Everyone is talking about the controversy surroundingArizona's SB 1070
, and Rocks Off was curious to take the temperature of the Grand Canyon State's hip-hop community. So we got in contact with our current favorite Arizona Latino hip-hop artist, 23-year-old Garrett Antunez, better known as G-MOE (Get Money Over Everything). Damn, that last name alone might get you deported. G-MOE hails from Avondale, Ariz., and we figured we'd ask a true Arizonan about what's going on in the state that has the nation's attention. Oh, and about his music too.
Houston, meet G-MOE, because right now Arizona's got the problem. RO: So you live in Arizona. Seen anyone deported yet? G-MOE: Yeah, plenty. Even family. It's a sad situation, but unfortunately, we've got to deal with this. [The law] made it worse for us, not only for immigrants, but also for Mexican-Americans. They've been deporting people out of Arizona for years and years. It's nothing new. They just finally decided that the situation is getting out of hand, so this is their way of handling the situation, but in actuality, its going to end up affecting Arizona in the long run, financially and economically. I was born and raised in Arizona. I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. RO: So how do you really feel about it? G: It gets complicated, but it's not right. I think they went at it all wrong. Arizona is already a suffering state, and if the U.S. starts boycotting Arizona, it's going to be even worse - people losing jobs due to businesses shutting down and so on. It's the domino effect. It's the Arizona natives that will suffer, and they have nothing to do with this new law. Immigration is a big issue for Arizona, but at the same time, it needs to be resolved, and I don't think this law is the solution they thought it was.
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RO: We're glad you brought that up. So America's called for a boycott on Arizona in retaliation to the law. We get it. But it's not that simple, is it? Arizona is not a racist state, and just because you live in Arizona doesn't mean you support the new law. If people start boycotting the state then half the businesses - if not more - will go under, which leads to more unemployment, and that's not a good look for Arizona. All of Arizona will be affected tremendously; therefore, I don't agree with it at all. They want something that's effective now, but they are not looking at the long run, and that's where they fucked up. As for you coming to Arizona, if you're an illegal, I wouldn't suggest it. Besides that, the state is cool, the weather is always nice and hot, the women are beautiful and the Reggie is fire and cheap. Out-of-towners are welcome. RO: How is the hip-hop community as a whole responding to the law in Arizona? G: Everybody is jumping on the subject due to the fact that half of the hip-hop community in Arizona is Latino. Lately, three-fourths of the rappers out here have been doing new tracks - even videos - about SB 1070. They are not happy about it, but still pressing the issue to let it be known. People of different races who are not Mexican are even upset. We feel it's racist and being handled the wrong way. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the reason Arizona is the way it is now. I honestly feel he's racist too. RO: OK, let's switch gears. Let's get to hip-hop. How long have you been in the game? G: My whole life; I grew up in it. I remember stealing all of my brother's tapes as a young kid just to listen to them. As I got older, I evolved with the music that we listened to at the time from N.W.A. to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to Wu-Tang Clan to Too Short to Dr. Dre - just all the new shit that came out at that time. Then, at the age of 14, I started writing my own lyrics to instrumentals and any beats I could get my hands on at the time, but I never got serious enough to record anything until around 05, when I met Rich Kid a.k.a. Lil D. He had a small apartment studio, and from then on, I started recording and taking this hip-hop-rap shit seriously. Now I'm making music and doing shows with people I used to look up to and listen to. RO: Run us through your musical career, so the Houstonians who dig you can find your music. We got our first demo made back in '06, called Dodge City's Finest. Then in 2007, we dropped our first single "Song Cry." In 2008, All Truth No Lies Vol.1 mixtape dropped with features from Filero, Willy, Northpole, Tray Gutta and more. In 2009, we dropped the Sippin Drank Vol. 1 mixtape with features from C-Thug, Juan Gotti and Carolyn Rodriguez, Essay Potna, Zig-Zag and more. Now we got the streets talking. In the mean time we linked up with C-Thug and dropped the Tha Prescription mixtape that was hosted by Spanky Hayes from MTV's Wild 'N Out and DJ Quote. All Truth No Lies Vol. 2 mixtape dropped in 2010. Next, we got the Tha Cali Connect mixtape dropping in the late summer with features from Glasses Malone, Butch Cassidy, J-Diggz, Spice1 and... you'll have to cop the mixtape yourself to find out the rest. Also be on the lookout for the Gettin Paid DVD coming soon, brought to you by Freeze TV and Avondale Productions Inc.
RO: How do you see yourself viewed within the Arizona hip-hop scene? G: Avondale Productions Inc. has Arizona's scene's respect due to our grind. We've been doing this for four years straight. We've done more than the people out here who have been doing music for eight to 10 years. We've got a team and we all know our role and we play it very well, which means we get a lot more done half-the-time. Plus, we've put on shows when there were no shows going on. We created our own scene when there really wasn't one. They respect us for that. Like when we brought Lucky Luciano to the Tropicana in Avondale or Young Berg to Club Red in Tempe. Don't get me wrong, you always have your occasional haters, but they come a dime-a-dozen out here when you're doing something right. That just fuels the fire, ya dig? RO: Is hip-hop dead, like the T-shirts say it is? G: In hip-hop, you just got to accept it for what it is and what it has evolved to today. A lot of the new rappers say that hip-hop is dead. Actually, hip-hop just changed, and some people changed with it and some didn't. It never died, though. I feel hip-hop is well alive. It's just going through changes, and change can be better or worse, depending on the situation and how you look at it. RO: Who was the first Latino hip-hop artist to have inspired you? G: South Park Mexican from Houston. I got a burned CD from a homey way back in the day that had a couple of his songs on it. From there I went and bought all the CDs he had out at the time. It was like six of them and they all were bangers. From then on, I was a fan. RO: How do you feel the Arizona hip-hop game is different from Houston, L.A. or Miami? G: The difference between the states you named and with us is that they have all been put on. The places you named like Houston, L.A., Miami... they all got unity. They all work together. Arizona doesn't have that yet. Everybody is still trying to get on and make a name, but they don't realize that unity is the key to making that happen. It's coming though. We're working on it as we speak. Arizona will be on the map soon. Mark my words. RO: What other music besides hip-hop do you listen to? G: When I'm not listening to rap, I listen to classic rock like Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and others like that. I think that era of music is dope. It's more instrumental and less vocal, totally opposite of rock and roll now. Plus, I like Sublime. RO: You talk a lot about Purple Drank. Do you really sip it? G: It all started when Filero came to Arizona back in '06. I'm sipping on a cup as I'm talking to you, so yes, of course I do. If I didn't and still talked about it, someone please put me on blast because that's how we feel when imitators water down the game. Follow G-MOE on MySpace and Twitter. Rolando Rodriguez is the managing editor of RedBrownandBlue.com. Follow him on MySpace and Twitter, or befriend him on Facebook.