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“I’ve always considered my career in the defense industry to be my plan A,” says rapper Jimmy Powers, who by day is an administrative security engineer with a Department of Defense contractor in Torrey Pines. “I do very well for a 26-year-old with no college degree.”

It was military service that first brought the Houstonite to San Diego. After his enlistment was up in 2007, he began fronting rap group Clay Pigeons, and he went solo the following year. “I was organizing and promoting at least two shows a month and also hosting and performing at them, so I would have to go out on weeknights to pass out flyers until 1 or 2 a.m. sometimes, and then have to wake up at 6 a.m.”

Powers is reluctant to divulge details about his day job. “I spend a lot of time making sure our boys over there pounding sand can communicate fully with each other in any situation, whether it be basic daily situation reports or when they are pinned down by insurgents in an ambush and require immediate support.”

Few coworkers are aware of his second life. “I dress business casual, and there’s a significant culture gap with the great folks that I work with. Some may just not understand hip-hop in general and might think it carries a stigma of negativity, which is not what I try to portray at all.

“I think my music career would come as a surprise to most of my coworkers,” he says.

Powers’s upcoming album, Califoreigner, includes contributions from local hip-hop artists Blame One, Slaine, Copywrite, Randam Luck, and others.

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