Gio Dee, born David Appolon, garnered national attention when social media sensation Jerry Purpdrank posted his “Mind Yo Business” song on a Vine that ultimately went viral. Soon thereafter, Gio’s “Mind Yo Business” music video, which received modest viewership across various video hosting platforms, skyrocketed to over 2.5 million views on WorldStarHipHop.
Since then, the “Trap No More” rapper has been collaborating with some of hip-hop’s brightest stars. Long before Quentin Miller became known as “Drake’s ghostwriter,” Gio Dee was collaborating with the rapper/songwriter. Over the past year, the two have released countless songs together, including “The Ride,” “Sodium,” and Quentin’s “Confession” remix.
Just weeks before Christmas, Gio released his Mind Yo Business EP, which features production by Metro Boomin and TM88, as well as guest appearances by Bay Area native IAMSU! and Atlanta newcomer Madeintyo.
Curious about the Boston emcee’s arrival in the game, Global Grind caught up with the “Disrespectful” artist to discuss life before rap, his past as a troubled kid who turned to the arts for guidance, and the future as one of his city’s most promising artists.
Gio’s currently readying his forthcoming Never Going Back project, which is due out sometime in 2016.
Read more about Gio Dee below.
Global Grind: What was it like growing up in Boston?
Gio Dee: Growing up, life was different for me. I pretty much seen and done everything. I did a lot of sh*t at a young age. Once I found music again and graduated high school, I decided to go to college at Boston University to major in audio engineering. We did a school project and I did a freestyle to Red Café’s “Money Money Money” and people liked it. People used to tell me “Yo, Dee, you’re a good rapper. You should rap.” From that point on, I let people around school know I do audio engineer work. Next thing you know, I kept dropping freestyles and ended up dropping out of BU. It is what it is from there.
You didn’t start rapping until you got to college?
Nah. I used to play around in middle school. I mean, music was always a big part of my life. My mom used to play Sade, Missy Elliott, DMX – everything. In middle school, I did a talent show and D4L’s “Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me” was out and I did a remix version called “Betcha Chew It Like Me” (which was about bubble gum). Most of the stuff I do today I don’t write down. I just rap off the top. I’ve always had the gift of freestyling. When I got to high school, I decided to stop playing around and that’s when I got serious.
What made you choose audio engineering?
I had three choices – photographer, dance (because I used to dance), or music. I submitted to Boston University’s school of music and ended up being on the waiting list. Eventually they sent me a letter accepting me to the school. I guess whoever they held a spot for decided not to go, so I got in. I originally applied to their photography school.
Do you do photography in your free time?
Nah, I completely stopped taking pictures. I need to get back in it.
What kind of dancing did you do?
When I was kid, I used to be a huge krumping fan. I was a part of a big dance crew in Boston that used to sell out in the city. There’s actually a few popular rappers from Boston that was in the dance crew with me, but I’m not going to say their names though.
How does a dance originating in South Central Los Angeles become popular in Boston?
I really don’t know. I think it was after the movie Rize came out. I had to have been about 14 when it came out. During that time, I was getting expelled from different schools and was looking for something to keep me out of trouble. I did boxing for a little bit. I did stepping too. My step group actually auditioned to be a part of the movie Stomp The Yard. We obviously didn’t make it, but that’s how I got into dancing.
How did you become friends with Quentin Miller?
Oh, that’s my dog from way back. I’ve known Quentin for almost three years now. I first heard Quentin’s music when Original Fani, who rocks with Two-9, posted his music on his Soundcloud. I was listening to Quentin’s music and thought he was nice because he produces his own music. The first track I sent him was this song called “Vibes” a while ago. He sent me back the song the next day and was like, “Yo, I rock with your stuff. Let’s keep working together.” We’ve been sending each other songs ever since. I just talked to him last week. He called me up and told me to come to Atlanta to shoot a video.
How did you feel about the Drake and Meek Mill drama?
I hated the fact that the whole situation could’ve messed up Q.M.’s money. He has a daughter to feed, like I got a son to feed. He’s one of those dudes that’s just trying to provide for his daughter through the bullsh*t. I’m glad that it affected his career in a good way, though. He gained a lot of fans because of it. I’m just glad he chilled out and didn’t partake in that sh*t. You gotta respect it.
Technically, Quentin isn’t a ghostwriter. He’s credited on a lot of songs he’s been accused of ghostwriting.
Yeah, that’s why he didn’t really trip over it. Nobody pays attention to album credits. There’s mad people who are credited on Drake songs. It’s not really a big deal.
Metro Boomin produced a track off your new EP Mind Yo Business. How did y’all begin working with each other?
Metro had came to Boston to spin at this club called Good Life. We went to the club and told his manager we’d really f*cked with him. Eventually, we just kept in contact with his management and he sent me over a bunch of beats to choose from. I ended up doing the joint with Madeintyo.
There are multiple artists like you, Bia, Michael Christmas, and a few others coming out of Boston. How would you describe Boston’s music scene?
Our city is finally getting the attention it deserves. We never had like a solid roster of artists that came out of our city and I’m glad to be a part of that.
Do you all support each other? Or is it crabs in a barrel mentality?
We support each other by not getting in each other’s way. Artists in Boston work extremely hard to build awareness about our city. Whether it’s individually or as a collective, we’re all doing a good job representing Boston. No matter what city you go to though, there’s always this crabs in a barrel mentality, but in Boston we’re all hustling, so there’s really no time to hold each other back.
So who is Gio Dee?
I’m the best that’s ever done it. I’m about to bring that real back. Everybody else is doing a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make sense.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gio Dee
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