Gio (aka "SFG") has been part of the Digital Arts Program since he was a student at Downtown High School. He first met us on campus when he worked with SYS staff in our mobile recording studio during our after-school high-school outreach program. Following the school sessions, Gio applied for and got the job as a youth leader for Upstar Records.
He was a strong addition to the team and after his paid internship, we helped connect him with an off-site job at UPS. When he finished high school, Gio returned to Upstar Records and was hired as a senior team leader, providing mentorship to and collaboration with younger artists.
This summer, he wrote "Hip Hop Needs Me," to express his frustration with the status quo in the hip hop industry. In the song, Gio questions the genre's tropes and norms: misogyny, violence, and preoccupation with profit. His modern-day anthem aims to inspire other artists to break away from the norms, defy stereotypes, and express their own creativity.