2Dope to Sleep On: JGivens

blame it on Shake July 11, 2015

Today’s plan was to ignore the Internet (crazy, I know), enjoy some ME TIME, and then go catch my Lakers take on the Sixers down the street. Instead, I’m at the DopeHouse drafting up another post. For good reason though! I’ve stumbled on gold. Absolute gold…

During a quick run through my Twitter timeline, I was hit with a link to a new video by JGivens. I wasn’t familiar with with the name, but his label – Humble Beast – was tagged as well, and how dope does “humble beast” sound?! I need that on a hat. (Yeah, they’re way ahead of me.) Anyways, “Ignorantro” begins and I’m presented with some vintage recordings of Givens making his way through an airport, boarding a plane, taking off…. and crashing into some trees. Unscathed, the confident emcee dusts himself off and proceeds to unleash a barrage of bars about how he’s better than your favorite rapper. It might seem like a mundane topic, but the way it’s presented is anything but. From the moment the beat drops, Givens grabs the listener by the throat and doesn’t let go for a solid two minutes. Mix that delivery and passion with the cinematography provided by Christian Pardon, and they’ve got themselves something special here.

Produced by Daniel Steele, “Ignorantro” is the first taste of Givens’ upcoming debut album, and to be honest, it’s all I need to add the LP to my most-anticipated list.

After watching the clip three or four times, I finally escaped Givens’ grasp and pressed play on the next video in line. Christian Pardon’s behind the lens once again, so expectations were amplified – and beyond met. The opening scene took me by complete surprise – a youngin’ is shown perched on a bed of rocks, waving a paper plane through the air, as he overlooks the Las Vegas strip. Wait a minute… not only is JGivens a (humble) beast on the mic, but he’s also from my city?! I told you I found gold. Obviously I’m a bit more excited at this point, but that was just the beginning… “Bienvenue” presents the viewer with an unfiltered look at the pitfalls of addiction that occur on a daily basis in Sin City. As a longtime resident myself, and someone who dealt with the struggles that came with a parent’s gambling issues growing up, this truly hit home for me.

“Bienvenue” can be found on Givens’ 2013 release, El v. Envy, and after giving it a listen on Apple Music, I’m convinced this guy is here to stay. His upcoming debut might not have a release date (or a title?), but one thing’s for sure, I’ll be patiently waiting for it to arrive. Until then, I’m just gonna continue running through El v. Envy


During the early 1990s Los Angeles experienced an all time peak of gang violence and drugs; to avoid this, at the age of five, his mother relocated to “Sin City” Las Vegas, NV. Although Las Vegas proved to have much less gang violence than Los Angeles, sex, drug, and perversion were still inescapable for youth there. Givens graduated from the University of Southern California in Spring 2010, earning a mechanical engineering degree. To much surprise, he has spent his his post-college years pursuing music and outreach in Las Vegas.

Truthfully, everything I’ve come across has been on point. Even his Instagram page is impressive. There’s something to be said about an artist who cares about all aspects of their presentation. Hitting fans with quality from each creative outlet – this man gets it.