Canadian recording artist, rapper, and singer-songwriter D.O. Gibson prepares our ears for his forthcoming album with its lead single and title track, "Still Driven (feat. JRDN)."
Gibson holds an innate passion for showcasing Black history. When asked to speak to students on how he could be a rapper and earn a university degree, he left countless minds inspired, which led him to create the Stay Driven program. The program addresses anti-bullying, peer pressure, and literacy through his own life experiences.
The fifth-generation Black Canadian recording artist is marking the 20th anniversary of his 'Stay Driven' album with his latest project, 'Still Driven,' which is a direct by-product of his ongoing work with emerging and established artists. We've decided to give our readers a taste of the record with its lead single and title track, "Still Driven (feat. JRDN)."
Hopping into the single, "Still Driven (feat. JRDN)," the song kicks off with an old-school hip-hop drum arrangement and an uplifting array of synths and samples that bring us into a bright and bold atmosphere. As D.O. Gibson and JRDN jump on the hook while serenading us with their hearts and souls, Gibson makes his way to the verse and reminisces on the days where MTV ruled his world as well as acts like Snoop Dogg and Tupac.
We adore the song's easy-listening vibe, as it reminds listeners of the diversity that modern hip-hop can hold. As D.O. Gibson grooves his way to the outro alongside JRDN's brilliant vocal stylings, they close the song on a nostalgic and inspirational note.
Get your dose of motivation with D.O. Gibson's latest single, "Still Driven (feat. JRDN)," and find the rest of his latest album, 'Still Driven,' on all digital streaming platforms, October 1st.
Welcome to BuzzMusic D.O. Gibson, we're incredibly excited to delve into your entire album, 'Still Driven.' What inspired you to pay homage to your 2001 album 'Stay Driven' with this new record?
I came up with the title for the album this past Spring. When I realized it was exactly 20 years since “Stay Driven”, it just made sense. 2001 was such a significant year in my life, but of course in the world as well with 9/11. For me, it was the year I released my first professional recording, released my first video on Much Music (back when that meant a lot) and started speaking at schools. I wanted to return to that mindset for this album. To think about what I would be thinking 20 years in the future. Would I still be rapping? I don’t know if I thought that. That was my dream, but back then I didn’t know if it was possible. So it feels good to have that longevity. I think I was able to have longevity by remembering my roots, but also staying current with the new trends in music. As an artist, it's important to always keep evolving.
Regarding the lead single and title track, "Still Driven (feat. JRDN)," what drew you to JRDN's vocal stylings for this track? What does he provide that the song needed?
One word – Soul. When you hear JRDN sing, you can tell it comes straight from the soul. He’s got such a powerful voice, but even more, it just carries so much to it. He really killed it. Also, we had toured together back in 2007 when I opened for him and Classified on the release of his first album. We really connected and so it's cool to maintain that friendship over the years.
Why did you choose to create this uplifting and feel-good sonic atmosphere with the production in "Still Driven (feat. JRDN)?”
I had started working with this young Nova Scotian producer that comes from the same area that my family is from. Like most producers, he asked me what I was looking for. I told him “A D.O. track produced by Nook Lewis!” What I mean by that is, I don’t want to suggest other artists as a reference. The funny thing is he only sent me one beat. Many producers send multiple beats – maybe even twenty. He sent one. At first, I was like hmm, I don’t know, but then the second time I played it I was like – “Yep, this is the one!”
How has your music evolved throughout your career? What are some main differences between the albums 'Stay Driven' and 'Still Driven?’
As an artist, I take pride in improving my songwriting. When I started out, I just wanted to rap. I wanted to kill the beat and would rap about rapping a lot. But over these last twenty years, I’ve experienced a lot – in my life and seeing other people around me, so it has shaped my music. It’s allowed me to be cocky on some songs, but vulnerable on others. But I’m still proud of my early work. I like that I was idealistic and kept it real. I didn’t chase trends. I think that’s helped keep me around.
What's next for you?
I can’t wait to get back on the road! I’m heading to Europe for a two-week tour in England and the Netherlands. Then it’s back to doing school shows for anti-bullying week. I just can’t wait to see things open up more so I can get back to doing what I love – rocking the mic!