A New Jersey native and a former high school basketball star, New York native and rapper Gunton has become a household name in rap circles for his 2015 single “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and the song’s subsequent video.
But in an exclusive interview with Polygon, Guntons longtime collaborator and friend, Tommie Sunshine, talks about the creation of the song and the process of writing the track’s beat, as well as Gunt’s relationship with Jay-Z.
Gunton, who now works with Jay, says he was inspired to write the song after his first meeting with the superstar.
“I was hanging out with him in New York and I was trying to talk to him about what he was doing,” Gunt said.
“I was like, ‘You know what, I think you could do something with that, like a rap song, and you know what?
He was like a perfect fit for it.'””
I remember sitting with him and just talking about the song, but he didn’t really want to talk about it.
He was trying not to talk too much about it,” he added.
“So I was like: ‘Jay, what are you up to?’
And he was like ‘Oh, I’m writing a song, I’ve been writing a lot of songs over the years, but I don’t really wanna talk about that stuff.’
In terms of the beat, Gooton said he initially wanted to incorporate the 808s and Grams sounds, but instead decided to take a more traditional hip-hop beat.””
But he was very open, he was super into it, he had so much passion about it and so much talent for it, so I had to take it from there.”
In terms of the beat, Gooton said he initially wanted to incorporate the 808s and Grams sounds, but instead decided to take a more traditional hip-hop beat.
“The 808s [sound] is a thing that I grew up with growing up in L.A., so I really feel like that’s where my influences come from, so the 808 and the Grams was the most obvious,” he said.
“[Jay] wanted to make a very classic beat, but also try to bring a bit of an ’80s vibe to it, just kind of try to capture the vibe that I think he was going for in that first meeting.
I mean, he’s not a bad guy, but it’s a really interesting concept, too.”
Sunshine also spoke about Guntson’s relationship to Jay, who he said was “not an easy guy to work with.”
“He’s always trying to push himself, always trying [to] push his music forward,” Sunshine said.
But Gunt says Jay is very much his mentor, and that he always had to work for his own success.
“It was definitely a process, and I think it’s kind of a unique situation,” he continued.
“Because I had a very successful career, Jay was like this, I got a lot to prove.
I’m like, man, you gotta work for me, I gotta prove it.
I didn’t want to just go out there and be a big-time rapper and be like, hey, this is what you wanna do, I don’ know what’s going on.”
Sunny also said that Gunt had a “pretty cool” relationship with his father.
“There were a lot things that he’d done with his dad that he still remembers.
It was definitely cool to have him around,” he explained.
“He was a really sweet, funny guy, and he was just so happy to see me when I was growing up.
It made it easy for me to have a great relationship with him, because it wasn’t like, you know, I have to work my ass off to get him.
It just felt like a good relationship.”
While Gunt has remained a regular presence on social media and the internet since his song’s release, he also has a long-standing connection to the Gunttown rapper.
“You know, it’s pretty cool that I’m still working with Gunt, because he’s my friend and I’m my partner and it’s cool that he’s still involved in the Goottown world,” he told Polygon.
“When I was doing the song with Jay and he came out on the video, I was watching the video and I got goosebumps.
He just made me feel like I was the best thing ever.”
Gunt also told Polygons about his friendship with Gantz.
“We’ve known each other for about a year now, and the thing about Gantz is, he comes from this neighborhood,” he noted.
“This is what the hood is all about, you can see it all around you, and Gantz and I just grew up in that neighborhood.
We’ve seen each other a lot.”
He also explained that while they had similar music taste, the two had different experiences