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D.Gift Interview 2007

What projects are you working on at the moment ? Your working on your album and anything else ?

D.Gift: Yea its more like an EP 'America's Middle Child' is suppose to drop December 16th which is my birthday but that was the first time I ever performed on stage, on my birthday Ja(Ja Rule) took me out to Africa so I got to perform in front of 30,000 people the first night and the next night was like 80,000 you know.... so like for kind of like a thank you and like to me really spitting to the world now I get to drop it on my birthday and I'm going to have a nice little party for it and everything so its just like you know good looking out Ja type of thing.

What's it like going on tour with Ja ?

D.Gift: Its amazing kid its like when he gets on stage crowd goes crazy they just go bananas and its like there's no performer in the game like him he does his thing every time out the gate. I don't know why people would want to go on stage after him cause once he gets on stage he tairs it down so crazy its like the building is just like the building is just like “oopphhh” it don't even make sense getting on stage ha ha.

What places in Africa where you on tour ?

D.Gift: We went to East and West Africa the first time we went out there we went to Nigeria and Gabon and the second time we went to Tanzania, D.GiftKenya, we went to one other place I can't even think right now at the moment Tanzania Kenya and ah man i can't even think yo I forget where we went there was one other spot tough. It was real nice real nice people were very nice to you they appreciate music more out there. They don't really care about the beefs and stuff they just happy that you there, I remember one thing that made the trip so special was that when we were in Gabon our last day there in the hotel lobby all the kids came to the hotel and their was a mob of kids outside the hotel me and my man N Ron D Life and Glen(Glen Williams Director of Video Promotions & Digital Strategy On The Inc.) we just gave away all our clothes inside our suitcases it was amazing because its like the kids were like this is the best thing you could ever do for them. I gave away brand new sneakers, t-shirts, everything I just emptied my suitcase I came home with nothing in my suitcase but souvenirs it made them so happy like the look on their faces was amazing.

'America's Middle Child' will 'Junie's Song' and old tracks like that make it ?

D.Gift: I think im going to put 'Junie's Song' on their, 'America's Middle Child' is basically like with all the madness going on in the world today I just don't want to deal with it I'm just out there im doing me you know ? I'm not with it that's basically what its about its like sometimes you gotta find your own path and just go and not worry about what everybody else is doing.

Talking about 'Junie's Song' what influenced your recording of it ?

D.Gift: Wow 'Junie's Song' it was a deep song concious song but it was a real song you know a friend of mine her son is autistic so I gave her 'Junie's Song', 'Junie's Song' was basically all the things her son could say to her if he could talk because he cant speak so like at the time when I did the record it just flew I was just sitting writing it at home and it just flew out and I didn't really realise the impact it would have had. It touched her whole family like they were like D that's the best song you know that's the greatest song that song you made...and at the time it was like its Junie you know what I'm saying ? they loved it and at first i was kind of sceptical about dropping it like leaking it to myspace and different things like that because i wasn't really sure how people would accept it coming from our label but I took a chance I like to take chances with records and it was a good chance you know it was like everybody enjoyed it everybody who hears it they're like that's a great song so I'm just happy that it inspired people and it made people feel and the people got to feel what I was saying...its a good song.

You've had problems with your name D.Gift you've had to change it to D.Gift from The Gift what was behind that ?

D.Gift: Not really problems you see when i had came with the name I was just trying to be original trying to be different then everybody's else I didn't want to come with the same old names that allot of rappers have they portray themselves after gangstas I was just trying to be me like I wanted people...when I just came to this label I just wanted people to pay attention to my music and pay attention to the words I was saying so i figured 'The Gift' would be a good way to get that done you know and like it has other meanings to it to that I will let people know about later on. What happened was I was getting allot of hits on myspace from all these people that want to be The Gift, The Gift, The Gift...and that like kinda gave me a sour taste about the name so I just put 'D.Gift' cause that's my gift so I just made it more personal to me. So that was basically it with the name and stuff.

Conceptually, you make some brilliant records. Looking at the current trend of music on the radio, you don’t see many records like that. Do think radio will one day embrace a record like Junies Song?

D.Gift: Yo i hope so like you know like, thanks for saying that i make brilliant records.

Got to give props to Relentless from the site for that one.

D.Gift: But like I felt like it was good record you know I felt that it could have been played for radio, when I wrote it I was D.Giftlike yo I hope I get a Grammy for this you know what im saying ? That's how you think when you write records you don't want to just write records that's just going to touch one audience you want to write world music like records that are going to touch everybody you know so I try to do that. When I write conceptual records like that I thought it could be played on the radio because it had no cursing in it you know ? It had a catchy hook so I thought it was going to go, I got a song called 'Can't Wait', 'Can't Wait' is another catchy song but its not too commerical its real talk its real conversation its like a conversation so i thought... I could see my records on the radio I'm waiting I cant wait I'm telling you that I cannot wait to see my records on the radio hear them excuse me.

On the topic of being conceptual and trying new things is that what you'd like to be known for ?

D.Gift: I just want people to like my music....I think allot of times artists get caught up in trying to appeal to the people instead of just doing them and I think that the best thing for an artist to do is let people appeal to you you know? Like when I came out when I started leaking music i was doing allot of hard music hard records and stuff like that just because that was what I was surrounded by and things like I hear and see all the time, so I was making allot of hard music and Ja would always tell me 'yo D you aint got to do aint got' and I was like 'yea but I can' you know what im saying ? He's like 'nah you aint got to do that yo you can make your concious records you can do your party records and stuff just make it for you' so I just stuck with it let people appeal to me and at the end of the day people are going to like what they're going to like anyway so you know if you like the kid then that's great.

Speaking on Rule telling you that you don't have to do the hard records does he often influence your tracks ?

D.Gift: Who ?


D.Gift: Does he influence my tracks ?

Do you bring your tracks to him and ask him his opinion ?

D.Gift: I let him hear certain records he tell me like he always tell me keep writing see like with Rule its kind of tricky you don't know what to expect from him but at the same time you got to respect the fact he's an artist too so he has to worry about things that he is doing, I don't really go to him too much with my music like certain things I ask him like I might spit a verse and ask him 'what you think about that?' he'll tell me if its hot stuff like that. So its like you know majority of time I just go in my own zone and i just write my records and then give em to him or just put them out. I play around with my carer allot I just like to see what the people are thinking at times.

The other artists on the label Merc, Caddy, Black, Life do you work much with them or would it just be a once off were you'd jump on a track ?

D.Gift: Yea like if there's a record that everybody's working on I'll jump on it if I can get a verse on it, we did a song called 'Gangsta' everybody was on it it was cool like you know iv always got music so if one of the artists might like something I'm working on they're free to jump on it its the same its vis versa, right now I think everybody is trying to work on their own individual projects and different things like that so its a little scattered but you know when the times right everybody's going to come back and do what we do.

Can you tell us a bit about your clothing line 'Stay Fly Wear' ?

D.Gift: Yea yea I got a sponsor from a clothing line called 'Stay Fly Wear' out in Canada my man Mikenificent peace to Mikenificent what's good ? You know he's got a nice little clothing line coming out right now its limited because its just started but he's going to bringing some new clothes in the fall and different things, they got hoodies and tee's I know he's working on some jeans and things you should check it out on my website actually so that's cool that's a good look.

Your website you do videos every few days you throw up a video ?

D.Gift: I got like a concious talk show that i have every Sunday its called 'Sunday Night In The Trenches' and i just talk about things on my mind things that are going on in the world so you can catch that every Sunday night at 8pm and I got different segments that I do like acting segments I want to get into acting so I just practice on the website and stuff like like that. So I got a skit called 'Old School New School' that's with me and Ja's manager Gutta so like when we ride from his crib to the city we film and talk about different topics I got one episode up right now that I just put up and I got other skits that I'm going to put up eventually. I got different things that I'm venturing into.

The Intro you have on your website allot of people were feeling that track, will that be the intro on your album or was that just something you were working on ?

D.Gift: Actually that Intro was from the mix tape I had like I had leaked my mix tape online I didn't put in the streets I didn't put it in the stores, I just wanted to see what I would get from the internet so i just leaked it out, actually the internet you'll reach more audiences then you would just going from hand to hand. So I didn't want to start here in New York because the only reason why I didn't want to start in New York because the love wasn't so good for the label in New York so i felt if i could leak it trough the internet and see who wants to hear my music out there so it was a good look. The intro was actually fun like my friend he was thought I was bugging when I did the intro he was like 'what you rap to' I was like 'I was rapping to the snares in the beat like allot of people aint catch it so I had fun I like to be real creative.

You mentioned the hard drive containing the only copy of your album was stolen from the studio how does that make you feel ?

D.Gift: Yea it was like it kinda made me...I put allot of work into it I had the hooks that i wanted to use, I had beats that i wanted to use and for somebody to just come in the studio and steal the whole hard drive with the beats and the hooks on it that's fucked up but I'm an artist so I continually stay creative so its not going to affect me its only going to make me go harder and be twice as better, so its cool everything happens for a reason.

It doesn't make you sit back and think to yourself “is all this worth it” ?

D.Gift: If I do that if I sit back and dwell on the situation I'm never going to move forward.

Your 'Pray For Cook' record that's on the album do you want to tell us the story behind it ?

D.Gift: 'Pray For Cook' is about a childhood friend I grew up with my friend Morris Cook he was killed in a club one night he was D.Giftwith his brother and his friends and they were just chilling the peoples in the club acting rowdy and they was kinda mad cause the girls were feeling him and stuff like that and one of the dudes started shooting in the club and his(Cook's) brother jumped on him but the bullet already hit him and it travelled up his hip to his heart and killed him. So like 'Pray For Cook' is just basically it was kinda like a dedication to his moms cause for any parent to loose a son or a child period that's gotta hurt them that's a big void that's hard to fill. That's basically what it talks about and how you feel so angry you want to get revenge you just want to get that person back for what they did you but sometimes two wrongs don't make a right that's basically what that songs about its a dedication to his moms.

Rule's record have you heard any tracks off it so far ?

D.Gift: I heard a few records off Rule's album I don't want to speak about the records but your boys back in the building...yea rule's been working hard on his album 'The Mirror's' going to be a good album a great album actually, you know its like what the peoples been waiting for they tired of people being like him so he's going to come with his records that he makes, he got real creative on his records too so its going to be a good album I like it I like it allot.

You recorded 'Countdown' with him and leaked that yourself.... ?

D.Gift: y'all going to get me in trouble(laughs)... yea i caught an ear full for that one cause you see what happened was I aint going to talk about(anything negative)...all right fuck it I'm going to tell you a little secret behind that record. I was riding around with Rule the day that he went to go record that I believe, we was riding in the car I was letting him hear a record that I did it was me and his body guard 'Holla', Fred so we driving to the studio so he(Ja) goes and starts working on this record 'Countdown'....I'm listening to the beat and I'm like that shit is crazy you know what im saying. A couple days later I come back and he's finished it. The song was originally for him and Fatal you know what I'm saying but I didn't hear Fatal's verse before I put my verse on it so I had a CD with the unfinished song on it so you know I went in and did my 1,2 cause I just wanted him(Ja) to hear my verse it was just crazy the beat was crazy and I went and laid a verse to it and I was holding the CD I was like damn if I go in there he's going to be mad because he's going to be like first of all you shouldn't of even had the record that's number 1 so im like damn im going to be cursed out for that, then I'm like aight but the shit is hot so he might like it so time went by I let him hear the record and he aint really say nothing I think he was tight because I had took the record and then like we were going to Africa that was for my birthday and I had asked him if I could perform the song with him he was like he was shutting me down, he was like nah I was like 'yo c'mon kidd' he was like nah so I said aight what ever he said he'll think about it so I had to keep going at him I had to keep going at him keep trying. So I planted my little seeds and went to get the record put it in the replay machine cause I just had faith that he was going to let me do it, so we get all the way up to show time right and he was like 'aright whatever you can do it' I was like 'word ? Aight cool' everybody was teasing me the whole saying 'you aint going to go up there you aint going to do it you aint going to spit your verse' I was nervous as hell yo I aint never been in front of that many people in my life to perform so I just went up and I spit my verse the best way I knew how and from that point was what it was. You know I had my little video clip of it I put it on my myspace and stuff like that but what happened was I had got a hit from one of the major online websites that plays music hiphopgame, they asked me for a record I was like yo strike number 2 I knew I shouldn't of done it I was like yo I was trying to show Rule another outlet I had an opportunity and you know what they say 'when an opportunity presents itself you got to take full advantage of it'. So Rule I was just trying to be a business man but I leaked the record and it got four out of five stars that was great it was like one of those gutsy moves that you know you shouldn't do but sometimes when you take chances with things with things better things come from them so you know it was a good look its still a great record but on the album I believe Fatal is going to be on that one Fatal killed it he did his thing.

Countdown will make the album but with Fatal on it ?

D.Gift: Yea with Fatal.

So Fatal's still working with Ja is he ?

D.Gift: Yea Fatal still comes trough he works with Rule and stuff they good friends actually he's a good dude I like Fatal.

If you had your chance would you work with him ?

D.Gift: Yea of course Fatal has time in the game you got to respect the people that come before you he has allot of time allot of history he worked with one of the greatest rappers ever got to respect the man for that you know what im saying if anything but Fatal does his own thing too. Peace to Fatal, Shadow you know Jersey Clique, Jersey Crew they good peoples.

What is your opinion on the whole Hip Hop Is Dead concept ?

D.Gift: I don't think hip hop is dead I just think that nobody is trying any more I don't even listen to the radio to be honest because allot of the stuff that comes on the radio is garbage you got so many gimicks its just gimmicky gimmicky gimmicky nobody's trying to be original nobody's trying anything at all its just like aight lets see what word I can flip and make it the hottest word and go with it which is kind of wack because you got people that....I think people in general like Rule with him X, Jay, Nas they came in the game and they changed it they albums changed the game and nobody's really trying to change the game any more they just chasing the dollar which is fucked up. Every good album, every classic album brings up a generation you know so like I think artists should try bring up a generation but a positive generation something that's going to make people want to go and write and enjoy hip hop again, not just look at it as a easy way to get money you know cause you'll get your face hurt real quickly if you think that. If you think your just going to get in here and write a record and its going to pop tomorrow then forget about it its hard work yo.

Do you listen to any music outside hip hop ?

D.Gift: Yea I listen to RnB, Pop music I like to listen to some of those songs. I'm an old school RnB dude I like Luther Vandross and different things like that cause my grandmother she used to play that all the time you couldn't play anything else in the house but Luther Vandross so I like him, I listen to some Jazz I like Smokey Robinson some of the old greats like Al Green people like that.

Do you want to do some shout outs before we finish up ?

D.Gift: I want to shout out my friends back home, my boy Vin Diesel, my God Son Zamir, my niece Chelsea on the way, piece to my sister my family Junie what's good Junie's going to be eight this year he's starting to get better still got faith that he's going to start speaking that's cool. I want to definitely want to give a shout out to you guys to Dermo, Kain taking an interest in your boy thanks for the first interviews you gave me you know I really appreciate that every help is a big help you know every small step is a giant step so I appreciate y'all taking your time with me you know and giving me a chance to voice myself and my opinions to the world I really appreciate that thank you.

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