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Acnom, 19, is a backpacker, one of a few North County hip-hop artists (including N3RO Tactic, Simple One, Plain Jane, and Future Shock) who sell their music on the street.

"It took me five hours to get rid of 100 CDs," says Acnom (Abstract Concepts Negotiated Over Music). "I sold about 60 [at $5 each]. The other 40 I gave away....

"I go to the beach, malls, bars, or the streets on Coast Highway. There's a lot of cool people who will help you. I've had people give $10 or $20. There's also a downside. Sometimes people will turn around and look you straight in the eye and say, 'Fuck hip-hop. I don't listen to that crap.' I've been stopped in the street by cops who have harassed me, thinking I'm selling drugs. Once you explain what you're doing, they usually leave you alone."

Like other backpackers, Acnom produces and records his discs.

"The biggest misconception people have is that if you sell your music out of your backpack it's not as quality as something you'd hear on the radio. Some people don't want to pay for music if it comes out of your backpack, even if it looks professional....

"We have a hatred of governed music. Music that is governed by radio, MTV, BET that is only about money, cars, jewelry, women, or champagne. It's very repetitive. Juvenile and Paul Wall are perfect examples of the devolution of hip-hop music."

Acnom doesn't have a day job.

"This is not something where you wake up one day and say, 'I'm gonna go backpacking today.' It's a dedicated lifestyle. It's a culture. It's an objective to get your music out to the general public."

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