Hip-hop, despite its growth over the past 20 years, still can have a negative overtone due to its progressively crude and often violent lyrics. However, there are some artists pushing beyond the boundaries and transforming hip-hop back into the way it was in the beginning; positive artistically viable poetry. One of these notable rappers is Ohio native The IGive.
Greg “The IGive” East, currently residing in Jacksonville, FL., gives his audience an incredible blend of poetry and hip-hop with poignant statements that embodies the true direction of his talent.
Although The IGive started out as a gospel rapper, he gradually changed his focus as his religious beliefs transformed him into the realms of being more of a positive secular artist. His mixtape, “God Iz Music,” was released in 2008. The mixtape still retained some religious references, but was his first effort directing his music to a broader audience and not just directed toward Christians.
In 2009 The IGive started to discover the spoken word scene in Jacksonville, Florida and became the host of The Cypher Open Mic Poetry & Soul when it was at Café 331. This experience heavily influenced his CD release “Rhythm & Poetry.” Although the album only featured two poets, Love Reigns and Moses West, it was a way to blend the two lyrically artistic forms of hip-hop and poetry into one platform. “My perception of real lyricism is really poetry to a beat. I wanted to introduce hip-hop to my poetry audience.”
In the thrust of building a name for himself in Jacksonville and surrounding cities, The IGive found himself facing hardships in his personal life. Relationship issues and being laid off for 8 months was the elevated motivation for his 2011 album “DreamKillerz” Teaming up with producer Rod Thornton of Southstyle Productions Music Group, he released a powerful combination of straight-forward hip-hop, laced with pure honesty and abstract expression. “I needed to create songs that took my mind off of my situations. This album was an encouragement to me and to anyone that listened to it.”
His performances on stage capture the audience and it’s a long shot away from the first time he performed on stage in his 12th grade talent show. He is more confident and in tune with his audience, even having crowd favorite tracks such as “Remember U” being requested at shows. “It’s a catchy hook. If you listen to the lyrics it’s a sad song but the vibe of it is happy.” Another crowd favorite, along with The IGive’s favorite, is the track that delivers pure hip-hop, “Days Like This.”
Currently, The IGive is working on his next project; a two part album entitled “#RAPDNA.” One will be produced by Rod Thornton and the other produced by ill Clinton. It will encompass a lot of different experiences and perspectives such as relationships and the overall mindset of the industry. He is also the new host of the open mic venue Artis(Tree) Live Downtown every 2nd and 4th Thursday at Club TSI in Jacksonville, FL. (333 E Bay Street). Artis(Tree) features some of the most talented poets, singers and emcees and has been a major success over the years.
The IGive, recently inducted into the Black on Black Rhyme Poetry Troupe (Jacksonville Chapter), takes hip-hop to a new level with his soulful poetic and R&B flavor with rap lyrics. He encourages anyone trying to make it in the industry to always be true to who you are. “It is important for you to be yourself because people love you when you’re real. Most of the times when you seek out to accomplish something – you do it for an outcome. The best outcome would come by giving the greatest gift you can give – being uniquely you.”
To hear some of The IGive’s music, tune into him on The IGive Pandora station or visit http://www.theigive.bandcamp.com or his YouTube Channel: The IGive. You can also contact The IGive via Twitter/InstaGram: @igive4life and Facebook: The IGive