Gio Dee, originally known as Big Dee, is a rapper out of our city of Boston. Gio has been rapping since the age of eleven and released his first project, D-Day, in 2011. Ever since then he’s maintained a steady grind on the music scene. He put out his second mixtape, TOTB (This Is Only the Beginning), in 2012 – which ended up making the front page of one of the most widely-used platforms for mixtape downloads: Datpiff.com.
Between headlining concerts, doing shows on the road, and shooting videos, he put forth his first EP, Fashionably Late. He’s currently prepping for the release of TOTB2. We got a hold of the busy artist to discuss his music, the music scene in Boston, favorite spots to chow down in the city, and rebuilding his “Chef Boyz” group.
OIB: How would you say growing up in Boston has affected you as a person and as an artist?
Gio Dee: It has affected me very deeply. Everything that made me who I am, is from this city. And it shows in the music that I make.
You list some of your influences and inspirations as Tupac, Outkast, 50 Cent, and Nipsey Hussle. That’s a pretty diverse group – a lot of different sounds. It’s fair to say that shows in your music right?
Yessir. I try my best to always listen to everything.
So which artists have you been listening to a lot lately?
Key!, Tory Lanez, Amir Obe, and PARTYNEXTDOOR. Just a lot of underground artists. Their music all says things that I’ve personally gone through or can relate to. I like to listen to people who tell stories.
You just performed at AC3 Hip-Hop Festival in Atlanta. You’re no stranger to that event but what was that experience like this time around?
Shit was LIT! Very different compared to last year. So many new artists that I had never heard of before.
Having now performed at venues all across the country, which city, state, or specific venue was the most memorable so far and why?
I would have to say home, Boston, just because I’ve gotten to see my peers become fans, and just watching the growth I made in my city – from nobody to somebody.
That’s dope. Tell me something that sticks out when you’re on the road that makes you say ‘damn Boston doesn’t have this’ or ‘damn I’m not in Boston in anymore’.
Pretty much everything. (laughs) Food spots, clothing, parties, the people, the vibes.
And now there’s so many artists in Boston. It seems like every day we get a new one, yet the Boston Hip-Hop scene still isn’t really ‘on’ yet. How do you feel about the music scene as a whole in Boston?
Truthfully… I don’t care for it anymore. No one wants to work together and all these niggas got egos. I just want to make music. I don’t care about who puts the city on.
I feel that, I feel that. And how about the state of Hip-Hop in general today?
I feel like its changing, and changing for the better. I just wish more people would create new sounds, instead of trying to bring old ones back.
Exactly… Absolutely agree there. But real quick since we’re kind of on the subject (laughs), I have this theory that Nicki Minaj would wash Kendrick Lamar on a track if they ever did one together. That seems to be an unpopular opinion though. What do you think about that?
(laughs) Nah, I think they would be neck and neck.
Aha fair enough. Now, compare 2012 Gio Dee on This Is Only the Beginning (TOTB) and 2013 Gio Dee on Fashionably Late to where you are now today. Where do you think you are as an artist and a person, compared to then?
My lifestyle is different. The people around me. The vision has changed. I’m just at a better place and I have a different mindset.
Word. And I heard the “Celebrity” snippet… That record was sounding very very wavy and was produced by Atlanta’s TrapMoneyBenny – how’d that connection come about?
Man I heard TrapMoneyBenny’s production through the dude Key!. Nigga is my favorite artist out right now, so I figured ‘let me try hopping on one of Benny’s Beats’. That beat, I heard a snippet of it on Benny’s Soundcloud, sent the song to him and asked how he felt about it. The rest was history from there.
Swag. That joint’s going to be on TOTB2 (This is Only The Beginning 2) which you’ve been working on for some time now (laughs). Tell us about that: the features, producers, concept you was going for, etc.
I don’t have many features on it besides my bro Quentin Miller. It’s mainly all me. A lot of big production though. The tape has been done for a while too. Just waiting to put it out at the right time.
So no release date? Any timetable for TOTB2 at all?
Nah not yet. But you will Get TOTB2 and more projects before this year is out. Fasho.
So what has your group “Chef Boyz” been cookin’ up?
To be honest, Chef Boyz is being rebuilt as we speak. Some people are still a part of it, each with there own type of sound. But there are others who just didn’t take this serious enough.
Let’s mix it up real quick (laughs). Whenever you’re not in the studio and you’re not working on music how are you spending your time?
Smoking weed, fucking bitches, and getting money (laughs). Ain’t that what all of us rappers do?
Aha, yeah that sounds about right. Speaking of girls (laughs)… Marry/Smash/Kill: Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé.
Damn that’s a force! (laughs) I think… kill Nicki, smash Beyoncé, and marry Kim.
Figured that’d be a tough one (laughs). I probably switch my answer to that every time someone asks me. But are you into sports at all? Do you fuck with the hometown teams or…?
Nah not really. Shout out to all my home teams though.
What are some of your favorite spots to grab something to eat around here?
P&R on Blue Hill Ave., Rice Bowl, Champions in the Prudential, and Whiskey’s on Boylston.
Follow Nathan Johnson on Twitter, @natesaid.