Talk about your recent experiences on stage specifically opening up for Danny Brown and Action Bronson.
Opening up for Danny Brown was awesome. I love that whole “Turn Up” kind of atmosphere! My music fits right along those lines so for me & my DJ Tittahbyte, It was a Blast!! We both rocked for both Major acts but I myself had a lil bit harder time at the Action Bronson show. Feeling a bit under the weather, having such a stressful day, & making last minute changes in my set left me not as happy with my performance at the end of the show. I still received praises after my set from the crowd & promoters but I guess I will always be my worst critic. I felt like I didn’t leave my heart out on the stage. When I perform & wanna rap my ass off & give the best show I could give. That night I didn’t feel like I did that. Shows like that pump me up for the next ones though. It makes me mad that I didn’t kill it like I wanted to & how I know I could have. Can’t kill em all I guess, but the next one I’m gonna leave in a full body cast for sure. Getting to be an opening act for BAMP Projects & RVCA is amazing. They put on the best shows in Hawaii. It definitely gives us local artists great opportunities so huge mahalo to them for giving us that avenue.
What examples can you give me that show the sacrifices you make to do hip hop?
When I think about the sacrifices I have made to be where I am at it kinda gets me choked up. I feel most won’t ever get the whole story from me & this interview isn’t gonna want my book long response for this question either. For those that know where I grew up, how I grew up, & to be here doing music now, know how much was sacrificed to make this happen. I could’ve been anything, yet I chose to pursue the hardest dream ever. 11 years invested & I’m still doing it. 11 years alone is a huge sacrifice, after 2 years of doing something it isn’t a hobby anymore, this is for real. I’ve lost connections with friends & family because I get so caught up in chasing this dream of mine. Sleepless nights, long hours & endless days of trying to create something from nothing. All I know is I hope it brings me something at the end of it all, even if it’s just a smile on my face. Regret is something I would never feel for chasing something I love. That is something I will pass on to my daughter & make sure she understands that. Love More, Hate Less, Give Your All, Dream Big, & Believe In Yourself!
You put in enough time and effort there will sure to be a reward. Talk about the rewards you have received from the hardwork you put in to hip hop?
I’ve gotten to open up for numerous major acts, a lot actually when I start to think about it. I even flew out to Cali to open up for Bambu & Blue Scholars. I just opened up for Danny Brown & 2 weeks later Action Bronson since 2014 has started. From also opening up for legends like Nas & Dead Prez, those kinds of rewards are the ones us up & coming artists dream of. I got beats sent in to major artists for hopeful placements & have made contacts with directors of A&Rs for Atlantic & Interscope. Even if nothing comes from it, the fact that people know of us out here in Hawaii now, people that call shots in the industry know of our scene, our movement. That alone is a huge reward not only for me but for all of us here in Hawaii’s hip-hop scene. I am very proud to be a part of that & to contribute in any way I can.
Did you retire the “Pro” moniker or is that your producer alias? When and why did you decide to go by Jim Hurdle?
I ended my alias “Pro” mainly because when people would ask who I was & how to look me up they would google “Pro” and they would get the most random searches & it would never lead people to my music. Not to mention there are already artists & producer’s that go by the alias “Pro”. So I figured there can’t be another “Jim Hurdle” trynna rap & make beats right?! Surprisingly there are a lot of “Jim Hurdle’s” lucky for me, none of them rap or make beats too! Alias names are cool but I felt like people needed to know who I am & what I am capable of doing. So now it’s just me, Jim Hurdle “Mr. This What a Hit Sounds Like”.
Talk about your worst moments in hip hop and how you got through it.
Worst moment in hip-hop for me & probably K-Luv too lol, it was when we almost had our EP done which was originally going be a full length album. My external hard drive crashed & I loss everything we worked on, GONE!! Only a few tracks that were spared were the ones that I had sent out via email (which were mostly rough mixes) which then turned the project into an EP instead. My heart broke lol it was such a sad moment that I can barely chuckle about now, the wounds cut deep lol. We made it thru & like everything bad in life, we see them as learning & growth opportunities. Look at us now, We still “Rollin”.
What is more important to you constructive criticism or genuine praise?
For the most part I stay pretty humble. It’s just how I was raised. I do get more praises than criticism but both never get me feeling any kind of way. I politely listen & say thank you, but quickly forget about it or brush it off. Both can alter ones thinking so I try my best to not let any of it get to me or my head, positive or negative. I think it’s most important to not let any of it affect your thinking or creative approach. No one believes in you like you do, so most people may not understand it at first anyway.
Not including the present, when was the most exciting time in Hip hop for you?
I would say about 6-7 years back, when Tropics was the spot to hang out. Bones would be hosting the Hip-Hop @ The Trops events. DJ Revise would be cutting it up behind the tables. Kwali & Ill Hill, Perfect Median, K & Mox them would be in a cypher. Prie & I were just starting to collaborate (back in myspace days) & Me & Jerm were trynna show the local hip-hop scene how dope we were/are. Back then we weren’t accepted at first (Jerm & I) the scene looked at us like straight outsiders & curious as to why we were there. Low & behold eventually the scene came around & realized that we weren’t leaving & that we were gonna be here doing our music, like it or not. The persistence, our talent, & the head nod approval of some of the scenes most respected is what started our acceptance out here. It definitely didn’t come over night, this has been a working progress for years now. It was such a great moment in time though, for myself & for the scene I feel like.
How important has chopping it up and learning from artists, djs and hip hop lifers over the age of 30 been to your mindset and appreciation for hardwork?
To be honest I don’t converse much with older hip-hop heads. A lot of times I feel like they cherish the old times too much & it’s hard for them to accept the new music or sounds now. Not taking away from our history & the sound that we tend to love more, it’s just that what our generation is making now, old heads consider it to just be noise. Funny because that is the same thing people thought of them & their music back in their times. Life always comes full circle & things will always make its way back around, we just gotta embrace what is going on NOW because it’s all gonna change real soon. But I really appreciate our OG guys like DJ Jimmy Taco, & his grind that he has been on for years. He has seen all the changes & growth from our scene & the industry. I hope to still be around and still involved in music like him & still have that passion after seeing so much change thru the years.
Back in the day, big shows would feature the same two or three artists opening up for every show. Things have changed a bit in that regard where more artists are getting the opportunity to shine on the big stage. It’s definitely good for the culture. What are your thoughts?
To be honest the scene is still like that. I just so happen to be making my way into that “lil bubble” so to say. Everywhere you go in the world it’s like this though, Hawaii isn’t exempt from it. Most the time the promoters or people that put these big events together don’t have a clue of who is who in the scene or what it has to offer. Majority of the time they couldn’t name 3 local hip-hop artists if you asked them. All they know is business & money & they got a major act coming out to perform & are in need of an opening act. I have been very fortunate to rock with guys like K-Luv & Prie, those two brothers alone have put me in positions to open up for major acts. They got my foot in the door & got these promoters familiar with me & my work. As much as I wish it was my talent or work ethics that got me those opportunities it wasn’t. I owe that to those brothers. At the same time though, they opened those doors for me because they know how talented I am & how hard I work. My objective though is to open up doors for others, just like they were opened for me. I am a man of my word when it comes to things like that, everyone that works with me knows. If I make it, WE make it! I’m a package deal.
Explain your approach and mindset before you go on stage, during and what you feel after?
As long as I been doing this I still get the craziest butterflies before I go on. I don’t think you can ever shed that feeling. Once I hit that stage, my heart drops right when the beat does, then its GAME time!!! I literally zone out & lose myself in that moment. Out of nowhere my confidence just sky rockets & I feel untouchable. Like a champion. It sounds funny but it’s true. When I get on stage, give it my all, get off & immediately get praises from the crowd, it really puts all of this into perspective. All the hard work & sacrifice leads you to moments like this. I get off stage & I thank God for it all.
Where is your favorite place to write and record?
In my studio, late night/early morning, after a drink or two, smoking some goody, in the dark, just the glow from my monitor & the blinking lights from my recording equipment always sets me in the perfect creative vibe. That’s the beauty of having your own studio or creative spot. Just so happen mine is on the next floor of my apartments that I live at.
Upcoming Projects. Plugs. Shout outs.
Im slowly working on my next solo project “Southen Aloha 2” and myself & DJ Anrky are putting together a collaborative project that is all produced by both of us. We been working out of Blue Planet Sound in Kalihi where he actually manages. Klarke & I plan to do a follow up project after such great response from his “just Klarke” album. The return of Jim&Jerm coming soon too. Im also doing a lot of mixing & mastering for some local artist in the scene as well as making sure my beats are getting around. You may not always hear my voice but I guarantee you my music is getting around one way or another. I just recently did some work with I.A. & Jordan T so it not just Hip-Hop I’m making out here. I got my bases covered & I’m still expanding & thinking outside of the box. I wanna make a rock/Indie type project to test my skills as a producer as well. I’m always looking for ways to bring something different. I wanna send a Big shout out to my brothers. Prie, I’m so proud of you & all your accomplishments. K-Luv, keep getting it bulleh, Miss you, I’ll see you soon! Klarke, get back home so we can get back to cookin #GripShit!! My brother Jerm, We the best bro, never forget that! Shout out to my brothers Big Mox, S1da & BB/RunnTheStreetz, All my 24Block Brothers, shout out to all the camps out here as well, WorkHouse, Ill Hill, Angry Locals, FTB, Tsunami Mobb, 4Walls, Trackbaby & many many more. Hawaii’s hip-hop scene is so amazing & I feel it doesn’t get the cred it truly deserves. Hawaii Hip-Hop is a great thing to be a part of, I know Im proud to say I am Jim Hurdle & “I am Hawaii Hip-Hop”.