words by Jake Krzeczowski
It’s hard to miss James King when he enters a room. When I first met him he was wearing green fatigue pants tightly tucked into black combat boots and topped off by a patchwork bomber jacket. King, better known as The GTW (Greater Than Wealth), explains that his dress reflects his art, taking from many different scenes and cultures around Chicago and abroad to create a sound and attitude that is wholly his own. The sound he dubs “Chigerian” is a nod to the Nigerian heritage his immigrant parents bestowed on him since he was an infant.
The rapper/singer/producer embodies the collage of influences in everything he does, calling it a “random” mix of everything from art to music and life. His music is a sort of new-age 90’s R&B with tribal twinges and a mix of down-tempo house with carefully crafted electronic undertones. His most recent project, 4814 with producer Beng Feng showed a flexibility to adapt and assimilate his tone and sound to a different production, something the 22-year old artist prides himself on. The GTW is a big Manchester United fan and has a keen eye on the european electronic scene and 4814 garnered him a write-up in the UK newspaperThe Guardian before he had much of any press here at home. With a video for his song “Cravings” on the way and upcoming projects with Beng Feng and others in the works, expect to see plenty more headlines on The GTW in 2013. I was able to catch up with the multi-talented artist just before his show January 25 at The Temple Head Gallery in Humboldt Park.