Gemini a.k.a. GemStones Interview
|Next Project:||Troubles of the World (Dec '07)|
|Twitter:||Gemstones on Twitter|
Chicago artist Gemini (a.k.a. Gemstones) is not a rapper or a singer; he is an entertainer. Signed to Lupe Fiasco’s 1st & 15th, Gemini looks to touch the lives of his listeners when his debut album “Troubles of the World,” drops before the end of the year.
Due to a trademark that restricts the official usage of the name “Gemini,” the Chicagoan will legally go by the title GemStones. Similar to the Christopher Wallace fiasco over the usage of “Biggie” (officially he was Notorious BIG), Gemini knows his name can change but his talent will always win out.
In an interview with fellow Chicagoan, DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Gemini discusses the influences of Jay-Z and R. Kelly, how the troubles of his world are the same as yours, and why his new single “We On” could be played at a George Bush party.
Listen to the Interview
Gemstones Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a Chicagoan who’s reppin’ 1st and the 15th. Please welcome my man, Gemini. How you doin’?
Gemini: What’s good with it, baby, what’s good with it Z?
DJ Booth: Instead of answering the classic, “Who is Gemini?” starter question, I’d like to put your answer in the perspective of let’s say a friend or industry peer. How would someone else describe what Gemini is all about?
Gemini: Very talented, humble guy that’s hungry.
DJ Booth: The astrological sign for a Gemini indicates a person’s supposed to be logical, inquisitive, lively, active, curious, multi-tasking, and talkative. As an artist, what qualities do you exude through your music?
Gemini: As an artist, out of all the things you just gave me? Multi-talented.
DJ Booth: A lot of people say, “Gemini is a rapper, but he sings.” Others say, “He’s singer, but he raps.” Do you just consider yourself a musician, period?
Gemini: Naw, I just tell them, “Man, I’m an entertainer.” Far from a rapper. A rapper is somebody who just puts words together because they match – because, “he,” rhymes with, “she.” I’m a poet – far from a rapper. Like, my words are real. I’m a poet. I’m an entertainer. I entertain. You saw the show the other night, right?
DJ Booth: Mm-hmm.
Gemini: That wasn’t just a rapper on stage that was an entertainer.
DJ Booth: You entertained the hell out of me, so-
Gemini: Aw yeah, I’m an entertainer. I’m like – that’s what Puffy say, man: “Don’t look at me as a rapper.” Only Puff Daddy said that. I’m an entertainer.
DJ Booth: Well, let’s talk about one of the new singles that you entertained me with. It’s called, “We On,” featuring Lupe Fiasco. What type of impression can a song like, “We On,” make for the start of your career?
Gemini: A big impression, man. Because it’s different – it’s feel-good music. And it’s something that’s not in the ordinary, that’s not following along with everything that goin’ on right now. It’s left-field, and it’s gonna get your attention off the bat. Like, “You, who is this?” Plus, I’m a new artist. Like, “Yo, who is this? This kid is dope.” It makes you want to know more. Like, “Who is Gemini?” And that’s when you’re gonnna go to my Myspace and then you go, “Oh, he’s with Lupe,” and you gonna go find Lupe’s album and say, “Oh, he a singer?” “No, he’s a rapper.” “Oh, he rapping? Oh.” Everybody wants to know and there’s talent there, so now, you’re caught it my web.
DJ Booth: I think the announcement that you’re making with, “We On,” is, “Industry, I am versatile.” That’s what you’re sayin’.
Gemini: Yeah. Yes, yes.
DJ Booth: I love that message. In the song, you and Lupe go back and forth; you trade lines about the ‘85 Bears, the ‘92 Bulls, and the ‘05 White Sox. Now, I’m a true Chicagoan, so that line really caught my heart. Which championship do you think means the most to the city of Chicago?
Gemini: The Bulls, because we had been waitin’ on the Bulls to win for so long. Because the Bulls did the impossible first by winning, because we were the underdogs when we first won. We did the impossible, then we turned around and did the impossible twice – see what I’m sayin’? Not only did we did it once, we did it twice. Then we did it three times. Man, we showed these cats we can do it and that’s something like me. I’m doing the impossible. I’m rapping, and I’m singing. I’m a dude that – I’m not cocky when I say this, but I know what I hold within. I sing at a level, it’s like, “Wow, why isn’t this guy just a singer?” but then I rap at a level, “Wow, why isn’t this guy just a rapper?” and then my songwriting, it’s like, “Whoa, why isn’t this guy just a songwriter?” I’m doin’ the impossible. And like we said, we all in one, all rolled up: ‘85 Bears, ‘92 Bulls, ‘05 Sox all rolled up, and it’s no lettin’ up. If you smart you wanna be the ‘07 us! I am doin’ it twice, ‘cause I’m twin – Gemini’s a twin. I’ve got both sides, so I’m doin’ it twice.
DJ Booth: What is so unique about this situation is that most artists will start off only as a rapper, and maybe venture into singing, or they’ll start off as just a singer, and then maybe venture into rapping. What made you decide that from the get-go, you wanted to do both?
Gemini: I looked at the market. It was one point in time I was goin’ through a confused phase in my life, when I was just rappin’. But I always knew how to sing. I was goin’ through a confused stage in my life, like, “Man, what am I gonna do?” ‘Cause I knew how to sing s o good that I didn’t want to leave singing behind. Gangsta rap was out then, and back then when I was a rapper, just putting word together because it matched, and then I really didn’t know, so I’m lookin’ at R&B and I’m thinkin’ singing, you could only sing about love songs. And at the time, I was rappin’ about what was goin’ on. I was a kid, I was a shorty, but they was talkin’ about shoot-em-up, shoot-em-up. So I was talkin’ aboiut shoot-em-up back in the day, and I didn’t know how I was gonna do, and as I got older, as rap began to evolve, and playa style came in and I began to rap playa, ‘cause Biggie was in – you know, as time changed I changed with my rap and I grew as an artist. But I still knew how to sing, and I was still confused, and then I asked my uncle, “Yo, what am I gonna do? I can’t can’t be rappin’ hardcore then turn around and then sing, ‘Baby I love you.’ It don’t go. You can’t play both sides of the field.” He turned to me and he’s like, “Nephew, just be yourself. Sing about you. Tell your story. Make it make a marriage.” From that point on, it let me know I did not have to go with one of the, and I didn’t have to leave one behind, because I knew I was too talented in the other to leave it behind. It was like magic, “Oh my God!” It was like, “Yo, who is that rappin’?” I’m like, “It’s me.” “Who is that singin’?” “That’s me!” They’re like, “Oh my God!” And then once I saw Jay-Z and R. Kelly do best of both worlds, and I saw that work? Like, I can do that [with] just one of me! It worked!
DJ Booth: Well, the most important thing you have to look out for then is that you don’t beef with yourself if you go on tour, because obviously that didn’t end well for Jay and R.
Gemini: [laughter] Yeah.
DJ Booth: Let’s talk about what this all leads up to, and that’s your debut album, off of 1st and 15th/Asylum, it’s called, “Troubles of the World.” When you turn on the news, what bothers you the most?
Gemini: Just the negativity, man. The news is like so depressing, man. It’s so depressing. Every time I turn the news on, it’s little kids shot, four-year-old boy found dead, mother kills her kids – It’s like, “Oh my God, oh my God!” And that’s what I hate the most about it.
DJ Booth: With a title like, “Troubles of the World,” when someone picks up a copy of this album, are they gonna hear your struggle, but also your success, or are they going to hear-
Gemini: Yes! You hit it on the head, you hit it on the head. You gonna hear your troubles. Like we, as a people we are equal – we all go through the same stuff. As a people we hurt. We all cry. We feel pain. It’s just a different toilet saying, “Ish,” you know what I’m saying? What made me name it, “Troubles of the World,” was because these are my troubles, these are your troubles. Songs that’s gonna help you get through. I wanna be able to save a kid’s life who’s getting ready to commit suicide. I wanna be at my concert, and once I leave stage, you know taking questions and comments and I’m signin’ autographs, I want that little twelve, thirteen-year-old boy to walk up to me and say, “Gemini, thank you. You saved my life. It’s because of you I can go on. Because of track seven, because of track eight, I can go on.” That’s what, “Troubles of the World,” come from. It’s not just rappin about 24’s, 26-inch rims – even though that’s on there because that’s a trouble of my world, too.
DJ Booth: You buy too many rims?
Gemini: Pardon me?
DJ Booth: Do you purchase too many rims?
Gemini: No, I mean, but I’ve had rims.
DJ Booth: Okay.
Gemini: I’ve got friends who got rims. It’s all around me, it’s in my neighborhood. It’s my reality. But I’m not gonna make that my whole album, talkin’ about, my ‘83 Chevy is drippin’ in paint, that stuff, no. I’m not gonna cheat just to sell records. Just so I can go platinum I’m gonna just tell lies and cheat – no! I’m gonna let you know the real! I’m gonna talk about that; because I talk about it, but now, on this end, I’m gonna talk about life. I’m gonna talk about how my mother had to go to her mother’s house to borrow money just to keep the lights on. How we all had to bunch in one room, there was six of us in one room in front of a little space heater. Everybody wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
DJ Booth: Exactly. I think you hit it on the head, too. A lot of times, when artists come with material, it’s almost a disclaimer that follows and they’ll say, “Well, people will understand this, but people who grew up where I was from.” Not necessarily anybody from any side of the block, from any neighborhood across the country. But what you’re talkin’ about, no matter where you grew up, I think you’re gonna be able to touch somebody.
Gemini: Yeah. I been from the silver spoon. I’ve sat in a room with Jay-Z and drunk Coronas. I’ve been to Kanye West party, with Mariah Carey – I mean, the whole, the lifestyle in LA. The Hollywood, as they would say, the upper class. I’ve been around that. I know what they wanna hear, and I’ve been down before. I know what the have-nots wanna hear. I got both sides of it, I’m gonna tell it all. You got artists comin’ out right now, who just talkin’ about the life. You gotta crawl before you walk – you wasn’t ballin’ all your life, homie! When that music come one, it’s like, you feel it in your soul, like, “Oh!” George Bush could play it at his party, “We On.” It feel good, because it don’t limit me to the hood. It’s universal. It’s worldwide. That song can be played wherever – that song is timeless.
DJ Booth: Well, if that song is gonna be played though in the White House, I think it’d be a little more fitting if it was played during the party that celebrates Barack Obama’s introduction into the White House.
Gemini: Yeah, yeah! You feel, me? That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
DJ Booth: Exactly. Gemini, you’re representing the city very well, and I’m very proud that you’re a Chicagoan just like me. Go ahead give everybody a website or a Myspace page so they can find out more about this upcoming release.
Gemini: First of all, my Myspace page is myspace.com/fnfgemini. You go in there, you can see my up and coming tour dates, you can see new pictures, find out what’s going on with Gemini. My album will be out no later than December. It’s entitled, “Troubles of the World.” I just shot the video – it’s me, Lupe Fiasco, my big homie Pooh Bear. Walk inside my shoes, see it from my point of view, understand my life, it’s your boy Gemini. I’m the future. I’m the next big thing out of Chicago, Illinois, South Side representative; remember you heard it first here. I’m here with my big homie Z. That what’s up showin’ support, and that’s what it is. Gemini aka Gemstones!
DJ Booth: Gemstones?
Gemini: ‘Cause somebody got Gemini trademarked already. I can’t legally put Gemini on paper on my album, because I’d probably get sued, but I’ve had Gemini forever, just like Notorious BIG – he couldn’t use Biggie when he came out because somebody had it, so he went with Notorious BIG, but everybody knew him as Biggie, so they still called him Biggie, you know on his posters it was Biggie, you know what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: Well you’re good, ‘cause Gemstones are worth a lot of money, which is gonna be the price on your career, so you’re good…
Gemini: Oh yeah, oh yeah!
DJ Booth: Nothing but the best of luck.
Gemini: Z, thanks a lot for having me, man. Real talk, thanks for having me. When I’m forty, fifty million deep in the money, man I’ll still do an interview with you. Let’s make it happen. Let’s talk about it!
DJ Booth: I appreciate that, but listen: if you’re forty of fifty million deep, I might be asking for a loan in addition to the interview.
Gemini: Oh, okay, let’s make it happen! One hand wash the other!