Local artist raps about overcoming hard times
By CRISTINA TRAPANI-SCOTT
Anthony Martinez has been dealt some challenges in life, there’s no doubt about that. His mother was a crack addict and his father, who he didn’t meet until he was 18, was a drug dealer. At one point, Martinez found himself a ward of the state before being adopted at age 15.
Still, as difficult as life has been, he said it was music that helped to save him from repeating the examples set by his parents. Martinez is a rap artist who goes by the stage name Hype and has been writing lyrics that detail the hard times he’s been through. “All that stuff plays into who I’ve become and the things I talk about in my music,” said Martinez.
He said through everything, he always kept his notebook with him, always focused on writing his thoughts down. “Everything in my life was taken from me, so I wanted to be in a place where I had some kind of stability. As long as I had my hands and I had my notepad, I could write my music,” he said.
He struggled to find solid footing, having moved from Fostoria, Ohio, where he was born, to Mississippi at age six, then back to Toledo at 12. After being adopted, he landed in Bedford where he graduated high school and even built an earlier career as a musician while staying in school. He said his earlier journey into performing rap music gave him opportunities to travel and see things he’d never imagined he’d have an opportunity to see.
Now, Martinez, his girl friend, Suzy Q. Garno, and their son, Tyson, live in Tecumseh. He’s taking classes at the Recording Institute of Detroit and giving music another go with the help of neighbor, friend and publicist Dee Wilson. Martinez has cut a new CD that morphs everything from Marvin Gaye’s classic song “Sexual Healing” to acoustic riffs into back beats for his music. He admits that the lyrics are more graphic than this area might be used to, but he said that the songs are authentic to his life experiences.
“People might ask why this guy has come into their community and why they should accept him? The main reason “why” is because I’m not lying. You may not always agree with what I say. Some might find what I say offensive or controversial, but a lot will like it and I think everybody in some way will be able to identify with me, no matter what age,” Martinez said.
He is clear that his goal with his music is to show how he’s been able to overcome the challenges he’s been dealt. “I’m not trying to tell people to do this,” he said. “I’m telling them what I’ve been through, that I’ve come from all that and that you have to follow your dreams and you don’t have to listen to the people who tell you you can’t.”
He doesn’t compare himself to other rap artists. He said he brings something totally new to the genre and because of that he feels his work is more in the ground breaking spirit of Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and Johnny Cash.
“I’ve got a passion for this,” Martinez said. “I’m thankful that I’ve kept my head on straight. I’m thankful that God at least kept me strong, because if it wasn’t for that I probably wouldn’t be here now. It was a very sad and dark place to be, but it brought out the musical side in me. I never gave up, never lost faith, never lost hope, never said this life is too hard.”
Like many in the area, Martinez was laid off from his full time job. He’s using the time to write songs, and to get his music career underway. With the help of Wilson, he’s quickly booking gigs throughout the local area. “My big thing with this is that I just want to put it out there and say here I am,” he said. “My goal is to get exposure and to meet as many people as possible.”
To learn more about Martinez and his music, visit his Myspace site at www.myspace.com/hypeknight.