THIS GOOFY EMCEE HAS HIS SPECS SET ON HIS NEXT MOVE
Full Name (AKA)?
Born James Dean Gutierrez. Also known by his rapper name “A-F-R-O.”
Born and raised where?
Born in Gardena, raised in Bellflower, California. Moved around Orange County, a complete mess.
Who are your artist influences?
Acting-wise, Denzel. He’s always been my favorite actor and inspiration to get into the movies. Emcee-wise, R.A. the Rugged Man, Sean Price, and MF DOOM.
Top 3 producers?
DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and J Dilla.
How would you define yourself in 3 words and why?
Goofy, Smart, and Passionate. I’m a goofy dude who wants to learn something new†every day. Passionate, because I dearly love music and the craft of it. The rhythm is in my bones, lol.
What do you want to be known for in the industry?
For making a mark with my name, and being myself while doing that. The goal is to never lose the integrity.
Tell me about your first joint you ever released?
First project I ever released was a mixtape I called A-F-R-O DOOM, back in 2014. It gained a nice little cult following, which is pretty cool. I was 16-years-old turning 17.
Who is on your wish list to work with?
DOOM was on the top of the list, rest in peace. Definitely Rakim and Kool G Rap. I also†want to work with Ludacris, Mos Def, Redman, Method Man, and Ab-Soul. On the†producer side, I would say RZA and Alchemist. I worked with a good amount of my†favorite producers already. It’s a true blessing.
What are you working on?
My debut album! Been a couple years in the making, but I’m almost at the finish line. Hard at work with it.
How would you classify your music?
A youngin’ with an old-school vibe that’s able to adapt to any style. I don’t think all my†music is for everybody, because I like to try new things. But my main root is old-school†Hip Hop. Hard drums, scratches, all that.
Biggest lesson in life thus far?
Be caring, but know when to put your foot down.
How do you cultivate followers?
Has to be organic. Find something you love to do, and other folks who identify with it will eventually come your way.
What advice would you give an artist right now?
Be careful, at all times when you’re around industry folks or whoever use
your gut feeling. If it feels safe, it should be cool. If it feels negative, get out of there.
When you are driving around who will be found on your playlist?
All types of music. Oldies, jazz, and swing are my favorite genres besides Hip Hop. Sometimes, I get stuck on one song and repeat it for days. I have Slick Rick’s Hey Young World on repeat, at the moment.
How did you fill up your time during lockdown?
Staying creative! Making tracks, making beats, and writing scripts when I’m not writing lyrics. Always keeping my mind on something.
There is a great deal of talk around the ever-changing sound of Hip Hop and the game / industry itself what is your take on it?
One thing I say is, don’t expect to find the real on today’s radio. The music on the radio is bubble-gum – at least, a majority of it. I feel that the radio has no substance or heart, and will only be around for a couple years. Underground hip-hop has been around since the late 70’s, early 80’s.
If we want to listen to more where can we listen how can we cop your music??
YouTube is the best bet to keep in the loop for me. Subscribing helps. BandCamp if you want to directly support. But I have mostly all of them on SoundCloud, Spotify, all that.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I may have missed? (Shout Outs)
Thanks for having me, and I appreciate it. FRO Thizzle out.
“Be careful, at all times when you’re around industry folks or whoever use
your gut feeling. If it feels safe, it should be cool. If it feels negative, get out of there.”
Story By Charli TerminKNOWLEDGEE
Photo Courtesy A.F.R.O.