Poetic Rapper GL Takes it “Up A Notch”

Born in Long Island, NY, the city of hip hop and R&B, Gary Andrew Lawrence Jr. has been primed since day one to appreciate soulful lyricism. Raised in Philadelphia, he soon discovered the passion in his blood when he wrote his first poem in 8th grade.

Now a rapper under the stage name GL who’s goal is to give fans his own version of Golden Age hip hop. Priding himself on his Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricism, GL has released single “Up A Notch,” produced by Noizeworkz, that holds true to his goals as an artist.

With a subtle electronic soundscape and beat, GL leaves room for his vocal art to take the stage and set the tone of “Up A Notch.” Intimacy shines through his heavy and passionate vocals, making it feel as though he is speaking straight to your soul. GL effortlessly creates an artistic flow between verses, with each line showcasing the potential to feed the minds of listeners with a spoonful of prospects.

With his reflective lyricism, it is no surprise that GL is more of a poet than a rapper. The song’s title “Up A Notch” is the abstraction of GL’s hard work and persistence. The inclusion of the phrase “won’t stop ‘till I hit the top,” soon followed by the matter-of-fact conclusion that, even when he hits the top, he will always aim to take it “up a notch.”

The beauty of “Up A Notch” comes from its ability to inspire the listener to open up their consciousness, and absorb the lyrical perspective that GL has to offer.

Discover "Up a Notch" here.

Welcome to BuzzMusic GL! We were captivated by your introspective lyrics, and are excited to hear more from you! Can you tell us about the message behind the lyrics of “Up A Notch?”

The message is pretty straight forward. It is my first release I wanted to release a song that had a lot of energy and make you want to get up and move. When I say "Up a Notch" and "To the Max" I speak on elevating my craft and taking my artistry to the next level. For my listeners, I encourage them too to take their lives and whatever they enjoy doing to the next level. This is a song with a message that you can still groove to. 

Can you describe your songwriting process, and how you turn your insightful poems into music?

I do not have a specific process when writing. Because I write all the time, I may hear a beat and write to it, then use that same verse for another song. I may even take a hook from a verse if it sounds catchy enough. This is how I came up with the hook for "Up a Notch". Sometimes I don't need to hear a beat to write. As long as the words flow I can scribe in silence. Since I also produce and engineer, I like the challenge of building a beat around the vocals I recorded to another beat to better compliment the vocals. I actually produced, wrote, and recorded "Up a Notch" in a few hours.

Are there any musical inspirations in your life that have inspired you as an artist? How have they inspired you?

My father inspires me to keep going and keep creating music. He was a DJ/producer for legendary artists such as Busta Rhymes and Public Enemy. He then was wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit and sentenced to 25 to life in prison. He recently got out and I savor the stories and advice he gives me about life and music. I can send him a song and he would dissect it and give me honest feedback even if I don't like it. I hope to one day be able to reach the level of mastery he did while he was a DJ but as an artist.

How did being born in a city known for its appreciation of hip hop and R&B shape you as an artist?

Being born in Long Island, NY, I can remember cookouts and parties where DJs would play a lot of reggae and Hip Hop that would have the whole place jumping. Living with my grandparents, I would get my dose of soul and classics that would help expand my musical spectrum. I'm a firm believer that there are only two types of music: good and bad. One of my favorite songs used to be the theme song for Gran Turismo. A Lot of hip hops greats had their start in Long Island like Rakim, Public Enemy, Busta Rhymes, Craig Mack, EPMD, etc.

What can fans anticipate next from you GL?

In about a month's time, I will be releasing another single called "Welcome to the Gauntlet". Also, I will be releasing a lyric video for "Up a Notch" that will be available on IGTV and Youtube. I'm in the middle of starting a band and will soon be coming to a venue near you.