Chicago rapper Gemini has poured his life into his first album and he says people listening to his music will learn about the man he has become.
The softly spoken rapper has been involved in music from a young age.
"My whole family sings, my mother, grandmother," he said.
Gemini was part of a headline act that performed at Snow Park NZ on Saturday as MTV New Zealand hosted a free concert at the skifield to celebrate its first birthday.
He turned professional in 2000 and it was exciting to have recorded his first album, Troubles Of The World.
"I think people will listen to it and know where I've come from.
You know I never met Tupac Shakur but by listening to his music I know stuff about him."
And what will people learn about Gemini? "They'll learn that I'm from a poor background, that I've struggled, that I'm a humble guy and I respect things and I can sing, that my father was never there and that I'm spiritual. I called it Troubles Of The World because you know in life everyone has troubles, it's not just me, everyone experiences it and can relate to it."
While Chicago was home to big stars like R Kelly, Twister and Kanye West, Gemini described the city as "haterville".
"If you leave and make it big then Chicago embraces you. The support network isn't that great but there is a lot of talent in Chicago."
Gemini was recording material in a studio when he first met Lupe Fiasco. "He liked my music and I liked what he was doing. You know I met Lupe when he was just Lupe," he joked.
International hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco, who featured at last year's Big Day Out in Auckland, has had major success with his hit album.
Since his rise to fame in the hip-hop genre he has his own record label and plans to use his music success to launch a merchandising brand that could include a clothing range.
After pouring so much of his life into his first album Gemini said it would be travels and experiences he's since had that could easily find their way into his next recordings.
Asked if New Zealand would rate as an experience, he said "yeah".
"I would call the song Walk With Me and I help people visualise the 15-hour plane ride that it took to get here, the turbulence, the ski slopes."
The MTV NZ event followed the Billabong Slopestyle Jam. Hundreds of people turned up for the free concert.
A production staff of 150 was at the event, with MTV NZ VJs Amber Peebles and Jay Reeve hosts. The event included fireworks and a giant MTV sign lit by fire.
- The Southland Times