St. Louis is known as the gateway to the west. Within rap, the city has served as a starting-point for talent looking for staying power. Both Nelly and Chingy represented the city, with memorable hook-driven songs, that soon led to cult-followings and radio interest. Much younger than his predecessors, 15-year-old Jibbs aims to do the same thing, backed by his current radio hit Chain Hang Low.
Getting to this point hasnt been the easiest thing though. At an age when most of us were still playing with our toys, Jibbs knew almost immediately that he was cut for this industry of music. In his mind, his way into the limelight would be through familial connections. His brother was DJ Beatz, one half of the super-producing duo, Da Beatstaz. They were already gaining high momentum throughout St. Louis, and theyd be his best way to parlay his craft into a career. Unfortunately, Beatz didnt necessarily see the glow right away. Still focused to prove himself, Jibbs took other measures to get not only the world, but more importantly his brother, to see that he wasnt joking. His methods proved smart, as he ultimately earned himself a recording deal with Geffen Records.
Jibbs has spent the greater part of this year working on material, and is now prepared to show the world just what hes made of with his debut, Jibbs Featuring Jibbs. In this feature, Jibbs puts us on his game, filling us in on everything from his transition into superstardom to what he has thats going to make him a lasting commodity.
AllHipHop.com: When was it that you first realized you have the ability to rap?
Jibbs: When I was seven, my dad would put my brother [DJ Beatz, of Nelly fame] on a lot of shows. He was my brothers manager, and he put him on shows that would come in through the St Louis area. It looked so tight to me, so one day, just trying to rap, I told my dad about it. He wrote me something that I would be able to use to open a show. I never had a chance to do that, so I would always come at my brother.
AllHipHop.com: I know you took your craft to your brother, who was already gaining quite a buzz in the St. Louis area, but what was his initial perception of your flow? Did he take you seriously at all?
Jibbs: He didnt take me serious at all. He had an artist that was a little bit older than me. I always went at my brother, like, Listen to me. So I went to the artist, and he had this program on his computer. We searched around on the internet, found a beat, and made a song. Once my brother heard it, he was excited.
AllHipHop.com: Did you immediately see yourself blowing up to where you are now?
Jibbs: Yeah, I did. I knew I could do it. I always had a feeling that I would see my dreams, and Im not saying that to be arrogant, but it was like a thing where I knew that I would do this one day.
AllHipHop.com: Why Jibbs Featuring Jibbs for the title of the album?
Jibbs: My little sister made it up, just being funny. It was because of the versatility in my album.
AllHipHop.com: How so? What makes it so versatile?
Jibbs: Its so crazy. I dont have just one sound. I have a different sound on each song. You have to get used to my voice sometimes. She was teasing about it, saying that because its so many different sounds, its like Im being featured. It was funny, but I took that and ran with it.
AllHipHop.com: I know youve seen the long line of teen stars that have come before you, and Im sure youve had a chance to observe the good things, as well as the bad career moves. What do you feel like youve learned from everyone before you, thats going to make you a lasting commodity in this industry?
Jibbs: I mean, like, my rap that I do is not just kiddie [rap]. Im from the hood, and Ive seen a lot. Thats what I grew up around. I dont make just gangsta music. I make music that perhaps some other teenagers wouldnt necessarily make. Its real, and it appeals to everyone. I dont go for just one audience.
AllHipHop.com: With you coming from the St. Louis area, do you get comparisons to Nelly? And I ask you that because your video, and the animation in your style reminds me of when Nelly first came out
Jibbs: Not really, and big up to him. Thats a compliment to me. Nelly is a good dude, and I listen to him, but I throw off my own vibe at the same time. I do me all the time.
AllHipHop.com: Does it bother you at all to be compared to other artists?
Jibbs: Not when its an artists thats doing their thing, not at all.
AllHipHop.com: You get a little introspective on the track Hood, in which you warn people of the decisions they make and the things they do that may lead to trouble? Why did you feel the need to approach this on the song?
Jibbs: It is coming from experience, me just being in the hood. Going to school with my homeboys, they start doing wrong, and I see this. I grew up with them. What Im doing, its kinda like a straight up thing with them. What you gonna do? We came up since fifth grade. Look at what Im doing, and look at you. Its not to throw nothing in their face, but why do something stupid when you could make money.
AllHipHop.com: Have you thought at all about how long you want to be rapping?
Jibbs: Many years to come. I dont wanna come in, and walk right back out, looking at the same people. I want to last in this game. I want to be one of the greats. Not only do I want to be a legend, but I want to be someone who is remembered 30 years from now because of what I did in this game.
AllHipHop.com: You were boxing before, and evidently, you were extremely well at it. Why did you opt to leave boxing alone for music?
Jibbs: I like boxing, but I loved music. Music is just my passion.
AllHipHop.com: You recently performed with The Pussycat Dolls. How did it turn out that youd be there in Snoops spot?
Jibbs: They heard my record and loved it. They was like, Lets see what you can do for the remix of Buttons. They loved what I did, and it went from there. That was really a big look for me.
AllHipHop.com: This has all got to be so exciting for you. How are you handling all of the praise and success that youve been having? How do you keep it from going to your head, and manage to stay grounded?
Jibbs: Because I look back, like I said, with my homeboys in the hood. I remember where I came from. This is a new life for me, but I stick by what I know. I stay grounded because of the people around me. They tell me the truth. If its wack, they are going to tell me straight up that its wack. There aint no sugar-coating. Im surrounded by those kinds of people.
AllHipHop.com: What do you feel like you can offer the game that were not already getting from someone else?
Jibbs: Something brand new. New music, personality, new advice, you know. Im telling people straight up that this game aint easy. Its much harder. You cant just get in her and do what you want. Its even harder when you get signed. Im not trying to be something Im not.