The world loves Gata! You may recognize him from his standout role alongside Lil Dicky’s hit television show Dave, on Hulu and FXX. While some of the show’s characters are loosely based on Dicky’s real life, Dave and Gata are real life best friends, displaying a brotherhood and bond that audiences all around the world couldn’t help but adore and appreciate.

Aside from their friendship, Gata is actually Lil Dicky’s personal hype man, a career that Gata has embarked on in the past. Beyond rapping and making music as his own recording artist, Gata first came up as Tyga’s hype man, and even had the opportunity to perform at the coveted Madison Square Garden.

Beyond the show, it’s Gata’s vulnerability with his mental health journey, revealing to the world that he is Bipolar while on the show. Immediately, fans were drawn to his honesty, bravery, and authenticity.

Now, Gata is focused on his own ventures, whether it’s rapping, starting a business, or even writing his own book.

On the 56th episode of Shirley’s Temple. I sat with Gata to discuss his dreams growing up in South Central LA, DaBrat making him want to rap, if body count matters, mental health check-in, getting diagnosed w/ Bipolar Disorder & it being a “trap,” ended up in the psych ward, his biological parents dying at 18 months, shooting ‘Dave’ w/ Brad Pitt, Lil Wayne rocking his chain, and more!

It’s crazy that when you went to meet Lil Dicky, you showed up with a fake assistant and a fake cameraman.
Yeah, I showed up with a fake cameraman and fake personal assistant. These are really people in my crew that was down for me, so I was gandering at the highest level already. Because I wanted to be a superstar. I know what it takes to do that, and to feel like that and to look like that. When I go into rooms, I want people to feel it. No matter what level I’m on. No matter if I got money in my pocket or not. Money don’t make you a star, it’s all about your aura. It’s all about your wisdom. It’s all about your swag.

So when I walked in there, I’m on some “yeah man! Got my cameraman, got my personal assistant,” blah blah blah. It was all fitting for the image. It was fake at the time, but it’s real now. We really got cameras around. You gotta know what you want to do before you get there. That’s the best thing about being an artist or entertainer, or just dreaming. You gotta see it before you be it.

When you were growing up in South Central LA, what were you envisioning?

I envisioned myself in Paris, London, trying on sunglasses. Eating bagels, in Belgium and shit. I was envisioning shit like that. I’ll watch TV, like Home Alone for example. When he went to New York City, when you see them taxi cabs and he in Times Square. Yeah I’m on the block, I’m on Western.

But damn, I’d love to see how I feel to get in the fucking taxi and ride around Times Square. My mind has always been other places besides the location that I’m at. I’m always dreaming and trying to take myself places. Sometimes, you gotta think about being in Seoul, Korea, Hong Kong, China, Osaka, whatever. You gotta visualize these places so you can get there. That’s what I’m really trying to say.

When do you fall in love with Hip-Hop?

To be honest, I fell in love with Hip-Hop when I found out about DaBrat. That’s a real artifact right there, real fun fact. DaBrat is what made me really really really want to be a rapper. That’s why I always tell this story because it’s so beautiful. I knew about Ice Cube. I knew about Snoop Dogg. I knew about everything, I’m a Hip-Hop junkie. But when I seen DaBrat swagging out, she made me feel like damn! If she could do it, I fasho can do it. Shout out to DaBrat, women empowerment all day man. Y’all keep being beautiful, confident, bold, everything. Because you never know who y’all are aspiring ladies, especially the people out there that are single mothers. Y’all do a lot for your family, so keep doing it ladies.

Talk about when you create your brand, G.E.D.

I came up with the idea to start this brand in 2006, made it official 2007. We went on tour with Gym Class Heroes, Fall Out Boy. When I came up with this brand, it was more so a mindset and a lifestyle. It ain’t about being a label all the time, doing business and getting money. Yeah that’s true, but at the same time, you gotta start with a mindset first. My mindset was getting educated daily, grinding every day, getting every dollar. The reason why I use G.E.D is because that’s all you need to succeed.

You can go further and further, get your Masters and Bachelors, this that and the third. Long story short, you can learn something from a bum off the street. Life is about experience. It’s all about the experience you got. Once you get your education and your knowledge, you can go for it. You could do that with no Masters, no schooling, no nothing. You could be a millionaire, billionaire, trillionaire, and you ain’t never went to Harvard. That’s why I came up with G.E.D because I want it to be something simple and basic that everybody can grasp onto. Put in a brain like you know what? I am grinding every day. I don’t give a fuck if I’m selling oranges roses, cannabis. It don’t matter, I’m grinding every day. I’m getting every dollar, I’m getting educated daily. That’s what I came up with this for.

Are you real life addicted to sex?

Honestly, I’m gonna speak for all men. We all got urges. We all hunters. We all see prey out there and be like, ooh I wonder how that tastes. I wonder how that feels, just to get that kill. That’s for all men. I’ma be honest, some men deal with it better than others. I’m being real, I’m speaking for all my men out there, we hold this shit down. It’s the honest thing that I was going through, especially when you magnify it to another level. You living a rockstar lifestyle, you got options and you can pick chicks like Baskin Robbins.

What are the Dave groupies like?

To be honest with you, they be wild. I’ve been at concerts where dudes be so fanned out and so tripped out to go backstage with us. He’d come up to Dicky at the rope like, “Yo, my sister will suck you if you let us back there.” Shit be crazy, people be offering up their family members.

Do guys keep track of their body count?

I ain’t gonna lie, I did. When I first hit my first couple of tours, I was writing names down. When you start getting pussy at a crazy level, you want to start tracking that shit. I’m just being real, you gotta have your stats right.

Did you fill the paper?

I had the Notes, the iPhone. That shit was endless. I was doing it at one point, I stopped it 200 or something. But that’s when I was younger too, nobody even care about that shit anymore. You already know. You gotta remember this too. When you have a great time with a chick, no matter where you at, no matter if it’s a one night stand. If that shit right, you gonna remember that bitch for the rest of your life. [laughs]

You have a girl now though, right?

I be gandering. I got somebody that I’d be talking to, loving on and having a great time with. But for the most part, I’m so self-driven. I feel sometimes man, love be too much for me and my goals right now. I gotta focus. I gotta keep on running it up. I want to get another property. I want to put somebody else on. I want to sign a skate team and do all this shit. I got so many dreams and ambitions. Hold on baby, is you ready for this ride so what? So I don’t even be worried about all that shit.

But when you’re traveling and going all these places, don’t you want to spend it with that one?

I hear you. But at the end of the day, you gotta remember: when I’m traveling to these places, 9 times out of 10 this shit ain’t for no vacation. I’m working. Are you ready to be on set for 16 hours? Are you ready to sit up in a music studio, listen to all this music and inhale all this weed smoke? It ain’t about taking you out and doing all this, I got shit to accomplish. I got mortgage. My mom counts on me. My sister counts on me. All that shit gon’ come at my leisure. I gotta structure it like hey, we can go on vacation this week. But other than that, I’m booked and busy.

Shirley’s Temple has a focus on mental health. How are you doing? How’s your mental state?

Honestly, I’m doing good man. I’m trying to get better every day, take it one day at a time. Because every day is something new. Hey, I want to do this. Mind always racing man. When you always trying to be great and perfect something and get shit done, your mind always gonna be racing. At the same time, I think I’m handling it well. These types of situations right here, this podcast is therapeutic. So thank you for asking me that.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, ranging from extreme highs (or manic episodes) to lows (or depressive episodes). One in every 100 adults will be diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life, about 7 million adults in the US. Can you walk me through when you were diagnosed and how old you were?
I was diagnosed well over a decade ago. It was after I stopped touring, probably 2011 or 2012. I was having a bad time in my life. I was on the block. I was selling my food stamps, walking to the county building. I was doing all types of shit, drinking alcohol trying to fill a void. I was getting high every day, with nothing to do besides want to make it. Want to be a rapper. Just not getting the proper rest, not taking care of my body.

One day, I fainted coming in the crib. My mom’s like “yo, what’s up?” I don’t even know moms, I’m exhausted. I just fainted. When they took me to the hospital, they said “okay, you got anxiety.” Boom boom boom.

Was it the psych ward?

No, we gon’ get to that. I done been through every stage, I been through all this shit. I went to CDRP, which is chemical drug recovery program. That’s where you go when you drinking and smoking, you got a chemical imbalance. That shit’ll make your mind do a bunch of different things that you don’t think it would do.

What led you there?

Me smoking weed every day, being on the block and moms not having it. She’s like “boy, you wasting your goddamn time. I’m about to start drug testing your ass. You need to get up off your ass and get you a motherfucking job. I’m tired of seeing your ass.” I was doing everything a young n*gga was doing. I was sipping syrup, I was popping pills. I was in play with all types of shit man.

Long story short is to have the mental capacity to stay focused and not let that shit fuck you up to the point to where you don’t come back. I was diagnosed with anxiety. After that, I had another experience where I was taking Xanax for the anxiety. I was drinking champagne, partying one night. I fucked up this whole studio to this producer. I had a big famous producer in the music industry, wanted to shoot a music video for me. I fucked up the studio. After that, I went home and fucked up the laptop in front of my mom’s sister. They called the sheriffs on me, then I went to UCLA-Harbor. They was pointing tasers at me and cussing me out. I’m talking about “Obama coming to get me!” All this shit.

You were screaming for Obama?

Hell yeah, I was wigged out my mind. I was trippin’. But that’s when they diagnosed me as Bipolar, and I’ve been dealing with it ever since.

Tell me if you feel me: because when I got diagnosed, it was a freeing feeling almost. Like oh shit, this makes sense.
Yeah, it definitely does make sense. It was freeing to know what you got going on with yourself. But as much as you say freeing, it’s really a trap. Because you gotta take this medication for the rest of your life, so it’s really a trap.

You rejected the medication at first right?

Definitely man. I started taking it because I noticed that I needed rest. I’d always be ramping up or I’d be taking shit to the extreme. An argument wouldn’t be no normal argument. I’m breaking a Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottle, ready to… doing too much and not really thinking. But then I noticed that I slept well off the medication. Even though I woke up, because you wake up lethargic and lackadaisical. Some of this medicine is really strong, we’re talking 500 milligrams. But I started taking it when I knew that I wasn’t getting the proper rest. I started valuing my sleep. Everybody out there, get your eight hours in man.

On the show, you said you needed 11.5 hours?

Yeah, I gotta get that too when I can. Sleep is important man, that’s how you stay looking young like Princess Diana. You gotta get that.


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There’s a clip of you dancing around in a house in Malibu, you mentioned going manic. What were you arguing with Dave about?

The argument was really me taking it too far. Speaking on something that was very personal to us, as far as me and him. I was basically having a manic episode, a meltdown. I was breaking down. I already knew the reason why I was feeling like that was a great reason. If your best friend tells you you set for life, you ain’t gotta worry about nothing, you gon’ be feeling joyful as a motherfucker. You might start doing shit, dancing, all that types of shit. Long story short, I had a manic episode. I ended up in a hospital called Avalon in Malibu. lt was a mansion. I had nurses, butlers. The shit was pretty dope.

So it was a good time?

It was a good time. One of the best experiences of my life was to be able to be surrounded by nurses every day. Really to have a program, a schedule to focus on my health. It was beautiful.

How long were you there for?

I was there for a month, a little less than a month here. They assigned me a therapist. I had a life coach too that I still deal with. I got 2 life coaches till this day, but it was dope.

When did you start going to therapy?

I started going to therapy when I went to CDRP a long time ago when I first realized that I was having anxiety. Because I wanted to talk to somebody about my childhood trauma, how I grew up. Why am I in this situation? So I started going over a decade ago.

I just interviewed Lil Tjay, he opened up on his new project about being in foster care. How did that affect you?

Being adopted by my auntie and my cousin, who I consider my mom and my sister, was one of the best things that ever happened to me to be honest with you. My biological mom and dad, they both died due to drug addiction and living a crazy lifestyle.

How old were you?

I was 18 months. It affected me in a big way because #1, it made me realize I gotta be the man. I gotta make it for my mom and sister. Ain’t nobody coming to save me. I don’t see my sister’s boyfriend around here. My stepdad, he moved on and went to another family. I gotta make it, because ain’t nobody coming to save me. My mom and sister, they saved me. Boom. But other than that, ain’t nobody coming through here and doing nothing for my mom and sister. Or me.

I had positive male influences, so I stand on that. I had people who taught me how to ride a bike, play basketball. I appreciate all those small gems. But when I say take care of me, who’s gon’ make sure it’s a roof over my head? My mom and sister did that. It affected me in a positive way. They kept me in basketball, they kept me in sports. Kept me in a private school. Kept me at Westchester High School out here in LA, made sure I was in a magnet program.

The way they raised me is everything. My mom taught me how to dress. My sister taught me how to accessorize. I got a lot of women because I know how to talk to women. I was raised by them. I’m caring. I’m charming. That’s the best thing that ever happened to me, was getting adopted by my auntie and my cousin. They changed my life. I do everything for them. I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in right now.

My sister made me get good grades because she knew I used to like Michael Jordan tennis shoes. My sister was so cool, she’d take me to the mall every time Jordans dropped and say “where’s your report card at? We getting new Jordans. Come on, let’s go.” She motivated me. That’s the reason why I work hard today, and I like nice shit. Because my sister, she always wanted the nice shit. What you gotta do to get that nice shit? You gotta work hard. I appreciate my sister, my sister taught me everything.

How proud are they of you?

They’re so proud man. To be from LA, to be in the situation that I was growing up, being adopted by them, they feel like “damn, we ain’t fall short. We saved the good one. He stayed focused. He listened to everything we told him to. He didn’t get in too much trouble.” They proud of me man. It’s dope to be able to share my life with them, to be able to sit back and say hey mom, turn on Entertainment Tonight. I’m on there with Vivica Fox, Kevin Hart. It’s dope for my mom to see that. It’s dope as fuck.

Can we talk about that last episode with Brad Pitt?

That was crazy. That shit definitely gon’ change my life. That was a dope episode. The season finale, unbelievable. I’ll never forget that day, working with Brad Pitt for multiple days and nights. Having him there on set, being the legend that he is. Bringing him out of retirement as far as doing TV shows. Because the last time he did a TV show was on Friends, the sitcom from back in the day. Dicky Dave brought Brad to the TV screen after 20 years. That was a beautiful thing to do, to be able to rock out with him. One of the greatest times I ever had on set. He was humble, down-to-earth. Showed up on time like Gata.

These big celebrities that come on, do they get paid?

I ain’t gonna speak for everybody man. Because at the end of the day, this is a business. Everybody getting paid no matter if it’s a lot, a little. When you step on a screen and do your thing, you’re gonna get some chili fasho. You got to think about it. Celebrities, they showing love and want to be on there of course, get the exposure and keep the show going. Show the love and build Dicky’s platform up and share platforms. But at the same time, there’s always going to be some type of business going on behind the scenes. It’s all about that business.

How was it having Drake on set?

That shit was crazy man. Drake always been a good guy, humble guy. Always showed me a lot of love. Of course, he loves Dicky. They locked in. It was dope man to be able to hold it down and see Aubrey pop out like that.

Was there anyone that you fanned out with?

To be honest, I don’t really fan out over people. Because I be feeling like they just like me. But as far as having a great time with, I’ma say Rick Ross because that’s somebody I look up to. The last day he shot and came to set, I made sure I drove my 1986 old school. I got a heavy Chevy and I pay homage. Yo, I know it’s your last day big homie. I brought the old school out here with the crazy motor.

He’s like “yeah, I see the paint job. You supposed to have a red stripe, but you really got the burgundy so I know it’s not original. I see how you got the tires on there…” He’s really a car dude, I love Rick Ross. I remember the time when I met him when I didn’t have no locs when I was in my early 20’s. I met him on La Brea and 3rd at Jack Sunglasses and he gave me a whole speech back. “Young n*gga, you’re gonna be able to spend $30K on sunglasses. Have a bad bitch with you and security guard outside, you’re gonna be able to do this shit!” It’s a full circle moment to be able to work with him.

Talk about Lil Wayne rocking your G.E.D chain in the Glasses Malone and Birdman video.
I remember he took them off our neck like here. Me and Tyga was on the side of the video shoot while he’s doing this thing. He’s like “come here, we about let n*ggas know what it is.” I’m like, damn, here! He opened the door so a n*gga could have shit and more shit. Give us that platinum experience man. Everything was at the highest level with Wayne. I fuck with Wayne man, changed my life fasho.