By: Theresa Mancuso
If you have lived in Utica and are a Millennial; you know the name Gino Brown aka GSwiss, local (rapper/music artist). Gino began his love for the musical art form at the age of 9 and has been catching his dream ever since. He said, “I would steal my sister’s tapes to get ideas, write rhymes, and along with his friend that could beatbox would then perform for all the project kids.” He said, “I realize at a young age that “dreams” are not pursued they are caught.”
Gino grew up in a poor family and throughout his childhood faced many struggles. He was labeled a problem child and was even told by a fourth grade teacher “your Mother was on welfare and you will not amount to anything.” For a while he seemed to have lost his innocent childhood spark and had no direction. He suffered from depression, often got himself in trouble and even was suicidal.
However, in the 6TH grade he met Miss Cooper, he did not know it at the time but she would become pivotal in helping him to regain his zealous nature. He said, “She always believed in me.” In fact I got kicked out of high school at 15 years old but when I think about it, she always encouraged me. This helped me to believe in myself. Gino has written a song in honor of his teacher and will release it this year.
When Gino was 23 Years old his Father Passed away. In his sadness he found determination and growth. His writing and performing became a therapeutic tool for his grief. He would not accept anything other than success. With the work ethic of his Grandpa Ronnie who he said, often worked multiple jobs to take care of his seven daughters and grandmother, he began to work. Gino has been writing, rapping and performing ever since. His hard work has paid off. He has receiving his 4th mix-tape award in 5 years (a recipient from 2 different award shows). This year he took home “Hottest Unsigned Artist of the Year” at this year’s 2017 “All-star Mix-tape Awards” based out of NYC. His goal is to create opportunities for not just himself but other independent music artists. He has 3000 mix tapes worldwide and has been featured in more than ten magazines. The latest he made the front cover of 1212 magazine.
Some of his prior accolades were a nomination for the 2009 Upper State Indie Awards for “Best Hip Hop Male”, 3 time winner at The Upper State Indie Music Awards – (receiving two honors for “Hottest Hip Hop Male” & Hottest Cd of the Year” in 2012, and “Hottest Hip Hop Group of the Year” in 2013.) GSwiss released over 10 solo mix-tapes under his independent label Fame and Money Boy Records,
He has also been co-signed by some of the biggest performers and DJ’s in the industry. Sharing the stage with acts like Cappadonna from The Wu Tang Clan, Lloyd Banks (G Unit), Cuban Link, Mario, Mr. Cheeks, Jackie-o, Def Jam Comic (Jay), Bobby Valentino, Lumidee, Max B, Tony Sunshine, Juelz Santana, Fred The Godson, Tyler Woods , Jamie Drastic (Makin da Band) , Chip The Ripper (Kid Cudi’s artist) De La Ghetto & more. Swiss has also collaborated on projects with numerous artists in the music indsutry, including, but not limited to names like – Raekwon Da Chef, Illa Ghee, Dna (Url Battle League) Cortez (Url Battle League), Oj Da Juiceman, D-Block, 3-6 Mafia, Chingy, Maino, L.A. Laker’s Ron Artest, Peedi Crakk, Stat Quo, Pretty Ricky, MC Lyte, St. Laz, Murphy Lee, 40 Glocc, Mike Beck, Arlis Micheals, Jaz O, Geda K ,Ty Nitty (Infamous Mobb), Yukmouth ( The Luniz) , L Black da Eastcoast Bully (G unit philly), Glasses Malone (Cash Money) & more.
Now 33 years old he said he believes he has finally mastered the elements of his art form and who he is an artist. He has made it a point of being a positive example for his 9 year old son Giovanni. In addition to rapping, he often volunteers as motivational speaker local places like the Hope House. He plans on working with both Head Start and the Refugee center in the near future.
Gino grew up being told if you want to make it big “Get out of Utica.” His response to that was “NO.” Regardless of where his success takes him, he will take Utica with him, representing for his community and always calling it his home.