Interview: 5ive Ft Giant – “If it ain’t soulful, I ain’t playing with it.”
By Randy Radic
5ive Ft Giant recently dropped a new music video, entitled “Let’s Dance.” Shot during quarantine with only close friends and family, and with everybody abiding by the rules, the video is cool, vibrant, and full of emotional warmth.
The lyrics lay it out: “Let’s dance, come getcha party on / Baby let me groove with you, we ain’t even gotta party long / Come on let’s dance, take that stress away / Mama got your kids they safe / Don’t worry cause you blessed today.”
5ive got his start in Knoxville, not exactly a hotbed of RnB and hip-hop. Still, he got around, knew everybody, and people liked him, such as Bone Thugs & Harmony, who recognized his talent.
Eventually, 5ive relocated and started his own label – Day 1 Music Group – discovering and developing new talent. Meanwhile, his music appeared in flicks like Half Past Dead, Steven Segal’s Urban Justice, Paris Hilton’s Into The Darkness, and Netflix’s The Last Summer.
Rhyme Junkie caught up with 5ive Ft Giant to find out his favorite song, how he keeps his sound fresh, and what it’s like running a record label.
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
I was always very musical trying to play instruments, dancing, and kicking rhymes in class. My passion for writing really took over after a while, playing sports and other loves took a back seat. Performing and winning talent shows and eventually opening up for major artists grew my following & passion for hip-hop. Releasing music independently at an early age and people really responding set me on a path to becoming an established artist.
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Lol, so many but I would have to say old RnB soulful songs that my mom would play when I was coming up, like Lionel Richie’s “EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING.”
What singers/musicians influenced you the most?
Michael Jackson, Dabarge, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Run Dmc, LL.COOL, Slick Rick, Scarface, 2pac, R Kelly & more. I know it’s a big list but my influences have been like a gumbo, seriously.
What’s the story behind the name 5ive ft Giant?
I stand at 5’2” and was always the shortest in the pack but had the loudest roar, the hardest bite. Still like a big bro to my tall homies, for the name 5IVE for my height and GIANT for my power & abilities; it just like the right name.
Hip-hop is by far the most popular music genre in the world. How do you keep your sound fresh and avoid coming across as derivative?
Well, the truth is I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop; I’m an R&B lover so being able to stay in my own lane is not hard for me, and new sounds and ideas constantly flow. It’s a blessing.
What is your songwriting process? Do the rhymes come first, or the music?
This is kind of an even process a lot of times I’m just driving and a melody hits me followed by lyrics. Then other times I hear the perfect track and my pen takes control.
What was the inspiration for your new single/music video “Let’s Dance?”
I was performing with my RnB artist that I manage and in between sets that melody hit me. I hummed it into my phone and it sat until I came across the perfect track, and the video was me and my family just kinda doing what we do, plus I love step songs – they feel good and I’m bout that.
You run your own label, Day 1 Music Group. How did that come about?
After years of trying to get labels to notice me and pushing my own music, I needed to get my business side real tight, so I decided to start working with all the talented people I had around me – my day ones. So I moved to Georgia, met my wife and business partner, and Day 1 Music Group came to life.
What types of challenges do you face as the CEO of a record label?
Keeping the talent focused & safe from making mistakes that I had to learn from; struggling financially but still meeting deadlines, and pushing through the madness of the major labels.
Which artists are you listening to right now?
Pretty much just me and mine. It’s hard to find time for anything else, but every now and then might come across something I feel.
Looking ahead, what’s next?
My collab with actor & comedian BRIAN HOOKS and RnB singer MOJAYE on a song called “ALL NIGHT,” written & produced by me. The video will be dropping soon, and my next single, “MY WORDS AGAINST ME,” is also on the way. I’ve got projects with LAYZIE BONE, and another one with new gospel sensation D MORTIN, and around the first of the year, my artist MR.CHANDLER with a single called “MAMA.” So stay tuned & stay blessed.