My favorite thing about H himselfis that he’s just a normal, very well-dressed n*gga (no offense) who happens to be glorious on tracks. “I expected him to be taller,” a friend said. H stands 6’3, 150lbs, which means he towers over my 5’2, but maybe his rhymes are just that colossal. Born to Rosalyn and Michael Williams on February 26th, in the year of royalty (1988, is where it’s at), 25-year-old, Michael “Hollywood” Williams is an East New York, Brooklyn native; a G from The Field across the boulevard. We can call him “H” and he’s been charged with one mission: Bring real rap back.
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Raised to respect the guidance of God, H presents himself as a respectable young man with a master’s degree in Business Administration under his belt. A true leader to his friends, H is the cornerstone of East Brook Familia, living his daily life as an example of how to maintain: respect your family, love your art, make that money. If he’s not writing or recording (or at his 9-to-5), you can find him in church on Sundays with EBFbeside him, graciously sitting his niece and nephew for his older brother, Lyell, or divvying up his time amongst the many whose respect and admiration he’s earned over the course of his years. If there’s a cause, you can count on him to rally. If you need a hand, he’ll make a way. If all you really need are some “straight off the block bars,” he’s got them stashed in his Blackberry or they might come straight of the top of his Brooklyn fitted. “If it’s not New York or Brooklyn, I’m not wearing it,” he once told me. To say H is “loved by many” would be an understatement – his whole hood is backing him. To deny his grace in this art sh*t they call rap would be damned near blasphemous.
“Too many tracks?” How the f*ck was I supposed to know? I’ve always wanted to be involved in the creative process of the greats, but when you get there, you realize that the most telling characteristic of a great artist is that they’re great no matter what they do and especially no matter what you say.
“Not if they’re dope,” is what I think I said. Whatever you wanna do, is probably how I responded. If I recall correctly, the 16 he was thinking expanded to 19 tracks with skits. The energy of the project makes the songs fly by, you barely notice it’s that many tracks. The only issue is, they’re all so dope I want to write on them all 😦 H‘s first mix-tape, 24/7, was a supreme selection of 7 solid tracks. Part of the reason I reviewed 24/7 track-by-track was because there were only 7 songs, but mostly because I couldn’t believe that I liked them all. F*ck what you all think, I had to prove it to myself. I stayed up all night dissecting the music and loving the lyrics —even when I understood them wrong. When I tweeted H my “finished” version, asking him to let me know if there were any errors, he did what most people don’t do: He actually responded.
The difference between H and most “rappers” is that H isn’t a rapper. He actually doesn’t like the term and he prefer you label him a musician. I think he’s an artist. His music and the way it’s crafted actually matter to him. When I met him the first time and asked him to send me his music, he actually sent it. Most times I give an artist my card, they ask if they can contact me personally, to show me around the hood they have the audacity to rep or… “scoop” me when I’m free. Surprisingly enough, very few people actually send me music (and most of what I do get is trash). Once you’re in the music/industry thing, what you begin to notice is that people care more about the clothes, parties, the attention… the b*tches –with lyrics to match. If you catch H at a show, he’s probably brought some pretty ladies with him –tucked in the back somewhere you can see but can’t touch –but he’s busy talking to whoever plays an instrument first. If you were dope on-stage, you can expect a handshake from him as you walk off. What H says is just as important as how it sounds, which is just as important as who he collaborates with. The only official feature for HBO Vol 1 is on “Dutchess and Hennessy” with Brooklyn’s own guitarist, Lawrence “Strings” Williams, current Freshman at Hampton University — & the way that boy strokes strings can show you what love sounds like. The words, though, are all H’s and he means every single one of them.
“Can I Live?“ (Correct, like Jay-Z’s but now version H) has been my favorite song of the project since I heard it. Everyone picks favorites for their own reasons. It’s not that I enjoy this one the most, or that it’s the bestsong (I think the entire project is brilliant) but this is the song which I respect most for its content, lyricism, artistry and honesty. I can’t count to you how many times I’ve recited “Don’t hate the haters cuz they hate so, N*gga, get it straight. Cuz even haters show you love, it’s just they love to hate. See they been throwing hate at H since back in 88. It turned a n*gga heartless -8O8’s and heartbreaks,” and had you been at the Mixtape release/listening party back on 12.21, you could’ve seen how real it really is. What if every time you posted on social media, an internet thug you’ve already addressed hid behind a computer screen expressing his hate, his computer keys doubling as weapon and instrument? What if little men worldwide tried to sit in your chair because it made them feel almost as big as you? You could get upset and let them throw you off your game. You could say, “Go,” at any moment and have your team address the situation in the fashion of “no justice. Gotta handle this the street way,” and then get caught up with a case because today’s thugs love courtrooms. Or… you could continue with your life, warning everybody within earshot that it’s nothing to “get you hit by a n*gga that you close to… handle it discreetly,” but that would just cause “Pandemonium,” wouldn’t it?
Rap’s a tough sport because you’ve got to stay alive to make it to the top. Men and women have lost their lives, spirits and freedoms to this game. Once you get to the top, it’s your morals and personal relationships that suffer. People test you and beg you to prove yourself. You’re put into situations you’ve never faced before… how does a street n*gga learn how to move in a room full of vultures? I suggest you take heed to the cautions set by Hip-Hop’s pros. I mean, take a look at the teams to precede which have already risen and fallen before: Bad Boy, Rocafella, Dirty Money, Young Money. Rap is a difficult genre because “real” rap is, by origin, Gangsta *shrugs*. My personal opinion about Hip-Hop and its tendency to parade violence is that… violence is real… “Street fights like Ryu, Ken you relate? From walking by, awkward eye up in a n*gga face. But see your pride gon’ ride so you never take disrespect. That’s why you got that hammer on the waist,” Hdeliberately sets the scene of the life commonly seen by young men in the commonplace war zones we call our homes; our hoods. NWA’s “F*ck the Police” is a song some might refer to as a throwback but the sentiments felt have never retired.
I believe the biggest test for H (and the reason I’m proud of EBF) will be in setting an example of how to maneuver this (music) world today. This sh*t is different. How do you earn and maintain respect in an industry where everyone comes at everyone? How do you gauge your reactions knowing that you willbe judged on your actions as well as your music? Where do you lay the line between being a private individual and a public role model? Those are things I would hope he would consider but I’m sure he already has; his actions speak louder than his rhymes and in time all will see. Very frankly, I don’t do many album reviews on here because if I don’t support you as a person, I can’t stand behind your art either. To me, it’s all one in the same. If your art doesn’t match your life… I question which is the lie. H & I see eye-to-eye on various topics, most importantly what’s real and what’s not. I value his opinion and honestly just wish you all would get to know him.
The best part of the project is that it makes me what to hear more. I don’t just want to hear the catchy hooks or hear about what he bought, H’s lyrics actually give you insight to how he thinks. “Can I Live?” provide us a sneak peak to his views on politics, classicism and racial structure, while a track like “Crush on You” give the ladies a little bit of insight into how the fellas might feel. Not saying I’m a fan of every word of the song (I’m stuck-up so sh*t just don’t apply to me lol), but it’s the truth of what a male mind might think from time to time. Funny enough, I know H is a gentleman regardless of those verses –it’s the only place I semi-question him. I suppose it’s just entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, he’s not afraid to “break it down” and “party on tracks” cuz… it’s been a while since his last mixtape, 24/7, but… “Hollywood Back“. H provides a steady dose of real topics resting on well paced, excellently executed, well written verses that can get you to vibe and party: It’s called lyricism, people. Hip Hop’s newest. Brooklyn’s current finest, from what I’ve heard. There is little doubt that his craft will improve and the messages he’s sending will continue to filter through. I’m excited for him 🙂 Seeing as how he’s a real person, I figured I’d let him talk to you a little bit. If you want to find H on Twitter or instagram… remember he’s @aGnamedH…
So I had to ask:
ELLA: What is a G?
H: A G doesn’t have to mean a gangster. And in my definition, it ain’t. I see it like this, if you got ya shyt together you’re a G. If you’re all around good you’re a G. The look, healthy, smarts, a master at your craft, financially sound, well balanced social life, nice threads… You’re a G. Most niggas is frontin. U can’t fake smarts and dollars, so… Be yaself. Canal can only get you but so far.
ELLA: Does a Gangsta fear God?
H: “God Fearing”, “Fear of the Lord”, “Fear no man but Christ.” Most nggas don’t even know what they’re talking about when they say that. The word “fear,” when talking about God, has nothing to do with being scared. God is Love and there’s no fear in Love. “Fear of the Lord” means that you have the utmost respect for God. Respect rooted in one’s love, appreciation, and admiration for God. It means that you dread the idea of offending him bc you love him that much. Nothing to do with being scared or afraid or whatever. So does a gangster fear God? Well regardless of your definition of a gangster, he should. Does a G fear God? Well I do lol
ELLA: Finish the sentences:
- Before you listen to HBO:
While you listen to HBO: put ya phones on silent and make sure you don’t just hear it. Actually listen lol. after all that’s taken care of lol… just enjoy the ride
After you listen to HBO: “Tell yo friiiieeeends about me” lol. “Sharing is caring”. “Give and it will come back to you.” “When you’ve been blessed pass it on”. Lol All dat. Your “thanks” is already understood. Don’t mention it. You’re welcome lol.. I’m excited about this tape yo lol. Confident and excited. Tell me what you thought, tho. As cliché as it sounds, feedback, whether good or bad, is ALWAYS appreciated. Well by me at least.
This mixtape is: Better than my last, but not as good as my next. It’s detailed. It’s a story. Lol My EastSide Story, to be exact. It’s a project. It’s the first of a 3 part series. It’s lyrical. It’s vulgar. It’s real. #RealRapIsBack