Flagboy Giz

Flagboy Giz

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2021 | SELF | AFTRA

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2021
Band Folk Hip Hop




"Flagboy Giz Interview"

Flagboy Giz interview - Huffington Post

"Flagboy Giz of the Wild Tchoupitoulas debuts new album on Mardi Gras Day"

Black Masking Indian tribes may not be stepping out on Mardi Gras Day, pausing deep traditions amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Flagboy Giz of the Wild Tchoupitoulas is marking the day with the release of his album, "Flagboy of the Nation."

The full-length debut by Flagboy Giz follows on his singles "Gentri Fire in the City," released in October, and "Dead," released in January. Both tracks build on Indian music traditions, mixing hip-hop touches, especially in Giz's flow and use of bass and organ on "Dead." Kevin Griffin-Clark directed the video for the timely "Gentri Fire in the City" and Dwight Bell Jr. co-directed "Dead."

"I wanted to make an album for my generation to have," says Flagboy Giz. "My album has the traditional chants, new chants, some rap, bounce, you can second line to it. All that — I wanted to embody all of New Orleans in my album. Also I wanted songs that people who've never seen Black Masking Indians up close could understand when they hear."

The 11-track "Flagboy of the Nation" was mastered by Raj Smoove and features Queen Elle (Flagboy Giz's daughter), Big Chief Roderick Sylvas and the Wild Tchoupitoulas as well as trumpeter Eric Gordon of the Big 6 Brass Band. The album is available on major streaming platforms, with a limited, signed and numbered vinyl pressing, and Flagboy Giz is selling a selection of merch. Look for the 2021 city tour shirt for "The Mardi Gras That Never Was" with canceled dates at venues important to Black Masking Indian tribes and Black-owned bars, such as Seals, Handa Wanda, Sportsman Corner, Kermit's Mother in Law Lounge, Bullet's and "Under the Bridge" on North Claiborne Avenue.

More information can be found at flagboygiz.com. - JAKE CLAPP

"In time for Mardi Gras, Flagboy Giz of the Wild Tchoupitoulas releases 'Uptown' featuring Mannie Fresh"

Flagboy Giz of the Wild Tchoupitoulas released his debut full-length album, "Flagboy of the Nation," on Mardi Gras Day last year, marking the important day on a year when most Black Masking Indian tribes paused their deep traditions amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Indians are back this year — once again set to step out in glorious new suits on Mardi Gras — and so is Flagboy Giz with "Uptown," a new song produced by Mannie Fresh.

Over Mannie Fresh's beat, Giz raps with bravado about Black Masking culture, success and New Orleans life. "Yeah I sew an apron, Injuns getting served / Tryin' to meet me with no feathers, Injuns getting curved / Somebody fired a shot, them people scramblin' / The flag was still there like the anthem," Giz rhymes.

"Uptown," which is available on streaming platforms, also came with a music video, which features Giz in his green, brown and white, camo-influenced suit dedicated to Soulja Slim. Directed by Dwight Bell Jr., the video co-stars Flagboy Red of the Golden Blades and Flagboy Doogie and Wildman Caine, both of the Wild Magnolias.

"It's a summation of the 'Flagboy of the Nation' album," Giz recently told Gambit. "If you don't know about Mardi Gras Indians, you can listen to the song and I can narrate exactly what I'm doing. If you from New Orleans, you'll love it because you'll understand the metaphors."

"Uptown" is the first in several new songs coming this year, Giz added.

Check out the "Uptown" video below. And for more about Flagboy Giz, including his full-length album, go to flagboygiz.com. - Jake Clapp

"Flagboy Giz lights a fire on ‘I Got Indian in my Family’"

It didn’t take long for Aaron “Flagboy Giz” Hartley’s suit to burn.

The Flagboy of the Wild Tchoupitoulas one July evening took his suit to Lincoln Beach, drenched it in lighter fluid and put a match to a piece of red and white ruffle. The lighter fluid got things going, but the feathers and the glue sent the suit up in flames. Within four minutes, the red, white and blue suit was destroyed.

Hartley had heard elders in the Black Masking Indian community talk about an old tradition of suit burnings, but he’d never seen it happen. So he asked some friends to shoot video and photos at Lincoln Beach.

“That’s really the only documented suit burning I’ve ever seen,” Hartley says. “I’ve watched a lot of documentaries and Indians say things like they want to work on the next suit and they destroy the other one, or they take apart and reuse some things and then burn the suit. But you’ve never actually seen anybody burn it up.”

Hartley decided to use the footage of the suit burning as a music video for his song “Sacred Ritual,” the lead track on the new Flagboy Giz full-length album, “I Got Indian in my Family.” A gripping image of the suit on fire with Lake Pontchartrain in the background is on the album cover.

On “Sacred Ritual” Hartley raps about the traditions of Black Masking Indians on Mardi Gras Day — and woe to anyone who gets in the way. Indians spend all year — and thousands of dollars — sewing new suits, building up to the moment they step out as a tribe. With the video, Hartley connects the ritual of the day with the finality of the suit burning.

“We doing a sacred ritual — ‘I know you want a picture, but I come to run them over by the Magnolia,’ so that’s what the song is about,” Hartley says, quoting a line from the track. “But the burning of the suit itself is a sacred ritual. Even though I’ve never seen [a suit burning], this is something the ancestors would do, and it was almost a 'rise like a phoenix' type of thing to me. Every year, you create art and you destroy it, and then you start from brand new, so that when you’re gone, they can’t come and look at your art up close and touch all on it — no, once you’re gone, the art is gone. The pictures exist and the stories exist.”

The 12-track “I Got Indian in my Family” is out now. The record is Hartley’s second full-length album, following up on his self-produced debut “Flagboy of the Nation,” which was released Mardi Gras Day 2021 when most Indians chose not to step out amid the ongoing pandemic.

Rooted in hip-hop and bounce, “I Got Indian in my Family” features production by Mannie Fresh (the song “Uptown”), Philadelphia-based producer DJ Emynd and Hartley himself. Raj Smoove mastered the album. And Queen Elle, Big Chief Roderick Sylvas and other members of the Wild Tchoupitoulas offer guest vocals.

Draped in swagger and bravado, Hartley paints a picture of life as a Black Masking Indian, rapping about Indian customs, challenges to other tribes, theft by culture vultures and views on Black life in New Orleans. “It’s one of the wokest things a Black man can do,” Hartley says.

Hartley released several music videos in the run up to “I Got Indian in my Family,” most of which include the red, white and blue suit he debuted on Mardi Gras this year. Named “The Critical Race Theory Suit,” the intricate beadwork tells the story of Robert Charles, a Black man in New Orleans who shot a white police officer during a fight in July 1900. A large manhunt for Charles escalated into a racist white riot, which killed several Black people and burned down a Black school house. When the mob and police found Charles, a fire-fight ensued and Charles shot and killed another three cops and two other people before he was killed.

Hartley, 35, grew up in Pontchartrain Park and picked up piano at a young age and later the saxophone, which he played through high school. In his early teens, Hartley and a friend started making beats and writing verses. They made a few of their own mixtapes, which will never see the light of day, Hartley says with a laugh.

During his freshmen year in college, Hartley met Brandan “Bmike” Odums and Kevin Griffin-Clark and started working with their 2-Cent Entertainment collective, making music for various projects over the next few years. But when Hartley started masking with the Wild Tchoupitoulas in 2015, music took more of a backseat while he learned to sew.

Then, the pandemic rolled into New Orleans, and with more extra time, Hartley wanted to dive back into music. He started making his own beats again and freestyling about Indians. Before Hartley knew it, he had enough songs he felt worth showing off and put together “Flagboy of the Nation.”

It’s hard not to think about the long legacy behind “Flagboy of the Nation” and “I Got Indian in my Family” stretching back to the benchmark 1976 Wild Tchoupitoulas record. Hartley says he’s a student of the music Big Chief Jolly and the Nevilles were making at the time along with other Mardi Gras Indian funk bands — listeners will catch references in Hartley’s lyrics.

“It is nothing really different. This is exactly reflective of what the culture has been for 50 years, it just sounds different with a different cadence in a way that people like to play in their car now,” Hartley says. “I want this culture to evolve. It can’t stay stagnate.”

Find “I Got Indian in my Family,” including a vinyl pre-order, at flagboygiz.com. - Gambit

"Album Review: Flagboy Giz - I Got Indian In My Family"

Back in 1976 The Wild Tchoupitoulas album fantastically melded the funk of The Meters and Allen Toussaint to Mardi Gras Indian chants while exposing the tradition to a much wider audience (and also inspiring The Neville Brothers to record together). Now in 2022 that tradition morphs with the times, but the emotions are the same as Flagboy Giz drops I Got Indian In My Family, a hip-hop and bounce banger, moving The Wild Tchoupitoulas back onto the radios of New Orleans and beyond.

Aaron “Flagboy Giz” Hartley’s second album (after 2021's Flagboy of the Nation) brims over with braggadocio claims that stem directly from chants like "Indian Red" and "Big Chief", only modernized and rhymed by a vibrant MC. Hartley's strong vocals never let up throughout the twelve tracks as he not only delivers verses about the power of his people but also the ever present racism, political injustice and violence found in his hometown and this country.

Dominating out of the gate "Sacred Ritual" lets it all hang out as Giz claims to be the prettiest and strongest, all around a party ready beat spiced by saxophone and trumpet flair which sounds straight out of a Trombone Shorty groove. Sewing and pride in suits/appearance is key to the culture as is territory which gets staked out in the Mannie Fresh produced "Uptown" while "Downtown" will get the booty's shaking with heavy bounce beats and more great horn parts.

Each song follows the same basic pattern with Giz, repeating phrases/rhymes/choruses/chants around energetic and nuanced layers of beats/instrumentation. Slinky soul grooves and huge bass bombs color "Early That Morning" which also features the rest of The Wild Tchoupitoulas while "Mardi Gras" uses haunting chimes, horns and a big ominous beat to strike fear into the hearts of rivals. Closer "Mask That Morning" also ups the tension with metallic guitar riffs, keyboard, and soaring backing "oh and ah's", continuing the masking tradition, no matter the violence or tribulations standing in Hartley's way.

Things can falter a bit when stripped down, such as the more chant focused "Rocheblave" or "Lookin Like CashMoney" which ricochets musical styles, but these are minor complaints when the tracks slam as hard as these do. The pumping "Tchoupitoulas" is a theme song with electro key flourishes, "War" features Queen Elle and "We Outside" is a statement to rumble, around funky trumpets and just maybe the best track on an album full of slamming efforts.

While made to boast and brag in New Orleans for a specific, sacred, purpose, the energy, music and rhymes flow beyond that cities streets as Flagboy Giz has modernized the chanting funk of his predecessors with exciting results. I Got Indian In My Family is a cultural rallying cry and a hell of fun listen. - Rock The Body Electric

"New Orleans musicians, music clubs looking forward to second season of NOLAxNOLA"

The second season of NOLAxNOLA gets underway with artists taking stages citywide, including one local act going viral on social media.

Flagboy Giz, who is a member of the Wild Tchoupitoulas Black masking Indian tribe and an up-and-coming artist, is gaining buzz on the local music scene and on Instagram.

“I want to like tap into people loving the fact that they’re from New Orleans,” Flagboy Giz said.

His sound stitches together Black masking Indian chants with throwback New Orleans hip-hop and bounce. Since dropping his song “We Outside,” his latest posts have quickly amassed thousands of views.

“When I first dropped the song, a lot of people who I admired as artists said they wanted to be part of the remix,” Flagboy Giz said.

His series of remix videos going viral features a Who’s Who in the New Orleans hip-hop scene. Rising rappers, like Subtweet Shawn, and local legends, like Choppa, Hot Boy Ronald and Mia X, all adding their own spin.

“You can watch negative stuff on the city all the time,” Flagboy Giz said. “So why not watch something beautiful with a city known for musicians, with all the best musicians, coming together celebrating a culture that started for Black people and by Black people.”

Now, his viral success lands him his first headlining show at Gasa Gasa during NOLAxNOLA. This year, NOLAxNOLA comes back even bigger with more than 350 shows and more venues jumping on board.

“It’s a great thing to include as many venues as they are,” said Branden Kempt, Gasa Gasa owner. “There’s not a lot of happy bars right now in the city.”

Kempt said even with festivals returning, music club attendance is still lower than expected. He hopes another year of NOLAxNOLA could mean another boost.

“The amount of great shows that we can do because of this open spot,” Kemp said. “I mean there’s no telling what it could turn into.”

And after last year’s success, tourism leaders say they already see a future tradition in the making.

“We believe in this organization’s efforts to move this cultural event forward and make this a regular calendar event for the City of New Orleans,” said Mark Romig, New Orleans & Company chief marketing officer.

Flagboy Giz performs at Gasa Gasa Tuesday (Sept. 27) at 9 p.m., and hundreds of other shows are happening at music venues citywide. NOLAxNOLA runs until Oct. 9. See more details at the website.

Copyright 2022 WVUE. All rights reserved. - Shan Bailey


Flagboy Giz - Flagboy of the Nation 2021




Flagboy Giz is a musician, cultural performer, beadworker, producer, and MC from New Orleans, Louisiana. For nearly a decade, he has been a member of the historic Wild Tchoupitoulas Black Masking Indians, a tribe of culture bearers whose music was made famous in the 1970s by the legendary funk groups The Meters as well as The Neville Brothers. His music is informed and inspired by the traditions of Mardi Gras Indian music, a uniquely New Orleans heritage combining elements of West African rhythms, funk music, chanting, and other Black folk music influences. On his debut album, Flagboy of the Nation, Flagboy Giz embraced his musical upbringing and merged it with early New Orleans brass-band music, hip-hop, and bounce, a signature sound he carried into 2022’s I Got Indian in My Family, which features among others the legendary Mannie Fresh. Since its release, Flagboy Giz has garnered tremendous acclaim, appearing at Lil Wayne’s Weezyana Fest, Red Bull Street Kings, the National Fried Chicken Festival, and many more. His 2022 breakout single, “We Outside,” has amassed over 50,000 views on YouTube and over 55,000 streams on Spotify. In late 2022, he was named “Best Emerging Artist” by the New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund. In 2023, he will appear at the world-renowned New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the French Quarter Festival. In February 2023, he became the cover star at OffBeat, the city’s pre-eminent music and culture publication. 

Flagboy Giz has been self-producing and engineering his music since high school, and is also an accomplished video director. While studying at the University of New Orleans, he partnered with the well-known visual artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums in forming the 2Cent collective.Together, the two attended the distinguished Art Basel, where Giz’s prodigious sewing and beadwork were on display. Through his music and his artwork, Flagboy Giz represents the past and future of Mardi Gras Indian culture, which he describes as a backstreet culture originating from the segregated history of Mardi Gras in generations past. 

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