Long before Bronx, N.Y. native Capella Grey would drop "Gyalis," the summer smash that has control of the New York City streets, he was a young church musician. He played the drums, piano, bass and more as a kid, with that background evolving into him producing music for other people near the end of his high school years. From there, Grey was writing songs and working on production for fellow artists until 2020, when he decided to release music of his own. This move birthed Yea Nah I'm Out and The QuaranTape Vibe 1., two tapes he dropped last year that set the groundwork for "Gyalis," a blend of dancehall, hip-hop and modern R&B.
Capella Grey was already garnering support locally for his music, and knew he was just one song away from the next level. In comes "Gyalis," which samples the string line of Juvenile's classic 1998 track "Back That Azz Up," and works it together with dancehall melodies and production that harkens back to NYC hip-hop's more dance-focused era in the early 2000s. The West Indian artist dropped "Gyalis" the day after he made it in January of this year, and the song began to take off organically. At first, Grey says he saw a "shorty" sharing it around Uptown in New York, then more people followed a month later. After that, it moved to the local New York clubs—"no paid promotion, it was no gimmicks, no weird shit, it was no scandals, nothing."
"’Cause she tryna/Fake like she asleep, uh/Swear she tried to stay the whole week/I'm like, 'Oh, nah, she gotta go'/Ask me her name, I swear I don't even fuckin' know," he delivers on the track, which is inspired by the Jamaican term for a "player" or "someone who's good with the ladies," according to Grey.
He made enough noise with "Gyalis" that the labels came knocking. The rising rhymer decided to sign with Capitol Records this past June, and got a joint venture label out of it with his own record label, Allepac The Family. "Gyalis" is still moving at a fever pitch, even without a video—until today. The visual showcases Grey having the city on lock. The track is currently at over 10 million Spotify streams and sits at the No. 71 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. He also just performed the hit for the annual Hot 97 Summer Jam in New York City. Look out for his next song, "Talk Nice," and a forthcoming project.
The time is now, and Capella Grey is taking all of the right steps to turn this strong summer into much more. Get to know him in XXL's The Break.
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
My style’s been compared to: "The Ty Dolla $igns, Kraniums, other artists. I've heard Jeremih, I've heard Jacquees, it's a lot. I feel like my sound, I don't really sound like nobody. My style, in terms of dressing, is not like anybody. It's a whole new blueprint for how we doing things. Hopefully, when people hear the rest of my music, they understand there's a distinct difference in my sound and everybody else's. Allepac [The Family, my record label] is the family. This the gang. We just got a whole different vibe with us."
I’m going to blow up because: "I have a really good team. Between Allepac and Capitol [Records], I'm surrounded by, it's a lot of dope individuals that are really good at what they do and I really do believe I have the best in the whole industry surrounding me. Moving with a team like this, I feel like I can't really lose. We have the music, we have the energy and we are willing to put in all the work. So, I feel like we gotta be moving in the right direction."
What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: "Nah, I feel like I got slept-on tapes, but because of 'Gyalis,' everybody's going back and listening back to the other tapes that I dropped and the other singles. 'Sas Crise,' 'Body,' 'One More Chance,' all the other songs that I had already out from before. Now everybody's doublin' back and saying, 'Oh, he got other music?'"
My standout records to date have been: "For one, ['Gyalis'] doesn't sound like anything that's out on the radio. [Juvenile's] 'Back That Azz Up' as a song itself is a big moment in the club period, so, for it to be sampled and have a whole different Uptown/Carribean flavor, I feel like people just gravitated towards that. But there were no [social media] challenges. There's still no #CapellaGreyChallenge, no hashtag or no viral dance or anything like that. It's straight organic vibes, so, the music is basically speaking for itself."
My standout moments to date have been: "I can't really pinpoint anyone because I've been meeting a lot of my idols, so, all those been big moments. Performing in a couple of venues that I dreamed about, so, I can't really pinpoint one moment. So, this whole ride has just been iconic to me.
Most people don’t know: "I draw, I make art. I've never really gone public with it. I just always liked to do it, just drawing and painting, that side of art period."
I’m going to be the next: "Mogul in music."
"Sas Crise" featuring Alayzha Sky and Ghost
"One More Chance"
The QuaranTape Vibe 1.