Many rappers are creative storytellers who narrate their lives through their lyrics. From their countless struggles to their values, there is no boundary on what their creativity can reach. Greg Harley, also known as Tic Gunna, is one such rapper. Originally from New York and now based in Miami, the rapper has been making music since his youth. With the recent release of his album Santero, Tic Gunna is ready to have his music career taken more seriously.
The rapper describes his previous life in East Harlem as something he lived day-to-day. He started rapping seriously at the age of 19 when he would release music on Soundcloud, back when the platform was in its early days. However, Tic Gunna also found himself in and out of jail due to drug-related offenses in his youth, a topic he touches now and then in his music.
When asked about what encouraged him to go into music, Tic Gunna describes how he always observed other people rapping about struggles that he has gone through. Knowing that he can present his story more authentically, the rapper was motivated to let his narrative be heard. His music not only focuses on his genuine struggles but also gives a glimpse into what it is like being a member of the Santería religion.
The Santería religion originated from Afro Cubans in the 19th century. It is a polytheistic religion that combines the Yoruba religion from West Africa, Roman Catholicism, and Spiritism. A friend had introduced the traditions and beliefs to Tic Gunna when he felt terrible things were constantly occurring in his life.
He converted to the Santería religion with an initiation ceremony that lasted a week. At his initiation, the rapper was crowned as the son of Obatala and Oya. Obatala, “the King of the White Cloth,” is the deity of truth and justice. Oya, “The Guardian of the Cemetery,” is the deity of wind, lightning, and death.
Following the initiation, Tic Gunna recalls how he was required to participate in certain customs, such as being required to sit on a throne for seven days and then wear white for a whole year to represent being reborn into a new religion. His album Santero, which means priest, details what his faith and spirituality represent in his life. The first song on his album, which is of the same name, is a piece that the rapper hopes other members of his religion will relate to after listening.
As an independent artist, Tic Gunna also established his own label last year called 848. These numbers are a lucky sequence to him because he has observed them appearing right before something great is about to happen. His most recent upcoming project is a collaboration with music producer Streeta G, titled Purple Tape. With Tic Gunna’s unique perspective, and his ability to be direct through his music, it will be interesting to see what he will add to his story through the projects he will release.