Coming from any New York City borough as an emcee has to be a challenging feat. Going up against the greats who paved the way, to an all out competitive sport comparing style and technique region to region. And with the highly opinionated Hip Hop listeners and cultural radio hosts knocking new sounds before actually giving dope emerging artists a real chance, it takes a pretty impressive one to get through the cracks, in spite of the trials and obstacles faced while aiming for the top. Garnering nearly millions of plays via Soundcloud and YouTube, Bronx native, HG Locks takes on that deed and is climbing his way up the ladder.
#InTheStu with the Rapfest, HG reveals how his former love for playing ball ceased leading to his budding rap career, representing the Bronx and NY taking back the throne, new music and more.
For a typical day in the Bronx, with a former goal of playing basketball, HG Locks talks about his daily routine on the block, “I’m getting up, I’m outside, I’m with the boys, you know we coolin’, we doing what we do. When summer time comes around, we hittin’ the parks, summer tournaments and everything. You know, just regular Bronx vibes.” Summer time in NYC being the most nostalgic for Hip Hop lovers of the tri-state, who can deny a hot new track or two bleeding from speakers; a new mixtape introducing a non-mainstream somebody with a mainstream dream. The chances are not hot out here with emerging talents seeping through A/C vents; play by play, every verse is like the opportunity of a new day, a prayer before you go to sleep. And to get picked up from out of the pile, the ultimate sunshine.
Always going back and forth between ball and music, it wasn’t until an injury transpired back in 2013 that made him decide wholeheartedly to make his music happen. And being from the borough of which Hip Hop was bred, the birthplace of Hip Hop, the Bronx, his tenacity to represent the BX in a respectable fashion is something he takes very seriously.
“BX is the birthplace of Hip Hop. Coming from the X, I know that there is a certain criteria that is held to us.”
In today’s ever-turning cycle of music, and New York seeming to take back its throne, it’s an exciting rush to know that with guys like HG Locks making headway again, it’s testament to the fact that New York Hip Hop is not dead, it’s very much alive. The question of a throne though, who is really capable of taking one’s throne? When the reverence for that of which that holds the throne becomes unpopular, mundane, and a new sound is proposed, a new way, the wavering fan goes to and fro. But going with the cycle of life and familiar idiom that every dog has its day; NYC has come back around. History repeating itself, like it always does.
“It was just that the attention and the spotlight wasn’t on us so now it’s starting to get back on us. So people that weren’t necessarily getting looks, people been grinding and putting in that work, the looks are starting to get back on us; people are starting to pay more attention to us. I’m just grateful that I could be a part of it. It’s dope that my name is even in the conversation right now.”
With influences like Juelz Santana, that whole Dipset vibe, down to the way they dressed, the way they were rapping in his repertoire of favorites, HG stays true to his region. “Like Juelz, I wanted to be like him when I was younger. I’m not going to lie.” But his top 5 dead or alive though, Hov, Biggie, Big L, Eminem, and Jadakiss, show his breadth in the genre. And the only exception for Pac being off the list was the top 5 max count.
“Some of the stuff Biggie was talking about, I could have more related to just a little bit more. And not even just being from the East coast, just in general. Party and bullsh—–‘.
Pac was talking to the people. Even with Hov, it took me to get older to really start understanding Hov and everything. I would say Biggie though, just because I could relate a little bit more.”
The distinction of his voice, HG stands apart from the rest of his peers, “People tell me all the time is that I definitely have a distinct voice, so when they hear me come on the track, they know its me. Like nobody sounds like me, so that’s dope.” And the music on its own, there’s no ceiling to it, no limit.
“I got street records, party records, records for the ladies. The versatility is crazy.”
HG Locks’ “Handle That” featuring Swave is doing numbers right now in the market. Released back in January, reaching over a million plays on Soundcloud, Spotify, and the video on YouTube at 800K, the feeling to really see it moving at that pace is one not easy to translate for HG. The only statement is, “We got one,” HG explained.
And new track with Roc Nation’s Manolo Rose called “Lighter” that dropped a few weeks ago is steadily climbing in plays. That familiar NY gritty joint, Wu Tang recreated track is setting the city on fire, and the summer too hot already. “That’s why we call it lighter, because we going to set the city on fire. It’s dope.” And from what we hear, the follow-up is strong and there’s plenty more to come.
“We here, we working, staying active as always. Salute.”
Keep it locked and check out HG Locks’ newest single “Lighter”. Not to mention, get in with the rest of what he has going on, dropping some more new music this Friday too, “Foldin'” featuring Bally.
Banger after banger after banger. We see you HG!