The York-based hip-hop artist recently recorded four original songs at AK Beatz music studio on 117 S. Duke St., York.

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Standing on South Duke Street on a warm March afternoon, Gabriel Rodriguez remarked at the nice weather. From there, it took him about two minutes to switch topics to faith, death, God, the origin of the universe and the sorry state of hip-hop music.

The 24-year old songwriter from York has a lot to say, and thanks to an introduction with AK Beatz producer Lee "Logik" King, he has found a place to say it. Rodriguez recently recorded four original songs at AK Beatz music studio on 117 S. Duke St., York, part of his effort to complete an album by summer.

Lyrically, he's not afraid to be both a big fan and big critic of hip-hop.

"I have a passion for hip-hop, but I don’t like the stigma that comes with it," Rodriguez said.

His biggest complaint is that too many artists, rather than talking about their own experiences, end up glorifying gang life that they probably know nothing about.

"People on these streets—that's an ugly thing," Rodriguez said. "People are promoting it who don’t even live in that world, and the people who are living in that world don't even like doing it.”

Style-wise, Rodriguez said his music blends his appreciation for rappers such as Kid Cudi with the music that he grew up around, such as merengue, bachata, blues and funk. With lyrical delivery that oscillates from laid-back to frenetic, Rodriguez' meditations also flow smoothly.

Rodriguez is one of the 160 performers that have come through Studio 117 since it opened last March, said Lee King, studio co-owner. The studio has attracted artists from all over the country, in part because lower overhead in York allows King to keep prices lower than at studios in cities such as Baltimore or Philadelphia, King said. Recent artists include 16-year-old Instagram sensation Kaitlyn Oliveira, who came from Rhode Island to record.

For Rodriguez, the future is uncertain. The father of two was recently laid off from a job with Amazon.com, and has been picking up jobs while he continues to work on his music.

"I believe that your passion will lead you to your purpose," he said. "And I believe this city needs a lot more positivity."

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Songs available at: soundcloud.com/gabzriel

Learn more about AK Beatz and Studio 117 at: akbeatz.com

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