Interview with Gibraan
The Voice of Nureamerica
Who is Gibrann?
ó interview compiled by Dwayne Lacy ó
Mark the name.
Gibraan has done guest spots on many albums from Unity Klanís Big J to Kelli Williams to Jah Word to underground holy hip hop masters such as RedCloud and Reality. He was featured on the MSS Dynasty Hostile Takeover project from 2001.
If youíve seen Tonéx on stage, youíve no doubt seen Gibraan, as heís one of the artistís dancers.
Now Gibraan is slinging us his own stuff, solo style. So who is this guy, and what is his mission?
"My vision is to revolutionize the culture of hip hop. I just want to bring the pure word of God to it, and my vision is to do it through Mockinbyrd Slang."
"Itís not just about the MCing, not totally about lyrical talent or production, but about the whole presentation and how everything comes to the people. Everything that I ever received I received through through audio and visual, like it is for most young people. It is so subtle."
"So thatís what Iím trying to do with Gibraan (General Infinite Beyond Rhymes and Any Nonsense). Iím bringing the anointing and the Word into peopleís lives so they can understand."
"Hip Hop is not the only place where I want to advance the kingdom, but I will start through this music."
"Mockingbyrd Slang is a dictionary for the albums [which will follow]. The rest of the albums are total concept albums, purposed in God. I am trying to revolutionize the genre of music whether itís Gospel or Hip Hop period."
"Iím tired of getting picked up and people are blasting Jay-Z. Iím not hating on him, but I canít really worship at church when the person that drove me to church is listening to ďJigga jigga that, jigga thisĒ."
"Iím trying to be the alternative for people to listening to. Even if they are drawn to T-Boyís tracks [on my project], thatís fine."
"At the same time, itís all Word and Spirit. Whether itís a slow process or immediate, I think that itís going to bring glory to God."
How did you hook up with T-Boy?
"Thatís all God how we hooked up. I met T-Boy in I-Hop after I had just got saved, like in 98'. When I was in the world, we met through this hip hop function called the Underground Improv, and he came and did a set."
"He just came into a secular event in the worst area and put it down. When I saw him at I-Hop, I told him that my boy Reality is on his label (see album review), and I appreciated what he did at the Improv. That was it."
"When Reality was doing True Knights, it wasnít for his own CD, but for the MSS Dynasty album before it even materialized. Tonéx took the track and asked us to flip it."
"I also got a chance to write on Realityís album. That was the first time that I worked with T-Boy, and it just flowed. After that, he called me to work on Kelli Williamsí album. He had someone pick me up and take me to the studio, and I did my verse in like ten minutes. We worked good together."
Ministry is ever-present on Mockinbyrd Slang, with such songs as the rapture-themed, ďLonely ChristmasĒ. Over a nice slow "boom bip", Gibraan tells a vivid story of what it would be like if he were to be left behind. Tonéx lends his voice to the track and gives us his best impression of some Clark Sisters runs....|
Click on the above album cover to connect with the full review.
"T-boy then called me to work on Big Jís album, whom I was best friends with in 7th and 8th grades. We really got tight when Tonéx did a movie called, To Each His Own. I believe that To Each His Own should be released simultaneously with Tonéx' O2 album, it should really be released on DVD."
Lay down some stories for us on what itís like working with T-Boy.
"If yaíll knew Tonéx/T-boyís catalogue and how many albums that he had, you would trip out. O2 is only his second release."
"He has no ritual that he goes through [for songwriting]. We might go get something to eat and come back. Heíll get up and leave the room. Once heís gone for like ten minutes, you know that heís working on a track."
"Heíll have his headphones on. Once he gets his basic drum pattern down, heíll throw the head phones off and heíll play it out loud."
"Iíll ask him whatís that for. Heíll tell me that 'itís for you, Gibraan', or 'itís for Zsa Zsa'."
"Tonéx has crazy vision. Once itís starts flowing, it never stops. We did 6 tracks for my album in one night, as far as productions goes. He had already completed ďLonely ChristmasĒ and wanted me to do a story to it."
"Once he completed that song, he was like, ĎLetís make another one.'"
Click on the above album covers to connect with the respective reviews. Each project features Gibraan in some capacity. |
"I believes that he taps into Eternity. Itís huh. Itís bananas to see the Spirit of Creativity flowing through T-Boy like that. Itís nothing to him, itís like breathing for him."
"Even if heís working on another project, heíll ask me what I think about a song. I tell him to do his thing. Itís been a blessing to be able to build and learn from him."
Letís talk about some of your songs on Mockingbyrd Slang.
"I like to provoke thought and have people stop and think about situations. Like in ďLonely ChristmasĒ. If the rapture was to take place in that situation, just snap out of yourself and take a look at it. It will make you appreciate your days more."
"'Beyond Rhymes' was originally titled 'Beyond the Veil', but I wanted to draw peopleís attention to the title of the song. Itís about intimacy and true worship. When we did that track, we wanted to do a straight praise and worship track."
"Iíve experienced seasons of rhyming and doing it in the local church, but it was a hard thing because people donít understand hip hop, the culture and rap music. Iíve been told that itís not of God. So I wanted to do that song to show that you can praise and worship through hip hop. Itís an anointing on that song."
"When T-boy made the track, we worshiped for over an hour. I sometimes have to skip the song because it causes me to go in. I never had a hip hop song do that for me. I thank God that He allowed me to be free in the spirit when I recorded that track."
Whatís the reasoning behind the naming ďAfghan Borders and Bloodstained BannersĒ?
"Itís focusing on current events, and saying donít worry about wars. It all boils down to the kingdom of God. Letís focus on the kingdom."
"The chorus says that Ďthey might want to, but they canít bang with usí. Itís not necessarily saying that the Afghans canít bang with us. Itís like, things canít take place in the natural before it takes place in the spiritual. We are above these principalities and powers."
"Iím filled with a promise, so what can you do? Just for His nameís sake alone, Iím covered. We are operating on Kingdom time. I wrote the first verse on September 10, 2001."
What about the slang thatís used throughout the album? Drop us some schooling on that.
"Ninjaz is adopted from Northern Cali. E-40 and Saafir uses Ninjaz, we borrowed it from Pac and say it to mean ĎNot Ignorant In Jesus Approaching ZionĒ. Me and my boys have head bands that say ďN.I.N.J.A.Z.í on it. Itís just a fun click that anybody can hang out with."
"The young people are misunderstood by the old people in the church, but they are not rebellious. They are submitted to authority. N.I.N.J.A.Z. is also a good substitute for the word, Ďniggaí."
"Do your thizzle is ďDo you thingĒ. I use the slang to hide the Spirit in the song. I can say ďin the streets why everybodyís po. Everyone can identify with that. There is a lot of broke people."
"Then, ĎChrome tippy toedí Thatís like Daytons on a 84 Cadillac. Now I got everyoneís attention that is familiar with what I just said. The people that I am supposed to reach, I know that they will listen to and what they will not listen to."
"Then I say, ďThe light shines onÖí. Whoís the Light? Jesus Christ. I canít go to a gang banger and tell them that something that they might say is not edifying. They donít know about edification or about church ordinances. They need to understand that God loves them and they can be redeemed."
"Then, they can understand the abundance that they will have once they are reconciled to Christ. You donít want to push people away. Iím not trying to water anything down, but at the same time Iím not going to lose in trying to be some holy rider and saying Ďyouíre not riding right. The slang is an attention getter."
"Nobody preached at me when I got saved. Someone invited me to a bible study and I had just I finished drinking Alaze. I got suited up like I was going to see some girls. Everyone was lifting their hands. I played along. Then I saw manifestations in people who I know were some of the worst gang bangers."
"Then I asked Jesus to help me. It was the true Spirit of God and love that drew me to repentance and kept me in sound mind long enough to give my life to God. I pray that when cats see me, they see the characteristics of God, so His Spirit can draw them."
"Thatís what I am trying to do in my music. Iím not trying to be this super Christian on the microphone. Thatís not me."
How did you get hooked up with Syntax Records?
"Thereís a local function called ChristJam, put on by DJ Psalms 150. We go to the same church, New Birth Christian Fellowship, and they threw functions there. People from Syntax Records would come around and do their thing."
"I was real big on the underground scene. A couple guys on their label was saying that they need to get with me and make an album. At the time, I didnít know what I was going to do. MSS was folding, and Nureau Ink was being established. I was rolling with Tonéx and he told me to go ahead and do something. So I have a good one album deal with Syntax. Iím not even on contract anymore. Thatís a blessing that they received the album."
"I wanted to put out Passion and Honey. I want to do the production myself, but I put that back and did Mockinbyrd Slang instead."
There you have it. It looks like we will be hearing a lot more from Gibraan and Nureau Ink. Stay tuned for the Mockinbyrd Projects.
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