Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Hired Gun, Shooting through the streets of NY

Hired Gun is a Jersey born emcee representing the borough of Brooklyn since 2000. An educator, writer, emcee and event organizer, Hired Gun is a man who wears many hats within this hip hop culture. Gun is a co-founder of Say Word Entertainment, a New York based Hip Hop event company, and one third of the group 3rd Party. He also works as a solo artist, and is a after school mentor/teaching artist for UrbanArtBeat ( Gun is a child of the golden era, and his socio-political commentary, dense lyricism and high energy performance are a reflection of that.

One of the most versatile lyricists you'll ever see he also is a member of the Black Opz Drum n Bass massif. Hired Gun has performed all over the country doing both hip hop and drum bass as far west as Minnesota, as north as Vermont and as south as Virginia. Hired Gun has been blessed to share the stage with such legends as the Last Poets, Fat Lip of the Pharcyde, Rob Swift, and Slick Rick. If you're in need of music with meaning, high energy, and positivity...and you can find him (which isn't hard) maybe you can book..the Hired Gun.

HipHopInformant: What made u get involved with Hip Hop?

Hired Gun: The Stop the Violence Movement. Growing up in New Jersey the only direct exposure I had to the music was the radio, video music box (peace to Uncle Ralph!) and visiting my family in Newark, New Jersey. The first song I ever heard was "Self Destruction" and the song just resonated with me. It was cool, it was saying something, it just made me want to find out more about the music. From there, I found Big Daddy Kane, Gangstarr, Jungle Brothers, Kool G. Rap, Redman, Kid n Play, Rakim and it was on.

HipHopInformant: How long have you been involved in the industry?

Hired Gun: That's a great question. In terms of the mainstream, I have yet to, and probably never will. I've been independently releasing music, performing/touring and receiving mainstream press for the past three or four years (two albums, "Separation of Powers" and "Pressed for Time" with my group 3rd Party have been reviewed by the national magazine URB.).

HipHopInformant: Tell me more about your work as a mentor?

Hired Gun: I am a part of a great team of teaching artist/mentors for a program Urban Art Beat ( It is an after school program designed to instill confidence in youth, help them find their voice and expression through hip hop, while also giving them practical foundation in english literature,language and usage. Through creative writing we're able to supplement their academics in the classroom, get them to have fun and also believe in themselves. We are based in the South Bronx and have a sister program (The Mic Academy) in Queens. Its really the best thing I do in my life. Working with young people is amazing, they are so full of energy and potential. To be around that is inspiring in itself.

HipHopInformant: Do you try and present a positive image in your songs rather than an image of violence, sex and drugs which are so commonly associated with rappers and Hip Hop today?

Hired Gun: I truly dont believe its a conscious thing that I do. I come from an era where "keeping it real" meant literally to speak from the heart, to speak the truth. You talk about what you live, who you are, where you are. That's it. I'm a grown man, whose not afraid of my education, whose proud to be black, and have a woman I love. To live is to struggle, and everyone has something different. I just tell you mine, and hope you relate. As Brother J once said on Seeds of Evolution (his solo debut in 1996) "I refuse to get caught up in a positive and negative game". I just do me, I let others decide what that is.

HipHopInformant: You were on Donny Goine’s Do It For Hip Hop remix, how was that, working with those artists?

Hired Gun: Nuff respect to Donny, one of the true heads in this crazy game. I honestly cant speak to working with all the artist, as in this age of technology rare is it that you go into a studio with everyone on a song, but...I can say that working with Donny in the capacity we have thus far has been beautiful. He has a vision, he has talent, and real recognizes real. A good dude. I hope to work with him more and wish him the best.

HipHopInformant: Are there any artists that inspire or influence you?

Hired Gun: Too many to name. The Last Poets, Gil Scot Heron, The Native Tongues, Aceyalone, many...

HipHopInformant: How was it, working with Hip Hop legends such as Slick Rick?

Hired Gun: It was a pleasure to share the stage with a legend. We both performed at the Minneapolis Kids hip hop festival with a lot of other regional talent and legends. It was a great weekend.

HipHopInformant: Your music has meaning. What message does your music spread?

Hired Gun: Thank you. I think the message my music spreads is to question your world. Question your government, question your ideologies, question yourself. That is the only way to grow and change. Never be stagnant. I think for most this is a dated term but if there is such a thing as "Pro-Black", I think that is also something that you'll find in my music. By default, being an artistic black man, in this climate, one who is unafraid to speak his mind...that is a message in itself, feel me? Also I think I challenge people to look beyond conventions, to be different...dont go with the flow.

HipHopInformant: Do you think that the industry needs to change? If so, why?

Hired Gun:The industry is changing by itself. Their needs to be more balance, more inclusiveness in the sounds, and images it upholds and pushes. I dont worry about the "industry" too much, I'm an artist, I make music...I let it speak for itself, and those that feel it, gravitate towards it. Many doors have opened for me, without the help of "the industry". It is a machine that has become antiquated and is collapsing under its own weight. Their needs to be a better vision on how to run a business that supports and cultivates artists. It has to do a better job in those areas.

HipHopInformant: Finally how did your name, Hired Gun come about?

Hired Gun: Before I had this name, I was trying to come up with a definition of what I was as an emcee. I've done some experimental theatre work, some choreography, as well performing with live bands, and Jungle emcee/toasting. I felt that I was sort of a "mercenary", being contracted out to do various types of job, from there it just manifested as a "hired gun"..cept I usually get contracted to the lowest bidder. ha!


Anonymous said...

hiya really good interviews on here
keep up the good work and hope 2 see new interviews soon! x

Anonymous said...

I believe that the hip- hop industry is changing by itself, and I also think that most rappers are stereotyped, in the whole sex, drugs and voilence.

Shoogabooga said...

Feelin' it man IM FEELIN' IT!