Like many young Americans, especially in Hawaii, I was taught that there are 3 main choices one can make upon high school graduation: go to college, go to work, or join the military. At age 18, I chose to pursue a little bit of all of those things, including a career in rapping and writing. My personal experience in the Hawaii Army National Guard was exactly that, an experience. I believe that each veteran has his/her own view on the military once they “get out” and the experiences vary. Regardless, I don’t regret my military service, and I’ll always remember the people I met through my unit and other military related duties. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing another veteran, The Marine Rapper (TMR). After serving in Marine Corps, TMR chose to use Hip Hop as a platform to entertain and educate.
I met TMR last year at TeamBackpack’s Mission Underground event in Los Angeles, CA. My girlfriend and I were waiting in line, outside the venue, to go into the live auditions. The first thing I noticed was his boots, aside from him yelling in a familiar militaristic manner to stay in our spots and make sure that we don’t miss our audition time slot (LOL, some people didn’t listen though...) I still remember those high-black-shiny boots with silver bullets. But don’t let my description fool you, this man is on a relentless grind and he deserves respect for serving our country and probably even more so as a serious emcee and producer.
TMR started writing and recording raps around the time he graduated high school. His Youtube channel has more than 2000 subscribers, with over 90 videos that range from cypher-styled raps, music videos, and collaborations with other artists. “I would always freestyle with friends outside the movie theater. Then I would record on a voice recorder that I bought at Walmart for like $10, because I couldn't afford studio time and I really didn't know how to go about recording at the time,” said TMR. Overtime, he upgraded his home studio equipment and eventually started recording in professional studios up until he joined the Marine Corps. “I had to kind of pause my goals and aspirations because the Marines is a full-time job. Towards the end of my military career, I decided to pick up the mic again and take rap seriously. After I completed my time in the Marines, I moved to Austin, Texas and then to Hollywood to learn to be a music producer,” said TMR.
Aside from being an artist, TMR has also expanded his following as the host of TeamBackpack’s show “The Rap Hack.” Check out one of his favorite rap hack interviews below, which features one of battle rap’s prominent and prolific emcees - Dizaster. TMR has interviewed a variety of artists on The Rap Hack including Bay Area’s Babii Cris, TeamBackpack Mission Underground 2015 Champion Jae The Lyoness, and even internet rap icons Hopsin and Futuristic. “I got involved with TeamBackPack about 5 years back, entering their internet and live audition contests. Although I didn't collaborate with TBP as a rapper like most do, having my own segment has allowed me to meet hip hop pros, introduce the world to new talent, and learn more about hip hop,” said TMR.
So what can the world expect next from TMR? Well, he is actually living in Hollywood and currently working on an album that he plans to release in the latter part of Fall 2016. He is constantly creating and promoting new material via Youtube and other social media outlets. His videos are known for his aggressive and creative story lines, with quality production. As a Marine veteran, TMR states that no other rapper he sees is taking the same angle he has with the military and Hip Hop. Although his inspiration comes from many things, he states that his military experience and relationship with other veterans is what drives him to continue pursuing a career in music. “The military is a great organization. It provides structure, discipline, and a sense of belonging. However, there are situations as service members that we all have to go through in and out of the military that sometimes can be difficult. Some of those experiences will be translated into music form on my project that drops this fall,” said TMR. For more information on TMR subscribe to his Youtube channel and/or follow his Facebook music/fan page. You can also see more Rap Hack episodes via Team Backpack.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.