G-Side rapper Yung Clova gives me a haircut | Bleader

G-Side rapper Yung Clova gives me a haircut


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As the core members of rising hip-hop act G-Side, Alabama rappers Yung Clova and ST have become hip-hop ambassadors for their hometown of Huntsville. This year they dropped two great albums filled with funky, hooky, uplifting southern rap (The One . . . Cohesive and the newish Island), and just this past week they hit the New York Times homepage and Spin magazine, which named Cohesive the second-best rap album and eighth best overall album of the year.

Clova and ST have been grinding for years to get here, and as Miles Raymer wrote in his preview of their Empty Bottle show last night, "they project such a posi attitude that I find myself rooting for them to succeed." I was grinning throughout their entire floor-rattling, pitch-perfect performance, where they whipped the small crowd into a frenzy with tunes about working-class strife, hustling, and reaching for dreams that seem as bright and big as the cosmos. Plenty of press on the group has made a point of discussing how ST used to work at a gas station (he now makes music videos) and Clova owns a barbershop.

Which gave me an idea. I'd been in dire need of a haircut for about a month, so why not interview G-Side about their day jobs while Clova gave me a haircut? I was a little worried they might not go for the idea, but they were all for it.

So at 8 PM I headed down to the Empty Bottle's green room for what I can easily describe as my most memorable haircut ever. I recruited Miles to film the whole thing, and we both asked Clova and ST questions: we talked about growing up in Huntsville, G-Side's time on the road, selling CDs at their day jobs, releasing music on vinyl, a potential record deal, and my boyish new haircut. Below is video of highlights from the interview:

And here are some photos my friend and fellow freelancer Jordan Graham took of the Empty Bottle's basement transformed into a pop-up barbershop.


Clova starts trimming my mop of hair as ST looks on.


A lot of hair is gone, and we're only partway through.


Clova carefully buzzing the side of my head.


Clova surveying his work.


Clova works the right side of my head as Miles and ST look on.


Clova cleaning up my neck.


From left to right: Miles, G-Side backup singer PH, ST, me, and Clova.


Clova cracking jokes about getting me "ready for kindergarten" while finishing things up.


A closeup of Clova's work.


Clova finishing things up.


My head was several pounds lighter after Clova finished.