Interview by Louie Lopez (@thatzcrack)
Out of the South Bronx trying to solidify himself in the game as a member of The TANBOYS, led by Bodega Bamz and who is also known as the TAN RZA, mastermind of team OHLA. Willie Hex is taking advantage of this new opportunity to bring a new NYC sound and recite his own story. Here JENESIS and Hex discuss his beginnings and influences while in the studio.
What’s good man, first of all thank you for taking the time to do this.
Oh man no doubt it’s nothing but love.
Can you tell me a little bit about who you are and your background?
My name is Willie Hex, I’m an artist. I grew up in the South Bronx, all my life I’ve idolized artists like Big Pun, Krs- One, Wu-Tang and Nas. I’m just a pure hip hop lover, know what I mean? I’m just taking this opportunity given to me to share my story.
When did your first meet Bodega Bamz, and how did you become part of the TANBOYS movement?
Well actually, Bodega Bamz, OHLA and I grew up together. When I first met Bamz we were 12 years old. I originally met Bamz through 24 hour Lou who is also a TANBOY behind the scenes. He and Bamz have known each other since they were kids. Since the first day I met Bamz I knew he was my brother, then I met OHLA who is Bamz brother and since then we all been family. We’ve just always had that bond, especially when we all decided that music is what we wanted to do. It all just clicked. Who better to do music with than with your own family.
When did you realize that music was the path that you wanted to take in life? Was it before meeting Bamz or after?
Bamz actually realized it more than I did. I always loved music in general and writing raps and poetry. I grew up during the golden era in hip hop with cats like Pun, KRS-One and all those guys, so lyrics and flow have always been big with me. I always wrote raps, I just never took it serious until I seen what Bamz and OHLA were doing. Like my dudes is really out here killing it.
Yeah they really out here putting on for our Spanish culture. Who influences you when it’s time to sit down and create the music?
I take inspirations from everything. I love Wu-Tang. For me that real dark gritty rap is what it’s all about and that’s what I’m focused on right now, that real New York grimy hip hop with my own twist to it. I’m just trying to make my own path, it’s always good to be influenced by other people but you have to keep your own sound at the same time.
So tell me, how has things changed for you and your team from today to a year ago?
From today to a year ago shit has changed a lot. The attention we’re getting right now is crazy! I’m currently working on my own tape, but even before that I’ve just been on one track with Bodega Bamz and the reaction to it has been crazy. It’s all love compared to a year ago. We all knew we had something special; we’re just always humble about it. The fact that Bamz is taking off and we’re right with him on that journey is very humbling. I appreciate everything; I’m just a regular dude from the Bronx baby! Haha
What do you bring to the TANBOYS table as an individual artist?
I bring a passion. I have a passion for making good music. Don’t get me wrong, we all have that passion at the end of the day, we’re all perfectionist. We won’t let each other put out anything wack. When we all record together, we give our input whether it’s good or not.
So what can we expect in the future from you, as well as the whole TANBOYS team?
We’re going to take over. We all work hard and we’re driven for this brand. We’re trying to make an empire out of this. We want to feed our kids and grandkids and so one. We’re not playing, we’re trying to eat. You can expect crazy music and dope apparel. Whatever comes our way.
Can we expect a TANBOYS tour in the works?
Those are in the works right now, for now we’ll be at SXSW. There’s a lot of stuff in the works as we speak.
How much input will OHLA have on your new project?
OHLA is the brain. He’ll have a lot of input, what RZA is to Wu-Tang is what OHLA is to the TANBOYS. Everything goes through him. He’s the brain and we’re the body.
If you could listen to one album for the rest of your life, which would you pick?
Big Pun’s Capital Punishment, and not because I’m Puerto Rican, just based off the fact that I think it’s one of the most lyrical albums I ever heard in my life. Besides that, I’d say Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers. I listen to that album to this day.
Can you name your top 5 rappers of all time?
Not in any specific order but Pun, Jay-Z, Nas, B.I.G… Man that’s hard! I want to say Em but as sixth man I would pick Andre 3000. His flow is like none other. He’s in his own lane, just what he talks about and how he spits it is crazy. There’s not one song where he hasn’t bodied it. He’s been himself since day 1.
Alright man thank you for your time and hope to hear more from you in the future.
Thank you man, you sure will and shout out to JENESIS Magazine for the love.
Follow Willie HEX on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/WiLLie_HEX