Aych (pronounced like the letter “H”) is a frontrunner in the local Tampa Hip Hop scene. Chasing his dream has allowed him to appear on BET’s 106 & Park, open for several major artists, and help others get a foot in the door as well. Introduce yourself and tell our readers how you came to be the lyricist you are today. I’m originally from Delaware. I moved to Tampa in 2004. Since then I’ve opened for people such as Missy, KRS-One, Ludacris, Rick Ross, Juelz Santana. That’s how I really got started in Tampa. When people talk about open mics in the area your name comes up a lot. What role do you play in the local Hip Hop scene? When I first came to Tampa I got started doing things like open mic nights. For the last three years I’ve been running one and it’s basically the only Hip Hop open mic night that’s been consistent for this long. There’s nothing like it. We do it every Wednesday at Full Moon right now, but after the Super Bowl we’re moving to Crowbar in Ybor City. What’s the significance behind your name? Do people mispronounce it a lot? Oh yeah, all the time. The name came from when I was young. My first name starts with an H and my boy used to always spell it out. So on the night of my first show they wanted to know what I go by and I was like, “Uh, I go by Aych.” A lot of people pronounce it like ache or ack. Tell me about your experience on BET 106 & Park. How did that come about? The last time I went up there was in May. It was a good experience. I learned a lot and got to see how things work behind the scenes. I met a lot of cool people at BET. What’s your approach to putting out new music? It seems like you put out a lot of projects and singles at once. Why is that? I don’t do it to just to put music out. People want to hear new music. It’s supply and demand. I just try to do a lot of collaborations, stay relevant, stay recent, and stay working. When you perform, what are some of the crowd’s favorite songs?
“Dollas and Dreams” would be one of my favorite ones. They’re spinning that on 95.7 now. And the ladies like the “Like You” joint. What’s “Dollas and Dreams” about? It’s basically the story of me being 18. It’s about believing in myself and going through things an 18 year old dude goes through. Like you might not see eye to eye with your mom, and you feel like you grown and she feels like you still a little boy. So you say I’ma do my own thing, I’ma man and I’m gonna stand on my own two feet. The hook is like: “Look ma I’m on TV/Used to think one day that’s gon’ be me/ Running up and down the block screaming that’s my car/Now look, years later that’s my car.” It’s more of an inspirational song. Is there an overall message or an image you’re trying to portray to the youth through your music? You can tell the kids all the things you want, but when they actually walk out the house they’re gonna see the world for what it is. I just try to tell my story, what I’ve seen. I just try to be as real as possible with the people that listen to my music, whether it’s kids or adults. You can’t lie to yourself. I see you have some overseas fans and you’re branching into that market. Yeah. That’s one thing I can say BET helped me out with a lot. I didn’t know they had 106 & Park overseas. A lot of DJs reached out to me from over there. The Future Star DJs been behind me since day one. They have DJs in Dublin and Berlin. I’m just trying to spread my wings. If you’re an artist you gotta travel. Do you have shows lined up for Super Bowl weekend? More than likely I’ll be performing at Full Moon. I work for that club. What are your plans for 2009? My goals for right now are just to put out as much music as possible. I’m working on like 20 tracks a month, just keeping at it. I want to double my work ethic, get my business together. I’m trying to get on some of these movie and video game soundtracks and things like that. Do you have a Myspace page where people can check out the new music? Myspace.com/aych302
OZONE MAG // 29