Representing: Jamaica (Queens), New York
HipHopWired: First things first, there’s a lot behind the name. Does Gist tie in with what you’re about to bring to the game?
Gist: Gist means the essence, the essential idea. It’s the meaning, the understanding. Something that’s missing and I feel like my part that I can offer to this game is some realness, something that people can feel. Why we started doing this in the first place, Hip-Hop was originally an expression for us. This was and is the way that we can speak up and I want to bring back that talent. There’s a lot of talented artist that don’t get heard and I’m one of them so the essence of real Hip-Hop music is talent and doing it for the love of the game and I definitely have all the above.
HipHopWired: You’ve been making some noise on the mixtape circuit in New York for the past few years, what are some of the accolades you’ve racked up?
Gist: I was featured on BET’s Rap City “Spit Yo Game.” Marley Marl’s “Future Flavors Of The Month” retired my song after winning several weeks in a row for my song “Get Money” off The Young Gifted & Black album. I’ve had spins on Power 105 and Hot 97. Over 580,000 people have viewed my “Young, Gifted & Black” video off YouTube and over 40,000 have downloaded the Young, Gifted & Black album.
HipHopWired: Young, Gifted & Black built a strong buzz for you but it also caused a few misconceptions. Let’s clear that up.
Gist: I don’t know if 100% percent of the people knew what I was saying on the song. When I said, “I ain’t never sold an ounce of crack/ I never bust a trey pound or mac/ that’s a fact I’m just a youngin’ that know how to rap.”
I wasn’t glorifying and saying I’m better than he is because I ain’t never have to sell dope or kill anybody. It was more drawing attention like dude, I can rap, I make music just as well as anybody else that trap to do what they need to do. So that whole album was based around being young, gifted and black. The message was that God blessed me with a gift and I want the world to hear it. Donny Hathaway made the song. Nina Simone made it. Aretha Franklin redid it. Big Daddy Kane ended up naming one of his songs behind that and that’s what I’m offering to the people too. It’s something to be proud of. Like I said, I’m a regular dude and not everybody in the hood has sold drugs. Some do go to college and do other things and that’s something to brag about too besides I moved all these keys. So the song and the album really is to inspire and it’s more of a representation of being proud of what you do and not being afraid to do it. Acknowledging the gift that God gave you and acknowledging the gift that you’ve been blessed with and making it happen.
That’s pretty much me, I’m just a go-getter. Making it happen. I could have set there and tried to create this superhero, fake person that wasn’t me and it could’ve worked. It probably would have but it’s like at the end of the day can I look myself in the mirror and know that I’m being true to myself. And plus I want people to feel me and not some fake character.
HipHopWired: So you don’t want to be placed in a box as strictly a conscious and a back pack MC that your first project had people perceive?
Gist: I moved away from the album because it kind of put me in a box. Because I wasn’t talking about selling drugs, they wanted to put me in the category of a backpack rapper and that’s not what I am, no disrespect. And when you listen to the album, you see I’m doing tons of stuff on that album. So it wasn’t really until I started pushing my next mixtape which was Little Boxes because that was like ya’ll think ya’ll understand me but I just love making music. I’m a fan of this so if you think you got me pegged to a tee, you’re wrong.
HipHopWired: You recently dropped a new mixtape in preparation for your upcoming second independent album, what does that project set you up for?
Gist: Dreams The Mixtape is a continuation of me letting you know who I really am. So if you listen to those last two projects, you’ll be like this kid, whatever sounds right to him, he gone do. As long as it don’t compromise myself as a man and as an artist, I’m gone do it. Don’t get it twisted. Let’s keep it 100. I’m a Queens ni**a till the day that I die. I don’t smoke but I do drink and I do all the things that real ni**as do. I go to the club, talk to shorties, chill with my crew and bug out sometime. But after Young Gifted & Black, they wanted me to be with incense all day, being a vegetarian or some sh%&. Nah if I’m at a barbecue, give me a double cheeseburger, pass that Henn, and what is her name over there. I’m someone everybody can relate to and when you hear my music, you can feel it. Dreams The Mixtape is just an appetizer to let the people know I ain’t dead yet.
HipHopWired: You’re gearing to release the actual album Dreams this fall, what do you want people to walk away with after banging out to your sound and lyrics?
Gist: I’m just grinding out just trying to make good music that people can feel. I want them to understand me. I’m a regular dude and for such a long time I feel like rappers have been like these distant dudes, like they the Pope or something. Somebody who you can’t know or touch but everybody got a little bit of Gist in them, that’s how I feel. I’m a regular dude in the hood. I ain’t done all of the hood things but I done some knuckle head things but went to college and I’m just a fan of music and I think that’s what people will get after listening to me. I’m not so far from them and they will be able to relate. Everything that you see and go through in real life, you’ll be able to get out of my music.
“Got ‘Em Tight”
To contact Gist or listen to more of his music, click the links below.
To submit material to be considered for New Artist Spotlight: Send bio, mp3s and links to HipHopWired@gmail.com