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Behind the Lyrics: Although Rap Doesn't Pay His Bills, the Northside's Stunta "Keeps It 100"

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The last time Rocks Off hooked up with Stunta

, there was lots of talk about "keeping it 100." "When I say I'm bein' 100 I'm basically sayin' I'm being 100 percent authentic, 100 percent true to myself and to anybody else," he says. "So to say 'Keep it 100' means 'don't fake the funk and be you.'" Yeah, not much has changed since July. Stunta is still keeping it 100 percent. Since Rocks Off started really honing in on H-Town's Latino rap movement, we've tried to reveal a more personal side to the campaign's leaders, a "Behind the Lyrics" special that humanizes the hard exterior of the rappers' gangsta personas, if you will. When Stunta stepped into the passenger seat of the Rocks Off ride during a recent video shoot, he kept it 100 on his upbringing, trying to stay relevant in the game, how rap doesn't pay his bills, and of course, regret. Stunta revealed he was the son of an undocumented Mexican immigrant, who was in and out of his life and also a drug addict, and that in itself has served as a major inspiration for the evolution of his music. "It was an easy transition to rap because of all the things I was going through, being forced to grow up," says Stunta. "Whether my father was in jail, on a drug binge, or being deported to Mexico; all that shit allowed my lyrics to come out so easy. I think my fans respect me for that shit. I keep it hood, but I also let them hear that real shit." "I learned from him what not to do," he continued. "That's the best thing that he gave me. I tell him all the time." Needless to say Stunta had to play dad to his younger sibling in the Aldine Mail Route area of the Northside. One of his proudest achievements, he tells Rocks Off, was raising his little brother who just got accepted to the University of Texas. Funny, he said that at Jump Street, and then talked about getting his start in the game touring coast to coast with Chingo Bling, building a national fan base, and ballin' out of control while signed to the Worldstar Wetback's label, Big Chile. We guess family comes first. "I see (Chingo Bling) like my big brother in the whole industry," says Stunta. "I was under his wing the whole time. Going on tour with him, I learned a whole lot of shit. The only thing I regret was spending all the money I was making on tour and through CD sales. "I was still young. Too young to know to put some money away and get a studio. I was ballin' out. (In the end) I didn't have shit. I had a vehicle, a suburban Chingo gave me when I signed, and that got stolen. I didn't have shit." And that's really where this story picks up in present time and becomes one of reemergence, reestablishment and leveraging what he gained on tour to stay relevant in the game today. While Stunta is definitely among the top rappers in the local Latino underground, he's also Jorge Alvarez, 24-year-old husband and father to three girls and a baby boy. It may be hard to believe, but Stunta hustles through freelance construction work through his aunt's company. It's nothing he's hiding from the world in order to put up a false image of invincibility. He's continuing to make music, and tells Rocks Off he's going to give it away for a dollar if he has to, because at this point in this career, it's about staying relevant and reorganizing his fan base around his sound "that has changed drastically." "Rap don't pay my bills," Stunta says. "I'll keep it 100 with everybody. I'll put that on front-street. I ain't full time rapping. It's a slow economy. People ain't buying shit. They want to hear it, but they ain't buyin." Stunta understands the market's behavior, and is acting accordingly. In mid-January, he's dropping a mix tape called

I Need $$$

but, ironically, plans to give it away for free. Now that's a contradiction if we've ever seen it, but hell, if it's anything like his last mix tape,

Crook

, we'll take the free download. "I have fans everywhere," says Stunta. "I'm going to put it back in their mind that I'm still out here. I'm still here but I'm doing my own thing with Hard Head Entertainment. I'm at that point that I ain't doing it for the money. I'm making this music giving it away for free. I just want people to hear my shit and know that I'm back in this bitch." We look forward to the day when we can buy Stunta's music again. Trust us, it's 100 percent worth it.

Follow Stunta on MySpace and Twitter. Rolando Rodriguez is the managing editor of www.redbrownandblue.com. Email him at Rolando@redbrownandblue.com.

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