Nashville really is the perfect Music City. It’s full of surprises. When I first moved here, the surprise was that this is not just a country music city. There is a pretty nice hip hop scene in Nashville as well as an electronic scene. So as I was trying to carve my special place in local Nashville hip hop, I found another surprise. I was scrolling Facebook and someone had posted The Stuyvesants Meet Gummy Soul mixtape.
I was really impressed. As it turns out there was a lot going on with Gummy Soul that I didn’t even know about. A lot has happened with Gummy Soul since that first listen. I inquired to find out more about them. One of the members, Wally Clark, wrote me back with everything I was wondering. I’ll just tell you what he told me.
Gummy Soul is a Nashville based record label and production company, founded by Walter “Wally” Clark. In 2006, Clark moved to Atlanta, to seclude himself while learning how to produce. Standing outside of a record store in the Little 5 Points district, Clark was approached by future Gummy Soul artist Rahlou “Nickel Plated Butter” Hodge. Impressed by Clark’s knowledge of soul music, Hodge surprised Clark with a unexpected gift the day after they met. He took Clark to a record collector friend of his, and convinced him to give Clark nearly 1,200 records. Clark spent a year in Atlanta, getting to know his collection, and perfecting the Gummy Soul sound. In 2007, Clark moved back to Nashville, to work on music with longtime friend and fellow producer, Amerigo Gazaway.
Clark met Gazaway in 2001, when he was only 15. They connected immediately; Clark taught Gazaway about hip hop, while Amerigo taught him about production and writing rhymes. In 2007, the two started The Gummy Soul Show, a weekly radio show on 91.1 FM WRVU. Inspired by former WRVU DJ and now Stones Throw label head, Eothen “Egon” Alapatt‘s 911 Emergency show. the Gummy Soul show featured rare soul songs, sampled to make classic hip hop records. The show was a staple in the Nashville community, until WRVU abruptly sold it’s license, and was reformatted as a classical station.
In 2008, Clark met Kurtis Stanley, who became Gummy Soul and began work on what became the label first official release. the aptly titled, Gummy Soul album. Showcasing Clark’s knack for soulful production and cleaver sample choices, as well as Stanley’s, accessible, yet intricate rhymes, the Gummy Soul album laid the template for all of the label’s future releases.
After releasing a handful of well received releases, the label earned it’s first hit, with the Fela Kuti/De La Soul mashup album Fela Soul. With over 300,000 downloads to date, Fela Soul gained praise from NPR and MTV, and established Gummy Soul as one of the most reliable sources in modern hip hop today.
The word that I got on the street was that Amerigo had the Fela Soul album done and finished for months and was just sitting on it while waiting on the right opportunity. ?uestlove was in town doing a DJ set. Amerigo gave it to him at his gig and then released it online via his site and on twitter. ?uestlove retweeted it. It got picked up on Okayplayer, NPR, MTV, The Source, NME, etc. They definitely knew how to take over the internet. They didn’t even have to tour. Gummy Soul is definitely my favorite hip hop group in Nashville right now. Honestly, they’re making music that’s comparable to anything else in the country. Check out the new Occupy Wall Street Anthem that Amerigo recently did.
They’re a force to be reckoned with! Check them at their website: GummySoul.com