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Goonie Interview: Cleveland rapper is never ‘Running Out Of Dreams’ on his way to stardom

Up-and-coming Cleveland rapper Goonie has quickly become a staple of the underground’s signature sound.

Along with his involvement in the fast-rising underground collective “Slayworld” — and his affiliation with close friends and peers in as Yeat, Kankan, Summrs and more — the 22-year-old producer-turned-rapper is hitting the ground running in 2022, focusing on what matters most: The music.

As a veteran of the pluggnb sound, Goonie’s ability to deliver relaxing flows over ethereal instrumentals has garnered a loyal fanbase and respect from fellow underground rappers. Ascending to his rightful place in the game, he began his career as a producer at the age of 16, as his original goal was to emulate the success of superproducers like Metro Boomin.

When the producer route didn’t take off as well as he would have liked, he opted to “talk to the beats,” rapping until he no longer had to curate his own instrumentals — collaborating with his go-to beatmaker BenjiCold, LJ, Mingo, Xangang and more. After stealing beats from Kankan and others, he moved to Florida to fully pursue his rapping career, meeting the original “Slayworld” crew in person to begin making music as a group.

With the rise of his collaborators reaching astronomical levels — divulging on how he and Yeat exchange texts about each other’s music — Goonie has the stage set for a successful come-up as he levels up his sound. Expressing interest in other avenues of hip-hop like boom-bap and trap, the “Zaza” rapper is looking ahead to change the game as his prior experience as a producer brings a fresh perspective to his songs.

While living in Florida with KanKan and Summrs, Goonie was able to make hits like “Zaza” and “Keke’s Interlude” — a few perfect examples of his pluggnb sound combined with Goonie’s ear-catching melodies. His close relationships with “Slayworld” members and Yeat eventually cultivated a strong following in 2020 as he released three projects of underground magic with appearances from some of OGM’s favorite characters.

Taking 2021 to himself, Goonie sat back and absorbed inspiration from the new wave’s up-and-comers before reviving his own career with a hot streak of singles — most recently dropping “gooey” with heavy-hitter Iayze. After getting his personal life in order, his rise to fame is inevitable, as he sat down with OGM host Hakeem Rowe to discuss Slayworld, his upcoming project This Thing Of Ours, Vol. 3 and more in our latest Our Generation exclusive interview.

Watch Goonie’s OGM exclusive below!

Hakeem: How did you initially get into music, like what made you want to record?

Goonie: “At first, I just wanted to make beats. I wanted to be like Metro Boomin, like that’s what I wanted to be, and then no one was rapping on my beats. So I started rapping on my shit and then people in my city was hearing it and they was like, “It’s good, you should keep rapping.” I just kept going with that shit.”

H: Did Slayworld start before you or did you guys all come together and start Slayworld? How did you meet Kan and Summrs and all those guys?

G: “Essentially, “Slayworld” was some skateboard shit. There was this n*gga I knew in Canada and it was just some shit he liked to do, you feel me? He fucked with my music, this was like 2016-17, when I was first starting. He showed me a lot of support, he used to send me clothes and all type of shit and originally, we made beats together. It became a music thing but genuinely that was just people I was cool with. If you fucked with Goonie, if you was one of my homies, you was “Slayworld.”

H: How did you get this name Goonie?

G: “I started out making beats, you know the movie The Goonies? That shit was on TV and I just was like, “Goonie, that’s a funny name,” on some 16-year-old shit. It’s a dumb ass movie but I think it’s hilarious. That shit was on when I was making a beat and I was like “That’s a funny name.”