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How Shamus Goss transformed from convict to verified rapper, Shay Bxxgie

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    GWINNETT COUNTY, Georgia (Gwinnett Daily Post) — Gwinnett County native Shamus Goss’ 2013 started with plenty of potential. The high school basketball standout at Norcross and Duluth high schools wanted to do whatever it took to play Division I basketball, and he was close to achieving that dream at Georgia Southern University.

Goss had plans to walk-on at the Statesboro-based college, but he never stepped foot on the basketball court.

Goss was reportedly involved in an armed robbery in Statesboro in November 2013. Police investigated an incident involving stolen wallets and a Playstation 4 at an apartment complex. Detectives linked Goss’ car to the crime and later located him. Goss admitted fabricating a story to the police, who charged him with armed robbery and giving false statements.

Goss’ basketball career was over, but his soul searching and personal rebirth sparked a new interest.

“My career hit rock bottom,” Goss said. “I got locked up at that time. I started writing music, I came out and changed my life.”

From one dream to another
Goss had solid potential as a high school basketball player. From a young age, he was highly committed to improving and seizing an opportunity to play for an NCAA Division I program. From the age of 10, Goss attended camps across the country and sought as much legitimate competition as possible.

He transferred from Norcross High School to Duluth where he felt he could be more attention from college coaches. He earned all-county honors and set a scoring record at Duluth under former head coach Eddie Hood.

Hood was trying to turn around a Duluth basketball program that hadn’t won more than eight games in a single season for more than a decade. Goss, he said, helped establish a foundation for the program’s future success.

“I credit him with that,” Hood said.

Goss, looking back, said the move to Duluth was possibly one of the best decisions he made in terms of maturing into a young adult. He began to take his academics more seriously and took the role of a leader on the basketball team. Duluth fell just short of the playoffs that season.

He also said Hood was a role model for him and helped hold him accountable for his responsibilities on and off the court. Hood helped connect Goss with college coaches and encouraged him to attempt to walk on at Georgia Southern.

“Basketball-wise, I was 100 percent in tune,” Goss said. “I had to prove a point.”

He’d adopt that same mindset years later when his incarceration ended and he sought to write a new chapter in his life’s story.

‘It was always in me’
Goss didn’t turn to hoops while he was incarcerated.

He loved music, particularly hip-hop and rap, but he said he didn’t have the courage to pursue it as a career for fear he couldn’t live up to his father. Before his arrest, Goss said he felt dwarfed in the shadow of his father, Shamus Goss Sr., a music producer with songs that made Billboard charts.

Shamus Goss Sr. started taking his son to basketball camps when the younger Goss was 10 years old. His love for the sport was clear. Goss Sr. said his son was committed to being great and competition at a high level, and his father supported him.

His son’s interest in music, however, was unknown.

“I didn’t even know that he wanted to do music until it was later on in his life,” Shamus Goss Sr. said.

With plenty of time in prison, Goss began to put his thoughts and feelings on paper.

“I guess it was always in me,” Goss said. “I was always good when it came to poems and stuff.”

While he was behind bars, Goss shared his new outlet with his dad. The younger Shamus sent his dad a voice recording from prison of some original lyrics. Goss Sr. added a beat and offered his opinion of his son’s new work.

“He was the one that told me, ‘That’s fire,’” Goss Jr. said. “When he said that, that’s when the career thing became realistic.”

Goss Sr. encouraged him to develop his skills as a lyricist, just as he had developed his jump shot in basketball.

“I was brutally hard on him, the same as basketball,” Goss Sr. said. “You have to take time and develop skill, learn how to read a beat and stay on beat.”

Goss’ father worried that with a criminal record, it would be hard for his son to find a second chance, professionally. He believed his son’s best chance was to make a living in business, carving out his now opportunities. Goss Sr. tried to reassure his son that his mistake wasn’t the end of his life and that it didn’t define him.

“It’s a gift and a curse, getting arrested,” Goss Sr. said. “I’m an entrepreneur all the way, since I was a kid. I told him, ‘You’re going to have a criminal record. You have to go the route of being an entrepreneur and be your own business man.’”

Doing the right thing
Hood remembers reconnecting with his former player after Goss was released on parole. Goss was working for a lawn service company, Hood said, and expressed he wanted to do something different. Hood said he witnessed Goss’ dedication to changing his situation rather than accepting his circumstances.

“From that point he’s been grinding and doing the right thing,” Hood said.

Goss met Atlanta music producer Izzy Guerra about one year after his release. Goss had continued writing music since he left prison and expressed his interest in professional studio time to Guerra.

Guerra said he could sense Goss’ hunger and desire to take music from an outlet to a profession. The Atlanta producer began to add professional polish to Goss’ tracks and taught him how to consider his audience and build a following by being authentic in his music.

Goss releases music as Shay Bxxgie (a variation of his childhood nickname “Shay Shay Boogie”).

“I’m proud of him because he actually takes a lot of suggestions into consideration and spins it off on his own,” Guerra said.

Goss defines the sound of Shay Bxxgie as “emo rap.” His lyrics delve deep into the emotional depths of anxiety and depression. Mental health was the central theme of the project, “Emo Clarity, which he released on streaming platforms early in 2020.

“It’s about me fighting depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts,” Goss said.

Since “Emo Clarity’s” release, Goss started a company called Build A Rapper that helps independent artists gain exposure and learn how to build their brands. Goss has since turned to relaunching his rap career with a new production team.

Goss said each week after Feb. 12, he’ll release a new Shay Bxxgie track and each month will feature a new music video.

Goss said fans of Shay Bxxgie can expect more music that explores emotions, with some lighter tones mixed in.

“I’m going back into storytelling and that raw emotional — not as low as (‘Emo Clarity’),” he said. “‘Emo Clarity,’ I wanted to open up so I can connect to people that have been in that situation. Now I’m going into that raw — still pulling those kind of vibes out, but also some of the club-ish stuff I had been putting out (as singles).”

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