The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper:
This Week's Subjects:
Hispanic rappers being too Hispanic; the mindset of a battle rapper.
Ask a Rapper: As a Hispanic rapper, do you feel any pressure to be more like your contemporaries and sort of shy away from your Mexican-ness? We mean, we've heard the majority of your catalog and we don't think we've heard one single accordion. And that's, like, the instrument for us.
G.T. Garza: [laughs] To me, I know everyone sees me as a Latin rapper - and that's fine, I love being Latin - but I want people to understand I don't wanna be a good Latin rapper, I wanna be a good rapper, period. I base all my music on stuff I've been through or I know the next person could go through.
It doesn't have a color barrier in my eyes. I make music for everyone to enjoy it. I feel more pressure in releasing new songs than anything else. I just want people to feel me and where I'm comin' from.
AAR: On that "Pain" song you sampled Foreigner - which was very good, by the way. What's up on a Los Tigres Del Norte remix?
G.T.: Man! I love sampling. I know it ain't the greatest thing when you need to clear a song, but man, remaking a classic record is always tight.
AAR: Maybe instead of doing that thing where a rapper will release a normal version of an album and then a screwed one, maybe you can release a normal one and then a Spanish version. You and us could pose on the cover in matching powder blue suits and cowboy hats. This could be the start of something big.
G.T.: [laughs] I know a few folks who would probably slow and chop up that CD for us, just let me know when.
AAR: Seriously, why is it that there's never really been one central figure in the Hispanic rapper landscape? And don't try the "What about Big Pun?" argument because we both know he was never really that good, people just made revisionist claims like that after he died.
G.T.: I think honestly, it has to do a lot with politics in radio, politics with record labels and fans who actually haven't embraced another Latin artist like that. A lot of us rappers gotta find a way to adapt to the business and find new ways to market and promote ourselves.
I know people won't really understand the mechanics of the business, but it keeps a lot of artists underground and right under the national limelight. There are a bunch of Latin rappers that go hard and could be out there but we still got a break a few barriers before you actually hear a record from us.
AAR: You're a fairly acclaimed battle rapper. We remember seeing that video of you just destroying poor Perseph One. What's going through your head when you're performing in one of those contests? Are you really freestyling? And who's the best freestyler in Houston?
G.T.: [laughs] I like battling. I think it's a good way for an artist to really experience hip-hop and see a different side to the game. It's way different from creating a record or writing a flow. For myself, I like to freestyle a lot of battles 'cause it's on the spot and I can really see if I'm prepared or not.
In my opinion, there are tons of dope artists and freestylers in my city. I can't really put my name on one, but they out there. Believe that.
Check Garza out on MySpace at myspace.com/gtgarza.