Since the early 2000s, hip-hop has lacked vocal visionaries who are able to balance radio-ready sensibilities with artistic integrity and foresight. The past few years have been a bit of a dark age for the genre, with major record executives and radio pushing flaccid pop rap, encouraging stagnation rather than progress. Fortunately a new generation of rappers and producers have emerged, flaunting their talents while undermining the current climate by striving for more than just Top40 hits. THE GIFT’s “Rhythm & Writtens” manages to directly address much of the aforementioned issues while placing the artist in a position to be a catalyst of the new movement and the return of the jazzy soulful sound to rap.
William ‘THE GIFT’ Lepale Hails from Dawson/Otara, New Zealand and has branched off the roots of artists such as Ermehn, Mr Sicc, The Movement, Sid Diamond, Groovehouse and Colourway music. In his own lane for the NZ music scene ‘THE GIFT’ or ‘TG’ brings a fusion of R&B, Soul and Rap to the table.
TG has performed all across New Zealand with artists such as Savage, Dei Hamo, Devolo, Feelstyle, Spawnbreezie and more, and has also toured Australia. THE GIFT has released the single, “Ol’ School Lovin” taken from the “Rhythm & Writtens” mixtape.
The production on “Ol’ School Lovin” tends toward the nostalgic and seductive, while the lyrics promote an elevated level of sensitive sharpness that still resides within the predetermined confines of hip-hop. THE GIFT presents himself more as a poet than a rapper, as synths drift by and a bass drum pulsates.
The sound is smooth and soulful with a heartfelt R&B hook contrasting THE GIFT’s bittersweet lyrics. In a time of shallow pop-rap, THE GIFT has accomplished what his peers hardly ever achieve — or attempt: crafting a sonically-rich, thematically-sound, and thoroughly enjoyable recording that doesn’t pander to trends.
Above all, “Ol’ School Lovin” – as well as the entire mixtape, to be true – illuminates THE GIFT as a rare breed of rap artist: one who carefully composes every aspect of his sound; one who looks to explore concepts in a time of land-lock; one poised to change conventionality.
William ‘THE GIFT’ Lepale is impressively doing all the above while staying true to his roots and maintaining his composure and humility. “Ol’ School Lovin” features elegant music fit for a forward-thinking mind. THE GIFT has taken everything he has ever done well, and ascended those qualities to the highest level.