Gawtti from the Boo Yaa Tribe talks about Gangster Rap

Alex Alonso for Street Gangs Magazine
December 31, 2006

I had the pleasure of talking with Gawtti from the Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E., for an article I wrote on the formation of the Bloods in Los Angeles for the December 2006 issue of The Source Magazine. Gawtti and the Boo Yaa Tribe hit the scene in 1989/90 and were signed with Island Records, and have collaborated with Ice Cube, George Clinton, Layzie Bone, Eminen, WC, Mack 10 and many others. They have their own label, Samoan Mafia Records and a clothing line, Ganxsta Gear. You may remember Gawtti in the film, The Italian Job starring Mark Wahlberg and Edward Norton where he played Skinny Pete. Because the Source article only includes a few quotes from the various persons I spoke to, I transcribed the entire interview and posted it below for your viewing pleasure.

Correction: The name of the neighborhood that Gawttii mentions below, Mangro Mob was misspelled and should be spelled Mongrel Mob. – June 23, 2009.


Gawtti

Gawtti

Alex Alonso: : DJ Quik, Suge Knight, you guys [Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E.] and now the Game that have represented Blood in some sort of way? With the popularity of West Coast Gangster rap do you think the rap music has had an impact on Bloods starting in other cities?

Gawtti: There is a saying in LA, “that it is hard to be a Be Dogg (Blood)” because there are a few Bloods, and more Crips, so we got it harder, it like one Blood in one city out of five Crip gangs around them, I think people recognize that and see how hard it is to be a Blood. Everyone wants to be a Crip because they see how big it is but being a Blood is all heart.

Alex Alonso: Do you know Bloods from other cities?

Gawtti: I got homies in New York, in Colorado, Las Vegas and they are all Bloods, we got homies in Hawaii, and in New Zealand, and in New Zealand they have one of the biggest gangs, Mango Mob, about 2000 of them, a Blood gang, we were surprised when we went there. A lot of different Blood neighborhoods show respect, even in New York, like Jim Jone’s neighborhood, Trech from Naughty by Nature, RedMan, big cities, its all love.

Alex Alonso:
Speaking of New York, Tru Life came out criticizing Jim Jones for emulating Los Angeles gang culture. How do you respond to that type of criticism?

Gawtti: Yeah, some people want to keep it original, but at the same time you can’t kill the movement. Everyone knows that Bloods & Crips started in LA, and that’s actually one of our songs coming out called, “Bloods & Crips started in LA” but if they want to do it in New York, Colorado, Vegas, all over the United States, I looked at it as more power, I don’t look at it as a bad thing.

Big Gawtti of Boo Yaa TRIBE

Alex Alonso: What inspired you guys [Boo Ya TRIBE] to get involved in hip hop in the late 80s.

Gawtti: We had a brother that passed away, and we decided to go into another direction, even though we was gang bangin’ and slangin’, we still had music in us. With Ice-T, Toddy T, Mix Master Spade, Rodney O and Joe Cooley, Eazy E, they used to come to our hood in Carson, we were like the first Samoans to touch rap at the same time they were doing it.

Alex Alonso: When you guys first came out I remember Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E. being referred to as a group of Samoan Bloods. Were you guys cool with representing so straight up about it?

Gawtti: Yeah, I was comfortable with that, my brother was comfortable, we just wanted to show the struggle from the how it was done in the streets of Carson. A lot of groups used to come out to Carson and they remember our Hall, and they used to perform there and there were a lot of fights there.

Ganxsta Gear

Alex Alonso: Are there any Crips in Carson?

Gawtti: Yeah, they have the 190 East Coast Crips.

Alex Alonso: What are the Blood neighborhoods in Carson.

Gawtti: You got Calas, E/S Cabbage Patch, Scottsdale, East Side Scott Parks, and us West Pirus on the Westside. Also Center View Piru but our, West Side Piru was on Avalon & 223.

Alex Alonso:Being in the rap game for years it is inevitable that you are going to come across Crips who rap and being a Blood how to you avoid beefs with other rappers.

Gawtti: We grew up to another level, people don’t know that Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E. has Crips in our group too from Compton, and we are Pirus from Carson, but we look at it as respect, people always say, how do you do it, but we are tying to make a future for our music. We keep it on another level so we can do our music and help the little homies that need to be helped.

Gawtti in the film The Italian Job

Alex Alonso: tell me about this song, “Bloods & Crips started in LA.”

Gawtti: my brother Ganxsta Ridd wrote a song called “Bloods & Crips started in LA” and we are working on getting Snoop on there, because everything started in LA from white Ts, from chucks to cackies, and now white Ts it is a fashion now, east coast the south, and it was a uniform in LA from the 70s, models and actors are wearing white Ts, that was a uniform for gangstas. The thing that always gets me hot, is that when the executives get involved, they change the game, and now it is cool to wear Ts now, corporate gets involved, there the ones that fuck the game up.

Alex Alonso: what’s your main criticism of corporate involvement in Hip Hop.

Gawtti: with us, we always kept it real from day one, we kept it street, the streets make the music, we been underground, but we are still doing in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan because they see the real, and America keeps us on the side because they are trying to stop the movement, but they are not going to stop the gangsta movement.

Alex Alonso: You seem comfortable with the gangsta rap label.

Gawtti: To tell you the truth, we are comfortable with it, because that’s what we are, that’s what we came out of. I didn’t come up out of trying to be cool and all that, we came out of the streets, the struggle, there is a lot of pain, struggle, death, tears and blood in our music, and real people recognize real, we get respect from all the big rappers in the mainstream from Emimen, Jim Jones, they all show us love. But we are still doing it, touring and going over seas.

Alex Alonso: The Game, there has been alot of criticism, good and bad about how Game is representing his neighborhood. Have you had to endure any criticism from representing gangsta but also working in the studio on music?

Gawtti: No, I don’t think mutha fuckas got the balls to criticize us.

Alex Alonso: Did you ever have any beef with different rappers.

Gawtti: Alex, we had one of the first beef between us and Tone Loc, but we squashed that, we grew up. Everyone is trying to gang bang in the music, and I am not here to gang bang in the music, I am trying to tell people how we used to live through our music, I have kids, I have a family to feed, this is not a hobby, this is what we live to do. I notice a lot of rappers try to be hard, we aren’t trying to be hard, we are our own people, I am a Piru, but I am not active anymore. I want to show people that they can pursue things also and change their life. These rappers with all these beefs, if they want to beef they should just take it to the streets, it you want to get down, do it. It’s like this Alex, lets all fuck-up and lets get locked up for life, then what? Jail ain’t the place to be, you got rappers tying to be hard and live that life, just be yourself, that’s what Boo Yaa is all about. But we are not trying to gang bang in music, we just need to keep this west coast together and try to make this paper, that how we look at it.

Alex Alonso: Do you have a name of the next album yet that got coming out?

Gawtti: Not yet, we are still thinking on that, but we are doing it our self on Samoa Mafia Records, we don’t need corporate helping us, because they try to keep us down. We got some young talent to and bring them up. We are like 18 years in the game, ups and downs and we learned a lot. Like [Ice] Cube said, “If you have a name you can do it yourself,” and it is true. Our group is so big in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, Japan so we know we can do it ourselves, instead of going back to a major (label) we are doing it ourselves.

Alex Alonso: There are a lot of Samoans in New Zealand and Aukland…

Gawtti: Oh man, Alex, it is so Crazy that they got a gang called Boo Yaa Tribe 62.

Alex Alonso: When you find out and hear about that, what’s your first reaction to something like that?

Gawtti: Our reaction is so shocking, to us it is like, look at what we started, look at all these young Samoans, creased down to the Chucks, I was like wow, it moves me and my brothers because we didn’t know it was like that.

Alex Alonso: Do you think that you might receive some negative backlash because you have a gang neighborhood in New Zealand, in Aukland or somewhere down there, and it turns out that they start bangin’ hard and someone gets hurt? Because they were somewhat influenced by Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E. Do you ever feel it can go negative.

Gangxst Gear by Boo Yaa

Gawtti: It can go either way Alex, that’s how I look at it. You got to take it or not. You got to ride with it or you ain’t going to ride with it. I can’t say it is going to be positive because it is gangsta. It is hard to stay positive so if someone says I wanna be a gangster, but it can go both ways, I can’t say if it is going to be positive or negative, you are either going to ride with it or not.

Alex Alonso: Thanks for talking with me Gawtti, and do you have a name of the next album yet?

Gawtti: We are still working on the album, we are still in production and aiming for the beginning of summer. We are also doing a clothing line, Ganxsta Gear is our clothing line and our web site should be up at the beginning of next year. Holla at me anytime.

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35 Comments for “Gawtti from the Boo Yaa Tribe talks about Gangster Rap”

  1. Antonio Seala

    yo man
    the names atonio from Australia. Man i got respect for the booya tribe dawg.
    im straight samoan, we repping bloods here in Victoria, but we dont rep it for the looks we rep for the pride and respect.
    People and crips in our area know that we repin our colours fo life.
    Me and ma boy ephraim rep our colours in skool and out.
    we aint low life gangstas, we do it our way.
    We go church wit family’s bcause that the samoan way.
    He in Victoria BLOODS rule this turf, only 30 crips maybe, we all know each other.
    We dont ki*l we do it a more safer where no-one gets ki*led, we fight till we drop.
    Thats how we do it.

    But anyways BOOYA TRIBE. You have our respect here in Australia Victoria.
    Keep it real and keep up the music.
    God Bless.
    FA! (bye)

    • LD

      Way back in Oside I got to know alot of Samoans before they started reppin & tripping. They some cool as people for the most part when you get through the B/S. This fool Sur13 need ta chill with that racist sh*% though, cuz everybody knows he’d go to Oside and get his little blank mopped up by some young blank Samoan in Jr. High. Mexicans cant scrap, so guy please this aint Flyweight sh*% punk. What ever happened to the cool calm quiet eses with respect given, respect taken. People get back to throwing hands please, I’ll come back out to break this hoes faces.

  2. I am Samoan and I was raised in Harbor Area of LA. I partied with you all and I am quite disappointed that people actually are still reppin hoods and sets. I enjoyed Boo Yah music when you first came out…but I feel that it is saying too much of what direction are you misleading the young generation and especially Samoan children. As you know Carson does have the highest amount of non graduating Samoan kids in our state and probably our country. Do you think that getting a street cred diploma can get them into a University or allow them to have a great career in life…or what kind of life span our we talking about here for them to have. I am truly shocked that Boo Yah represents in that manner still, nothing against the group just the cause of what they stand for. I will pray for you all and just know that JESUS loves the sinner, not the sin… GOD BLESS Boo Yah tribe and all who follow them. I plead the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST on your lives and your work. May GOD’s will be done in all of your lives.

  3. Great post!!! thanks so much for the free info.

  4. p-Nut

    Mongrel Mob (not Mango Mob) isn’t a blood gang, they’re a ethnic gang (Maori) that started in the late 60s/70s after the Hells Angels started in NZ. They’re pretty much a biker gang, not a street gang. Their colour is red, their main rivals Black Power wear blue…..go figure, lol.

    Street gangs here in NZ are heavily influenced by the American gang lifestyle. But like in the Mitchy Slick interview, it’s people doing the same sh*%, reppin’ their neighbourhood, drugs, crime, clashing with others. Guns aren’t widespread and readily available.

    Sole Antonio, forget the gang sh*%, do your studies!

  5. Do yall get along with T.C.G members?

  6. Love my relativez[u know whut it iz] frum the boo yaa, but alex, u gotta do better on these interviews! u asked the man the same questions, 10 different wayz. so much more u kouldve elaborated on. plus, your grammar and spell check must have been broke, kuz some of these jointz dont even make sense!! k’mon, mr educated…

    REDO, homie and keep up the good work, tho-

    woop wooop!

    hb.
    111 W/S INGLEWOOD CPB

  7. SA GANG 4 LYFE

    I dont like WE SELL PEANUTS AND vaginaVILLE COWARDLY CRACCHEADS, SA GANG OR NO BANG chick

  8. Himbad4sho

    I gotta agree with the Uce M Eagle..I too grew up with the tribe before the fame Uce..from Carnegie jr high..I believe that this blood /crip movement needs to come to a cease in the polynesian community..and we should set a positive example amongst our younger generation..nobody’s ever gonna say you guy’s have gone soft as long as your reppin a positive movement for all our polynesian culture.”keep it real and make our poly culture be noticed by our pride and dignity to become a unity” we our a powerhouse species..the world knows this already and thats what we should be reppin not to continue somethin that the meuli’s started..I gots mad love for the tribe..but im tired of hearing about my peeps dyin over somethin stupid like colors…(real talk)..dont let your kids get caught up in somethin you know isnt right..Alofa Atu!!!

  9. HEY W?HY

    HEY WHY THAT f#@$kER SO f#@$kING FAT ALL THE FATTY f#@$k FAT f#@$kING TIME FAT LIKE BOWLING BALL WITH PENIS AND HAIR.

  10. Hawaiinlookingbitch

    He got little head…tiny head….teeny weenie head…itty bitty head…ooooohhh it’s so teeny

  11. cheerio

    why he SO f#@$kING FAT like make 12 babies in his FAT f#@$kING STOMACH for he can have some baby to eat later like a BIG FAT SLOB SAMOAN????

    • san diego sur13

      f#@$k SLOBMOANS DISGUSTING OBESE PIGS LOOK LIKE THE WHITE TRASH ON JERRY SPRINGER. MOTHER f#@$kERS SHOULD BE SPOKESPERSONS FOR MCDONALDS, GO BACK TO YOUR ISLANDS YOU SIMPLE PEOPLE.

  12. san diego sur13

    all SAMOANS ARE guy WANTOBEES , YALL MOTHER f#@$kERS GOT HAWAII ON LOCK BUT THATS ABOUT IT, AND f#@$k ALL YOU SLOBMOANS IN OCEANSIDE SAN DIEGO COUNTY, YOUR WOMEN LOOK LIKE MEN, THEY ARE EACH 400LBS OBESE, DEVELOP HEART DISEASE AND HAVE STROKES BEFORE THEY HIT 20, f#@$kING PIGS, FIRE DANCIN HOOLA HOOPER LAMES, MALIKI MALIKI f#@$k YOU. SOUTHSIDE AND WOODS RULE THE WORLD . AND HALF OF YOU STUPID blankES GET SCOLARSHIPS FOR FRUITBALL AND THROW THEM DOWN THE DRAIN CUASE YOU STUCK ON THAT d#$k RIDING BANGING sh*% YALL MOTHER f#@$kRES ARE JOCKERS

    • JaneSkiSS

      someone DONT know jakk bout samoans.. come down to NEW ZEALAND-SOUTH AUCKLAND and say that sh*%.. you’ll straight end up on life support.. bbiitcchhhhhh ALL WAYS OUT NUMBERD BUT NEVER OUT_DONE haa.

    • Paloma Blanca

      San Diego sur13, wow, u must really hate yourself with all these negative comments you have put on here, your wee wee must be about 2 inches long.

      At least these cats making money, and we all know, when it’s time to make money, red and blue, green etc get together….so, saca paja

  13. GB

    Man I f#@$kin love that Boo Yaa Tribe / Faith No More tune…ANOTHER BODY MURDERED!

    f#@$k! That used to make the clubs BOUNCE.

    What happened? More of that sh*% please.

  14. "AUSTRALIAN HIP HOP"

    ROOLLLIN 60’S CUUUZ 6 OWE

  15. Ok. I think you’re right!…

  16. some genuinely nice and utilitarian info on this internet site , as well I think the design and style has got great features.

  17. right187

    stay up playas coast 2 coast

  18. Compton Shottaz

    sur13 u sound stupid af homez. Let me catch u cyber slippin again im pull this cyber glock and squeeze on u. dumb blank joto. chinga!

  19. Steve

    Deez guys rep all da Pizza Huts in Carson

  20. dirtykike

    everything published has to be taken with a grain of salt but anyway, if what was said here is true, its real disappointing and down right blankbackwards. this is an old interview and i hope gawtti has changed since then [despite the fact even when he said this was when he was a grown-blank man already]

  21. angel ines

    faaaaat samoendz

  22. laSVegAZ

    13 got bunk tracks..i wiSh you were heRe……

  23. Bigg Lunaticc

    No disrespect 2 Carson,but Im frm Harbor City rt nxt door. Carsons a nice community,primarily tha alleged ws piru area. Naw,tht areas non existent of gang activity. High sch football games bout tha only activity. They aint turnt up like tht otherwise. Speakn frm experiemce. Og/Bg Harbor Lun’z.. Chec us out,Big Bembeano on youtube,Soldier boy diss video. 252st,Pch & Normandie my lll locs lurken. Turnin nothen dwn.

  24. hey whats up King Rook its been a long time just telling you Great job on life keep up the good work…

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