Gino Lispi
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Gino Lispi

Band Hip Hop Soul


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"True Hip-Hop"

Gino Lispi makes it clear that he is a hip-hop artist, not a rap artist. To him, there is a difference. Hip-hop, he says, is a true art form of music and language, while rappers are simply entertainers, often glorifying the world of drugs and guns even if they don’t buy into it themselves.

Lispi says he’d rather keep it real, which he plans to do on his forthcoming CD, “The Script,” which will be released later this year.

“The whole idea behind the CD is to really give an honest perspective of my life and where I’m from,” says Lispi, who grew up in the Back Mountain. “A lot of people get nervous, and they want to come off in a certain light, but it’s one thing to entertain, and it’s another thing to entertain a completely different idea of yourself and mislead people into thinking you’re someone you’re not. With hip-hop, all we have are lyrics. All you have is what you personally do with your words.”

For Lispi, using words within the realm of hip-hop means talking about the things he cares about.

“I do mention some level of politics and my personal qualms with the American way,” he says. “I touch on the American dream and its actual relevance to the average American. It’s my own ideas on things that are backwards and things that both make sense and don’t make sense in this country.”

Lispi has already released one CD, “The Prelude,” which hit local record stores in late 2006 and was recorded at JL Studios in Wyoming. He’s now finishing up tracks on “The Script,” which will include the songs “Party Scene” and “You Ain’t Hip-Hop.” He says the title of the CD is a double-play on the word “prescription.” On one hand, the album is his vision and his words, and thus his “script.” On the other hand, the music serves as his “prescription” for the genre.

“The title is me trying to give some kind of aid to hip-hop industry, as far as being a very honest, as opposed to just being that really hard, gangster pop stuff that’s controlling the industry right now,” he says.

Lispi is also a drummer. Even with hip-hop, he says he takes the same approach to performing live as he would with a full band.

“The most difficult thing about performing hip-hop is the clarity that you have when you do perform.” he says. “There’s a stigma that surrounds hip-hop shows, where it just sounds like a lot of yelling and you can’t really understand a lot of the artists. And it’s a relatively good stereotype, because a lot of times, it’s how guys perform. They don’t really come across as well live as they do in the studio. I’ve always made it one of my goals to perform as well as it sounds and as clean and clear as it is on the CD.”

Lispi says hip-hop has always been one of his favorite styles of music. He began freestyling with friends as a teen and names Tupac Shakur, Mos Def, Common, Kanye West and Talib Kweli as influences and favorites.

“I really like language,” he says. “My favorite thing to do is talk to people. I’m a really talkative cat. And to see that be the forefront of a style of music made it really easier for me to mesh with it. To hear artists be very poetic and expressive over something that was also widely accepted and ‘cool’ kind of did it for me. I would always be the kid who knew, line for line, every single word to all of the popular rap tracks through high school, and it actually just evolved from that.”

Indeed. In addition to making records and crafting his live show, Lispi also co-hosts a monthly hip-hop night at the River Street Jazz Caf? called “Where It’s At.” As its name implies, Lispi says it’s a cool place to hang.

“I perform, and we try to bring other local MCs to come and perform,” he says. “There’s also some really cool funk and jazz bands. It all kind of meshes, and that’s the kind of crowd that we’re trying to bring entertainment to. They can’t really find that in this area too much, so we’re trying to give them their monthly dosage of all-things hip-hop, jazz, funk and soul.”

w - Alan K. Stout


I released "The Prelude" in 2006 with local success (Wilkes-Barre PA) and am currently working on my first official album.



Would love to visit GA for this B.o.B event. Check out the music, pics, and the short video.

A hip-hopper from the burbs. Hip-hop, with a modern-day sound. A lot of my music carries a positive message. I'm not out to change the world or anything, just trying to have some fun.
I have opened up for such acts as Louis Logic and Asher Roth, and rocked shows with countless acts from my area of Northeaster PA. The feedback I received from the larger shows was great. We worked hard on the sets and it went off really nicely. The shows were dope.
The emotion that drives me to create, is the same emotion that drives me to perform at %100, and try to connect with people. Not to mention, I take what I do very seriously, and want my words and my messages to be heard. I want to be respected as an artist, as an intelligent individual; much like I respect my favorite artists. (mos def, common, method man, talib, wyclef and the fugees, Q-tip...the list goes on)Also, I always look forward to hanging around after the show to chat and party as well.
Its kind of hard accurately categorize your my stuff. The music player (if you haven't located it) is in the upper left hand part of this window.

Thank you for taking the time to read and or listen. Best of luck to you in your endeavors.