Bart Mendoza 9 p.m., Dec. 17
Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap
Sound description: Wholesome hip-hop.
RIYL: Wholesome hip-hop
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- Blurt · July 20, 2006
Influences: Run DMC, Usher, MC Hammer
Though he injured his knee in Iraq, Marine sargeant Gabriel DeJesus reenlisted for another four years in August 2005. The Camp Pendleton-based motor transport mechanic spent much of 2006 on light duty due to his knee tear, but now he wants out of the military so he can rap.
"Even in Iraq, I made tracks," says DeJesus, one third of the all-military man trio Technique. "I built a recording booth in back of a truck in a war zone in Iraq. My wife would send me blank CDs, and I'd make music I'd pass out. I wrote music every day...when I got back [to Camp Pendleton], I built a studio in my house."
DeJesus says he tried to launch a group and record label with fellow Marines, "but it never went like how we wanted it to." Discouraged, he reenlisted. Then, DeJesus met Lil Uno, the local artist who runs Sicko Records and hosted an all-locals radio show on 98.9 FM.
"He was asking hip-hop artists to get in touch with him," says DeJesus. The two met, and Lil Uno offered DeJesus a contract that provided for studio time, CD manufacturing, and distribution.
"As soon as [Lil Uno] presented me with the contract, I took it up the chain [to get permission to leave the Marines].... [My staff sergeant] looked at me and started smiling. He said he was a religious man and that things happen for a reason. He said my orders to get transfered to North Carolina got canceled that day. He told me he was behind me 100 percent and that I should pursue what I had to pursue. Then the higher-ups, like captains, started talking to me. They said it was better if I just stayed in."
DeJesus says he is researching how to exit the military but insists that, if he is not released, he will fulfill his obligation. Regardless of the outcome, he would be happy to represent the Corps in TV ads for recruiting.
"My lyrics are not about drugs and cars and rims...At work, guys joke around with me...I say, 'Who said I was a thug?' Just because I'm a rapper, does not mean I'm a criminal."
A Technique track by DeJesus (with fellow military men Terrance Hampton and Kymani White) was included on the album Heatrocks, a Sicko compilation of local-artist music released in August 2005.
-- "Blurt," 7-20-06