Monday, May 18, 2009

Gio Basicali (Thumbs Up!) Interview

If you are a real person, who likes real music, and has bills to pay, L.A. MC Gio Basicali is the artist for you. He has the whole world feeling good with their thumbs up, as he brings positive vibes through his music. Gio Basicali is one the young fresh new voices coming out of the L.A. music scene. With an self titled debut on ITunes, and an EP titled “I Choose You “ that is dropping May 19th,2009 for FREE download, Gio Basicali is an artist you definitely want to checkout.

Mr. Bess: Who is Gio Basicali?

Gio Basicali: Hip Hop, songwriter, and poet.

Mr. Bess: Busta Rhymes cut his dreads and went with a short clean haircut. What made you cut your dreads?

Gio Basicali: I grew my hair out to have a connection to my father, because he also had locks. I didn’t know I was doing that at first, but in my process of becoming a man I had to know what it felt like to see life the way he did, since he wasn’t there to tell me. I lived 10 years with locks. It was the best experience in my life, but I needed a change. I felt it inside and I was scared at first, like, will people accept me when they are gone? But I realized it is me who makes me how I am, not my hair. So when I realized that, IT was off with the hair. Plus, I love wearing hats and I couldn’t fit any. Or if I could I would hear LIL JON comments all over the place [laughs].

Mr. Bess: What is your “Thumbs Up” movement about?

Gio Basicali: Thumbs up is universal for everyone. For the most part, it is a positive hand signal for “go” or “I’m ready” or “everything is fine.” So when I put the thumbs up, all these things come together, I am ready to go, ready to make things happen, everything is good, I hope they are with you, let’s work together… Thumbs Up!

Mr. Bess: American Pie is one of the highest rated tracks on your debut album on ITunes and one of my favorite tracks as well. What is the inspiration behind the song?

Gio Basicali: My inspiration behind that was my neighborhood in mid-city Los Angeles. My blocks have a colorful mixture of people who do what they have to do to survive. Some work for a living with regular job 9-5 jobs, some are on government support, some are business owners, artists, and others sell “product”, if you know what I mean. For the most part, my neighborhood is calm. No real problems, just real people trying to get by everyday. There is a police station right down the street. These dudes are part of the worst things that happen in our neighborhood, and everybody knows that, so the idea of justice and liberty for all is jaded where I come from. To judge the lower is to judge the higher ‘cause they are all connected. Only one truly suffers for mistakes, and that is the one trying to get by, while the police and government go untouched. I don’t support dealing “product,” and I have a big problem with it and Dope Boy Music. To glory in the idea is sad, and in my neighborhood I also see the results of what drugs have done to our communities and families and because of that, I can’t stand it. To me, when rappers glorify selling dope, it is like a Jewish dude bragging about getting rich off selling information to the Germans during the Holocaust….never going to happen! But with Black people, we glorify the rape and break down of our own, which is why Jay-Z and other like him are whatever to me. See I give him credit [laughs]! But for real, I understand why people do it and that is the sad part. They do it, because life is hard and some aren’t blessed with the options that the rest of us have, regardless of how much they say we have choices. So in the song, I adopted the mindset of my neighborhood, and of my neighbors, and American Pie is what came out.

Mr. Bess: On May 19th the “I Choose You EP” comes out for Free download. What can we expect from this EP?

Gio Basicali: Positive music that you can play as soon as you wake up and find inspiration and motivation for the day. This project is not about me being a dope MC. This project is about connecting to real people, which is the reason that I wanted to give it away. "I choose you" is my theme for the year. It’s like “pay if forward;” use your gift, talent or skill to make the world a better place. I just wanted to give as many people as I could a gift of good music that would aid them in becoming better people.

Mr. Bess: What are the struggles for a L.A. based solo independent Hip Hop artist?

Gio Basicali: Wow! That is a big question. Lack of support, I would have to say. L.A. is real hype beast for the most part, and without real backing it is hard to rise above the surface. It takes real dedication to break out in this game here in L.A. Everyone comes here to break out. Most are terrible, but every once in a while, you find a diamond in the rough. It’s easy to create music now, because you can produce music in your own home, which makes the market place is crazy. There are too many choices, and the ones who ‘suck ass’ always seem to be the biggest pushers [Laughs]! The ones with talent just seem to give up because the fame is not worth not being heard for what we are really trying to say. Most just throw in the towel and keep the low profile. I find myself having to be really creative this last year. I took a break to see if this is something that I wanted to keep at, and out of that time I came up with the song, “Fuck Plugging That Dumb Shit.” It’s like I can’t let the dark side win. So I just took it upon myself and said, look, no matter what comes my way I am going to make this happen. No label deals here. Even if one is offered it would only be as two partners coming together. No giving away master or creative control to someone who could care less about the music and its message. And for that, this game is almost impossible for independent artists in L.A. But I feel the time is here for artist like me. The world is looking for artists like us because when you are trying to improve your life the sounds of commercial music is not hitting, and for that reason Hip Hop has lost its appeal across the board. Thanks to the Internet, we have a window to show ourselves. But even that window has its time limit before the corporation finds a way to block it or corner it.

Mr. Bess: At one time in your life you served as a youth minister. What made you make that transition to Hip Hop?

Gio Basicali: I have always been Hip Hop, even as a youth minister I was Hip Hop. The reason why I left my position as a youth minister is because the religion became a roadblock for me. The rules didn’t add up, and they would like to say it does but it doesn’t. The God that I read about in the bible was not the same God that the church at large is all about. God is not black and white; he is as colorful as the world, and the people he made, he created plain and simple. Instead of becoming the better man I had always hoped to be, I was becoming a lie, so it was time for me to leave. My pursuit of God is very serious. I would consider myself to be a spiritual person, but I am no longer trying to get people to see it the way I do. I am just trying to live it out. I don’t consider myself to be a Christian, but rather one influenced by Christ, teaching based on my environment. So don’t worry, I am not trying to convert anyone THROUGH my music.

Mr. Bess: Do you think you will ever end up back in church as a minister?

Gio Basicali: Definitely not as a profession, but yes, when it comes to the discussion of seeking spiritual truth. That institution would have to be very open minded, though, for me to say what I want [laughs].

Mr. Bess: How do you feel about Hip Hop on the radio?

Gio Basicali: Bullshit!!!

Mr. Bess: What inspires a Gio Basicali song?

Gio Basicali: The Beat tells me what it wants first, and then my life experiences come into play, and then words come out. The mood has to be right for me to create because I reach far into myself and others around me for ideas. I like building with producers who have a clue as to what they want to communicate with their beat so that the energy of the song is right.

Mr. Bess: Name 5 albums that everyone should own?

Gio Basicali: Black on Both Sides: Mos Def, Reflection Eternal: Talib Kwali, Like Water for Chocolate: Common, Aquemini: Outkast, and Gio Basicali.

Mr. Bess: Who are some of your musical influences?

Gio Basicali: Mos Def, Black Thought, and The Roots are my absolute favorite MC’s, and the list just goes on and on. I listen to a lot of music, but the funny thing is, I don’t pay attention to names of songs so I could never tell people what song I am thinking about. I just have to sing it to them to tell them. Maybe I will do a video blog one day with me singing all the songs of artists that influence me, [Laughs]!

Mr. Bess: Who do you see yourself working with in the future?

Gio Basicali: I have to work with Mos Def and Black Thought before I die, it just has to happen. I have always wanted to rock over some Will I Am production. Musiq Soul Child is on that dream list with John Meyer, Kanye, and Herbie Hancock [laughs]! I know I have a tendency to dream big. I can’t see the lines now, but I am hoping that independent music would reach that far into the game where celebs in the game would recognize and be down to build; there now it’s out there.

Mr. Bess: What message do you have for the world through your music?

Gio Basicali: Hope! I want people to find power and inspiration in my music. I want to hear stories, like, “Hey Gio, I was listening to your music in my car and it made me feel good.” This is the kind of music I write, “Feel Good Music.” I don’t want to be that MC who can’t get off the topic of how dope he is. I want my music to feel different every time so that whatever mood you are in I got something for you. I create “timeless music,” because it never gets old. I am not really the artist for trendy hits for the charts on any level. I truly just write songs that I feel will always be relevant and if one of those happens to hit, indeed I will be surprised! No Hype, Just Hip Hop!

Mr. Bess: What advice do you have for up & coming artist on the rise?

Gio Basicali: Be true to yourself, and when you don’t have money, be creative because there is always a way.

The Basicali "I Choose You Ep" For FREE Download


I Choose You EP is a project put together by the artist "Basicali" in partner with "Acrylick Clothing" as a gift, a FREE DOWNLOAD for for anyone to enjoy. The Project is uplifting, feel good, positive, conscience music much like the brand of the two. Basicali suggests: "You could play in morning to start your day." The EP was put together in hopes of inspiring others to do the same with their gifts and talents in helping the world become a better place. ENJOY!!!

Be Sure to follow Gio Basicali at these websites

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