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Garcia - Making Noise in Miami
1/1/05 - exclusive interview

rapper Garcia of Miami

You may recognize this week's featured interview subject, as he was one of LR's featured artists in April.


While Pitbull moves up the charts, many in Florida still recognize that this Cubano is destined to blow and help put Miami hip hop on the map even more. Be sure to keep your eye on this kid in 2005.

Garcia speaks with LatinRapper about big sales, big moves, and Miami hip hop in an exclusive interview. Lets talk about the big news first, how many copies of Anti Social have been sold this year?

We're up at 50,000 if you count what's being shipped and moved. We got hooked up with a nice little licensing deal overseas. Between street sales, internet sales and all that, we're up to 25,000, plus 25,000 over there. We're really excited about that, man.

Those are great sales for someone on an indie. Did Crazy Hood expect Anti Social to do so well with just grassroots exposure?

We'll, we never expect the best, we only expect the worse, that's why we're never let down. We just basically do stuff and put it out there and grab a response, we got a huge overwhelming response on the album, and that's what actually helped other distributors to grab on to it. We definitely worked our asses for it, I cant say we were expecting it.

LatinRapper featured you in April because it was obvious you were putting out a hot album, as far as mainstream promotion on t.v., didn't you get some countdown love on the Latin stations?

Yeah, Mun2 actually still has come get it on Mun2 jams, we got some love in Tampa, New York, I think L.A. Mun2 jams, as well as the local news stations, like Fox down here in Miami did a whole piece on me on the news. The video for "Come Get It" got a lot more exposure than expected, especially with no budget. So whenever we expect the worse, we are that more appreciative.

The video for "Come Get It" by Jokes was pretty hot, did you get it on BET?

Nah, we didn't have it on BET, but you know, we're realistic, we're still indie, we're not that large, we're still working on that goal. The video is still hot, but format wise, I don't think we were on BET's level yet, but we were damn near close to it. We got love on a lot of local stations, and Telemundo, but we couldn't go to BET or Viacom and make that kind of noise yet. And BET has that show Uncut, but we don't have any hoes stripping or anything like that, so that wouldn't fit. But we did sent it to them, we tried.

For those up and coming artists who don't know, how difficult is it to get your video on a station like BET if you're coming from an indie and not a major?

Ridiculously different, close to impossible at times. You gotta figure with the speed of technology, making the video becomes extremely easy, just like recording five years ago became easy. Being that I direct videos, it's becoming real easy to make videos to compete. On the other hand, I think that's a good thing, because it comes back to talent. If it really wasn't creative, and it doesn't stand out, that's not gonna be a good thing. So to mess with a big conglomerate station like that, its real hard. A lot of people think they are gonna make a video and blow up, its not that easy, you gotta pay dues.

What got you into rapping in the first place?

Believe it or not, I wrote my first rhyme when I was 14. This is how old school I am. Making diss songs of Kriss Kross, I had no beef with Kriss Kross, but I was just young, so I started writing rhymes as a joke for my friends. By the tI'me I was 18 I had a single, it started out as a joke, people thought that I was at least better than other people writing rhymes at my age. Hip hop already had a hold on me, after writing that rhyme I became the mc that I am. And I was a huge fan of Kriss Kross, I just did it as a joke, after that kit kind of fell into place.

Miami was known since Luke and 2 Live, but it seems its really blowing up now. Why is that?

Its just falling into place, Miami is a huge city and it's a huge tourist town, so everyone from all over the world is constantly coming here, at least to South Beach anyway. What really made it come to effect is radio showing love to local artists like Pitbull, Jackie O, Dirtbag, and once they hear you on the radio they are gonna go download your music on the internet, and follow your career as an artist. Miami has always had a huge hip hop scene, its just been slept on. Aside from Luke, and booty and base. DJ Kraze is the number one turntablist in the world, he was the world champion DJ in '98. The number one breakdancing crew, Ground Zero, they're from Miami, the top known graf heads, they're from Miami. Its nothing new to Miami, people been rapping here for years, we just got pigeonholed with the booty music. Don't get me wrong, in Miami we love booty music, there's just other stuff that Miami had to offer, and a while before the media caught on to the tourists, that's why I think Miami is getting the exposure now.

When an artist such as yourself pushes this many albums locally, the majors come calling. Any thoughts on signing to major label?

Yeah, we're talking to a few people now. There's a couple people interested and talking to me, especially now that I'm getting a lot of play on commercial radio on Miami. Started to clock a lot more bds, spins are getting more noticeable. Of course I'm having thoughts, of course you are gonna want the financial backing of a label or an investor. What Imma do, I have no idea, I have a couple of options on the table, hopefully first quarter of 2005 I make my decision and go that way. Independent is cool but it helps financially when someone can offer.

Your artist name is presumably your last name. Do you ever consider that some consumers may not pick up the album because they know you're obviously a Latin artist and might pigeonhole you with others?

Uh, I get pigeonholed all the time and stereotyped by a lot of labels. Universal Latino wanted me to do an entire Latin album, they wanted me to do some reggaeton stuff. Latin kid, name garcia, big chain, okay we want him to do reggaeton. Or: 'Latin, Miami, make him sound like Pitbull'. No disrespect to Pitbull, I just did a song with him. I'm positive about being Latin, I'm not scared of my last name affecting me, if anything I think it helps me, because of that Latin explosion in hip hop for the last 10 years. Now Latins are really getting love, now lets get past the stereotypes so people see the different forms of Latin hip hop.

Have you been touring lately, or plan to do so to promote Anti Social?

Yeah, I did 2 shows , I've done a lot in Miami, in Miami I'm up to 4, 500 performances before Anti Social. My most noticeable shows in the last six months, opened up for KRS One, I opened up for Mos Def on Friday, I've done a lot of commercials. I've basically promoted myself. I've performed in New York City, Baltimore, Atlanta in a club called the Underground, this last year has basically been a whirlwind. The most noticeable shows have been KRS and Mos Def, that's been an honor, that's been really special to me.

"Come Get It" was the big single, but what's your personal favorite track off of Anti Social and why?

Darkest days, its an acoustical song I have with my cousin, it's live band, it's got a live band feel to it. I was going through a rough time when I wrote that. My cousin Adrian, was a great experience working with her. Brings back a lot of memories for me on a personal level, that's my favorite song for sure.

You've been on stage with a number of big artists, who would you like to collab with in 2005?

(Laughs) You got a minute? I actually just did a show with Immortal Technique we actually did the Mos Def show together. That was real cool, for us, for me being the mc from Miami, on the lyrical level, him being from New York, we just vibed and said f**k it, we basically set it off. You can basically look forward to that. Other artist I would love to collabo off, Dre 3000, Eminem, the Roots, Fat Joe, basically anyone that respects hip hop and does music not only for economic value but because they love music. Underground, whoever really cares about their craft, and respects what they do and have a passion for it. I think that's why me and I.T. hit it off, because we both have that same grind and work ethic.

Outside of the rapping, I know that you direct videos. How has that been going for you?

Its been going good. Directing videos to me was a side hustle. I met Jokes and he basically showed me how to run with it, not having to have a 9-5. I have a passion for it, I love film, and I love motion pictures, but my major passion in that spectrum is producing. Directing is very time consuming, I wanna be with music which is my first love. So I wanna get more projects for Jokes, getting budgets, making sure Jokes gets what he needs to get done. He deserves a lot more than he gets right now, he's really the top director in the Latin world right now, he just needs a break.

The top Latin director of music videos is arguably Jessy Terrero

You know what I mean, he's the top director of Latin Hip Hop videos. He's done videos for Don Dinero, he might do a video for Kilo featuring Snoop Dog. He's really creative, basically if I get a deal, he's doing my video.

You've been in the game since 92, and on an underground level you've blown up. What needed to happen between then and now for this day to come?

Ah.... I just think it was a majority of things catching up to themselves. I've opened up for everyone from the most underrated top artist you can think of to Outkast, Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Wu Tang, DMX, Nas. I've been on tapes hosted by Whoo Kid, Kay Slay, Efn, publications like yourself. I just think it was a collision of all those things, not to mention the video work. Which was actually helped by Jokes, he was the creative producer of The Roof. I think it's things finally coming together and people taking notice of it. That's what I think happened for me. I was always the kid that worked real hard, just that Crazy Hood didn't have that financial backing. It was blood sweat and f**king tears. My motto is, if you want it, I want it more than you do. Not gonna f**k anyone over in the process, but if I cant speak for it in dollars, I'll speak for it in work ethic, and people take notice of that.

Who are some of the people you have to thank for getting to this point?

Dj Efn, first and foremost, for believing in me and always sticking by me. My wife Angie, City Life Clothing company, she's always been there to help me and guide. Jokes for creating an image for me on the video tip and really helping to expose me to the Latino market Mun2. Jay Bishop, pretty much all the major mixers in Miami and mixtape DJs, most notably Meddaphore, Megamixs,, pretty much the city coming behind me. After that, the ball was in my corner.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle for artists on an indie label?

I think the biggest is just standing out right now. The thing with music is that its so easy to make music, that everyone and there mother is putting music out there. So how does yours get noticed in a pile of sh*t? There's a million rappers dropping albums, so how do you stand out. So its marketing, how do you get the audience to listen to you and not John Doe, who lives right next to you. There's just so much music, how do you stand out of that, its really good marketing and real hard work. I think a lot of rappers think that they are gonna put out there CD, or demo, and Russell Simmons is gonna pull up in a limo and whisk them away. Timing, marketing, and real exposure, that's real hard. Its real frustrating 'cause a lot of doors are gonna slam in your face in the process. It comes back to whether you have it in you. Not everyone's built for this game.

What do things look like for Garcia in 2005?

2005, expect another album, whether its indie or through a major, entitled "Publicly Personal", and anyone out there that thinks that Anti Social was dope on a lyrical level, just wait. Producing, trying to get Jokes on the map. Trying to get Heckler more exposure. Working my best to get Crazy Hood known, as well as City Life Clothing now, just basically on the grind. New album, new single, and we're gonna keep it moving and not stop the motion we have going. And hopefully in 2005 I make a decision with one of these companies and hopefully run with it.

Anything you want to add?

A thank you to latinrapper and you, and just to tell people to check out Crazy Hood and, and a big shout out to anyone supporting me and Miami hip hop.


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