Sunday, October 14, 2012


What do you do? 
I’m an MC.  I’m a solo hip hop artist out of the South Bay Area.  Born and raised in Santa Clara on the border of Santa Clara and San Jose near the train station, currently residing in San Jose.

Where can we find your work? 
You can find me work online and in retail stores locally.  You can check me out on facebook, myspace, reverbnation, google + soundcloud.  Also you can check me out on I Tunes and local music shops in the future after the release of the album.

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough? 
What inspires me to create is my life and circumstances that I’ve had to deal with so far.  I’ve gone through a lot of personal hardships and disappointing moments in my life.  I lived on the east coast a bit and take a lot of inspiration from that time of my life.  I take inspiration from my Mexican American heritage and reference that either in rhymes or the type of music I sample.  I take inspiration from current rappers in the game.  Those that I think are dope and those that I think aren’t.  I also find a lot of inspiration in old school hip hop. I remember the first time I picked up a paper and pen and began to write rhymes.  I was always a hip hop fan first and fell in love with the culture at an early age.  I would listen to my brother’s tapes and write my own rhymes to the beats by Run DMC, The Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow at that time it was just fun and goofing off, just me and my brother.  I took it serious at about 13 years old. I always enjoyed my writing classes and writing stories and being a fan of hip hop during that time, which was about 1991, it seemed natural.  I never told any of my friends because even though a lot of my friends were fans the idea of being a rapper was this crazy idea.  A lot of people though that it was still a New York or Los Angeles thing, but I always took it more serious and thought as long as you’re fresh you can be dope.  To me it didn’t matter where you came from.  In my area we had b boys, DJ’s, and graffiti writers but no one rhymed really that I knew of.  At that time though in other parts of the county there were guys doing it but I didn’t know who they were.  Where I truly came into my own was when I went to college at NYU got involved in that whole creative buzz that lies within the city.  Something just clicked in my brain and I just went on a rhyme writing terror from then on it’s just been non-stop writing rhymes and working with my friend and producer Da Hermit.  More recently I’ve been getting guys from Serbia, Russia, and Mexico City wanting to do work with me.  It can get frustrating at times to come up with new ideas, but it’s the new guys, the young guys that I’ve connected with that keep me motivated.  The overseas love I’ve gotten since I posted music online has really inspired me to keep pushing forward even more.  At the end of the day it just comes down to me doing what I want, working with who I want, and just making the kind of hip hop that I like.  I don’t care if it sells or not.  I give a lot of free music away. I think it’s the best thing you can do to fans.  It’s not a business to me it’s a passion.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?  
Personally, I like the process.  The process of coming up with a new idea to rhyme about.  I think that’s where it’s fun for me.  Trying to find a fresh new idea is the toughest and most challenging but it’s the most rewarding.  I write a lot of my rhymes without a beat because I have a ton of ideas going through my head so much that I just write whatever whenever.  I had to start carrying a notebook with me or some piece of paper so I can write stuff down when I think it.  Then I go through a ton of beats and spit a couple of bars to see if that beat and rhyme are meshing  Sometimes it takes a few months to find that write match, but when it matches it’s dope.  I’ve written a lot of my songs without the beat first.  I don’t know if it’s better I just know that’s how I’ve done it.  Before I met Da Hermit and bought my own beat making equipment all I had was my pen and pad and no music.  So I would just sit at my desk and just write and write and write and write with no music.  Even freestyling I would do it alone to no music.  But when I hooked up with Da Hermit in 1999 it just opened up the doors to the next phase of my creativity. That goes without saying the creative process also requires content, I think content and process go hand in hand.   I’m currently working on an entire album where the content is more political but the process that is involved is still the same as far as coming up fresh ways to express this content.  I am not trying to be over the top politically.  It’s just some things I want to get off my chest that I think some folks may have forgot. So with this particular project I want to speak to everybody.  I try to make music everyone can get with and understand.  No matter what the content is I always have to remember that this is music and that it always has to be fun.  I still think you can get your point across creatively without being too serious.  I think it’s more effective that way and more memorable.

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
That’s a long list and I don’t think I could name everybody.  I mean early rap pioneers like The Cold Crush Brothers, Afrikaa Bambataa and The Soul Sonic Force and The Fantasic Five.  Then you got Run Dmc, The Beastie Boys, The Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, Eric B. and Rakim, KRS-One, EPMD, N.W.A, Ice-T, Kool G. Rap, The Alkaholiks, Rass Kass, Cypress Hill, The Beatnuts, Wu Tang Clan, Redman, A Tribe Called Quest, to cats that be coming hard right now like Sick Jacken and The Psycho Realm, Vinnie Paz and Jedi Mind Tricks, Celph Titled, Apathy, 7L and Esoteric, Ugly Duckling, Jurassic 5 etc….  The list goes on and on and on.  I can just sit here and tell you all the people that influenced me from local South Bay crews like Third Sight to crews like Foreign Legion and The B.U.M’s.  Groups like the X-cutioners and the Invisible Skratch Piklz.  I’m influenced by people that aren’t afraid to try new things.  I also dig folks that take old things and reinvent them and make them knew again.  Probably the biggest influence on me musically out of them all has to be Kool G Rap.  I couldn’t get enough of Kool G. Rap growing up.  His style was so different than anyone else’s at that time.  Kool G. Rap was multi syllable rhyming with crazy visuals.  You understood what he was saying and could picture yourself being there.  Currently one of my biggest influences that I enjoy listening to now is Ghostface Killa.  He’s got such dope style it’s just fun to hear him rhyme, Raekwon also.  Also not only are they dope rhymers, but on stage they are dope performers. That’s another thing for me that influences me is how dope they are on stage.  To me a lot of rappers just get on stage and stand there and just rhyme and get off stage.  They aren’t showman at all.  I like MC’s and groups who actually put on a good show and can come fresh with their rhymes.  Of the people I’ve seen live that are dope in my opinion are Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Dilated Peoples, KRS-One, Psycho Realm, Funkdoobiest, People Under The Stairs, The Fugees, Common, The Pharcyde, and  Foreign Legion.   Those are groups I’ve seen where I left going that show was dope.  Anyone I haven’t mentioned I haven’t had a chance to see yet.  The stage show to me is what got me to go out and by CD’s on people I thought I wouldn’t be interested in.  I’d see them perform and be like they were dope.  So groups that can put it down lyrically and on stage are big influences on me.

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
I’d be the Flash because he could run extremely fast.  So fast in fact he can go into alternate dimensions and come back before anyone knew he was gone.  Plus he’s friends with Green Lantern and anyone that can be down with Green Lantern I’d want to be.  So I guess I’d want to be two fictional characters.  But yeah,The Flash.  He makes getting struck by lightning seem cool.

When do you get your best ideas?
I get my best ideas at the most random times of day.  I’ve woken up in the middle of the night yelling, “I GOT AN IDEA”, and ran quick to write it down then went back to sleep like nothing happened.  I’ve gotten ideas just driving, or sitting watching TV.  I find it difficult to come up with something when I try too hard.  My mind gets clouded that way.  When I’m in a relaxed state of mind ideas just come out of the blue.  That’s the crazy thing about being creative.  An idea that seems strange to you could be a work of genius to others, and an idea you thought is genius could be strange to someone else.  It’s how it is, and that’s how it should be.  For me though when I’m working on a project I always have a concept in the back of my mind and I’ll just write 4 or 5 versions of a song and piece it together to see how it flows and how it comes off.  But ideas I’m always getting them it really doesn’t matter where I am really.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
Pen, paper, books, personality, and crazy things I think of.  For an MC as long as you got a pen and a paper and a clear head that’s all you really need.  I use an observational eye as well.  I just look at society and document life as it is for me and what it means to be living in it at this time.  Sometimes it’s good, other times it’s bad, but it’s what is going on at the time and me being an observer by nature it makes it easy to notice things others might not notice.  From there I use a pen and paper as my canvas and let the story unfold.  You can’t forget the beat as well.  The beat is also going to guide you wherever you want to go.  You can have this idea that might sound fresh and put it to a banging beat and it just doesn’t vibe.  Instead the beat gives you this whole new direction.  It’s always a challenge in that sense, but it’s always fun and writing a song is always different for each song.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
I was self taught.  I don’t think when I started rhyming anyone was teaching anyone how to rap.  It was a lot of trial and error.  Lots of failures before anything that I felt was dope could be recorded. For me I think self teaching taught me not to take it for granted and that working on something that you have a deep passion for makes you appreciate your successes more.  It gave me self confidence when I would recite what I had written and got some good feedback and some constructive criticism.  How it affects my work is by always working to outdo what you did before.  I think if you still have that mind set you’ll be successful in whatever you.

What would your creative work taste like?
I think it would taste like home made enchiladas.  Full of flavor and loaded with spice and enough heat to where you can’t take no more but it so good you keep getting some more.  That’s what I think my work would taste like.  I’m hungry now!

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
I like to spend time with my family.  I didn’t mention before but they are another inspiration to me.  We’re so crazy and comfortable with each other it’s like that dinner scene in the Eddie Murphy version of The Nutty Professor.  I like to relax mostly.  I’m a movie guy so I like watching movies, I enjoy reading interesting books.  I like  finding good places to eat.  I like hanging with cool people and checking out live music.  I listen to blues a lot too.  So either I’m watching a blues show or at a hip hop show.  I like to go record shopping and even when I’m not being creative I’m always writing rhymes.  I got so much busy energy when it comes that I can’t sit still sometimes.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
HMMMMM, that’s a good question.  My boy Da Hermit told me a long time ago you’ll know when you’re ready.  He was right in that sense because I never had a time table frame where I said such and such has to be put out by this day or that day.  I think what happened was that I was finally happy with my own finished product and let enough people listen to a sampling of what I had to say, you know what it’s time to put this out.  I never wanted to put out anything that I thought sounded bad.  That’s just how I feel.  I probably could’ve released some things a lot sooner than I did, but I wouldn’t have been happy doing so.  So in reality just one day it felt like it was the next step.  So far what I’ve leaked some people are feeling especially overseas.  So the next step is to release an album to a much wider audience and see how it goes from there.  All you can really hope for is that enough people like what you’re doing to where you have no choice but put out another album.  Even if that didn’t happen though I wouldn’t stop because it’s what I love to do.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures? 
My advice is you don’t need my advice.  You already know what you want to do so just do it.  Go with your heart and your instinct and you’ll be ok.  At the end of the day if it’s what makes you happy and you’re ok with what you’ve created and  you want to share it with the rest of the world then I encourage you to live that dream.  Don’t let negativity bring you down.  Just focus on yourself and your art. 

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