Mariochukwu D Gilbert, better known by his stage name Item7, is a Nigeria-Austrian based rapper and director. Born in Lagos, Item7 has devoted his life to „edutainment“ through music and documentary filmmaking.
From early youth on Mariochukwu had a passion for storytelling, and with the influence of Afro Beat and Hip Hop, his stories met its . Item7 has faced his share of heartache and pain in life. Growing up in Ajegunle, a district in Lagos known for high crime rate and poverty, Hip Hop has always been there to see him through his darkest moments.
In 2002 Mariochukwu moved to Vienna, within a short time he became a house hold name in the Hip Hop scene – attributable to his stage presence and his ability to use words to paint a picture.
The following year he embarked on a documentary film project with Inter-face, a migrant youth NGO in Vienna, entitled „Project That’s Life“. It aimed at giving voice and audience to the experiences, struggles and visions of young african migrants living in Austria.
The film had a remarkable response by the public and was screened at two film festivals in Europe: Diagonale Graz and Isola Film Festival. With the positive feedback from his first visual project, Mariochukwu experienced empowerment, enrolled in film making workshops and took weekend classes to polish his talent. From initial verbal storytelling, he developed a fine sense of using pictures to transmit a message.
Item7 later joined Pamoja (The Movement of young African Diaspora in Austria) a platform that is focused on creating awareness of black realities in Austria.
During the multilingual exhibition project „hidden history – remapping Mozart“, which took place in Vienna in 2006, Item7 played a leading role within the research group on „Black Austrian History and Presence“, a working group of Pamoja, initiated as part of the exhibition project.
Under his direction as coordinating MC the song „Let it be known“ was created, accompanied by a video production based on their research findings.
At present, Item7 is one of the four artists that won the 2016 Kültür Gemma scholarship award for migrant artists living in Vienna.
He is currently working on his first stage play „Diary Of A Tired Black Immigrant“, which will be premiered in summer 2017. It is a 45-minute Hip-hop musical based on the day to day life struggles and experiences of three african immigrants sharing a room in a refugee camp somewhere in Austria. Item7 looks forward to combining his personal experiences at a refugee camp with his unique artistic pattern of storytelling to help educate the misinformed audience – also to encourage other refugees not to lose hope despite the difficulties they face.