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”.

Real Talk w/ Illis It

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WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHOM IN THE SCENE DO YOU CONSIDER TIGHT FAM?
I’m from Kalihi. I guess I consider most of the scene a sort of extended family to me. But naturally I’m a lot more tight  with the members of Super Groupers (Navid Najafi, Scott Ohtoro, and Aksent) and Bombz because I knew him prior to my introduction to the scene. We stirred up a bit of trouble in Kalihi for a while and it brought us closer through the tough times we consequently faced.

BEST ADVICE A HIP HOP HOMEY EVER GAVE YOU?
The best advice I got was from JoeKerr. He basically referenced a race horse and how when they race, they have their peripherals blocked and can only see straight ahead. He told me to adopt that technique into my work ethic with music, basically saying don’t worry what everyone else is doing, do you!

WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR AS AN INDIVIDUAL, AND WHAT DON’T YOU STAND FOR AS IT  PERTAINS TO MAINSTREAM VIEWPOINTS AND LIFESTYLE; AKA  A SHEEP’S MENTALITY?
I stand for myself. And I don’t mean that in a selfish way. I stand for being true to myself with the  hopes it’ll rub off on those around me and/or attract like-minded individuals. It’s hard to sum up all the things  I stand for specifically because I try  to stay open minded with things, which automatically subjects my beliefs to change, therefore changing my cause based on the  situation. But I’ll always try to stand for what I feel is right.
There’s nothing wrong with tryna pay your bills and eat off music but fuck throwing up money like it’s cool in a video and talking like it doesn’t mean shit to you when people are starving all around you. Fuck talking about some hood you grew up in and got out of just to leave it in the same condition you left it in, when you make it better for the people still there! Last but definitely not least, fuck destroying a culture designed to uplift people and using it to further oppress them just for you to be well off! So I guess with that you could say I stand for a “fuck the mainstream” mentality too.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE “EGOTISTICAL NEW EMCEE,” AND WHY YOU ARE THE  OPPOSITE; AS WELL AS WHY IT SUCKS  FOR THE CULTURE?
 
Haha! Some people are gonna get upset a bit. You know those rappers that come out of the wood works, talking all highly of themselves because a couple friends told them they were the shit and they’re gonna blow up? The ones that disrespect others around them cause they truly believe they’re above everyone else? The one’s that look out for themselves and only care about the money and fame and ine times out ten don’t know shit about hip hop as a culture or where it came from? The ones that blame everyone and everything but themselves for their live performances being shit? The ones that have been  rapping a month and think they know all there is to know about music and the industry but yet the same ones constantly looking for validation of their “dopeness” among their peers? Yeah those motherfuckers!

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Real Talk w/ @KingKekai #HzUp

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For the really, really good stuff. Check out my column “On The Record” at honolulupulse.com.

Talk about your career highlights thus far?
Some of the highlights of my musical career include: being nominated for 2 Na-Hoku Hanohano and 2 Hawaii Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop Artist, working and collaborating with the winners of the EDC Discovery Project DSKOTEK along with all the other talented musicians and producers in Hawaii that are on my album.

Talk about the good, the bad and the exciting parts of the music industry.

Well, we all know about the politics in the industry and how they can stifle and supress some of the most talented people. Whats cool and exciting to me though is meeting and working with other artists in the industry and how I get inspired by their creativity. It really pushes me to do more.


Ambition is a big part of success. So is creativity. You seem to have a lot of both qualities. Where do you think you developed your ambition and creativity?

I’m just a really hard worker when I love what I’m doing. I also come from a very musical family so I grew up around the industry and its inner workings. Another thing is, Im surrounded by really driven friends who inspire me a lot to work harder and keep improving.



Did your initial love for hip hop develop in Hawaii or Cali?

It developed here in Hawaii. My brother was a big Hip-Hop fan and he actually turned me on to Dr. Dre’s first album “The Chronic”. I fell in love with it way back then. However I had my breakthrough in Cali. Here I was this kid who grew up in Hilo, all of a sudden I’m in Cali, entering battles up and down the coast, in LA, in Oakland, all these places I used to hear Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre rap about and see on the music videos and I was actually holding my own and sounding cool so it make say hmmm maybe I can actually do this and put out my own music.

Talk about your upbringing in music?

My dad was in a Island Reggae Band “Sly Dog” from Maui back in the early 90’s they had some success. Before then he was always playing the guitar in rock bands as far as I can remember. My uncles and cousins are the Browns from Maui and are really well known and respected for their slack key playing. Lukela the lead singer from Ekolu is a also a cousin. And there are lots of other family members that are musicians as well, but don’t do it professionally so it was always around. I started playing the saxophone when I was in grade school and picked up the piano along the way as well. After High School I studied music production at the Berklee College of Music so I got my training there and that’s where I met Tracey “Dr. Trey” Terada (Jake Shimakuro’s ukulele teacher/producer) who helped me with my first album.

When was the last time you said to yourself “Wow, I am blessed?”

When I was at EDC because when you’re at an event that big and with awesome friends, and being given such a huge opportunity to share my music, meet and network with people you look up to it was really mind blowing… The whole experience… On the last day I took a step back was like wow… We’re here..

Do you have a good luck charm?

I don’t have a good luck charm because I believe luck is just timing and opportunity… But one thing I can’t live without is my iPhone. I, just like pretty much everyone else use it for everything; social media, banking, even writing songs, and rough ideas for beats.

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.

Na Hoku Talk w/ @IA808

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Do you think the voting committee is finally taking the award and genre seriously or at least more seriously than they have in years past?

After years of sharing the award with R&B artist, I do have to give HARA props for recognizing that Hip Hop deserves its own category in the Hokus.

Are you a member of HARA?

I am not a member of HARA nor have I attended any meetings but I do see how their program can help the music community. I don’t think it should matter if you are a registered member to win the award though. But I do understand the politics of the recognition. Its the same for the Grammys on a bigger scale.


Is it really truly cool just to be nominated?

This will be my third nomination and at this point I just respect the fact that I have the opportunity to be in the final ballot and that I helped in a way somewhat by putting out albums to get our own category. I just want to influence the next generation to keep our genre alive and keep our scene going.


Any last words on this year’s set of nominees and the Hip Hop Album of the Year category in general?

On a final note, I am truly honored to be on the final ballot with incredible artist/brands. I would’ve love to see Mo Illa Pillaz, Pou Jackson, Jerzy Ric, and C Gutta on the final ballot. They all had great projects and deserved to be here too.

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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/ Kaptin Kurt

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- For people who might find it odd for a hip hop artist to be part of a rock show, tell them why it is a good match for you and the event itself?

I am a fan of both hip hop and rock music, so for me it's a chance to be a part of a show where I am a performer as well as a fan. As far as the event, it is a chance for a bigger mixed crowd. This give artists who are not generally seen by certain crowds that chance to make an impression and gain fans. This combination works well and goes back to "Walk This Way" by Run DMC and Aerosmith. The BigMix series is a great way for exposure to a new crowd.

- When did you start playing shows on the island on a regular basis?

May of 2012 I started doing open mic shows out in Kailua at Boardriders. From there, I began making my way out to other venues such as, Station Bar and Lounge, Club Rende Vuu, Hard Rock Cafe and Aloha Tower just to name a few. I would say I started to perform regularly in February of this year. So far, I have had a performance every weekend since the first of Feb.

- Career highlights thus far?

Some of my career highlights would include participating in the Hard Rock 2013 Battle of the Bands Contest, performing at the Aloha Tower, and winning my first Music Award, the Rock the Mic Award, at a hip hop competition. Also, being featured on FruitPunchHawai.com for my performance at the Hard Rock 2013 Battle of the Bands Contest.

- Talk about your approach to music and the challenges of being a hip hop artist in the islands?

My approach to music is simple, individuality and originality. I write my songs about experiences I've had or witnessed. I like to make music that people of all ages can enjoy, I do not target a certain crowd or group.One of the challenges being a hip hop artist in Hawaii is the fact that Hawaii is secluded. It is so far away from where majority of hip hop music is coming from that it gets overlooked. Honestly, there is a lot of talent in Hawaii that have the potential to make it big, they just have to think outside the Rock so-to-speak. Other than that, I feel that Hawaii is a great starting place for hip hop because it is the least influenced by outside activities, you can truly be yourself and focus less on the "street cred" you feel you need to be a rapper.

- Final thoughts.

I'm looking forward to this event. I am a big fan of M.O.J.O and also Ancient Dialect. Also, I am looking forward to the crowd. As I stated earlier, I love the opportunity to perform in front of new crowds to be able to impress and gain fans. Live shows are the best way to do so! If you would like to keep up with everything I have going you can check me out at http://www.reverbnation.com/kap10curtakacurtkobane or at http://www.facebook.com/kaptincurt. Thank you again for taking the time out to interview me, it is greatly appreciated!