It’s 10 a.m. on the island of Maui and my friends and I pull up to the back of a quiet shopping center, surrounded by the lush trees and air of Haiku, Maui. I had been conversing with Jahsun, a fellow Hip Hop artist and host of his own podcast, “Real Talk Hip Hop Hawaii” for a number of weeks beforehand and we had just confirmed an interview a few days before. Jah gave us a tour of the InsideOut Universe studio, of which he is a co-founder and co-owner. The whole InsideOut Universe studio crew had a relaxed and fun atmosphere while remaining professional.
At first, Jah might look like a typical “haole” guy turned local. But there’s definitely more than meets the eye. Although I was being interviewed on his show, we got to talking a lot about his journey as a long-time music lover turned artist, and now a young entrepreneur. Originally from Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, the rapper has solid roots in the islands. However, his family moved to Oregon, primarily staying in the Portland and Salem areas. By the time Jah was a teenager, he was a skater and tagger, and integrated himself into Hip Hop music, culture, and art; stating that he used to have 100s of Wu-Tang, E-40, Ice Cube, and other classic rap CDs stacked in his house and car, and he digged keeping his collection in order. “I remember being in about 4th grade and hearing Run D.M.C.’s “Walk This Way.” I used to listen to a lot of rock & hip hop collaborations and suddenly started vibing to more Hip Hop music. I think it was the rhyme and lyricism that got me. That was also around the time I started practicing at writing lyrics so I’d write a lot of remixes to both rock and rap songs,” said Jah.
All throughout high school, Jah would freestyle for fun and created a crew with his friends, who soon got more known for making some songs. It wasn’t until Jah moved back to Hawaii at age 22, when he started to take music a little more seriously after getting positive reviews from for his spoken word poetry and rap songs. He linked up with an old friend from middle school who had moved to Maui, named Ra Sol. The two whom rapped together for many years as kids, were now doing some shows around the island of Maui and opening up for acts like The Grouch.
“Moving to Maui, I wanted to search my roots and get more connected with where I was from. I was called to come back. I’m not Hawaiian but I have roots from all parts of the world- Native American, Mexican, Irish, and French Canadian. I relate with the suffering and gentrification of all indigenous peoples of the world. I don’t identify with any race because I am mixed so I feel a universal relationship with all people. That def has an influence on my music.” It surely does! Check out some of the clips of Jah’s music on this blog. He doesn’t just talk the culture, he really is a part of the Hip Hop community and lifestyle. The essence of Hip Hop has roots in principles of positivity, art, and intellect, and Jah shows it in his diversity as an artist; just look at his solo music videos, “Unsung Mighty Few” projects, along with old battle footage, “Real Talk Hip Hop Hawaii” podcast, and the newly produced “Hawaii Hip Hop Cyphers Elements.”
Jahsun continues to co-create various music projects through InsideOut Universe studios, is a proud father of his only daughter, and continues his grind in achieving his personal goals. His collaboration track/music with $Bags has even earned more than 20,000 views is on WorldstarHipHop and 6000+ views on Youtube. Jah seems to know what he's doing and I'm personally eager to see more of his projects both individually and collectively in the near future.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.