On the Record: Jim Hurdle
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
You would be hard-pressed to find a local rapper who is having a better 2014 so far than Jim Hurdle.
In a little more than a month, the talented MC has opened for Danny Brown and Action Bronson, evidence he is off to a blazing start from a live performance standpoint.
“I could’ve been anything, yet I chose to pursue the hardest dream ever,” said Hurdle, who is originally from Texas but has lived in Hawaii for more than a decade. “11 years invested and I’m still doing it. After two years of doing something, it isn’t a hobby anymore. This is for real.
“Hawaii’s hip-hop scene is so amazing and I feel it doesn’t get the cred it truly deserves. I know I’m proud to say, ‘I am Jim Hurdle and I am Hawaii hip-hop.’”
There are rappers who make beats and beatmakers who try to rap, but you seldom find someone who excels at both the way Hurdle does. His aptitude is a culmination of tireless effort, risk and sacrifice.
While grind and talent have brought great results for the 30-year-old, he said early on he was a bit of a dreamer. At one point, he thought he would have a record deal by the age of 21.
“I’ve definitely progressed, but I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be,” said the artist and producer formerly known as Pro. “So now, I push more, hope for the best, but expect nothing. Keep my faith in my music and stay persistent.”
Breaking into Hawaii’s hip-hop scene proved to be a daunting task. While he wasn’t initially greeted with handshakes and shakas, today there isn’t an established local artist he hasn’t rocked with. While natural ability is one thing, Hurdle believes talent can only take a person so far and putting in the work is really the key to success.
“When people work with me, they get all of me, not half (of) me or lazy me, they get 200 percent, let’s win a Grammy and take over the world me,” he said. “You may not always hear my voice, but I guarantee you my music is getting around one way or another.”
Hurdle, who admitted to having a bit of a checkered past, said hip-hop literally saved him from going down the wrong path in life. There have been a fair share of sacrifices as well; the mere thought gets him choked up with emotion.
“I’ve lost connections with friends and family because I get so caught up in chasing this dream of mine,” he said. “Sleepless nights, long hours and endless days of trying to create something from nothing.
“All I know is I hope it brings me something at the end of it all, even if it’s just a smile on my face. Regret is something I would never feel for chasing something I love.”
The only things more important to Hurdle than music are his daughter and his friendships made in Hawaii, he said.
“My favorite thing about Hawaii hip-hop is who it has brought into my life. The people you mostly see me not only working with as far as music, but guys whom I consider my brothers and hang out with on a regular basis. They just so happen to be people chasing and pursuing (the) same dreams as me.”
A long list of projects are in store for Hurdle, including a solo album, “Southern Aloha 2,” and another collaborative project with DJ Anrky. He also has three other projects slated for completion this year. It’s apparent making music is his primary motivation.
“I just try to cover all my bases as best as I can to guarantee a future in this industry, whether it may be in the forefront of it all or even just being behind the scenes,” he said. “I know where I am headed.”
Hurdle will one of the featured artists at the return of “Hip-Hop @ The Trops” on Friday at Tropics Tap House; he’s also scheduled to perform at Downbeat Diner on March 1.
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.