by Shiloh Sanchez

Tyran Haulcy (aka Ske3m) is the man behind one of the most dedicated hip-hop outlets to Saginaw: ID.C989Radio. He presents our community with a collaboration of local artists on the internet radio station’s first mixtape. All of these artists are highly respected on the show, which airs weekdays at 10 pm, and many of them have been seen performing at local community events. The mixtape introduces us to a hip-hop network that thrives on each other. Many of the artists have been discovered in the Gas House Gorillas Chamber, a local recording studio founded by local rapper/producer Capital C. Other seeds have bloomed in the solitude of the recording booth or on the stages of venues supporting local hip-hop, such as Train’s Tuesday Poetry Night at Lyricists’ Lounge and DJ Snakes’ The Realness show at White’s Bar, or they've been captured on video by Clay Armor’s J-Dubs for his I Am Hip Hop Show, and of course, on ID.C989Radio. Some of the artists highlighted in this mixtape are Ske3m, OJ the King, Tay Ray, G and Dex, Astray, and Phe McWright, among others. Haulcy nourishes these new and upcoming artists with the heart and drive of a proud Saginaw citizen. He says, "There are a lot of songs submitted to the show...I made this collection of different flavors."

These flavors include Capital C, one half of the local hip-hop duo A.T.P., whom Haulcy describes as "a throwback of what hip-hop was and should be." Here he performs solo on a track titled "Thorough Music," where he writes battle style, spitting lines such as "we anti-gravity / we stay above the union / you can follow all the trends but we can see all the conclusions." The "we" Capital C raps about is the aforementioned Gas House Gorillas Chamber. Haulcy claims Capital C to be among his top ten artists. "He's a young guy with a big imagination" and a positive attitude, offering proof against the negative stereotypes often cast against local MCs.

Many of the rappers featured on the mixtape represent the underground love of lyricism and battle rap. Phe McWright, whom Haulcy calls a "good lyricist with a message in his music," is highlighted on the first track "Superstar," where he raps about the status he has earned through trials, tribulations, and faith. M80’s track "Same Old Song" goes against the mainstream hip-hop line up. He gives new direction to true hip-hop fans seeking more than the same old songs. He directs the song to "Mr. Radio director," who "every single day [plays] the same **** records," who "broadcast[s] the lamest, just for the ratings."

As you can see, this album is an excellent introduction to the underground of Saginaw's hip-hop scene. The mixtape reflects Haulcy’s guarantee of many flavors, raw voices from the streets to intelligent lyricism, all rooted right here. Haulcy presents us with a verbal mural of the Tri-Cities, the worlds of talented hip-hop artists who continue to pursue their dreams through the necessary stresses of jobs, families, and education. Their honesty is refreshing. So when Dex, on track 9 "True to the Game," describes his day as being

At the barber shop gettin’ fresh, gettin’ edgy
Jacinto with the clippers like Corey Maggette...
I’m ridin’ round Fuzzy’s, scoopin’ out flavor...

many Saginaw citizens can either relate to Jacinto as Dave, the Barber at Dion’s West Side Barber Shop, or Jacinto, member of hip-hop duo A.T.P. and the band Thick as Thieves. Or perhaps they are fans of the former Los Angeles Clipper’s basketball guard, Corey Maggette. Fuzzy’s restaurant, by the way, is right across Court Street from the barber shop. This is how Saginaw, MI, becomes a community, with the local talent being supported by local businesses, strengthening friendships and future partnerships for the benefit of the people and their dreams.

You can listen to Ske3m’s internet radio weekdays from 10-11 pm on blog talk radio, found here, and you can download ID:C989Radio's first mixtape here. Follow Ske3m on facebook for upcoming shows featuring local hip hop artists.

© Shiloh Sanchez, 2010