Artist. Musician. Creative.
Through the golden age of YouTube, I used to browse countless hours of cyphers to kill time. There were plenty of local MC's that would drop bar after bar to create a platform for themselves. Scrolling though, I stumbled upon a video called "Cambo Cypher". I didn't know what to think about it because I've never seen Cambodians in any form of musical showcase (at least domestically). There, I saw a young rapper with a unique flow and crazy confidence with a caption "G Funk Supreme" listed under. I've been following his career ever since, observing his growth through multiple albums and presence in the LBC.
Here is his story:
A native to Eastside Long Beach, rapper G Funk Supreme took inspiration for his music from many different aspects in his life. He emphasizes that nothing is more inspiring than his upbringing. He touches on his Cambodian roots and livelihood of Eastside Long Beach.
“My upbringing is similar to a lot of us, being South East Asian and coming up in the early 90’s. We stuck to ourselves and we didn’t really want to break out of our little mold. Anything new to us felt like it was dangerous or as a threat. Growing up Long Beach was home, it made who I was and who I am today. ”
The community of Long Beach holds a special place in the rapper’s heart despite the climate during the 90's. G Funk Supreme recalls moments of walking to high school (Poly High class of ‘07) and having to watch his back but internalizes it as a part of life. Growing up, he gravitated to music from all spectrums of music from hardcore gangster rap to R&B and west coast rap. Music has always been a large part of his life, it wasn’t until he entered college, where he saw music as something bigger. It served as an outlet where he emphasized that it taught him more than anything in life. In college, his passion snowballed to even higher lengths.
G Funk Supreme also graduated from Cal State Long
Beach with an engineering degree. Insane.
"There’s this idea of this invisible threshold or ceiling that we place amongst ourselves and our people, and I always wondered why? It probably adds up with the factors of fear and just sticking to what you know, but if you ain't willing to take risks, then you will always be living in the unknown, something that may have been greater on the other side of the wall that’s waiting for you. Without failure defeats the purpose of change, and without change, leaves for no reason to progress and be better than what we were yesterday."
“Growing up and just trying up to break out of hard living. Music taught me a lot. It taught me time management, how to put your all into a project, and how to understand that everything you say or do is a representation of not only you but everything you stand for.”
After graduating college, he dove headfirst into music. G Funk Supreme set goals for himself. He saved up for a camera, went on the internet and taught himself how to shoot his own videos and edit his own music.
Albums: Unapologetic (2019) and Forever and a Day (2015) are certified local classics.
Here is a snippet of his song "Greatest Love" Featuring Breana Marin.
“Why do I gotta wait for an opportunity for someone else to give me, when I got the right resources. Like Google, everything is free nowadays. I don’t have to wait for anybody. I’m gonna go learn, I’m just gonna understand the concepts and business behind it. I’m just gonna do this shit myself. Over time I just thought, ‘Alright, you're self sufficient now. Why wait for somebody else?’”
“My mom is a workaholic and she’s a hustler. She was working hard just to make ends meet. I think that translated to me just seeing her work hard, birds of a feather flock together. The people around you are so important that their energy transpires to you. If you hang around bums, you're gonna be another bum. And if you hang around with somebody who's hustling, you're gonna want to hustle like them.
My mom is definitely why I’m a hard worker. She always said, ‘You gonna do something? Just go hard.’ She always supported me and my music. She said, ‘Look son, you gonna do it? Go hard.’”
At the end of the day, G Funk prides himself as a type of person who’s real. He reflects his music as a positive and transparent representation of Long Beach. Straying away from the stereotypes of being an asian rapper in Long Beach, G Funk just wanted to stand out to be different than what everyone thinks he can or should be.
“I just hated the stereotype of being an asian rapper, I hated what people perceive us as. That not a lot of us were going to college, not a lot of us were working jobs that we felt like we couldn’t get. Not a lot of us were rapping about certain things because we thought we can only talk like this, look like this, or work for this. I just wanted to be different to be honest. I’m always like, ‘You gonna do something man, stand out, be different, and go a thousand percent.’ I don’t want anyone to be like, ‘Aw this dude is just a Cambodian rapper’. That’s just putting yourself in a box.
Like I’m just a rapper.”
G Funk Supreme reflects on the Cambodian community embracing him and his music. In terms of Long Beach as a city and as a community, he describes the city as an underdog in many aspects like music, fashion, food, etc. He names multiple local Long Beach artists and is astounded by the amazing talent and potential that the city has to offer. Talking more about music, he takes many influences from Snoop, Nate Dogg, and R&B artists like Usher. Transitioning from high school into college, he was big into J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Nipsey.
Through inspiration, he carries a chip on his shoulder:
"Your energy is important, your aura, your mental stability is mad important, so don’t let nobody come close to fucking up what you got goin' on for yourself. You are a product of your environment, and I say this all the time, that you got complete control of the outcome of your opportunities. You can’t ever get mad over the things you got control over, and choosing where and how to invest your time and energy is all based on the individual."
G Funk Supreme is in the works on starting a scholarship fund at his old high school, Poly High, to give back and help out kids who aspire to succeed in a creative and artistic way. All proceeds earned from his hats goes back into the community to help guide the future generation.
“There's a kid out there that probably feels like us. Somebody gives me money to do something, I’m gonna take it and do something. I wanna give back in a way that feels natural to me. When I was in high school, somebody gave me a scholarship so I wanted to give back.”
The future for G Funk Supreme is vast with opportunities that he’s ready to make for himself.
He still shines with the same confidence he had when I first saw his cypher years ago. He ends the interview with an optimistic outlet:
“Before anything you gotta have passion…you gotta actually enjoy what you do for you to see a future in it.”
Thank you to our family Alex Pich, Johan, Danae (Pablo + Frida), and Daniel for the amazing help. None of this would be possible without you guys.