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Words BY ERIC N. Perrin photos by d-ray & oren j

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t’s been a monumental year for the state of Arizona. First, the Grand Canyon State hosted the highest rated Super Bowl in television history. Then the Phoenix Suns acquired Shaquille O’Neal in a midseason trade, and most recently, Arizona Senator John McCain became the Presidential nominee for the Republican Party for the 2008 election. Thus far in 2008, Sun Devils have had the attention of the entire county—except in the realm of rap. Arizona has been a barren dessert for all things Hip Hop for quite some time, but rapper Cinque (pronounced Sin-Q) might be the one to change all that. He presents a style that is completely unique, and promises to appeal to the masses in the same way his favorite rapper did in the 90s. You’re a big Tupac fan. Why has he been so influential to your career? He was first rapper to really inspire me overall. He had a song called “Trapped,” and that song really made sense to me. My pops was in prison at the time, and me and my sister would always go visit him; the stuff that my pops was saying to us [when we went to visit him] was the same thing ‘Pac was saying in that song. ‘Pac was in prison on that song, so it really hit hard. I ultimately started taking rap more and more seriously. Where was your pops incarcerated? He was in prison in New York. My family is from the West Indies, and I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but I was shipped all around when

I was a kid. I had some family problems, so I lived in Florida for a nice period of time, and then I moved to Arizona. I’ve been here since I was about 9 years old. Is the name Cinque a West Indian name? Actually, Cinque is a French name, but I was named after—have you ever seen the movie Amistad? That movie was about Cinque. His real name was Singhbe (pronounced Sin-K). He was a native of Sierra Leone in West Africa, and he was a real respected dude in his tribe. He was famous for killin’ Mayans and all this crazy shit, and he got caught up in the slave trade and brought to America. There was an abolitionist who stuck with him and followed his story, and helped him and his people get free. Out of all the places you’ve lived, which place do you most identify with? To be honest, it’s here, Arizona. I’ve lived in Cali, New York, Florida, and here. The thing I love about New York the most is the diversity. Florida is like a down home Southern state that’s real cool; I got a lot of family out there. But I love here because there’s something real special about Arizona. If you come out here with the right people and really see the city, you’ll love it. It’s like a millionaire’s playground. Everybody just comes out here to chill and kick back. Arizona is like a blank canvas; if you want to write on it, you’ve got room. It seems like the Hip Hop scene in Arizona hasn’t really emerged on a national scale yet, but you guys definitely have your own movement out there. Talk about your state’s progression. The scene out here is really, really flourishing. I’m one of the heads of a clique called Man Up Squad. The whole squad is some of the dopest

OZONE WEST // 19

Ozone West #67 - May 2008  

Ozone West #67 - May 2008

Ozone West #67 - May 2008  

Ozone West #67 - May 2008

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