With the 15th Instalment of #thhguruinterviews, we had the chance to ask Phay a few questions!
Nickname: Phay aka Phay J Green aka Phay.F.K aka ColdPhay aka Phay Griffin aka Phayweather aka Marvin Phay.
Where are you from and where are you currently living?
I was born in Chicago. Moved to Atlanta in 2000. Currently living in East Atlanta. My parents are Palestinian immigrants.
What's your process?
There's not really a concrete process with me. I've written songs in isolation and I've written songs with 20 dudes up in a studio eating lemon pepper wings and pizza. My process is whatever feels "natural" at the time. I often find myself thinking of ideas while I'm driving. I record certain cadences and melodies on my phone (voice memos), and when it's time to record, I usually have the song memorized. I love harmonies and stacking my vocals with different pitches and tones.
Who influenced your style? How do you separate yourself from other artists?
I don't listen to music. When I do, I tend to listen to Thug, Future, Dro, Wayne, Cam'ron. These are artists who have subconsciously influenced my style. Luda and Busta are amazing as well. On the R&B tip, I love R Kelly (he's the GOAT) and Craig David. Sampha is awesome too. I separate myself by being myself the best way I know how.
Do you prefer a particular art form - emceeing or producing?
I love to rap, but I'm more concerned about musicianship than actual "emceeing." I co-produce all my records, but I wouldn't consider myself an actual producer. 20% of my time in the studio is spent on "rapping." The other 80% is making sure everything else sounds right.
What are new challenges when you step in the studio?
Myself. Outdoing myself on each record without forcing anything. I try to let everything flow. First thing that comes to mind, I'ma say it.
Top three music influencers?
Kanye, The Temptations and Zaytoven.
Can you describe yourself in five words?
What encouraged you to start making music? At what point in your life did you decide that music was your passion?
Music was my hobby at 18-23. I graduated college and tried to get practical with a "real" job. I realized 2 years into my job that practicality was ass. I became Phay last March when I dropped my first soundcloud song. At that moment, I realized that this is what I was supposed to be doing. It just brightened my whole life.
Already had it. Young Dro. Check out Holy Moly.
How do you feel about the internet in the music business?
The internet is a beautiful thing, especially for musicians and entrepreneurship. I feel like labels are becoming more and more obsolete. It gives the artist the ability to reach the masses without a major label backing you. Look at artists like Chance and 21 Savage. They're paving the way for independent artists, and the internet plays a huge role in that.
You have the chance to be anybody for a day. Who would you be and what would you do?
I'd be Donald Trump and I would resign from office.
Something that fans wouldn’t know about you?
I graduated valedictorian of my class at GA State University in 2013.
If you had to listen to one album & one mixtape for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
The Carter 3 and Drought 3.
Outside of music what hobby do you turn to in order to rejuvenate your creativity? What is a typical day/week like for you?
I love playing ball. Basketball really eases my mind. Me and the homie AB hike mountains and shit sometimes too. A typical day includes doing something active, getting coffee and tea like 3 times a day, maybe some hookah, and making sure we maximize the opportunities presented to us on each given day.
What should we expect next?
Hella content. MAMA (my debut album) is dropping on inauguration day (January 20th). I have my "Words With Phay" series up already with a new season coming soon. Also dropping a "Phay in the Life" series as well. I want to give people a closer look into my life and personality. We have fun around here man. We don't take life too seriously. Music videos will be dropping. We're taking this year to follow up with visuals for the music we dropped in the last year. Also, this summer, I may be releasing a joint EP with the GOAT producer Eric Young. Bunch of summer bangers on the way. I just want to win with everybody man.
Can you send us a selfie?
Yeah. Just a disclaimer, I'm ugly.