Khalil Dunham-Carson, also known as Guccci Goggles, has been an icon at Penn State since coming to campus in 2015. Known for his iconic trademark, his vibrant personality and drive for success, he has used his image and energy to fuel his rap career day by day.
VALLEY sat down with Guccci Goggles to learn more about his young rap career and future aspirations as graduation nears.
VALLEY: How did you come up with the trademark “Gucci Goggles”?
GUCCCI GOGGLES: I was the first one in my hometown to really embrace wearing ski goggles as a fashion statement. At the time, it was easy to be known as Gucci Goggles since I was always seen wearing them at parties; it was always the first thing that people recognized about my attire. It became a trademark because I wanted to build a name for myself that wasn’t basic, but enough to stick in your head. It’s easy to forget a long name like Khalil Dunham-Carson, but it’s hard to forget about a kid wearing ski goggles in the middle of the summer. When I came to PSU, it inflated my brand and image even more.
V: When did you first realize your love for rap?
GG: I used to do the lunch table cyphers back in high school where the boys used to beat their knuckles on the tables to make a beat, and then I had to come up with something creative on the spot. Once I came up with a line, their reactions were priceless. Because of that, I loved the idea of making a rap that touches people and creates emotion.
V: What kind of themes do you like to rap about?
GG: I love rapping about my life. I find that realism provides the most vivid imagery when painting a picture to my audience. I try to rap about various topics like love, party music, real topics, controversial topics, ‘turnt’ music, sad music and so much more! When rapping, it’s important to match the same intensity, vibe,and mood of the instrumental that I am rapping over.
V: What artists do you look up to/draw inspiration from?
GG: Growing up, Lil B, Soulja Boy and Chief Keef were all major influences that inspired me to rap. Soulja Boy and Lil B made it cool for you not to be a gangster … to rap about whatever you want to rap about. That’s why I embrace them. Chief Keef inspired me to try melodies and adlibs. All three of them are so dope as artists. But now, I have to say Drake is my go-to artist; that man literally does it all.
V: What events have you performed at so far?
GG: I have performed gigs all throughout Penn State; Indigo, THON events, fraternity and sorority events, a College Pizza promo event,and my music was played on the radio at Lion FM. Outside of Penn State, I made it onto a radio station in Miami called “excitementradio” by DJBenHop, and my music was featured on ESPN on the Golic and Wingo show.
V: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
GG: Receiving thousands of pictures, videos and support from my fans embracing my songs, reciting the songs lyrics by lyric by lyric and even telling their friends about me is literally a blessing. When I hear my songs being played at parties and see everyone dancing, happy, singing along to the song, it’s surreal. Whether it’s making a difference with a song for charity like “FTK” or a hype song that gets you through the day like “Disrespectful,” “Party Girls” and “I Need A Jawn,” knowing there are fans that love my songs gives me purpose. Without my fans, there’s no highlight because everything I do is for them!
V: You’re a super confident person (which is obviously important when being a performer!) Where do you get this confidence from?
GG: My confidence came from my mother. She always told me that the world is mine and I can do whatever I put my mind to. Because of that, I am forever in debt to her, and that’s why I want to be big in the industry in order to support her the same way she has supported me. Without Mama Millions, (her nickname because I’m going to get her millions someday haha) then I wouldn’t be Guccci Goggles. My mother’s belief in me gave me the confidence in myself to ignore the haters, focus on my career and be the best performer that I can be.
V: Have you always been confident or have you struggled?
GG: Confidence was never ingrained. It was built failure after failure. You have to realize that everything happens for a reason, despite it being negative in the moment. I had to love myself in order to fully embrace myself. I had to love all my insecurities and flaws in order to accept who I was. As a performer, confidence is pivotal because doubt and fear of making mistakes is always in the back of your head. But, if you realize that this is your show, these people came for you, and even if you mess up and fail, it’s not the end of the world, then you will play to your strengths and overcome the flaws!
V: What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
GG: Something that most people don’t know about me is that I never tried drinking or smoking. As a rapper/”frat star” it’s expected. But I never tried either because I always felt like I never needed it in order to have a good time. I always felt that I was sociable without it; that I could still have a good time and be the life of the party. I never believed in following the crowd or being peer pressured. I am 21 years old, and still don’t have intentions in doing so!
V: What is your ultimate career goal?
GG: My ultimate career goal is to sell out tours, be on the billboards, do a lot of endorsement deals, create my own merchandise and possibly even create my own business as well so that I can be a mogul for my community. I want to give back to my community and give back to those that supported me to be the man that I am today. I want to build people up instead of stepping on others to get to where I need to be.
V: Anything else at all that you would like to add?
GG: This is my last semester at Penn State. It’s bittersweet! I want to thank everyone that made Guccci Goggles and gave me the best four years of my life. Thank you for all those that believed in me and genuinely wanted the best for me!
Be sure to check out Guccci Goggles on all of his social media platforms!
Apple Music/Spotify/Tidal/SoundCloud: Guccci Goggles
Official Website: www.gucccigoggles.com