Raised in New Orleans, one of America's most vibrant musical cities, Aha Gazelle grew up admiring the wide range of acts native to his Louisiana hometown. From PJ Morton and Lil Wayne to Jay Electronica and Frank Ocean, the city's diversity, or musical-jambalaya, significantly shaped William G. Fields Jr. into the artist he is today.
The burgeoning rapper, producer and singer-songwriter learned early on he could excel without having to conform to stereotypical imagery. After deciding to lead with his own unique style and urbanity, Aha Gazelle is showing you can make an impact through art, quite simply, by being yourself.
"It's important for the kids coming up to see they can be successful without resorting to negativity," Aha Gazelle explains. "I want you to walk away like, 'Man. I feel empowered, I turned on this song and now I'm going to go tackle life 'cause I know I can do it.'"
Aha has a way of drawing listeners in with his approach and distinctive sound, one he describes as "manicured, but but not manufactured." An amalgamation of authenticity, artistry, savviness and flash, it's hard not to take notice of the 6'6" tall, 250 pound lyrical heavyweight, who emanates confidence throughout his music and every time he walks into a room.
While attending school at the historical Grambling State University, Aha began to hone his craft drawing from his New Orleans roots and education. Once Free Barabbas and Trilliam arrived in 2015 and 2016, respectively, Aha's buzz started to grow organically garnering more than 1M collective streams and landing him a recording contract with Reach Records.
This summer, the Atlanta-based independent record label will release Aha Gazelle's mixtape Trilliam 2, the second of a three-part series that has a story woven throughout the three projects. The lead single, "Momma House," which spiraled into Spotify's US Viral Top 50 chart upon release, is an up-tempo, club-ready track that features the nimble rapper examining the duality of life.
He explains, "It's almost like looking at both sides of the coin and saying, 'Yeah. I'm still with my moms, but at the same time, there's a lot of good things that happened.' I ain't have no bills. I was chasing my dream. It's optimism on another level."
That optimism, excitement and exuberance permeates throughout Trilliam 2. On the sonically stark yet celebratory "Keep It In The Family," Aha Gazelle raps about how his parents raised him right, living without fear, and keeping a tight circle around him at all times.
"That record's so much bigger than my immediate family," he says. "We've got this mindset of, 'Oh. I can do it myself.' That's cool, but at some point you have to have a team, brothers, people just in your corner, on your side. Even people that may not have their mother, their father, their family may be an uncle, their grandma or grandpa, their auntie or cousins."
His relentless drive is the focus of the hard-hitting "Twentylemhunnidmillion." With his lyrical heft, he alternates between braggadocio and his quest to achieve greatness. As a nod to fans, the 8-track project decorously wraps with "Vegeta," a song inspired by Aha Gazelle's favorite Dragon Ball character, which previously appeared on Free Barabbas and altered the trajectory of Aha's career.
But Aha understands he's only just beginning his journey and that the real work lies ahead.
"Every time you make it to the top of a level, you're going to want to go to another level and you start right back at the bottom of that next level," Aha Gazelle details. "I really don't think like I'm at the top yet, but I'm at the top of a certain level. When you get there, there's always going to be something else to strive for."