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Band Hip Hop R&B


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Perhaps you have noticed the GMC Yukon in the school parking lot or driving around town with the custom paint job all over. That belongs to Coach Jeff Flanigan, basketball coach at Ashdown High School and New Traditions science teacher, a.k.a. Giovanni, rapper and song artist who received notification last week that he has been nominated for GRAMMY awards in three categories.

Jeff Flanigan wears many hats: teacher, coach, mentor, father, pastor and inspirational rap artist. Flanigan, whose stage name is Giovanni, records for Harvey House of Houston under the record label of House Records. On Oct. 22, he found out about his GRAMMY nominations: Best Traditional Gospel Album for Live in the Spirit of Joy performed by various artists, Record of the Year for “I Know” by Giovanni, and Best Rap Song for “We Need,” written and recorded by Giovanni.

The GRAMMY awards are a product of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. in Santa Monica, California. All nominations will be voted on by members of the Academy and pared down to the five per category that will be announced as final nominees on December 17. Those five will then be invited to the GRAMMY awards show on Feb. 8 in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, broadcast live on CBS.

Flanigan (Giovanni) has been rapping since age nine and formerly signed with Jet Speed Records in Hollywood from 2004-2007. He describes his style as “positive inspirational rap music.” It is not officially classified as “gospel,” he says “because of the limitations of where music labeled as gospel can be marketed.” He wants to reach the largest audience possible with his “Christian-based” messages, which he states are “culled from life experiences.”

He describes his nominated music as “very deep songs that tell true life stories”. He calls “We Need” an “African-American anthem about things that we (African-Americans) need to do.” He describes “I Know” as quasi-biographical about a young man who grew up with parents who were drug dealers, so he began to speak of his realizations about life damaged by drugs. “I Know” is featured in the audio-book The Other Side of the Coin, written by Robert Howard and produced and distributed by House Records. Howard wrote the book while incarcerated at Angola State Prison in Louisiana, where he remains today.

On the album nominee Live in the Spirit of Joy, Giovanni partnered with another artist, Jerome Jackson, who is a former singer with the well-known group 5th Dimension.

Despite his musical success, Flanigan continues to teach and coach “because I want to.” He stresses that being a father is his first love, and this allows him to do that and be close. His twin sons, Jaden and Jordan – age 6, live in Little Rock.


Live in the Spirit of Joy (LP) - Released on HOUSE Productions
We Need (EP) - Currently radio play
I Know (EP) - Currently radio play



Giovanni is more than just a rapper. He is a father, poet, coach, scholar, motivational speaker, as well as, an MC. He believes in positive hip-hop and is dedicated to showing the world that positive hip-hop can be educational, soulful andinspirational. He makes no excuses and is unconcerned with stepping on toes, fame or fortune. He wants his music to be heard. His ability to match metaphors and similes has drawn comparisons to Tupac Shakur, as well as, Nikki Giovanni (from whom he took his stage name).

William Jeffrey Flanigan's (aka Giovanni) ability to breakdown barriers between young and old, black and white, male and female can only be described as a gift from God. He has taken his gift and added an enormous work ethic and multiplied the sum by pure hunger to create nothing short of a musical genius. Its just too bad words can't define him. Musically, he is influenced by a variety of legends in the music business. Some of them include Bob Marley, Doug E Fresh, Will Smith, Tone-Loc, and some of the more controversial yet misunderstood artists of their respective generations such as Talib Kweli, Mos Def and Tupac Shakur. His greatest influencers in his musical career had to be LL Cool J and Grand Master Flash. The pioneers of that generation made it possible for him to be where he is today.

Giovanni is influenced by his Mother and Grand Mother, friends and family who encourage him to reach for the galaxy. He is led by God and his omnipresence. His personal relationships, struggles, set backs, disappointments and world events influence his development as an artist. There is a lot of responsibility set upon an artist because the minute that one is given a sounding board one is now given the opportunity to be heard.

In 2005, Giovanni signed with CZN Media USA Inc., an international media and promotions firm specializing in managing new artists and creating avenues of visibility within the entertainment industry. Giovanni is scheduled to independently release his new album, “Lost Weight” Spring 2009 The single "I Know” from the to be released album, Lost Weight, has received critical acclaim and is currently gaining momentum throughout the fall season. In 2008, Giovanni collaborated with the Gospel Allstars for Live in the Spirit of Joy (LP) on H.O.U.S.E. Records based out of Houston, Texas.