The rise of G Premacy
UB alum and former track star crafts his future in hip-hop
G Premacy remembers his first concert in Brooklyn. At the time, he was still a UB student.
Unlike Buffalo venues where the crowds were dominated by supportive friends, the rapper –– an ’11 alum born Eugene Kennedy –– looked out at a crowd of unfamiliar faces.
“I remember my first song, and they didn’t boo,” Kennedy said. “I got midway through, and they started rocking their ‘aye’ so I started to gain a little more confidence.”
Since then, Kennedy’s career has taken off. He’s toured internationally, left a mark in Denver, CO winning the “Colorado Solo Artist of the Year Award” and this summer, Kennedy signed a deal with Equity Distribution: an independent label associated with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. He even has plans to perform at the tailgate for the Bills’ home opener.
And it was the Brooklyn crowd that gave Kennedy the confidence to invest in his craft.
“That’s when I got that confirmation,” Kennedy said. “You don’t necessarily need confirmation –– it depends on where you are personally in your life, whether you need that confirmation or not –– but I wasn’t completely there yet. So I needed that confirmation to help get me through.”
Kennedy didn’t always expect his life to turn out how it did.
Growing up in Troy, NY, his childhood was dominated by competitive sports. Kennedy won the high jump state championship for track and field in his senior year of high school. Back then, rapping was nothing more than a pastime.
He came to UB on a track scholarship, where he double majored in communication and African-American Studies, and was captain of the track and field team for three years.
Kennedy’s interest in music began to grow, but his demanding student-athlete schedule limited the amount of energy he could devote to the hobby.
Greg Tarshus, Kennedy’s friend and former teammate at UB, remembers how Kennedy managed fitting in some time for rap.
“We would get back from practice and eat and then when it was time to go chill [Kennedy] always just went his own way to work on his music,” Tarshus said. “Even during practice he’d bring his phone with him, and in between sets he would type bars in his phone of whatever lyrics came to him.”
To Kennedy, graduation meant moving on from the demands of his student-athlete schedule, giving him an opportunity to pave his own way. He was confident that he could direct his future toward a career in music.
Soon after graduation, Kennedy started his own label, Lunar Music Group, with some friends from Buffalo.
They had a good run, but Kennedy still had to keep his day job. He soon decided it was time to move on. He joined a tour that took him all the way from Toronto, ON to Austin, TX.
Kennedy then spent a short time in Florida for a friend’s wedding before planning his return to Buffalo. As Kennedy’s friend began a new chapter in his life, Kennedy became unsure of what would become of his own.
One thing he did know was that he wanted to make his mark out west.
Instead of returning to Buffalo, Kennedy decided to take a leap and move to Denver. He only knew one person in the whole state.
The expenses of his new home forced Kennedy to hustle. In addition to his musical endeavours, Kennedy worked as a canvasser for social change and environmental protection campaigns.
“It just seemed like what you’re supposed to do in Colorado,” Kennedy said. “Save the Earth.”
Within the year, Kennedy was dubbed “Colorado Solo Artist of the Year” by Bridging the Music.
His mark was made so it was time to return to his old home.
He reconnected with the Buffalo hip-hop scene and made a name for himself, and his new deal with Equity Distribution allowed him to quit his side job as a car salesman.
Kennedy’s producer and friend Brennon Hall –– a.k.a. Beats Anonymous –– insists the deal is the result of hard work.
“People are like ‘you got so lucky,’” Hall said. “It’s not luck. It’s persistence, talent and opportunity. If you keep doing the same s––t over and over and over, people know you for that.”
Looking back on how his life has changed since parting ways with UB brings a smile to Kennedy’s face.
It only grows when he thinks about his future.
“I’ve done so much damage in those nine years. It’s wild,” Kennedy said. “[Eventually] I want to set something up back in Troy to help that community.”
Julian Grmela is the assistant features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @GrmelaJulian