Real Talk w/ Jim Hurdle

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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”.

Beat Root Talk w/ Kavet the Catalyst #Part2

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Is the crowd that comes out for Beat Root more diverse than people may think? Is one of your goals to have a well-rounded diverse crowd?

The crowd for the prelims is a mixed bag majority are those that are there to support the producer they know and the 1/4 is random.  My goal as for crowds for finals is everyone and anyone who wants to vibe out to fresh beats by producers from Hawaii. I would hope that the Hip-hop community supports the most and all the fans/family/supporters.  

Any interesting stories you would like to share about this year’s road to the finals?

Mr. Carmack, I’ve been preaching his sound is dope from the first beat he dropped in 2011 prelims, even when he lost in last years finals, I still believed that he had something, a sound, no other producer had, and sure enough, all the LA beat heads started jocking him, he played  Low End Theory, Coachella, and doing shows in Canada, Austrailia, and New Zealand!!!  Humble dude through it all.  And after qualifying this year for the Grand Championships, he is still gonna battle regardless of his super busy schedule and high demand.  Big ups Carmack. Thats the Ohana right there! 

In the organization, brainstorming stage before the first Beat Root did you ever imagine this event getting so much “traction” as far as popularity.

I always keep in perspective why I do BEATROOT, and as long as the producers love it and respect it then the people, the fans, the crowd will love it.  Cause if the producers are putting in time and work into making these audio treats i know the people will feel it as well.  The Grand Championships always draw a good crowd. And i think that its only gonna get more popular as producers start to get push more into the forefront of performances.

Shout outs? Noteworthy notes.

Shout outs to Easy Music Center and all the producers that believe in my vision for BEATROOT.  Also Producer/ DJ crew from Seattle’s Stop Bitting is coming to Beatroot, Eardr.umz, Absolute Madman, & OC Notes they will be preforming live beats and DJing.  Its gonna be a great night.

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Na Hoku Talk w/ Shawn Moseley of Evasive Species

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How did you all find out you were nominated. Were you sent a letter, did someone from HARA call you?

When the final Ballot came out, being voting members of HARA we saw our name on the ballot. We also received a nice letter in the mail congratulating us and giving us details of what to expect the night of the event should we win.

What member of the group submitted the album to HARA?

The band leader, Shawn Livingston Moseley, after full approval from the other members which include Navid Najafi, Stephen Inglis, Jon Hawes, Jason Segler, Kanohowailuku Helm and also special guest The Broke Moke’s, Punahele, Scott Othoro and Erika Elona.

Being nominated for anything is a sign of respect would you agree?

It really is. Knowing that the community of musicians around you care enough to get behind your efforts is one of the most respectful things any artist could hope for, ever.


How familiar are you with the other nominees and the history of the category?

Very intimate with both the nominees and the history. Navid, our main emcee is a strong and active member of the local Hip Hop scene performing and supporting almost all the different Nominees at some point along the way. Shawn put a lot of energy behind the local Hip Hop scene since 2007 after making Hip Hop albums in New York City for years prior. Shawn, alongside a couple other friends put a lot of time into getting the Hip Hop category that was for years paired with R&B separated and on it’s own. It really did not make a lot of sense to be grouped with R&B and sadly created ill feelings for a few people within the hip hop community. Thankfully that is a problem that has been fixed and the community has no good reason not to grow.

Is it truly a Hip Hop category?

Yes. Hip Hop has evolved into many forms over the years and they all have presence here in Hawaii. Some focus on using a live band, which is what Evasive Species and the Deadbeats do, others make beats, use samples and otherwise. Both approaches are great expressions of the art form and deserve equal credit to sustaining the musical style locally.

In all seriousness, how badly do you want to win?

We already have, we made a great record. As far as the award goes, it’s not going to make us any more proud of what we have accomplished as a band and the support we continue to receive and provide to our local Hip Hop community. Evasive Species is thankful for the nomination of course, but more thankful for the other artist that submitted in the preliminary round showing their support for the category and keeping it alive. Who ever wins will get our full respect no matter what.

Kwallified Emcee Talks Hip Hop Album of the Year

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How did you all find out you were nominated. Were you sent a letter, did someone from HARA call you?

I actually found out I was nominated on twitter. The Lightsleepers tweeted the nominees. I was pretty stoked about it all. I'm just stoked to be nominated for this award. Hopefully this leads to more of a spotlight on our scene. The more people who release projects that get on iTunes that can be eligible for Hokus, the better. We need a legitimate presence as a hip hop scene at these awards.

Being nominated for anything is a sign of respect. Would you agree>

Yeah, it is. That's how I felt. I was very grateful that I got the nomination. A little validation after all the hard work I put in. I feel that they are trying to do a better job with the hip hop genre. I do think that they are making more of an effort. They want to be more informed of the hip hop music we have here in our islands. Kepa Kruise was a terrible choice to win. That wasn't hip hop. No disrespect to him as a person, but him winning was disrespect to hip hop. Navid won the last one. He's dope. I think with him winning, and seeing the nominees this year, they're doing better. I think that the Hokus are very prestigious awards. The highest award you can receive locally.

How familiar are you with the other nominees and the history of the category?

I'm pretty familiar with all the nominees actually. IA has been a homie for a while as well as Audible Lab Rats. The Deadbeats are friends of mine as well. So it's a lot of familiar faces for me in the category. It's cool.

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Real Talk w/ Paradox Culture of Ancient Dialect

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*Answers provided by Fabian Carter


- How has moving to Hawaii had a positive effect on your music?

Moving to Hawaii has been the biggest influence on our music career. Hawaii isn't corrupted from the negativity of mainland mainstream music. Hawaii hip hop is still pure and is nurturing a lit of very talented individuals.


- Talk about your sound and the type of crowds you generally play for?

Our sound is unique to us. We attract real hip hop crowds because they dig our creativity and versatility. We like to bring the old school ideas of hip hop and reintroduce it to the new school through witty metaphors and clever puns.

- Career highlights/Upcoming projects?

Upcoming projects from Ancient Dialect are going to be mind blowing. Paradox Culture is working on his solo mixtape "Offerings to Apollo" as a group we are dropping our mixtape " the eradication" and debut album "2013AD: Think about it". Its going to be a scorching summer (lol).


- Hip Hop Inspirations, locally and overall?

My biggest inspiration in the game is Joe Budden. He was manipulated by the mainstream and when they chewed him and spit him out he never gave up. Hes one of the dopest lyricist of our time and if I only had a quarter of his thought process ill be great. Locally will def be the Supergroupers! Their chemistry mixed with dope delivery and mind blowing lyricism always motivate me to push harder. I feel like they are the best and I can learn a lot from them.


- Favorite venues you've played?

My favorite venue by far is Station Bar. Dont get me wrong its a small venue but the atmosphere is what takes me away. It's always a hip hop crowd there for the music and nothing else. Its that underground hip hop experienced that real Emcees live to experience. My sacred favorite is Edge Bar.

- Final thoughts, plugs, praises.

My final thoughts are if you love hip hop show it. Do not become one of the corrupters. I want to give a huge shout out too Supergroupers, Aksent, Oneill Fernandez, Kap10 Kurt, Ozell Daniels and Tantra. 2013AD!

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Ill Talk w/ @ThisisWun

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Introduce yourself for those that don't know you.

Yeah man I go by the name "Wun" .. it's kind of a nickname that stuck and became my stage name. I've been recording and releasing music independently since 2001. I started Gritty Fifty recordings in 02' and I'm one of the newest members to the Flip The Bird family

Talk about the high points of career while you were in Hawaii.

Well I would have to say the first cd I put out was definitely one of my high points because it let people know I was serious. Hawaii's Hip Hop scene was very unforgiving at the time and the technology wasn't where it is today. There weren't many studios around and the ones that were around had CRAZY rates.. the town guys considered my sound to be too "jiggy" for Hawaii and I was fresh out of high school .. I was pretty much told it couldn't be done. It was a challenge to record and release an album at all then..especially being young with no backing.. But we did it anyway ..and at that time I was one of the only Hiphop artists in Hawaii who had successfully put out a physical cd ..
It meant a lot to us that a kid from wahiawa could do that at all.. and the journey and friends I made doing it was just a priceless experience for me ..

Another one is the release of "Live from the 808" & "Sink or Swim Radio"
.. They got great reviews and garnished a lot of respect for my label. My brother passed away just prior to the release and I was going through a hard time with that so it just meant a lot to me that it was as successful as it was , and people enjoyed it the way they did. My first official single "Waikiki" which was produced by Illmind and featured on "Sink or Swim Radio" was voted the Number 1 Hawaii HipHop song of 2006... and that was special to me, to be completely independent and have a project be that successful. It was definitely a statement that was being made. Not only had I successfully built an independent in Hawaii but we had genuinely started a movement .. again things I was told just couldn't be done ...

I asked a number of respected cats in the Hawaii Hip hop scene if WUN is still Hawaii Hip Hop although he's not presently living on the rock and they all said yes. That being said how do you still rep the 808 out in cowboy country bruh.

Well shout to everybody for not sweeping me under the rug haha ..But.. yeah you know my goal was always to rep for Hawaii .. Even before it was cool too. Dudes used to look at us crazy for trying to rap about Hawaii, but I wanted people to understand our struggle and see our talents. That's always been important to me.. My whole experience growing up in Hawaii is something that I take with me everywhere I go. It molded who I am today, and Im proud of that so I will always rep that.. i guess it just comes natural .. You know .. you can take the boy from the island but he's still gonna throw that shaka in traffic ... I still rep in every song I still talk that Waikiki shit .. And Im always gonna rep for Hawaii. In part that's what this has always been about for me ..

What makes the scene in Texas more appealing to you as an artist?

Well I wouldn't say it's "more" appealing, but I can see some advantages .. one of them is that Texas is HUGE, and they show they're local talent a lot of love. The "Wun" EP will be my first "official" release since moving to Texas, but the music I have put out here has gotten great response. Also being forty five minutes from Austin has been great, just as a fan of HIPHOP. Being in a new city with a new team "FTB" supporting me I really feel like a "NEW" artist, and I made the move here for my family so being able to continue doing music has been a blessing all together.

Your latest project is about to be released real soon. What's the lastest?

Ahh Yess .. well this new EP is self titled and is completely produced by Veterano. Who is just one of the illest cats ever. Musically and personally .. I've always been a fan of Vets, since Mushmouf put me up on him back in the day. Vet had done some stuff with us on previous projects via internet ..and when we finally met in person a couple years ago I was like "man we should do an album" and he was down so that's how this came about. I decided to make it an EP later and was blessed enough to get verses from some HI State Legends including "Shella" "Creed Chameloen" "Tassho Pearce" and "Fortilive".
It's got a completely different sound and style in comparison to my previous work but still packs the same wit and lyricism. Being that VET laid the whole backdrop for it and I was able to get some vocals from some artists I have the utmost respect for, I'm really excited about it.
Coming out of a short musical hiatus and being in a new city It almost feels like this is my first project .. And it's definitely one of my best works. So make sure to be on the lookout for that "WUN" EP on Itunes and Bandcamp this January.

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What messages fuels your lyrics and what keeps you motivated to make music.

“Sink or Swim”
“Sink or Swim” ”
“Sink or Swim”
That has always been the motto and the message behind my music. And it always will be. It’s all about never giving up regardless of the circumstance. I’ve been through a lot in life, and the people who know me, and my story, know that I’ve always been passionate about making music and being creative. Even when there were no opportunities for us to do that, we created them, and to me thats what its all about. Refusing to lay down and die .. or give up and drown. In all my personal struggles I have still been able to accomplish all my goals and become what I wanted to be. And that’s my message “hold your head high and “Keep Swimming” towards WHATEVER it is that you want. That’s what I live by so that’s what the fuck I rap like.. SinkorSwim bitches!!!