Artist: Camino, aka Garrell Tyler
How did you get into music? By not being interested in sports. I had to find a way to occupy myself. All of our family is southern, so I was raised with that kind of music. My sister (Shanda) used to do music all of the time. She did the hip-hop/R&B thing like Lauryn Hill. I just started rhyming some words together and I was like, "this is my sport right here."
Who were your influences? My first love is R&B. That is what I would sing in the shower. I was really into Usher, but I liked everybody (including) The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Nas and Jay-Z. I would listen to anything I could get my hands on from old school to new school from rock to pure hip-hop.
Have you seen any great concerts? I was in North Carolina and saw Jadakiss. He was getting crazy feedback from the crowd. I have seen Justin Timberlake on TV. It's amazing to have one person, regardless of their race, with a mic control the whole room. It would be awesome to have that many people listening to what you have to say.
Describe your sound and style. Most people feel like they just want to put themselves into one category. With me, there is no limit. Some people floss and rap about luxury and this and that, but I rap about life and what goes on around me. I don't try to talk about politics and that kind of thing. I like to have fun.
How did you get your stage name? My favorite car is the El Camino. Down south, we turn old-school cars into classic cars. I think that applies to me. If you ride with me, I'll take you where you want to go with my music.
A lot of musicians have been taking political stands before the upcoming election. What do you think about that? I think if they are going to get up there and put out that stuff, they should at least know exactly what they're talking about. You can't just rap about anything and expect that it won't have an effect on something. It's the same with rapping about the streets if you never lived there. I think if you keep it real and do what you do, you'll last longer. Hip-hop can be inspirational. I think it's OK to say what you have to say, as long as you're not trying to brainwash everybody.
Is hip-hop dead? I think hip-hop is changing. A lot of people aren't appreciating it. A lot of people whine about how they can't sell records. One of the people I look at is T.I. If you adjust to what's happening with technology, you'll be OK. Some of the legends in hip-hop feel that it has to be serious. I'm not too fond of Soulja Boy, but if (his song) comes on in the club, I might do some two steps. (Laughs) It's cool that the younger kids are having something fun to listen to.
Have you had any shows in the area? I was going to do a show with T-Pain and Fabolous a while ago in Wilkes-Barre that got canceled. I've done shows at (the Chiller at the York Ice Arena) before. It's real hard being a rapper in York. There are a lot of politics involved. There are a whole lot of artists (who) can get in anywhere. You have to know the right people to book a show. I'm into doing anything I can. I'd play a show for charity. I don't have to get paid. I just do it because it's what I love to do.
Do you like what you hear from other rappers in the area? I went to school with Phene. He's real hot in the city. I've heard Paradise Movement, too. Ralph Real is also talented. It seems like everyone raps or sings.Some people do it just because everyone else is doing it. There's a select few that keep it real.
What do you have coming up? I used to be on an independent label Skollaz, but that fell through. I've been writing and recording whenever I get the chance. The Internet is a powerful tool. I use that to network a lot. I have family in Texas and a cousin in . . . Orlando. I'm a father of two, so I'm occupied with that a lot of the time. If I never get a record deal from a label, I want to continue doing this. If I ever get feedback, negative or positive, it's worth it to me.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF