By: Ian Maikisch
I recently had the privilege of attending the Sofar Sounds Gainesville show at The Bull. What I did not expect was to come away from that show with a new favorite artist. Local rappers have always been hit or miss for me. I have traveled and worked in so many cities and every single one of them has “the next big rapper,” or the guy who swears that his stuff is “blowing up right now” and that I need to work with him now or I might miss out on an “opportunity of a life time.” Hugo $anchez is one of a few handful of rappers and hip-hop artists that actually blew me away with his music.
From his flow, to his beats, to his lyrical content he is the whole package.
Hugo $anchez’s music is a full on head nodder! The kind of rare artist that makes you just want to close your eyes, hit the blunt one more time and bob your head back and forth. The rare kind of rhythm master that makes the party quiet down so everyone can listen to the lyrics better. His beats are very reminiscent of modern-day chill-hop, which conjures memories of going to the beach with my friends, chillin’ in the sand, smoking, and listening to music that we could just vibe out to. Surfing and hangin’ until well after the sun had gone down.
Hugo $anchez performing at The Bull for Sofar Sounds Gainesville’s show in March.
Hugo $anchez’s lyricism can be dug into for a deeper meaning – a political or powerful social message, or just felt for the sick flow $anchez spits.
“I’m obsessive about certain things and I have an ability to kind of retain trivial details about 90’s pop culture, American politics and music in general,” said $anchez. “Usually my lyrics are an attempt to subversively draw parallels between current events and other moments in history in a way that is humorous, but contemplative. I’m often trying to wrangle multiple ideas at once.”
Everyone’s upbringing has an impact on who you are and what an artist creates, for Hugo $anchez his early years were the flames spitting from underneath the rocket that has propelled his artistry to such great heights.
“My upbringing as a young man in South Florida raised by a single immigrant mother, I’m sure has had an impact on the lens through which I view things,” said $anchez. “We valued art and multiculturalism over conformity and disconnection. I follow current events very closely and I listen to a lot of music from the 60’s. So the lyrical giants in my mind are Bob Dylan, Ice Cube, Kurt Cobain, Nas, Big L, John Lennon, Elliott Smith, Tupac & Biggie among others.”
Hugo $anchez live performance of his track, “Brown Privlege” off his record “Bad Hombres” for Sofar Sounds Gainesville at The Bull in Downtown Gainesville.
Flow and delivery are an extremely important part of any artists music. Though for rappers and hip-hop artists, it’s the cornerstone of their music. Some people practice and experiment for years to try to find an original way of getting their message out. Some try for years and never achieve the rare balance of original and familiar syllable combinations that you have to have in order to make it in this realm. This is a skill / talent that $anchez has zeroed in on and hit. Bang! Bull’s eye!
“I’ve always been a fan of quick, dense, compact flows like those of the 80’s and 90’s giants such as AZ, Big L, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, some of Jay-Z’s early work and the aforementioned Nas, Biggie and Pac. I also recognize that personality and tone can have a real impact on the way your flow comes off to listeners, so I’m a huge fan of Wu-tang & Snoop because of the vocal diversity I hear when I listen to them,” said $anchez.
“I don’t just listen to old rap though and I love what new hip-hop subgenres have been able to accomplish with diverse, unorthodox often lazy sounding but complex triplicate flows. Some of the stuff people would call mumble rap, cloud rap or whatever. My love of lyrics and classic sounding beats also keeps me coming back to stuff like Kendrick, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, Curren$y & Princess Nokia.”
$anchez’s beats and musical instrumentation are unique, to say the least, in Gainesville. His album, “Bad Hombres,” combines chill beats and heavy bass driven hype beats. By utilizing the team he has built around him and his production, Hugo $anchez has created a crew of talented and passionate individuals that has helped push his music into the stratosphere.
“I don’t make any of my own beats. That credit belongs to a production team I have assembled which is comprised of a few key individuals including but not limited to producers Cordova, DJ Robzilla, & Isloh. There are others, but that is the core team,” said $anchez.
“These are guys who specialize for the most part in atmospheric Boom-Bap/G-Funk inspired classic sounding works. I do handpick all of my beats and edit them quite a bit before using them, so there is a very long curation process involved in making one of my records. I also record, engineer, mix/master all the vocals myself so the general vibe and pace of my records are by my specific design.”
The Gainesville music scene is so diverse and that is why we all love it right? However how often do you actively seek music or shows that aren’t in the “musical clique” that you and your friends are a part of? For a long time I have been looking for a local rapper that I could fall in love with. Honestly though, I haven’t tried all that hard. Apart from sometimes going to some house shows or house parties where someone is rapping I would never claim to know much about the hip-hop scene here in Gainesville. However, I was sure that there was one. This city is full of music everywhere. I wish I knew more about the hip-hop scene here in town, so I asked Hugo about it.
“The GNV Hip-Hop scene by my estimation is still kind of in its infancy and still feels very underground. I’m a relative newcomer so I can only speak from my experience, but most music fans I meet (in GNV or otherwise) still have no idea that there is a Hip-Hop scene bubbling here at all. I think this is partly because things are still too compartmentalized and fractured, with artists still figuring out what audiences want. There are a few acts working really hard, making strides towards legitimizing themselves in different ways alongside the rock, folk, punk, country & alternative acts typically associated with Gainesville. Those other genres cast a very large shadow and still feel very dominant to me in terms of visibility and representation due to their association with FEST, UF etc. I would love for Gainesville to be associated with great Hip-hop the way it is associated with great Rock and Punk. Ultimately there are dozens of rappers and DJs in Gainesville grinding away. And while I give great credit to the venues and organizers who are getting wise to the wave, I’ve long been a champion of incorporating Hip-Hop into FEST. I think this would further diversify FEST and provide a young, fertile scene with a larger audience, while serving to represent another side of Gainesville’s talented community. *fingers crossed* There is a common misconception amongst non-Hip-Hop-heads that live Hip-Hop lacks musicianship or showmanship. This is a stigma that I go to great lengths to disprove at each one of my performances.”
Hugo $anchez is a rare breed of artist. I say artist because I wouldn’t limit his creativity and passion to just hip-hop and rap. $anchez currently is working on a rock/rap combination record that I can not wait to hear! Keep a keen eye on Hugo $anchez this man is making moves big enough to shift mountains.
“My next goal is to put out a new Hip-Hop record this year titled The Burp Stackarack Files, a couple videos, and a Rock/RnB record with live instrumentation most likely incorporating my band Young Hookers. I’m producing a few local acts across different genres, and I’m currently working on licensing my original compositions for film/tv/games, while keeping up live appearances in and out of town.”
Check out all that is Hugo $anchez in the links below and give “Bad Hombres” a listen. This record is definitely already a personal favorite of mine in the local scene.
Contact/book Hugo $anchez at firstname.lastname@example.org