Gio Priest is an up and coming artist, out of the Netherlands, who really seems to get the true essence of the Hip Hop spirit. It reflects in his music and in the way that he carries himself. You can tell that he is not going to give up in his craft, he is only going to get better. He has really come into his own and realizes what his goals are and how he is going to meet them.
He seems to be one of those inquisitive minds that always questioned things growing up until he found the answers that he wanted to find so that he can apply them to his life in a positive and productive manner. He's able to communicate his feelings like paintings that clearly show what he is trying to tell you like the great artists from the past (in music and in general art). He is a poet/artist/producer, but really, I think they all go hand in hand. I hope you all appreciate this interview as much as we at Rebel Noiz did, it was a real treat.
As a Hip Hop producer/artist, what are your aspirations and dreams?
"As a Hip Hop producer/artist my aspirations is to change the music game and image of the audience into a more positive note (towards themselves and music). Bringing back the art in music like how it was back in the 80’s and 90’s, I am talking about attitude and appreciation for creativity in the art form of Hip Hop.
Dreams, well to brand my name GioPriest as GioPriest type beats cause all my beats has an authentic positive feel to it! I hope to get recognition as a top producer."
What drew you to Hip Hop? What was that moment in time that made you think this is what I want to do?
"Well as a youth I listened to a lot of Hip Hop break beats on the radio but it all came to me on a vacation to Puerto Rico when I saw a poster of Beat Street and I begged my dad to take me to watch the movie. I guess they decided to take me because they saw Harry Belafonte name on their ..lol .. Anyway when I sat there and the movie started… something happened to me.. I sat there with my mouth open throughout the movie like it was talking to me and at the end of the movie it told me like this is who you are! Hip Hop"
Who are your influences?
"My influences are KRS 1 Boogie Down productions, Scott La Rock was one of my favorite producers that got me into the art of becoming a producer(well wishing to become a producer at that time). DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Jungle Brothers, De La soul, Outkast, Hieroglyphics, Nas, Kurtis Blow, Eric B &Rakim, and when LL Cool J dropped I’m Bad… I started writing and freestyling. But before all that I grew up listening to a lot of soul tracks my dad used to play in the house like Al Green, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Temptations, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, and Peter Tosh, just to name a few."
What experiences do you draw from life and put into your music?
"Everything! The pain, struggle and life. Being born in the Caribbean under the Dutch Netherlands flag is never an easy life, it’s hard to maintain a sense of self and growth. When I was wrongfully or let we say racially removed from college like ‘the mysterious disappearing of my resists’, I didn’t know what to do then and I entered a state of depression for a while, so what I did is I put all my frustrations into pen and paper and wrote poetry and rhymes. It was later that I decided to make beats. It’s like therapeutic to me in a sense and later it became an art form during my development in becoming a Hip Hop producer. Music to me is like a life on its own. It has not only one color but volumes of different colors all melodically put together, that’s why Hip Hop is worldwide and brings people together in a way politics can’t! Guess that’s why all my beats got a soulful attitude towards it. Like it speaks for itself."
What do you focus more on, your production or being an MC? Why do you chose that over the other?
"Well, as a producer I have the freedom to create and compose melodies in a way that can move people and change their attitudes towards life. I have also noticed by listening to some artists, which I won’t mention here, is that their beats are so dark that it doesn’t do anything else then amplify depression and frustration while music especially Hip Hop supposed to relieve feelings! I think it's supposed to be about MCing, DJing, and party and enjoyment! It started from there and I didn’t like the direction where it was going and where it is now, so I changed my focus from becoming an artist and got more into becoming a producer."
How was it like growing up? What did you enjoy doing as a youth?
"Growing up was ok...had some hard times along the way. What I like doing was recording my voice on a tape deck, making up improvised stories and such. I liked playing baseball which I was good at and hanging out with my friends in the hood. I liked breakdancing and listening to a lot of music."
What type of equipment do you use to produce your music?
"For now, it’s a Laptop, a mpc and keyboard, Roland Monitors, Reason & Pro Tools applications."
What are some of the things coming out in the future?
"Well it depends on the amount of artists that I will be working with now and in the future. Am hoping to create hits in every production I make. Like I got beats that would even change the image of artists such as Nas, for example and beats that would amplify the lyrics of artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Papoose to name a few so you can get an idea what I am aiming at. But my focus is the underground artists. I plan on bringing out mixtapes, beat tapes which will hopefully be out this season and an EP which I will officially bring out as an artists. I am also currently starting off a low profile project with a Hip Hop producer named Chain Isadoria who works at Horizon Music Group-Elm City Music (EMI). I am also hoping to make tracks for artists such as B.Free… Mayhem.. Ibn Hassan.. AKL from Germany and much more artists from the underground scene, cause they have a lot more to say and show to the audience right now. And I am also scouting for new talents to work with at the moment."
What is a piece that you are most proud of as a musician and why? Give us a description of what it means and symbolizes to you.
"Well for a very long time I did not pick up the mic and when I did the first track I recorded, it was a track called Africa which will be coming out soon on my mixtape and a track that B.Free did called Keep Pushing. Africa is very radio playable and has a certain feeling to it which people are currently missing out on in music and Hip Hop. I can’t really describe it, it’s that good conscious feeling I guess and Keep Pushing, which is also gonna be on the mixtape. His lyrics and beat came together nicely on that joint! There are a few more, to be honest . I am proud of every work I do cause I put everything into it and it has a life of its own."
So you run EastWind Productionz, how did you get the name and how did that all come about?
"EastWind derived from the Book of Exodus when God used the eastwind to bring the locust unto the Egypt because the Pharoah refused to let the Isrealites go free. You can see this in the Book of Exodus 14:19-31."
"I don’t wanna get religious in this interview but I got that from God. I didn’t know at that time under what name to start this off with, so I prayed and that’s the answer I got! Guess it fits perfectly with the standards of Hip Hop at the moment, symbolically speaking."
Who else is involved in EastWind Productionz along with you?
"So far just me."
Who are some of the artists you have worked with?
"So far I worked with, B.Free, AKL from Germany, Muggnasty, Nick B, Ibn Hassan, Redi Brown, Judah Leon, Jdotmason, and I did a track with DisObey from California."
Who are some of the artists you are currently working with?
"Mayhem, PsalmStar, , Brash & AybeOmari which am currently working with now… Laupi D from the Netherlands. You can find them all on Soundcloud. I am just getting started..."
What are some of the artists that you are listening to now?
"Well that’s a pretty hard question, guess that’s why I am constantly in the studio. Kendrick Lamar woke up the dead with his verse but we on the underground were already on that tip before he ever thought about writing his first verse on Control. It's just that the cameras are pointing in the wrong direction cause here on the underground is where Hip Hop is at and we are coming! Crooked I, Saigon, got some ill joints on there and Killah Priest, Lecrea and Joey Badass is what’s dope right now! But I know there are more artists out there waiting to be heard and am waiting to drop tracks for them when it all comes together."
How does something from your everyday life influence you in your music?
"Well, right now the social services in the Netherlands are trying to hang me on the cross before I take off into success. They are bringing made up claims and such and creating a bigger hole into my pockets that makes things more stressful for me at the moment but I believe that every successful artists out there that made it met such obstacles in their life, especially when they noticed that your gifted and can make a powerful difference in the world public view when it comes to music. But like music, you evolve and grow so that’s how I look at it and go about it in my music."
I see you are a poet, is there a way for the readers to come in contact with your poetry?
"Nah, for now that’s just something I do in my own private time. Maybe in the future I might drop something here and there...who knows."
How can people go about getting your beats?
"They can just hit me up on Soundcloud, Reverbnation or on my Facebook page and we can take it from there. I find that for me it’s a much better way between the artist and me. Building a work bridge together and a good communication for the long term."
Here are some links to Gio Priest:
His Soundcloud (to check out a lot of his work):
His Reverbnation (has his Youtube videos and other works):
Some of the music, I'd like you to check out too:
Keep Pushing- B.Free produced by Gio Priest:
Oldskool- Laupi D produced by Gio Priest: