On The Record: Magu the Dog
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
A unification of sorts is underway in Hawaii hip-hop. Producer Tyler Ingraham, 22, is among those working to shine light on a scene that he said doesn’t nearly get the recognition it deserves.
Originally from Cape Cod, Mass., Ingraham, who goes by Magu The Dog, moved to Oahu in 2011 and brought his 1990s golden era inspirations and MPC with him. Splashes of notoriety have come his way recently through projects and live performances with lyricists like Prie and upstart rhyme slinger Conner “Crnboy” Henderson.
Although he may not look the part, the essence of 90s hip-hop is one of the main sources of his motivation and is part of his consciousness. While he is quick to point out the significance of Kendrick Lamar today, he’ll also pay homage to A Tribe Called Quest by dropping a quote from Q-Tip in the same breath.
“Positivity is the key in the lock,” he said. “Positivity is sustainability. We need De La Soul. We need Tribe. We need something to make us feel united.
“We need to learn from the past and create the most accessible and original hip-hop possible. Lift each other up; collective action and participation creates culture.”
An overall positive and engaging individual, Ingraham will step away from his producer’s chair to embark on his biggest project to date: a local hip-hop and producer showcase dubbed Magu’s Hideout, launching July 10 at Nextdoor. The show, which Ingraham said will be the first of many backed by the visions shared by his inner circle, will feature The Super Groupers, Prie, Kwalified, Koins, Creed Chamelon and DJ Tittabyte.
“Hip-hop let me down when things started to switch over from being positive-centric to trap-centric,” Ingraham said. “I have always been into music … I was in a few bands in high school and have just always been really active in throwing live shows. At this point I am focusing all my energy on creating a safe place for artists to help develop a culture.”
Rather than complaining about the lack of attention behind closed doors, Ingraham decided to go with a more proactive approach. Although his event is a week away and the planning is already complete, the significance and purpose of the night have been clear from the moment the idea popped into his head months ago. Not only is Ingraham completely sold on the scene’s potential, he and many of today’s artists want to set a precedent in hopes the stigmas attached to homegrown hip-hop will fade completely.
“It’s going to be a very important event no matter what the outcome,” he said. “It is super important to validate these artists as more than just openers. They are very talented musicians and are not being given the light they deserve. (Hawaii) hip-hop is alive and well but it is being slept on. It is time for change.
“I am surrounded by incredibly talented and poetic individuals and people are very interested in them. I have to set up moments in which these individuals can succeed; I have to create environments of success. If I can, everything else will fall into place.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.