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Written by Gerald Jackson
GERALD: The time has come where I get to interview my own brother from another! Mr. G-I-B! Many people don't know that I met you in high school my junior year in Chicago. I transferred into Urban Prep and didn't have any friends there. All I supremely cared about was basketball. Literally. Then all of a sudden I had guys like you, John, Tray, Devon, BA, and Dre amongst others at all my games supporting. Back when we were all beginning to dream. I wanted to go to the league and you wanted to be a artist. I remember hallway and lunchtime debates on who was the best rapper at the Englewood campus. It would be between you (@ThisisGIB), Greg (@heavyCrownz), and Johnny (@jonnyra). From what I remember, you guys were very serious about it. Fast forward to 2016, we both are essentially in the minor leagues lol. You just had a show in Cali with about 50 people in attendance and I play ABA basketball. Nobody ever gave us any handouts growing up and nothing has changed now. We both are still hungry and confident that we can do whatever we want.
What are your thoughts about that period in our life?
G-I-B: I think it's crazy how we can fast forward 5/6 years later and realize we've cultivated a bond far larger than I may have imagined back then. Then again, I'm not surprised because we stayed devoted to what we set out to accomplish and we built a stronger brotherhood on our journey to our respective dreams. We shared some of the same struggles, attended the same college as roommates, and almost lost our lives together that crazy ass night on the Low End (Chicago.) I believe in having intentional friendships in my life and this one has honestly served me well year after year. The loyalty is still in tact. The trust is greater and we turned an idea into a small business/platform to help others. It speaks for itself. Progress is beautiful & it's better when you make it with your brothers.
GERALD: Can you tell our readers about your journey this winter as a artist?
G-I-B: This winter I've gotten a lot of momentum with my music and my commitment to putting out the best work I possibly can. From shows, radio interviews, to 12 hour studio sessions I've been working tirelessly to make sure my voice is heard. During the latter part of 2015, I began recording my MND|OVR|MTTR project and in the midst of that I was granted another opportunity to create a soundtrack for a book. It was a unique experience for me but it forced me out of my comfort zone and expanded my creativity, work ethic, and will to do whatever it takes to be heard. I've just been in a good creative space and I've tried not to allow anything to break that focus. I care about my music as if my life depends on it because it literally does. A lot of people ask me when I'll be releasing the project but I've been patient because I know I'm still growing with each record I make. Definitely in the final stages of completion though.
GERALD: Is it difficult to stay inspired when life gets busy? Especially when dealing with a inconsistent work schedule and traveling at the same time from LA to Chicago.
G-I-B: I wouldn't say it's difficult to stay inspired when life gets busy because I get inspired by life experiences. However, it is challenging carving out that time to just sit and create sometimes because I live my life on the move. I'm always on the go. It's hard for me to sit down most days. It's funny because when I first moved to LA I was on my ass way too much now that I think about it in hindsight. I wasn't complacent but I just didn't have the tenacity, drive, & confidence that I've acquired over the past few years. It was all necessary to help me grow though. From not knowing where my next meal would come from, or not knowing where I'd lay my head some nights, I turned those situations into motivation to never let up. I have these reasons not to. I've experienced rock bottom so now I work until I collapse. The inconsistent work schedule actually works well for me because I’m not a huge fan of routine. Traveling back and forth from LA to Chicago has been nothing but inspiration. Chicago is home. I say that with a sense of pride because there’s NO place on Earth like it. Every time I return I get inspired. LA is LA. I'm inspired just by realizing I've made a way for myself to live here on my own.
GERALD: I remember when your grandmother passed away recently you told me about how you would channel the inspiration she gave you into music; how has that process been for you thus far?
G-I-B: It was hard accepting the fact that she’s no longer with me physically but I still embody parts of her spirit in my music. She taught me a lot about life and how to maneuver through it; what’s important and of value versus what isn’t; in women, family, food, and self-care. I still hear her voice telling me to keep a clean space or home in order to keep a clear mind. All the fundamental things a young person would need to know to help transition from childhood into adulthood she provided to me through countless conversations and most importantly through her love for me regardless of circumstances. When I provide wisdom in my music it’s with her in mind. I feel responsible to push the culture and be exactly who I am because she’d be proud of me for just that. She never stopped caring for me so I pay it forward to her through my voice on every song.
GERALD: You have been in LA for a few years now; how has the west coast influenced your music? Growing up in Chicago I know you’ve pursued your passion for quite some time before LA. For those that don’t know, you essentially did a triangle. Chicago to Washington D.C. and now Los, Angeles!
G-I-B: Sometimes I wake up and things can be so surreal now that I’m based in LA. You couldn't have told me I’d be here a couple years back. I didn't really have a big interest in LA. As far as LA pertains to my music I honestly don’t think it has influenced me sonically. I’ve become more open to creating and collaborating on different sounds with other artists but I’m still letting off thoughts in my songs from years ago dating back to my times in DC & the city. I think LA has done more for me as a person versus an artist. Granted, I do have a much better creative and mental space but my Chicago homies will tell you it’s still me they hear on these records! lol
GERALD: My pastor recently said that "everyone that is with you isn't really with you.” How do you keep those relationships intact that you previously established around the country?
G-I-B: I think the key to most relationships is just staying intentional about them and trusting the process of keeping what adds value and subtracting what doesn’t. The signs are usually clear for me. I don't ALWAYS follow them. Sometimes it’s hard keeping up with people I care about all over the country but I'm grateful for the ones who I can visit and pick right back up where we left off. I don't take not talking all the time personal. We all have lives and responsibilities to attend to. I just try not to force something that isn’t there and show love when the time presents itself to do so.
GERALD: I personally noticed the growth in your music the past few years. You appear to be more confident in who you are and you deliver a specific message or topic on each track. I was very impressed with the intimate performance you had at the KAOS book signing event. You didn't shy away from using the B-word in front of women old enough to be our mothers. To me you transformed into a different character. The essence of a true rapper in my opinion, look at Nas and Kendrick; they tell vivid stories that take our minds to a destination.
What has been the difference from high school to now in terms of your work ethic? Everybody knows Lil Wayne and Tupac praised being diligent with the pen & pad.
G-I-B: The biggest difference is confidence & my passion for improving my sound bro. I’ve been given a gift that only gives me more when I cultivate it. The more I write, the easier it gets and the deeper and more meaningful my lyrics become to people. It hits home. I remember after that book signing event a woman came up and asked for advice on how she could help steer her son in the right direction after she’d saw me perform. In the back of my mind I just figured I’m only a 23 year old who doesn't have it all figured out but she obviously seen much more in me. In high school I was still trying to figure myself out and discover more of myself. Now I know more of myself and you can hear it.
GERALD: What can we expect from your upcoming release? And why did you pick these individual songs to come out before the project releases?
G-I-B: Just expect something that you can live with. I’m in a zone. A lot of things are relatable to people who are enduring the ups and downs of fearlessly being yourself. I really got something for everybody. I got different vibes I give off in the new project but it’s consistent and thorough for sure. I put a few songs out to exemplify a few vibes. I’m actually previewing a new track here today, entitled “Thank You” (produced by @BradBeats.) I’m in my element on there. S/O Brad on the beat.
GERALD: What direction can we expect your music to continue to go in the future?
G-I-B: Outside of expecting me to be authentic and genuine, don’t expect anything. It usually sounds better that way. I’m only becoming more polished in my approach on my records. I orchestrate well and I have a few things lined up to prove it. Starting with this track.
IG & Twitter: @DFTHDY