The funniest rap-flavored adult animated series didn’t air on Fuse as produced by the same guys that brought you The Boondocks. Nope, it’s Snapchat’s All Dogs Get Money coming from fresh, up and coming creator/voice/writer/MC, Gerald Grissette. Snapchat has tried in the past to launch an adult animated series, and it seems like the social network has found a winner. So who is Gerald and where the hell did he come from? And how did he help bring along one of the more impressive debuts of not just the summer, but the whole damn year? Well, we had a chance to interview Gerald where he told us all about it.
John Schwarz: So, how are you loving all the extra attention you’re getting now being a Snapchat series producer?
Gerald Grissette: It’s crazy and I’m loving it. I’m loving the people that love it. It’s great seeing fans of rap music enjoy it and even people who just like the show for what it is!
How did you get into producing music and animation?
Drawing was the first thing I ever started doing. My mom is a teacher and she would sit me down from the age of three and had me drawing and I never stopped from there. With music, my dad’s a preacher and he’s also a singer. As a result, I was required to be involved in the church choir. I also discovered rap at an early age and I’ve always been a fanatic and had purchasing CDs left and right.
Who are some of your favorite MC’s?
Young Nudie, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Lil Mosey, and my all-time favorite is Lil Wayne he’s the GOAT.
How did you get into producing some of your own music?
I’d rap with my friends in middle school and when we got to high school I did a mixtape with a group called the Spanish Drop Out. In college, I took it seriously, and then my friends and I formed a group called “The Rookies” and we would shoot videos every week and be in the studio a lot. While in college, I majored in the interdisciplinary arts with an emphasis on theater. While I was in school I wanted to learn everything I could to get into entertainment. While majoring in theater, I did a hella lotta plays and now I know I can act. I also took classes in the visual arts, audio engineering, and soon I was rapping and putting stuff out on Youtube and Facebook.
What were some of your favorite cartoons?
I was really into Nickelodeon’s Golden age, I loved Ren & Stimpy, Doug, Rocko’s Modern Life and Hey Arnold. Then Pokemon came along and fucked everything up and then anime was my shit. Dragon Ball Z, like changed my world, and it increased my appreciation for well-drawn series. I also watched MTV Animation like Aeon Flux, Beavis and Butthead, and Daria.
I was very much into The Boondocks comics and I was like, “Black anime characters? Sign me up!” One of the biggest shows in my life and what inspired me so heavily was Legends of Chamberlain Heights. The only reason I wrote an animated pilot was that I wanted to write for that show. Right before my show hit Snapchat, I ran into (show creator) Josiah and fanned out and told him the only reason I have a show was that I wanted to write for his show.
How did the lack of hip hop representation in cartoons impact what you’re doing today?
I used to watch this Andre 3000 series called Class of 3000 and I thought it was great and I always wondered my more people weren’t doing this. Anytime musical numbers were done in the other Nickelodeon series I watched like Doug they’d be good, too and I never understood why we didn’t get more of that!
For All Dog$ Get Money, you managed to write the episodes, write and produce the music, and produce the animation. What kind of a challenge was that for you?
I have a very specific vision for everything. It was hard, but because I am a rap fanatic and because I love to draw I did all the animatics. It was challenging, but it was a fun challenge. People would ask me why did I shoulder the load, but I love to draw and rap and I have fun doing both and because I love doing those things it doesn’t feel like work.
How did you come up with the concept of All DogS Get Money?
The series was inspired by me wanting to be a superstar rapper and then I imagined what I would do in a bunch of situations. I really wanted to focus on what a rappers’ life is like in this day and age. I’m obsessed with the aesthetic of the rap world now and I wanted to show what the current hip hop scene is like now. A lot of the sketch shows they have an idea of hip hop or rap but it’s not specific but I wanted real rap fans to get it. I think rap music needs to be parodied at the biggest scale.
How have you managed to write a series that kind of stays away from the more mainstream takes on hip hop like Saturday Night Live with Kanye West, et al?
When SNLers write, they have to be generic because their audience may not know underground hip hop. The way I avoided that is that I have first-hand knowledge of the rap world. I think the rap music industry is the best it’s ever been even though some people say its oversaturated, but today, barriers are coming down which allows everyone to have their own style.
With the increased attention towards PC culture, how have you managed to write a show that walks that fine line?
I’m never worried about offending people because nobody actually knows what’s offensive. It’s all about intent. Writing jokes isn’t being mean it’s just trying to be funny.
What was it like writing an animated series for Snapchat?
It was challenging because you gotta go quick, everything has to be quick. I actually think it was dope because I always wanted to do fast-paced content, it was dope, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. This show is definitely for the Snapchat audience!
All ten episodes of ‘All Dog$ Get Money’ are streaming now on Snapchat. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.