On The Record: Broke Mokes
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Kickin’ cool raps from their shoes to their snapbacks keeps the Broke Mokes focused on music and celebrating good times in the 808 state. Ohana is the lifeblood and hip-hop is the vehicle of expression when it comes to the music pursuits of Sebastian “Koins” Veerman, Daeson “Dae1” Guillermo and Isaac “Izzy I AM” Makemau.
Their brand of feel good hip-hop is a blend of urban rhymes influenced by day-to-day island living. Being young and courageous with a go for broke, no scared, make the most of what you got mentality has the trio on top of their game.
“There is an energy here. An energy you can feel,” said Veerman. “From the MCs to the dancers, the DJs and the art. It’s all here, in this giant melting pot in the middle of the ocean.
“Hip-Hop is brewing in Hawaii, and as our own people become aware, soon will the world.”
Their current strides, wild style and refreshing way they mesh old school and new make the group from Kaneohe this blog’s choice for Hip-Hop Artists of the Year.
With friendship and music as their common ground, Broke Mokes formed in 2010 with little money in their pockets and a rhyming together on their minds. Well-informed and respectful of the OG artists who came before them, they remain loyal to their fans and stay true to their roots.
Guillermo met both Makemau and Veerman in middle school, while Veerman and Makemau met as freshmen at Castle High School. They were part of a larger group of friends who called themselves The Regulators, based on the iconic 1990s track by Warren G.
Guillermo said they really didn’t become tight friends until their senior year.
“Weʼve each been able to develop our own individual styles from our many inﬂuences, and molded that together to make music that represents who we are,” he said. “We will continue to remain positive and continue to grow, learn, represent and do what we love. Spreading our word and dropping good music.
“We rep for our ohana. Our ohana includes our immediate families, our friends, followers, supporters, sponsors and anyone who shows love. We have pride in the town we call home and we rep for those who share that pride,” said Guillermo.
On stage, the group rocks hard. The fun factor is never lost. Their youthful energy may throw people off, but they are far from reckless. With a hunger to make good music, they also exhibit humble appreciation for any success that comes their way.
“It is rare to hear a young hip-hop crew that can pull off the underground sound but yet can also do the newer style of rap,” said Justin “DJ Bone” Kaneshiro, host of the “Got Rice? Show” on college radio station KTUH-FM.
2013 was a year of growth, epic shows and the release of tons of new music, but one of the group’s biggest achievements away from performing was a guest speaker role at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. On stage, they represented Hawaii hip-hop in the finals of the Bacardi Oakheart “Iron Band Challenge,” competing against island, reggae and rock bands.
“Since being selected was based off support, it felt good to know that there are people who support us, that believe in us to represent not only hip-hop, but Hawaii Hip-Hop.” said Veerman. “It was a both privilege and an honor to be able to get up on that stage to represent and do what we do best — have fun making music.”
Although they were a bit overwhelmed in the finals and didn’t win, the opportunity to perform outside of their traditional boundaries proved to be valuable lesson in the importance of preparation and communication — not to mention a confidence boost.
“Overall it was an awesome and humbling experience, a learning experience, and having the chance to reach out to new people, open new doors and be heard; it drives our hunger even more,” said Makemau. “Its a been a constant motion of progress. Big or small each step has lead us to this moment.”
In the end, their aloha for what they do will never die and the most exciting part is, they’re just getting started.
“All three of us are individuals and when you put us together, it just so happens that we are able to make some pretty cool music and being able to pursue our goals, ambitions and dreams along side more then artists but friends from before any of this, is real dope,” Guillermo said.
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.