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Local rapper makes mainstream
by Charles Ward, staff writer

While hip-hop has an enormous marketplace across the United States, few rappers based in Hawai‘i are ever recognized in the mainstream market.

“The industry is solely a mainland phenomenon. Rappers are constantly being plucked off the streets in cities from Los Angeles to New York, but even if the best lyrical MC’s in the world were stationed in Alaska or Hawai‘i, chances are they’d never be found,” claimed radio DJ David Westphal of Philadelphia’s 104.7 The Q. Honolulu MC Kyle Johnson, aka Posterboy, may change all that.

Born in Washington, D.C., and currently living on the south side of Kalihi, Posterboy’s unique mix of musical flow and lyrical storytelling position him at the top of local rappers. His newest single, “Jurassic Harlem”, has been met with open arms; it can be downloaded off the Web using any MP3 ripper.

“Posterboy has so much going for him. He’s one of those performers that you know is going to blow up in time,” commented Kalihi resident Mitch Townsend, an avid concert goer.

For Posterboy, the journey from underground MC to national rap icon will be a daunting one. “Throughout my life, I’ve grown up listening to great MC’s from Christopher Wallace to Talib Kwelei, and I strive to come as close as possible lyrically to those icons,” Posterboy said. “By coming to Hawai‘i I’ve expanded my mind and become more adventurous with my word-play.

he journey to star status will be very difficult, but I take everything one day at a time. I feel that by experiencing life’s ups and downs first hand, I grow more knowledge than from books and college.”

While his unique flow has been loosely compared to MC’s such as Black Star’s Mos Def and Talid Kwelei, Posterboy’s lyrics are both personal and spiritual. “The most important thing in a song, to me, is words. With words I can get my point across whether it be about partying or trials and tribulations that have occurred in my life. Everyone grows up with interactions and battles that they face all around them and they keep it bottled up, and what they should do, as I do it, is express themselves through music. Growing up in southeast D.C., with what I‘ve seen, I can redefine words in the dictionary. Some might feel it is a struggle, but I feel it’s a mind boggling experience that I would never take back.”

Look for Posterboy’s independent album Sunny Nights and Dark Days at local retailers.



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