a lot of shows in Huntsville these days. What does live performance grant you as an artist that recording in the booth doesn’t?
GREG BUSSIE: Live performance grants you opportunities because recording and releasing only can cover so much ground. People want to see you perform these songs and they love to see if you even connect with your music the way they do.
RNGLDR: From what we’ve seen, you’re phenomenal at transferring the energy in your recorded work to the stage. What’s your thought process when you’re performing? And how do you engage the audience?
GREG BUSSIE: When I step on the stage to perform, I feel the most comfortable I’ve ever felt in my life. All the nerves and shakes go away as soon as the music starts and I black out. The key to engaging the audience for me is conversation and personality make the crowd interact. Involve the crowd to sing along even if you have to teach them the words.
RNGLDR: Any more shows coming up?
GREG BUSSIE: Nothing currently. Getting some big shows and festivals set up for the Spring and Summer, but I’m open for all bookings!
RNGLDR: And aside from shows, what’s next for Greg Bussie?
GREG BUSSIE: A LOT! I’m working on dropping 2-3 projects this year and getting some new music videos out as well. 2022 was big and 2023 is going to be even bigger!