Pooh T’s & Hacksaw Chains: How Gizmo Holds His Own on a Busying Road
There’s a degree of irony that comes with awarding media points to someone who stands in stark contrast with everything the spotlight represents. In the case of rapper Gizmo, perhaps it’s better to do more telling than showing, conveying just enough to pique interests without finessing through flash. While Wicca Phase Springs Eternal’s “In Providence” came to life after Gizmo’s inception, it seems to be reflective of a divergent trend within underground rap. While Florida seems to be marked as ground zero for modern hip-hop in the same way it’s historically housed death metal, the glitter is dulled to metal shards in the unassuming Northeast. Despite SoCal forays, Gizmo’s Rhode Island roots have perhaps carved out a niche defined by the weaving of nature and industrial scape.
Treading over trends, Gizmo takes ownership over his scream-drenched vocal style. Just curdled enough to bear some resemblance to sludge, touches of uncleaning singing grip with a different kind of conviction than his poppier, emo-influenced constituency. Charged with anger instead of angst, Gizmo occasionally breaks into Bone Thugs’ flow, which, of course, has become notoriously emulated by colleague $uicideboy$. Yet, his eclectic habits when it comes to rhythm, speed, and inflection help leave his own distinct mark on a fusion-genre falling formulaic with its exponential growth through social media marketing. Gizmo develops his outsider perspective through ominous beats that may attract fans of fellow rap renegade Vince Staples—stripped down sirens and stealth strumming that serve as prime soil from which lyricism can grow. With ingredients molded together through a heart of darkness, bangabilitiy reads as much like dungeon synth as it does trap discipleism.
But the bangs are hardly limited to the beat itself—aggression can be evicted through tracks like “No Teeth,” leaving the rapper with no choice but to writhe hands through hair while swinging side to side. The expulsion of pent-up rage against the seemingly wholesome touches of Winnie the Pooh and Tasmanian Devil t-shirts leaves his skills to speak for themselves. Visual touches of grey skies and wooded homes make for the aesthetic of a dying mill town, further servings as a blank canvass against which insights can pop. It is through this medium that he offers his own lesson on integrity that feels much too earnest to encroach damning assertions of being on a superior mental plane. Whether it be the emphasis on the word “dirt” when he talks about the background from which he emerged, or accounts of bullying growing up in school, it’s evident Gizmo learned how to discern content of character the hard way.
Gizmo also effectively reflects light from the monochrome of kitchens and warehouses, living up to the viscerally anti-glamorous lifestyle that comes with doing it all on your own. Sans mic, Giz offers his own commentary while operating as a thread within a seamless collection of young performers. He also hasn’t been one to shy away from collaborating with other rising artists, such as BLVC SVND and partner Saphir. Most recently, Gizmo dropped “Rusty Axe” with MKULTRA, which highlights the gory glory of old school horror rap. In what one YouTube commenter compares to Gucci Mane’s ice cream chain, Giz hangs a hacksaw around his neck while his partner dangles bat-like from a tree branch. With such extremity in tow, it is clear that no matter how quickly the internet’s collective death wish comes and fades, we can count on Gizmo to keep his ear to the underground and moving in accordance with his own beat.