William ‘THE GIFT’ Lepale Hails from Dawson/Otara, New Zealand and has branched off the roots of artists such as Ermehn, Mr Sicc, The Movement, Sid Diamond, Groovehouse and Colourway music. In his own lane for the NZ music scene THE GIFT or TG brings a fusion of R&B, Soul and Rap to the table. He has performed all across New Zealand with artists such as Savage, Dei Hamo, Devolo, Feelstyle, Spawnbreezie and more, and has also toured Australia. His catalog includes two critically acclaimed mixtapes, “Rhythm & Writtens” and “Rhythm & Writtens Volume 2”, as well as a large set of catchy singles. One of his latest bangers is “All I Need” ft. GiantKilla & Mikey Mayz.
THE GIFT’s tracks are indicative of a blurring of musical lines currently going on in hip hop, and a new wave of rappers who have arisen, seeing melody as just another tool to lubricate their lyrical flow. The New Zealand rapper’s sprawling, epic albums are musically dense, stylistically progressive and technically audacious hip hop.
The productions tend to be drifting through ambient soundscapes with colliding with soulful, then funky elements, slowing down and speeding up. It is psychedelic in the sense of its colorfulness and artistic logic, rather than in reference to Sixties rock.
There is honestly not a single song I didn’t like on his albums. Each song carries a certain vibe that furthers it’s aesthetic, without being bland or boring. THE GIFT evidently stepped up his lyricism and rhyme schemes, opting to use a plethora of multi-syllabic rhymes and effective internal rhyme schemes. This is everything I can possibly ask for in a rapper.
There is a sense of everything being at play, of fluid boundaries and shifting flow, with soulful sound bites popping out of the mix to underpin THE GIFT’s in-depth narratives. Despite the music’s richness, however, at the center there will always be the rapper himself, and THE GIFT’s impressive skills has the maturity to see them to fruition.
In effect, he sounds like a smart man balancing deeper philosophical, artistic and emotional thoughts with the posturing of hip-hop’s streetwise culture. There is a lot to take in on his big, bold, and ambitious performances, where THE GIFT delivers a frequently dazzling spectacle, another reminder that Kiwi hip hop is currently setting the bar very high indeed.
As the forms and aesthetics that were slowly shaping in the fog of the social media era have begun to crystallize and solidify, we are at the same time beginning to understand more clearly what rap looks and sounds like in the internet age.
The tentative break from the limiting grips of mid-2000’s ringtone rap and underground traditionalism is over, and the rap landscape is once again being redefined. THE GIFT is certainly doing his part, and his single “All I Need” ft. GiantKilla & Mikey Mayz brings a tremendously uplifting, feel-good vibe that’s coming back to the game right now.
THE GIFT and his crew are experts at refinement, and their distillation of contemporary rap, R&B and pop’s elements serves as a useful barometer for what’s currently in vogue in the genre. Like all of THE GIFT’s music, “All I Need” is a rich, grandiose and funky affair that is both thrilling and easily digestible to whole army of ears!