In its few short years of existence, hip-hop blog Golden Underground has proven more dedicated than the rest of the fan-run music sites that proliferate on the web. With an unrelenting fervor for the local rap scene and a discerning ear for regional acts, Golden Underground's brainchild, Boca-bred Christian Hernandez, has the smarts and wherewithal to pull it off. Hernandez not only covers local shows, but he also puts them on himself.
So far, the hustling 20-year old FAU student scraped up enough dough to bring down solid MCs like Brooklyn's Skyzoo and femme fatale Nitty Scott. Last Thursday, Golden Underground teamed up with resurgent Lake Worth rap label Footwork4self Records to throw the first ever Beat Battle. The event pitted area producers against one another, each with a 45 second time limit per rhyme. The homegrown label and savvy blog will join forces once again in a few weeks, for Hernandez's grandest engagement yet; booking off-the-wall rapper Del the Funky Homosapien at Lake Worth's Speakeasy Lounge.
Hernandez is also the promotions director at FAU's student-run Owl Radio, and runs his own hip-hop show, also titled the Golden Underground (Monday nights, from 2 to 4 p.m.). Somehow, this radio DJ, videographer, blogger, and promoter finds the time to make it all happen.
Earlier in the week, New Times snagged a few moments from the always on the go, budding-Russell Simmons type to shoot the breeze about the Del the Funky Homosapien show, his future plans in hip-hop. Hopefully, during the convo, we picked up some time management skills.
New Times: What got you into hip-hop initially?
Christian Hernandez: I was playing, listening, and studying music since the age of seven. I'll be honest, if it wasn't for Google, Wikipedia, and illegal downloading programs like Napster, Limewire, and Torrents, I wouldn't know or own 80 percent of the music I represent today. I definitely think I've been obsessed with finding new music since I was ten or eleven years old. Now, I'm doing it and getting recognition for it. That's pretty awesome.
What separates you from every other hip-hop head with a blog?
I think, the fact that I educated myself on the genre's beginnings, from DJ Kool Herc to Afrika Bambaataa, to Rakim, to A Tribe Called Quest.
How did the Beat Battle turn out?
The winner was Daniel Fortune, who actually puts out a ton of art, poetry, and music events around Palm Beach County. He had some crazy beats with a variety of styles and variations. He definitely deserved the victory.
How would you describe his beats?
Soulful, with a variety of chops and variations. You can tell he has a good ear for samples.
Talk to me about the Del show, how did it come about?
Man, first of all, Del is one of my favorite artists of all time, and I've been a dedicated fan of his since before I was even in high school. I think it was the skateboarding video games and the "Clint Eastwood" and "Rock The House" singles from the Gorillaz that originally attracted me to his music.
Anyhow, last month, I interviewed him for my website and discovered he was going to be performing in South Florida. I point blank asked him if he'd consider performing in Palm Beach County, and he said, "hell, yeah." After talking it over with Shawn Wayne, (of Footwork4self Records), we went ahead and booked the date.
For me, it was a no-brainer.
Do you feel a little nervous about the funds you have laid out to bring such a big name down here?
Nope, I'm super confident that the show will do well. Shawn and I are grinding this one heavily. We have ample amounts of flyers and posters and the word is getting spread pretty well. Hopefully New Times can help too.
How has the Golden Underground website been progressing?
We had a slow start, and for a year it was strictly operated by me, but now we are progressing more rapidly then ever and have a team of five guys (no relation to the burger joint). I'm definitely looking to keep expanding the team. The more people we can bring in, the bigger things we can pull off. I can't be too specific about what those things are yet. After graduating, I'd hope that the Golden Underground brand would be already making a sufficient amount of money.
You are jumping ahead man, that was my next question, with all this experience you are obtaining what do you plan to do after graduating?
I will definitely be seeking out jobs in the hip-hop industry. I'm currently planning out some internships that will hopefully lead to a job by post-graduation time. It's difficult to realistically map out the future when things are so unpredictable. Time will only tell.
Del the Funky Homosapien. April 21, at Speakeasy Lounge, 129 N. Federal Highway, Lake Worth. Entrance is $20.
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