Hip Hop Saved My Life by Snarley Brown
So it’s been awhile since my last report on our ever-growing hip hop community. It spans beyond the city limits of Anchorage, riding the Aurora’s wave north to Fairbanks, rolling south by way of the tides out to Sitka and Juneau. Hip hop is the story of a struggle. It is a culture spawned from the seeds of a bitter fruit.
It’s no wonder then that one of the coldest and most remote states in the union has one of the most diverse hip hop scenes you’ll see.
With so many legitimate movements, artists, engineers, and videographers worth following, Alaska is finally starting to make a footprint on this shit. There’s a noticeable buzz that was never there before following release dates, venues, shows, and showcases. We went from rapping in front of an empty room to having fans we’ve never even met. It’s safe to say all the years of bullshit are finally starting to pay off.
Not too long ago, we (the Press) did a fair amount of coverage revolving around the rebirth of Anchorage’s rap battle scene. At the time, the folk behind the curtain, pulling all the strings were a mere party of two. Gorilla in the Trunk Entertainment was a duo consisting of local Producer DJ Allegiance and Anchorage rap battle veteran Jacob Jump. More or less they were just two guys trying to fill a creative hole in our city. Catching up with one of the founding members of both Gorilla in the Trunk Music and local battle rap league Rhyme Different, Jacob Jump gives us some insight to his recent growth in involvement:
“When I decided to start up the battle rap league Rhyme Different, it gave me an opportunity to focus on the business of that and more on my music,” he said. “Before the new League I was primarily doing nothing but competing in battle rap as far as writing bars. Writing and recording music is a different game. In order to be relevant, you have to be consistent.”
Throughout time we have seen a variety of greatness spark from humble beginnings. It’s no exaggeration when I say that this label is starting to resemble that description.
“It basically started by me sending out beats to artist i wanted to work with personally,” DJ Allegiance explains. “I personally found a way to reach everyone I wanted a song with.”
What started out as a couple singles on Spotify has parlayed into a growing list of musical endeavors serving as proof that there is currently no end in sight for this collective. They have since added a few members as of late. First and foremost, there’s well-known battle rapper and Boogie Down Bronx native, H.E.A.T..
“I met Ian(DJ Allegiance) for the first time in person at a battle event I was headlining...”, H.EA.T. tells us in a quick messenger Q&A. “I’ve always watched him from afar. I love his sound... it was that traditional boom pap with a soulful feel that attracted me to him... then after getting to know him I realized we had so much in common and I also felt we had a genuine admiration for each other’s work that when he asked me to be part Gorilla In The Trunk Music it was a no brainer for me. You can check out my projects Dive Ambition and Progression and Another Level on ALL major streaming sites... I have another project dropping at the end of May as well... A couple of shows coming up. Kinda don’t remember them all at the moment but at least 3 in June.. I have a Battle on July 6th, Jake and I have an EP we dropping date TBA... just work, work, work.”
Behind the engineer board they have recently acquired the services of DJ Systematic, a long-time supporter of the Anchorage hip hop community. Lastly, but not least, DJ Allegiance had to go out and add some blood ties to the business by bringing in his brother, Toney Fingerz.
“ ...the future is real bright for Tony Fingerz” says Allegiance of his brother,” ..he was originally with the group O.S.L (Other Shit Lyricists) out of Fairbanks ..This is his time and season to his get floss on.”
When asked what sort of impact they hoped to have on the community at-large, I was pleased to find a common theme within their responses; Encouragement.
H.E.A.T.: Well as a whole, I wanna inspire anyone who has had to struggle to get anywhere. I come from nothing... like nothing nothing and I could be content with life as it is now but I also feel like you can dream your wildest dream and make it happen...
DJ Allegiance: I hope to have a positive influence in the community as a whole but also i wanted to show people that you can make it in this hiphop game as independent label.
Jacob Jump: My goal is to inspire artists to be the best they can be. To do it the right way and keep this “thing of ours” pure. Hopefully I’m remembered for that at least.