There’s nothing that I love more than showcasing young Philly artists, and Gobbana is no exception. Not only is he a dope rapper, but a co-founder of an Indie record label and a model as well. And even then, he uses his art and creativity to empower his community, which is always a notable quality, especially in Philadelphia. His new single, “The Count,” demonstrates how Gobbana is a force to be reckoned with, combining a variety of his many talents with his passion for social injustice and doing right by his community. Further down in this post, you can check out the new song and also read an interview I did with him about the track as well as his involvement with his local neighborhoods and the Black Lives Matter movement.
I absolutely love the message behind this song. You can tell that Gobbana put his whole heart into it, telling the story of his struggles that never swayed him from getting to where he is today. He talks about growing up in Philly, referring to it as “the home of the homicide,” which, if you get those Citizen alerts, isn’t a total exaggeration. The pre-chorus goes on to describe his earlier memories in life, including “bed bugs in the night, with the rats and the mice/sister took her own life.” Gobbana’s annunciation during this part also really caught my attention. It was a change of pace, but those particular lines were spoken with a lot of resilience. You can tell that these are all real memories, and to be that honest and vulnerable in a song is admirable, but the juxtaposition between that and the exclamation that “we rise!” shows just how strong Gobbana is. Despite all of these memories, he set out to make a life for himself and stood tall through all of the bullshit.
The chorus is really fucking good. I could hear that simple melody of “we rise” used in movies, football games, even advertisements. Just that very line can be an anthem of sorts, something people can unite behind fueled by their struggles and hardships. It just feels powerful and motivational and I think a lot of kids in Philadelphia could relate to this song. That chorus is so uplifting, and I think even now with all of the current affairs in our country, it’s so relevant and needed. We need these reminders that no matter what, we will stand together and overcome all of this bullshit.
The second verse comes with a newfound confidence and energy, contrasting his past experiences with where he is now. He talks about how “they just handed [him] the ring,” showing the support system he now has that continues to uplift him and recognize that he’s influential enough to be a leader. I love the overall progression and story-telling throughout the song in what feels like a modern day rags to riches story. He has amazing visual imagery to really make you understand the depth of his situation, and how much he had to fight to get to where he is now.
I got a chance to talk to Gobbana not only about the song and its meaning, but his involvement in the music industry as well. He has an incredible story, and you can read all about it below.
Hi Gobbana! It’s so great to get to talk to a Philly artist, I don’t get to do that much. Let’s start out with just a bit about you, because I’m excited to dive into all of the projects you have going on.
How did you get your name?
Gobbana: “I started my career interning for Radio One Philadelphia. (107.9, 103.9 & 100.3) I won a contest initially to be featured as a co host with Kendra G while her partner DJ touchtone was on vacation. While guest co-hosting Kendra G referred to me as Gabbana (As in Dolce & Gabbana because of how I dressed). Because I did well as a Guest Host Kendra G invited me back for a second guest appearance as a host which eventually led to Kendra G vouching for me to get an internship because my grade point average was too low. I eventually grew as a radio host later going to 88.1FM where I started my own show called GabbanaLand and eventually Gobbanaland. I changed my name to Gobbana because I was becoming more tenacious in life (hence the Go) and also to be the only thing on Google when being searched.”
What really started the mark of your career?
Gobbana: “My career in entertainment started from the above story, but my career as a recording artist began after interviewing music artists for a couple of years as a radio host. After being consistently inspired I created my own music (like one or two songs) and immediately was invited on tour to Barbados. I was featured on Slam 101 FM as well as the local television station broadcasted in 5 Caribbean countries.”
How did you know that you wanted to make music and be an artist?
Gobbana: “Initially it was because I enjoyed expressing myself but eventually evolved into empowering people through my unique story. I feel as though communication can build a nation. I recently discovered reliving my past while writing and performing it has also been the only form of therapy I’ve had for past traumas. I’m extremely happy with the level of understanding that I have of myself and looking forward to learning more.”
How has living in Philly influenced your style?
Gobbana: “My travels have definitely taught me Philly sets trends wherever the seeds may fall as far as music, fashion and overall aura. I understand the nation may look at us as little brothers or even underdogs, but to be honest I embrace that feeling. Growing up watching Allen Iverson play for the Sixers I adopted his tenacious spirit in just about everything that applied my mind to. ‘I wasn’t a Point Guard. I was a Killer’ – Allen Iverson.”
Philly’s music scene has some incredible talent, who are some of your favorite local artists?
Gobbana: “Major respect to Major Figgas, State Property, Meek Mill, Lil Uzi, PnB Rock, Joey Jihad and Quilly.”
Now, I want to get into some of the work you do. I know you’re a co-founder of Music of the Covenant, a Philadelphia based Indie label. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Gobbana: “It really came about out of necessity. I knew initially I had to go the independent route simply because that’s who I am. Because my non-profit organization GoBelieve empowers people through entertainment, it was bound to happen after helpling guide so many artists over the years. The name Covenant stems from the heavenly box of the Old Testament that holds valued tools of God. Very few select items were included in “The Ark of the Covenant” it also symbolizes a promise to deliver quality music. I’m very excited to see my brothers Too Know enter the industry. A group of three with three unique sounds that blends perfectly.”
How do you think artists are going to have to adapt to the new socially distanced norm taking over the music industry?
Gobbana: “It forces people to level up. Even myself touring local universities I quickly learned that residual income is the key to longevity not simply show money. Online sales and streams is a skill that every single artist on this planet should learn. Research, application of knowledge & investing in oneself is a three step plan that is crucial for wisdom.”
Now let’s talk about your newest single, “The Count.” I love the message behind it and everything it stands for. As you can see by my blog, I’m extremely outspoken about the issues our country is facing in regards to race. What inspired you to write this song?
Gobbana: “My story reflects many similar stories of struggle from countless people across the world. Everyone has their trials and tribulations they go through but certain issues have systematically suppressed a select group of people for generations. Many different races and religions throughout history have been persecuted dating back to biblical times. Things only change once “We Rise” together as one. Going hand in hand with a popular quote my company GoBelieve lives by. “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” If we stand together as one, negative forces will no longer be able to keep us mentally and systematically enslaved.”
What’s the meaning behind the title?
Gobbana: “Because many, many, many people have counted me out since before I was born. Being a secret to my father’s side of the family to this day I’ve always been counted out. Being a child from the projects I was counted out. Academically and I’ve been counted out as well as an entrepreneur. I love that shit though. The feeling is addicting. Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’neal used to make up stories to make them play harder. I never needed to.”
What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean for you?
Gobbana: “Everything. It’s no reason why a single race of people have been treated unjustly since before this country’s existence. I am a man that is thankful for my forefathers and mothers that fought for me as a black man to get to this point as an American. I love America, even though it doesn’t really seem like America loves me. I still believe in its core values of “The home of the free.” The problem is we aren’t exactly free. Men lie but numbers don’t. Our beloved country is first in prison labor and black lives are targeted by police. Being as though there is a clause in the 13th amendment stating slavery is illegal “except as a punishment for crime” its pretty clear slavery is still deeply rooted within the fabrics of this country. It’s ok to update rules. We are a christian nation and rules changed from the old testament to the new testament. lol I live in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation, I will rewrite the document myself!”
Would you say artists have an obligation to speak up about Black Lives Matter? There’s been a lot of criticism of artists who have been silent on the issue.
Gobbana: “Obligation is a strong word. Nothing in life is mandatory however every action has a reaction. The reaction I would like is real change for African Americans and education for those who may not know. Some people may not have the urge to create a domino effect of positivity, though I could never be one of those people to stand by and do nothing.”
How did you feel about the protests going on right here in Philly?
Gobbana: “Much needed and long overdue. It was great to see the world rise up and I was proud of my city. I wish the rioting didn’t happen. I do however understand that rioting comes with protesting and wish structures didn’t have to be destroyed in order for systems to be rebuilt, but grade school history teaches us that’s how humanity operates. But at the end of the day … Human Lives > Earthly Possessions”
I loved that you incorporated the horse stables in your music video, but I feel like only someone in Philadelphia would really understand that. Can you explain that a little bit and why you chose to use that setting?
Gobbana: “The setting was where I grew up in Abbotsford projects located in North Philadelphia. My neighborhood is a reflection of my struggles which connects me with fellow “Believers” (hence GoBelieve). The horses reflect a battlefield and we are going to war for our souls and for our futures against any and all circumstances. (Physical & Spiritual)”
With the elections coming up in November, what do you think needs to be done in order to see a change?
Gobbana: “Leadership that analyzes data to correct all areas of injustice most notably the judicial and education system.”
Now I’m curious to know,
What projects are you working on now that we can be on the lookout for?
Gobbana: “I have a surprise called “A L E X A N D E R”, I don’t want to give many details, but if you wanna know more about that, check out my social media.”
How can your fans interact with you and hear about these new releases?
Gobbana: “Follow me on Instagram/Twitter/tiktok @gobbana as well as our label page @musicofthecovenant. Also definitely purchase your GoBelieve Apparel at www.gobelieveculture.com. It’s the only apparel line programmed to empower your self conscious.”
You can find all of Gobbana’s social media pages listed below. Make sure to show him some love!
Make sure to check out the giveaway I have going on my Instagram as well. You can also find it on the homepage of Spice on the Beat. Super easy to sign up with some amazing prizes!
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Sponsored by Music of the Covenant