Hawaii Hip Hop Artist Keanu “Ballistic” released his debut music project- Munky Mixtape on Datpiff in late August. Like many artists I’ve featured, I met Ballistic at Team Backpack’s MULA 2015. As a fellow Hawaii kid, it was inevitable that Ballistic and I Iinked up. As both an avid Hip Hop fan and participant, I love listening to mixtapes/albums front to back. I feel that artists put a lot of time and effort into full-length projects and that listeners should experience it as such. Ballistic definitely put a lot of heart and hardwork into Munky and it is a pleasure to feature him on this platform.
Opening with a Run DMC-styled track, “Munky” (the album’s name and the title of track 1) immediately shows off Ballistic’s youthful energy and homage to his old school influence. When conversing with Ballistic about his inspiration behind Munky, it was obvious that this young man is uniquely creative. Part comic, part skit-writer, and part rapper, all of these elements come together in Munky. “Munky was a project I had been working on for a little less than two years, independently. The cover art, mixing, mastering, and vocals were all recorded by me,” said Ballistic.
He first announced this mixtape back in the summer following MULA 2015 in a heartfelt-vibed video blog. Then, he followed it with a hella funny video of him dressed in a monkey suit while he scares tourists all over Waikiki. (Waikiki is sort of like the Hollywood Blvd of Hawaii.) In his own munky fashion, Ballistic jumped from trees, behind bushes, and even did some breakdancing moves. Just go watch it! Lol.
“Munky Mixtape” is available for free streaming and download via Datpiff. The tape includes original and remix tracks and overall showcases Ballistic’s lyrical skill and style. As an up and coming Youtuber, he has shared consistent content on his channel for about 4 years. Currently, Ballistic sports 7,000+ subscribers, 800,000+ views, and has already gotten some looks from MTV and other sponsors. Staying true to his passions, “I plan to pursue a career in music and acting, even if it means only working at Tower Records or doing commercials for GoodWill.” At the end of the day, Ballistic just wants people to feel good about themselves and open up to the “Munky” in all of us. Check out Ballistic's Munky Mixtape here!
Jehzan: What is your personal favorite track off your Munky Mixtape?
Ballistic: It would have to be "Stay High" because it's a very personal and emotional song for me. Like many songs, it was inspired by a breakup. One day I was listening to Tove Lo's "Habits" (Stay High) - Hipper Sabotage Remix, and the words poured out of me. I think that a lot of people will be able to relate to this song whether it be about losing a special someone or even a family member or friend. I like where this song takes me.
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I'm not a "trap, lean, edm, drug, gangster, back-packer".. I'm bombzilla the "track slasher" - BOMBZ
One of Hawaii and Las Vegas’ finest MCs is back with a new joint for his listeners! Check out Bombz’ “No School” music video and track on his Youtube channel or via Facebook. As always, no project is half-assed by this hard-working man. Bombz continues to show unique style and all around artistry with every project. Self-written, self-produced, and self-edited, “No School” pays homage to classic Hip Hop in a fresh manner, allowing Bombz to show off his impressive and clever lyricism. Shot around various spots in Las Vegas, it shows a mirrored lifestyle to his days spent in Honolulu’s K-Town (Kalihi). It could probably be said that liquor stores, empty parking lots, and other avenues are where Bombz and his boys got most of their schooling. Hence, “No School” doesn’t mean that Bombz lacks knowledge or skill of any sort, because that is certainly not the case.
At a time when most dudes in their mid to late 20s are slaving away at 9-5 jobs or no longer taking time for themselves due to having kids or a family, Bombz pushes harder than ever in his music grind... even if it means no sleep. Needless to say, Bombz is a well-experienced father, husband, and often works overtime at his current job. “No School” is truly a bold statement that Bombz is one of a kind. He doesn’t belong to any “school” of rap and being put in a box or labeling him is a big mistake. Take a look at “No School” and you mos’ def won’t be disappointed. Let’s also help this underrated artist get the views he deserves!
Straight outta San Francisco, CA stands a multi-talented young female by the name of Cris Cross aka “Babii Cris.” But don’t you dare let her small stature or baby face smile fool you. There is nothing “baby” about her grind, talent, skill, and passion when it comes to Hip Hop music. While my personal Rap credentials are fairly beginner, I honestly feel a lot of 2Pac when I hear this girl flow. Much like Pac, Babii Cris’ passion for Hip Hop goes beyond rap itself. She is a profound lyricist that is building her own army of “young philos” (philosophers), high minded individuals. Impressively, she also serves as part of Hip Hop 4 Change in her Nor-Cal community. This artist works AM to PM and back to AM all over again, of which her skill and work ethic can be seen even through a “screen.”
2015 has been a particularly challenging and fulfilling year for this already well-seasoned artist. Most notably, she wrote, produced, mixed, and mastered her very first album entitled “Triple Threat,” which is available for digital purchase on almost all online music platforms. “2015 has been a lot of trial and error. I have learned a lot about trust on the business side things, but I also credit my tight circle of connects and family for so many more of the successes we’ve seen this year,” said Babii Cris. It is evident that she lives Hip Hop, from the pen and paper to the mic and to the youth and other artists in her neighborhood.
As a “90s kid” born to teenage parents, Babii Cris grew up listening to late 80s/early 90s Gangsta Rap and was heavily influenced by early millennial artists like Eminem, Amanda Perez, Outkast, and NB Ridahz. She also expresses her mother’s family ties in the Hawaiian islands, which expanded her ears to reggae and acoustic- styled music. All of these musical influences can be witnessed throughout the variety of tracks on her album. She remembers having a love for writing poetry and rap from the age of 8, and soon after learned the ropes in recording and editing vocals. Throughout the rest of her youth, she continued honing her skills and have positioned herself for many opportunities. Now as she turns 22, she is able to start building a steady stream of income through her music and work in Hip Hop culture.
Aside of her strong social media buzz especially through successes like this year’s Team Backpack Mission Underground 2015 Cypher Draft, Babii Cris is also widely known for hosting a Hip Hop showcase called “Unrapped.” In this monthly event hosted at the Honey Hive Gallery in San Francisco, Unrapped is A Hip-Hop community show with rap cyphers, dancing, and a whole lot of networking. Profound graphic designer Espejo Designs and Babii Cris set a platform for artists to support, learn, promote, and build with each other and fans. “We want to give people another platform to be able to UNRAP their art and their talent, from music, to dance, to art, to anything that you do to express yourself,” said Babii Cris. For this young MC/Producer/Community Organizer, the grind is seemingly never ending. But with every hard challenge, Babii Cris is only at the beginning of a very promising career in all avenues of creative art.
Visit her official website - http://babiicris.com/
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Babi Cris at one of the latest UnRapped showcase at the Honey Hive Gallery in San Francisco, CA. Image by EspejoDesigns.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.