A few days ago, I caught this incredible video from Chicago rapper, Gemstones, being shared around on Facebook. At first, by Ibo-Granmoun Bakalulu-Baka, who had posted the video to his Facebook timeline. At the time of this post, the video has over 37,900 shares with 5,400 likes and counting. Curious, I set out to learn more about this artist and the song, “Fire In My Heart.” (Lyrics)
On the original post, Bakalulu-Baka writes:
This is what Hip Hop suppose to be if she was never raped, prostituted and discarded by major and small record labels.
Who is Gemstones and why is this video going viral now?
According to Rap lyrics site, Genis.com profile post about Gemstones, his real name is Demarco Castle. He grew up in Jeffrey Manor/South C on Chicago’s South Side. Originally known as Gemini, he signed to Lupe Fiasco’s 1st and 15th Recordings, but later split from the label. After changing his artist name for legal reasons to Gemstones, he released the mixtape, Elephant In The Room on October 27, 2012 at CMPLX 2010 on Chicago’s South Side to friends, families and supporters. This raw, homemade video, was shot in the basement of the complex.
I’d say this specific video of the track, “Fire In My Heart” (which kicks off the mixtape), is going viral, simply because of it’s strong message to rappers about being fake, capitalizing on the misfortunes of others while limiting his opportunity, which he says he’s overcome. Gemstones had left the game for a bit to regroup. He also says that he found God and from what we’ve read so far, Gemstones if focused on changing his lyrics and approach from street lyrics to bringing a bit of reality and positivity to the rap game. So far, he’s doing a fantastic job.
Our favorite verse:
All you fake MCs that’s misleading our youth
Talking about the cars you all ain’t got
Crack that you never sold
Neighborhoods that you know you can’t go in
You ain’t real
It’s Gemstones and there ain’t no question who’s the elephant in the room
You’re gonna wish you never met me
What’s really interesting about “Fire In My Heart,” is that it’s backed by a house beat, which had been increasingly rare in Hip-Hop since the mid-90s when both genres were more similar than they were different. If you listen to the entire mixtape, it’s extremely creative and uses various samples. One that stands out is a riff from “Say, Say, Say,” a collaboration between Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.
There are other references to electronic music interspersed. For example, the intro and hook on the second track of the mixtape, “Irregular,” are from Armin Van Buuren’s “Never Say Never.” Very creative, different and refreshing for the Hip-Hop arena.
We hope this solved the riddle for a lot of folks on Facebook who are hearing the song and discovering Gemstones for the first time. We wish him the best of luck and look forward.
Here’s his latest, “Let Your Light Shine Final.”