Behind The Lyrics: Harkore, A Dread Head Who Reps True Head
Tuesday morning, a guy named Diamond Dave wrote us on MySpace and all we could think of is why in the hell our mama didn't name us Dave so we could have called ourselves that. Can you imagine going up to a fine-ass girl at the club and saying, "Hi, my name is Diamond Dave. Can I buy you a drink?" Then she says, "No, but you can take me home." The name is that fly. Two Houston entrepreneurs who run a start-up clothing line called True Head actually call him "Flawless Diamond Dave." It isn't because David Sanchez (stick with Diamond, Dave) was responsible for securing their clothing line in their first store, which he was, or because he's been a perfect friend the last four years or so, because he might have been. It's because when Sergio Gracia (not Garcia) and Ike Bradley wanted to go from educating the public on the four elements of hip-hop - DJ, MC, B-boy, graffiti artist - through their clothing line, to bringing one of those elements to life (emcee) with a music division under their company, Diamond Dave gave them exactly what they needed: a 23-year-old Alief underground hip-hop artist named Jose Quintanilla, better known as Harkore.
The first thing you need to know about Harkore is that he's El Salvadorian, with five-year old dreadlocks, and he exudes Jamaican culture. We know: amazing mix. He has a profound appreciation for Jamaica. Dreadlocks, if you don't know, indicate a man who "fears the Lord" in Rastafarian dialect. We're not sure if Harkore is fearful of God because he kills, which is a big-time sin. It's true. He's murderous... on the beat, that is. Harkore is probably one of the least-known artists of the Houston underground. But go ahead and call him Tremors, because like in the 1990 movie Tremors, he's a monster who can kill MCs who try to hold the same space as him swallowing them whole, but like the creatures in the movie, he's nothing that you've seen or heard before. "I'm trying to change the way they think about hip-hop in Houston," Harkore tells Rocks Off. "Popping pills and poppin' trunk... all about that dance... no offense to it, but that's all they know. That's what they like because that's what they know. "I'm trying to bring it back to an era when people listen to rhymes and come with something fresh to the table," he continues. And that's why Sergio and Ike are taking Harkore under their company's wing from a business perspective, because being True Heads themselves, which Ike tells Rocks Off is an East Coast term that personifies a person who embraces, and respects the hip-hop culture as a way of life - they recognize another True Head when they see one.
"The city of Houston needs a guy like Harkore," says Sergio. "You haven't seen an artist of his caliber to come out of the city. If I had known looking at his videos and listening to his songs, I would have never thought he was from Houston, but it shows that Houston does have that caliber of lyricist. The type of music [Houston has] drowns out that type of artist." As far as True Head the company, Ike doesn't talk about success in terms clothing sold. Rather, "success for us is teaching people what we are about." They love hip hop and they want Houston to understand what it really means at its core and they do it through the words and images on their clothing line. Harkore is a real-life extension of that. "This is what represents us," says Sergio of Harkore. "This is what we feel is a good representation of what hip hop is." Oh we agree, hardcore. Or Harkore.
- Support a Houston small business by purchasing True Head clothing on their Web site. You can also check out their concert events. They're bringing Madlib to Numbers nightclub on Feb. 27. See their site for details.
- Join us in our envy of the Diamond Dave name by checking out his MySpace page.
- Follow Harkore on MySpace.
And hell, here's one more video because we like fucking with your job.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.