In 2006, independent duo God-Des and She maneuvered their way into the mainstream, when their provocative “Lick It” debuted on Showtime’s The L Word. Having met in Madison, Wisconsin in 1999, the long road to success has been rife with true-life clichés, but after spending seven years building a fan base underground, God-Des and She hit pay dirt with their third album. Three, which was released on their very own G&S Records, secured the production talents of Brian Hardgrove (Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Burning Spear, Aerosmith).
Defying musical categorization, God-Des and She have brazenly and seamlessly blended pop, soul, and hip-hop together. And for the past few years, the dynamic duo toured around the world—performing, at minimum, 100 shows a year. From Madison to New York City, and back again, these ladies have definitely earned their musical stripes.
In the midst of God-Des and She’s daily hustle and bustle, the two artists managed to squeeze some time out of their busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry—reflecting on their musical upbringings, some pressing social issues, and the crazy shenanigans that take place behind the scenes!
Before joining forces as God-Des and She, both of you had your own solo careers. Looking back on your childhood, at what point in your own lives did you realize that music was something that you wanted to pursue as a career?
God-Des: I actually come from a classical music family. My dad is a professional trombonist and my mom is a professional cellist. My grandfather was a violist. My uncle’s a violist. So music was kind of in my blood. But it was funny because my parents were always like, “We want you to be anything in the whole world you want to be, and we know you can, but please don’t be a musician.” [laughing] But I guess I didn’t take that advice. I started playing cello. My mom taught me when I was three. I moved to violin at seven and then I started playing percussion when I was ten. The drums were really where my heart was. The rhythm and the feel and the pulse of rhythm was really attractive to me, so I played percussion all through school and up through college.
I started playing in a punk band when I was 16. I didn’t know that I was going to be a rapper by profession until I was about 18 and I actually started writing a lot of rhymes and realizing that I really wanted to fill a void in hip-hop from a new perspective and speak about things that were really personal and really bothering me. When I started performing out and seeing the response that I was getting, I was like, “Wow. I think this is something I can really do,” and I really wanted to be a working, successful musician.