Buffalo artist Gaine$ talks Native Sun album and extending the shelf life of music in the modern era

Gaine$ native sun album

Gaine$ of Buffalo NY is a diamond in the rough of the exploding Upstate music scene. Equipped with a unique set of vocals and a strong sense of self, Gaine$ crafts music embedded with truth, growth and self discovery.

In 2020, he released his 3rd album, Native Sun. A seemingly short 5 track project until the first song, “Act Iis played. The track morphs into an EP in of itself as the album begins to blossom into a full length experience far beyond the assumptions of a smaller tracklist.

Now in 2021 after a full year of Native Sun gathering steam, Gaine$ is pushing the album as hard as the day it dropped. A rare drive this day in age with even mainstream artists lacking on long term promotion and jumping quickly to the next project.

Gaine$ talked to us about his process of pushing Native Sun, what inspirations went into the album, and whats coming from him in 2022. Read up on the full interview below.

Q: So are you born and raised in Buffalo?

Buffalo born and raised. East side!

Photo of Gaine$
Photo of Gaine$ during a performance

Q: Is the album title Native Sun a direct reference to you being a native son of Buffalo?

I heard the term Native Son and decided to name this collection of songs that. I did the music first but then once I did research saw there was a book and movie that held the name. No relation between my idea of Native Sun and the book but I created my own definition of it being ‘Native Sun’ the beginnings of an enlightened man. Also in connection to bring a Buffalo “Native” and the Sun rises everyday as do I

Q: The cover is very intriguing and has multiple layers of meaning. What inspired the art and who did you get to bring the vision to life?

The artwork was done by Jessica Saddleson owner of the brand ArmCandy. I brought the idea to her because I felt this project was a chance for me to reintroduce myself as not only a rapper but an artist and a man that has recognized and achieved growth. The art displays me standing in a stream of water facing what appears to be a late Sun but it’s actually a picture of my real eye. The eye is shedding tears which create the same river I stand in. With war tanks and fire in the beyond I was able to depict what it feels like to be in touch with self even while you’re in the middle of chaos, war, conflict ect.
I define the art with a quote “I found myself in a war on my path to self discovery”
I used it for the first merch drop for Native Sun.

Cover to Gaine$ Native Sun
The cover to Native Sun by Jessica Saddleson

Q: Native Sun comes in the form of “Acts” that feel like multiple songs in a single Act, what made you want to present it that way?

I wanted to try a different flow. Typically artists release a collection of songs with no true transition and instead I felt there would be a mystique to having “hidden songs” in the project. Forces the listener to tap in to their attention span but if you skip then you may miss an extra song or two. Just a technique to keep the listener attentive”

Q: The lyricism and overall vibe for the majority of the album is fairly deep and follows a trend you’ve set with the content of previous projects like Gaine$ Stands for Makin Profits and Tuxedo Dreams. Is it your intent to create in that way?

That’s actually the only way I create. I don’t know how to create something that isn’t real to me or that I have not experienced. Creating “deep” or what I like to call art that is true to self. Self being the artist/creator his or her self. People relate and can identify with you better when you’re representing your truest self not by tapping into what you think they want to hear or see. What they want from you should already be embedded in your work/in your art”

Back side cover and tracklist for Native Sun
Back side cover and tracklist for Native Sun

Q: The production matches each song perfectly. Were they tailor made that way and who helped produce and engineer it all? 

Nothings tailored but more than that I tailor my style to the sounds I have to work with for the most part. I had beats from 3 producers Kagé Durden, Eloheeem, and Program all whom I’ve done work with and they know my style. I chose random beats to be honest but was able to make them come together because it was all recorded in about a 2 month span. I engineer myself and I have my brother Jordan “Hood” Koolie Executive produce with song arrangement

Q:The album was released on streaming services just before Christmas of 2020 along with a merch bundle, how do you stay so committed to push a project for a year and even longer especially in this day in age when consumption of music is so much faster?

I know in this day and age the only way to get the people to digest a project or a work is to keep it in their faces. I’ve had years when I’ve dropped 100 songs and because I moved so fast it wasn’t properly received. To the naked eye just a bunch of music with no promotion not much thought behind it. Now I understand the process of it. If it takes you 5-6 months to put it together. It being The music, the art work, the concept, the videos, the merch the promotion, ect. You should take the same amount of time pushing it

Gaine$ Native Sun merchandise
Gaine$ Native Sun merch bundles

Q: While pushing Native Sun you also dropped a couple collab projects with ToneyBoi called Project 77 and Project 88. Your rapping over beats from Chill Ali, Program, Camoflauge Monk and a host of other incredible producers and even recruited Conway for the track “Packaged Dope“. How did these sick projects come about?

Me and Toneyboi have a long history of music dating back from when we started recording music in 2005 to when we once called ourselves Koolie High (from 2009-2014). He stayed in the mix and I never stopped rapping so we decided to put somethin together. I think we did both projects in a 2 week period. The Conway feature actually was passed to me by Program previously recorded in 2017 and said he heard me on it so I added a hook and a verse and figured It would fit what me and Toney had going on so he added a verse as well and the rest is history

Toneyboi and gaine$ project 77 and Project 88
Covers to Project 77 and 88 respectively

Q: Who is one artist you would like to work with that you haven’t already?

I’d love to work with Curren$y as well as Isaiah Rashad I feel I could (do) something epic with those two individually and or together. Throw Freddie Gibbs in there as well.”

Q: What more can we expect to see from you in 2022?

You can expect Slime Shack Records to be a force in music and entertainment. In the current line up theres projects from Ooze Gang including ‘Last Time Being Bad Guys’ featuring myself and Skate Cobain and you can also expect a solo project from myself titled ‘Pain In Full’ inspired by the movie “Paid in Full”. Ideally I would be the character Ace Boogie and the songs and stories derive from that.

Keep your ears open for more music from Gaine$ and check out Native Sun now on all streaming services. Physical and digital copies are still available through Gaine$ bandcamp link below. Don’t forget to keep supporting your locals!!

Written by: Joshua Chaffer

Published: December 24th, 2021