- Alexa Ace
- Jabee hosts the sixth annual Gift Raps 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Ponyboy.
Gift Raps 6
8:30 p.m. Dec. 12
1 423 NW 23rd St.
Free (with donation)
For households already struggling to make it month to month, the holiday season can bring more anxiety than merriment.“I remember my mom stressing out during Christmastime,” said local hip-hop artist Jabee. “A lot of people come from single-parent homes like I did, and it’s one person trying to feed and get Christmas gifts for, sometimes, three or four or more kids. That was my mom.”Gift Raps, Jabee’s annual hip-hop holiday benefit raising donations and hopefully lowering stress for those families, is 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Ponyboy, 423 NW 23rd St. Admission can be paid in the form of socks, gloves, toys, coats and nonperishable food items to be donated to Skyline Urban Ministry, an organization with the stated goal of establishing “an atmosphere of respect and empathy while providing groceries, meals, clothing, eye exams and dignity to Oklahomans struggling with resources.”
Jabee, who will be hosting the event but not performing, said these types of organizations helped his mother get through the holidays when he was a child.
“I want to be able to do that for other families and try and lighten the load because it’s hard,” Jabee said. “It’s really hard.”
Gift Raps, now in its sixth year, is also scheduled in El Reno (Dec. 14 at Vices Bar and Venue).
“The focus is still definitely the homeless population and those in need,” Jabee said. “This year is the first year in a long time we got dates booked a little bit sooner, earlier in December. That way we can get everything to our partners a little bit sooner, before Christmas. Before, it was right around Christmas and we didn’t get to deliver all of our donations until either right before Christmas or after Christmas. This year, we get to really get all of the toys and stuff to kids before Christmas, which will be dope.”
Jabee — who recently finished recording his album This world is so fragile and cruel, I’m glad I got you scheduled for release March 28 — said he would eventually like Gift Raps to grow, but he plans to keep the event within the state.
“If I expand, it will be in Oklahoma, other cities,” Jabee said. “I don’t want to do an event and it lack or be halfway because I wasn’t able to be there, but if we do expand, it will be other cities in Oklahoma. My focus, definitely, for Gift Raps is Oklahoma. If we expand other ways, it will be trying to bring bigger artists and get bigger sponsors for years to come.”
- Trip G’s monthly showcase Trip N Friends — 8 p.m. Thursday at The Queen Lounge, 2306 N. MacArthur Blvd. — will also collect donations.
Trip G, returning to the Gift Raps lineup for a third year, said he keeps coming back to the event because he loves “the spirit” of it.
“It’s just a good feeling to be able to give back to people through music,” Trip G said. “There’s always people that are dealing with something. If I’m able to help out in any way, even if it’s not financially, I’m always trying to do something to help others out if I’m in a position to do that.”
His monthly showcase Trip N Friends — 8 p.m. Thursday at The Queen Lounge, 2306 N. MacArthur Blvd. — will also raise donations for Gift Raps 6. Admission to the show, also hosted by Jabee and featuring performances by The True CW and Thomas Who?, is free with a canned food item. Trip G said he, too, has seen firsthand the good charity organizations can do.
“I’ve had family members that they go to food drives,” Trip G said. “It doesn’t just help out the community; it’s helping out people that’s personally close to me. One month they’re struggling, they can’t get things figured out. You can come here and get you something to get you through for the night or for the week.”
Trip G released the EP Wired Up in October and plans to release follow-up Shock Therapy Dec. 13. While he bases his music on his personal experiences, he said he doesn’t rap about his charity work.
“If you’re going to help people, help people,” Trip G said, “but when people help people and they’ve got to put it all on social media and they’ve got to let people know that they’re helping, it kind of waters it down for me because it’s almost like you’re helping people for other people to see. So a lot of things I do, like helping people, that’s just never been something I thought, ‘Hey, I should talk about that.’ I just do it. It’s just in my heart to go out and do it, and if people find out, they do, and if they don’t, they don’t.”
Deezy, also scheduled to perform at Gift Raps, plans to release five-song music video EP Aporia in January and a joint album with Javon Sparxx sometime in 2020. The crowd can expect to hear Aporia’s lead single “Count It Up.” His lyrics range from meaningful to boastful and party-starting hype.
“I always have music with a message, but at the same time, I want people to have fun,” Deezy said. “I’m a really versatile artist. Sometimes you don’t get a really deep positive or introspective-type message, but I have turn-up songs, like I have my hit single ‘Rollin’’ that got a lot of radio play; people really like to have fun with that. I really try to make sure people have fun at the same time that we’re doing something positive and benefiting other people. I always like to bring a high-energy performance and make it fun for everybody to be there.”
His music does have a message for those who are struggling, though.
“I have songs that are really about growth and progression,” Deezy said. “One of my most popular songs is called ‘One Day,’ where the hook is basically saying, ‘We’re going to make it one day.’ That kind of song gives people hope that regardless of what you’re going through or what you’re dealing with, you’re going to get there eventually. It just takes digging in there and pushing through, and this type of event can help give people that same hope and put a little light in their day, that somebody cares what they’re going through.”
WeRdoZe, Verse, Ray June, Bambi and Shisko are also scheduled to perform. Visit towertheatreokc.com.