Born in Brooklyn NY and raised in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, Gif would find himself left back in the first grade at the age of five as a result of dyslexia. He would go on to be shuffled through the educational system via social promotion and experience chronic homeless, joblessness, and a criminal conviction. Crediting his mother’s purchase of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica set for him not completely becoming a victim of circumstance, he praises having had the privilege of so much information within arms length stating, “It gave me such a hunger for knowledge. Anything I could think of I could look up in one of those books. It was my Google.”. That hunger for knowledge is what led Gif to the book “Africans at the Crossroads; An African World Revolution” by John Henrik Clark that would forever change his life. Becoming more aware of the causes of the problems that led to many of his life struggles as well as the struggles of many of the other black and brown peoples of America he decided to commit himself to using his voice as a tool for solving the problems he once contributed to, “I just came to the conslusion that either I was going to be a part of the solution or the problem and I wanted to be a part of the solution”.
After the release of his critically acclaimed “View of A Loser From On Top of The World” LP and the hit single “No Born ID” he caught the ear of Brolin Winnings, then Cheif Editor of Urban music at the music site MP3.com, Gif found himself featured in the “Up and Coming” section of the site, his single sitting atop the charts on the site had received over 40,000 downloads in the time span of a week. Continuing to express his creative spirit, Gif began to incorporate hip hop theater into his live performances. While riding the wave of momentum received from his past album and single at a local performance he made such an impression that one of the event organizers took it upon himself to introduce Gif to friends he had in the industry. As a result, Gif landed in the lap of Neyda Martinez, current SR. Marketing manager at American Documentary, who would be influential in earning Gif a headline performance at CMJ’s music festival as well as performances at Harlem Stage, and BAM.