Gio Dee is hardworking, dedicated, devoted, a family man, a strong leader, a businessman, and a rapper all in one.
Born and raised in Boston, the rising star recently unleashed his newest single titled “Way Up,” speaking volumes to his current state of mind. The follow-up to his previous single “Save It,” both records hold fans over until the release of his forthcoming project arriving Summer 2021.
Back in 2015, Gio unleashed his EP titled Mind Yo Business, tapping all-star production from Metro Boomin and TM88, with standout features from Iamsu! And MadeinTYO. From there, he had the rare opportunity to open up for the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, G-Eazy, and Iamsu! — proving he has what it takes to be one of the greats.
Additionally, Gio was seen as a guest appearance on Marc E. Bassy’s critically-acclaimed Post Modern Depression album, unveiling his versatility in both realms of R&B and hip-hop.
AllHipHop: What was the household like growing up in Boston?
Gio Dee: Definitely different, because we don’t come from a city where it’s super known for music. Only people known prior to this generation that’s poppin’ right now would be Ed O.G., Benzino, or Gang Starr’s originally from there. Those are the top 3 people you think of when you think of Boston as far as older heads. Outside of that, it’s Boston hoods and s###. Everybody knows everybody, the city’s small. You seen somebody, you grew up with somebody, or you know somebody that knows that person. It’s not that hard to get familiar with everybody.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences coming up?
Gio Dee: Life, definitely my mom. She’s literally the strongest woman I’ve ever met, strongest person I’ve ever met. My grandmother as well. Music influence though, it’d definitely have to be 50 Cent. A lot of early Dipset, Kanye, Lil Wayne, things of that nature.
AllHipHop: When did you realize you could do music for a living?
Gio Dee: To be honest, after I sold out my first concert at Middle East Upstairs in Boston. I did my first headline concert after my first original project. Middle East was 210 people, that’s my first headline concert. I said “Yo, I could do this.” From there I started traveling, doing everything else.
AllHipHop: How did you get your name?
Gio Dee: We came up with the name Gio Dee literally because before, my rap name was really, really wack. I was at a label meeting, the first label meeting I ever went to at Epic. Shoutout to the OG, Moneybags, He’s the one that brought me there. They said “Yo, your music’s fire, but you’ve got to change your name.” My old rap name was Big D, they said “Yo, no grown man want to call another grown man Big D. That’s weird n*gga, change your s###.” [laughs] Alright bet.
At the end of that year, we sat down before going into the new year and I said “f### it, we’ve got to change the name.” We did that and came up with Gio Dee. Gio means gracious in Italian, then Dee is from my first name which is David and that means beloved musician. It’s gracious, beloved musician all together.
AllHipHop: “Way Up” out now. What were you on recording this one?
Gio Dee: Nothing, to be honest. I was sober as hell, I was at the crib. Ever since quarantine started, I ended up buying an in-home set up. I literally did the reference for the first verse and the hook at home, then I went to the studio. I originally did a different take for the second verse, but I liked my second take better so we went along with that.
AllHipHop: What are you excited for now that it’s out?
Gio Dee: I’m excited for everything that’s about to come. The project dropping, all the other music that’s on the project getting attention. There’s other stuff behind the scenes that’s gonna be really, really big for me, that people are going to see.
AllHipHop: You say “I admit I was lost in my thoughts,” how’s music a coping mechanism for you?
Gio Dee: At a certain point, every rapper goes through the emotions of comparing yourself to other artists, comparing your successes to other successes, just comparing certain things. I got to a point where I was comparing myself a lot, battling with depression. That’s why I said I was lost in my thoughts, I got lost in my thoughts. Nah, I got myself out of that mode, got myself out of all that s###. F### that, I’m finna take control of everyting.
AllHipHop: Best memory from that video shoot?
Gio Dee: S### Matt right here, Matt’s the one that shot the video. The part shooting it at the crib, kicking it with the homies was the most fascinating s###. It was all genuine, there was no fake s###. My homegirl in the video, she was cool. It was all natural. It wasn’t anything forced, literally us kicking it and doing s### together.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to when you recorded “Save It”.
Gio Dee: Oh man, that was just a freestyle. I hardly write anymore. I haven’t fully written a song song in years. It’s been 6 years forreal forreal. I go into the booth, I just freestyle. Most of the time I do find s###, there are rare times I go all the way through. “Save It” was me, my brother Deon, my Chef brother, D-note. We’re all in the studio kicking it, we came up with the flow. After that, “my dawg catching bodies, beat the cases!” [starts rapping lyrics] Just went off and kept going off of those words. Simple, we knew it. The energy in the studio that night was a vibe. We’re jumping around, going crazy forreal. It was lit.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your new album, Excited for the Hate?
Gio Dee: Everything. This is the most cohesive project I’ve made as far as sonically. It’s the most elevated I’ve ever been musically. Not no crazy features I have on it. There’s Polo Summers, he’s part of the Chef Boyz collective. Then Marc E Bassy, who’s also from the Bay. We’re shooting a video for the song we have this Saturday. There’s only 2 features really on the project, everything else is me. It’s the project where I really, really gave me the most, but at a level where it’s super outta here. [laughs]
AllHipHop: How did you link with Marc E Bassy and what did it mean to have him featured on his album?
Gio Dee: We connected randomly in the Bay, we was at some club. Shout out to Shabazz. Shabazz introduced me to Bassy and said “Yo, he’s going to be the next R*B superstar.” I said “Word, it’s lit.” Anything Shabazz tells me, I believe it off rip. That’s my OG, he really coached me throughout this whole game. He told me that, me and Bassy been cool ever since. Anytime he comes Boston, he taps in with me. Anytime I come out here or the Bay, I tap in with him. We always been cool, outside of music. We party together, we kicked it together, have dinner together. All types of s###, that’s literally the homie. We’ve always had a good relationship with each other. That’s literally how it is, it happened naturally.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Gio Dee: It depends on the type of mood I’m in. One is liquor. If I’m in the studio by myself, I prefer to drink Jameson. If I’m in the studio with gang, I prefer to drink Henny. If I’m in the studio where there’s other people I don’t really know or females in the studio, I drink tequila to be honest. Those sessions are rare. I don’t have those types of sessions anymore, but before it used to be like that. I’d get distracted and not fully complete songs, so I stopped doing those types of sessions. Those are the 3 different vibes, liquor is definitely on mine.
Fire beats. I found out recently, I work better in an environment where the producer is there and I’m building from scratch. it’s only been the past year and a half. Shout out to YianniOnFire, I’ve been building with him a lot. Shabazz as well, Shabazz produces now. Those two, we’ve been building stuff from scratch. They’ve really helped me polish and build the best songs. A producer, then the homies realistically because they’re honest with me about everything in the studio. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell me. I know I’m not perfect as an artist and as a person, they’re not always perfect either. There’s certain things they might say that aren’t right on, but I know we keep each other in line.
AllHipHop: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not doing music?
Gio Dee: Call of Duty for sure. Gamer tag is [Chef]DamnGio61707. Add me on Call of Duty. N*ggas don’t want the smoke. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself as an artist at this point?
Gio Dee: Being a diverse artist, that’s one. I don’t want to be stuck in one lane. I don’t want to be known as a trap rapper. I don’t want to be known as a pop rapper or somebody who makes turn up s### or fly s###. I’m not trying to stay in one lane, I want to touch every single lane. Obviously Billboards, Grammys, those awards, all that. There’s other business endeavors I want to do on the side, but I want to create a new lane. There’s not many artists coming in the game and creating new lanes. I don’t know if I’m at that point in my career, but I definitely want to get to that point.
AllHipHop: What kind of new lanes are you talking?
Gio Dee: Just sonically. You know how Wayne came into the game and changed the game sonically with autotune and the bars? Drake did the same thing with making the singer/rapper thing. s### like that.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
Gio Dee: Follow me @iamgiodee on everything. Make sure you sign and subscribe to the website Iamgiodee.com. Shoutout to you Shirley for interviewing.