Vermont brims with prominent colonels, generals and politicians. Some poets and writers, the odd rock musician and painter, but hardly a rap legend in sight. However there is fervent underground scene that has been trying to set the record straight in the last few years. One such artist, is Jibba The Gent. Born in Rutland VT, Jibba moved a lot during his early childhood, living in Brattleboro, Putney, Hinsdale NH, Tinmouth VT and eventually settled into Springfield before the age of 10. Growing up in rural Vermont, studios were few and far between and people in the business were next to impossible to find. To top it all, in 2010 Jibba was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a lifelong auto-immune disease.
This however did not stop Jibba The Gent, and he has been a part of many Vermont based hip-hop collectives, as well as owning two studios and promoting shows with major headliners. In addition he has seen his music spread Nationwide on TheCoolTV music channel on Comcast and had 8 weeks of Top 40 radio play.
Now comes his first full length solo album “The Broccoli Tree”. “This album is all about finding who I truly am as a person,” says Jibba. “The Broccoli Tree is an actual tree from an old property I grew up on. It represents my childhood and good times when the world was fresh and I felt like I could conquer it. This album was made to inspire people to try harder in life to achieve their goals and never give up.”
Jibba The Gent’s strong point is his hyper-literate flow, incorporating both tongue-twisting polysyllabic words and perfectly-timed pauses into his rhymes in a manner that reflects an unparalleled grasp of rhythm, even by the standards of a genre that lives or dies by precisely such an understanding.
It’s more than the typical emcee posturing: there’s a swagger to it, sure, but it’s borne of the knowledge that his rapping is many things, but, above all else, it’s stylish. And what works best about “The Broccoli Tree” is that interplay between Jibba’s self-awareness and what emerges, on songs like “Chosen” ft. Robin Marie and “Do It For My City” ft. Yung Breeze,” as a sharply observed positivity that drives many of these songs.
It’s a testament both to Jibba The Gent’s undeniable skill and to the production that the album never once threatens to become a heavy-handed a statement. In terms of sheer creativity, the production matches Jibba at every turn, constructing his beats and enormous hooks from disparate elements that keep each track interesting from start to finish.
For an album that trades in style, such refined attention to detail gives “The Broccoli Tree” the kind of structural awareness that distinguishes exceptional records from merely great ones. Steeped in tons of melody and hard rhymes, one cannot be anything less than impressed by tracks such as “2 The World” ft. Noah Jones and Arthur Reid, “Get That Dough” feat. Gorgeous Slim, “Maple Syrup” ft. Junum, Yung Breeze and Vazy and “Fantasy” ft. Vazy and Noah Jones.
“The Broccoli Tree” stands as a testament both to the relevance and vitality of independent hip-hop and to the productive, fascinating territory to be mined from the truest of collaborative efforts. This album should develop the commercial clout that Jibba The Gent’s talent truly demands.