Gemstones ‘Blind Elephant’ (Album Stream)

Gemstones’ new album, Blind Elephant, is here!

And it represents the latest in Stones’ personal and professional growth, signed to Xist Music for the release of the 12 track opus.

From beginning to end, it’s a gem (pun intended.)

The Chicago rapper/singer begins the CD with a lot of the former — rhymes upon rhymes with his signature intense delivery to make the listener drop what they’re doing and proceed to the main course. In fact, the intro is an appetizer in the truest sense for music.

Track 02, “Believe”, begins Gemstones’ journey into some of the peaks and valleys of life, with his faith in God stepping to the forefront throughout. As a result, I find myself resonating with some of the chilling, goosebump-inducing messages. Gem has always come across with an extra dose of energy and that only adds to the authenticity, and therefore power of the message. By now, this is the type of album you have to listen to with no distractions and really listen to.

Previous previews that I’ve lauded like “Lyrical Miracle”, “New World”, and “Temple” land in the middle of the album, with the latter standing out even more now as perhaps my favorite track on the album. After “Temple” comes “Selfish”, the video of which Gemstones also released today.

If you press play on this first, you’ll immediately be transformed into what’s probably the darkest track on Blind Elephant. The visual depicts Gemstones with suicidal tendencies as well as a little brother figure of sorts who is sexually abused. So yeah, it gets heavy. Shoutout to female singer Precious who also absolutely rocks the hook on this.

For the latter quartet of the album, we hear Gemstones experiment with a few more sounds. The first 75% of the album is laced with a lot of piano and some guitar. The use of these instruments is instantly and universally appealing and I loved hearing Gem over some of the simple, traditional keys and chords. I also love where the album went sonically for these last four tracks as “Almost Home” has a soulful Chicago feel on the record, the one track that really has that feel.

On “Don’t Let Me Fall”, Gemstones actually tabs his wife Annie Castle to sing a smooth chorus as the song is a sweet one about finding themselves in marriage, over an uptempo, pop production. This one was one of my favorites too. Lastly, “Rapture” is the fitting conclusion for Blind Elephant and one of those tracks with lyrics that you have to rewind given some of the thought-provoking questions. Stones may have even saved his best vocal performance on the album for last too.

And that does it. It seems like an annual tradition now where I marvel at a new Gemstones project from beginning to end. He’s flat out one of my favorite, most thoughtful lyricists and in my top tier of the most talented artists, rappers, singers to not only come from Chicago, but really the entire game. You don’t need a super high profile following to be considered for my top tier but with Blind Elephant, Gemstones’ profile is definitely going to take a leap forward. He’s already going to be touring in the West Coast so keep it locked to his Twitter @1Gemstones and listen/support the album below!

STREAM here | BUY here

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This was the first thing I did this morning… truth!

Lupe Fiasco “Just Might Be OK” f/ Gemini (Unreleased)

Here’s a surprise!

And an uplifting one at that as, appearing randomly tonight on his YouTube page, is Lupe Fiasco’s new, unreleased visuals for “Just Might Be OK” — the Food & Liquor classic (yup, classic) that featured Gemstones (a.k.a. Gemini at the time) singing the soulful hook. (Lu hasn’t said anything about it at posting time on social media…)

The visuals are aptly timed with what’s going on in Baltimore this week, detailed in TIME today btw, and at the end of the video there’s a powerful clip edited in. It doesn’t match the stark image of the cover below, but in light of Baltimore, this is a fitting video and one to hang your hat on. We just might be OK?!

*TIBS FAV.

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Gemstones “God In Rome (Freestyle)”

Gemstones is at it again with another quick-hitting, impressive weekly release ahead of his upcoming album, Blind Elephant.

This one is called the “God In Rome (Freestyle)” — all raps that actually won’t appear on the album. That’s because it’s truly a freestyle wherein Gem even reflects on some old times watching the Super Bowl with Hov (while Bey did the Halftime Show) and cites the uncredited hook on “Pressure” — the Lupe & Jay Z collab off Food & Liquor. Hmm… always thought he shoulda got the credit there; after all, he kills the singing on that hook per usual.

Anyway, listen closely up above and then catch up below. Blind Elephant May 5th.

ICYMI: “Temple” | “New World” | “Lyrical Miracle”

Gemstones “Temple”

On the heels of last week’s rap/sung a capella preview of Blind Elephant, Gemstones hits us with another one that’s just as impressive. “Temple” centers around his relationship with God so this raw video format is a really strong way to show Gem’s ultra emotion. The raps are thought-provoking, and perhaps relatable, and then the singing at the end is both poignant and graceful. I love the last line to wrap it all up.

Watch the quick-hit 2 minute video above before pre-ordering Blind Elephant by May 5th. Hopefully we see more of these in the next couple of weeks.

ICYMI: “New World” (Video) | “Lyrical Miracle”

Gemstones “New World”

The bad news: Gemstones’ new album, Blind Elephant was supposed to drop today. But Gem himself found out the news within the last week that the album is now pushed back to May 5th. So we’ll have to wait a little longer…

The good news: you can pre-order the album on iTunes (so it looks like that’s it for push-backs) AND enjoy a sick new 2 minute a cappella called “New World” up above.

“New World” will act as track 05 on the 12 track opus and may or may not feature production on the upcoming album version. No matter because, per usual, Gemstones delivers a hard-hitting message with a minute and a half of break-neck raps. He follows that up with some soulful singing about, well, not selling your soul. I love it as Gem hits the right notes as always. For as talented a rapper as Gemstones is, I’ve always considered him as one of the best true singers in the game too. “New World” only adds to the resume. Watch above!

*Tibs Fav.

ICYMI: Gemstones “Lyrical Miracle”