Gossett Brown is multi-skilled artist currently living in the Bay Area. He’s a Freelance Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Music Editor for BlameEbro.com, Ebro’s (Hot 97) brand website. He’s featured a long list of Florida artists on the site as well as interviewed New York artists and others. Aside from writing, he’s co-directed music videos and co-curated art shows like Culture Connect 1 and 2. Just recently he’s joined the roster for AMH Records design and curate more projects. In a interview with Savage City, he tells us more about himself below.
SCB: So you’re originally from Tampa?
GB: No, actually I was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
SCB: How long did you live there before you ended up moving down here?
GB: Since I was born till I was about around 12. Then I ended up moving down here.
SCB: From then on you were in Tampa, so kind of like you were raised here for the later part of your life.
GB: Absolutely, I’d definitely say a majority of my life has been has been here living in the skateboarding culture in Florida.
SCB: So what was it like for you growing up around Tampa? Around those teenage years where your kind of embodied with boredom and creativity and just waiting.
GB: I would say that probably the most significant part right there, growing up in the early pre-teen. My creative outlets were cartooning, drawing, graffiti, shit like that. Then I come down to Florida and I’m introduced to not just skateboarding itself but the creative culture behind it like streetwear and skate videos. You know the magazine culture around skateboarding as well as the design of the decks. I used to skate all day and as I got older I got more drawn into filming skate parts as much as watching them and that introduced me to cinematography. After that I was more intrigued with everything else the skate the culture has to offer.
SCB: I would say around Tampa, maybe because the SPoT is here, it’s like a big skateboard culture?
GB: When I was a kid I wasn’t told to get into graffiti but I just picked up on it because I was into Hip Hop. Pick up a marker and you know tag your shit everywhere you go but I was like a young boy when I did that shit. I always had this notion of proving myself to whatever culture I was in. So when I got into skateboarding, I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. I just saw it on a video one day then I started noticing it and the people around me. I noticed the fashion as well. In the Mid 2000s I don’t think it was cool to be a black skateboarder. Now it’s normal as shit, but when I was a kid it wasn’t so I had that culture shock as well.
SCB: Not going to give it (the credit) to one person but I feel like people like Tyler, The Creator and the west coast kind of become a bigger thing.
GB: Yeah, when I was younger Pharrell Williams was the shit. It’s really hard to pinpoint what happened with young black kids and the skateboard culture and street wear and supreme. To me, street wear started with skateboarding. I remember when Nike SB first came out, I remember the culture shock and seeing how amazing that was.
SCB: What were some of the more memorable sights and sounds of growing up around here (Tampa)?
GB: So I guess going back to that time, I would have to say, Dipset. Dipset was supreme king when I first started skateboarding. I remember tall tees, Sb’s just came out had the P. Rod 1’s. I would definitely say Dipset played a humongous role in like the majority of growing up. Aside from the hip hop, I listened to Yeahs, Yeah, Yeahs, The Smiths, bands I heard in skate videos.
SCB: So What type of music were your parents playing around the house when you were growing up?
GB: The original music I heard was like reggae and dance hall. Both my parents are Jamaican. I do have blurred memories of the first hip hop I heard being LL Cool J and Rakim and shit when I was a toddler. I can’t really pinpoint what age but I do remember being like five or six and hearing these sounds. Seeing LL Cool J, Rakim and whatever other artist at that time as to being what’s cool. My older brother and cousins would put me on to everything. Late 90’s is when I started to realize this is my culture and this is what I like to listen to. I think I started really caring around Jay-Z’s Black album. That’s when I started noticing like I’m a nerd, like I legitimately care about Hip-hop.
SCB: Now that you understand how crucial and influential music is to you, where the transition point where you’re like “I can do this. I can find my own avenue within the culture, within music?
GB: Once I hit my 20’s I was like I need some kind of skillset so I got into sales. I learned immediately that if I don’t close these deals, I’m not going to get paid shit. So then what happened is I hit 24-25 and I got so good, I got miserable cuz ‘I ain’t finna do this shit my whole life’. I then figured that if I’m this good with communicating product to somebody that I could care less about then there has to be a way I can communicate my passion to others that care about it as well. After that thought I went back to school. I went to a technical college for commercial art. I developed this notion of a five-year plan where I’m like “I’m going to be paid to work within music.” All the shit I see in magazines, that I read every day that I’m actually into, I’m going to figure out how to get into that.
SCB: What’s the first gig you got paid for? Or commissioned for where you were like alright let’s do this?
GB: It’s kind of hard to answer that when it comes to publishing because I don’t know if people even talk about getting paid to do articles. Even though it’s a super normal thing. As far as graphic design goes, it was actually a album cover for DJ Wally Clark that he had coming out. It was a illustration of a Venom and Wolverine Hybrid character.
SCB: What can we expect from you as far more creative endeavors?
GB: I’ve done storyboarding and music videos before and I would say expect some more of that. I do want to start showing people that I’m actually pretty fucking good at being a commercial artist so bigger graphic designs in the music industry. Expect more creative projects, bigger interviews and overall a mover in the culture.