On The Record: Jordan Salud
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Ten years in the local rap scene and Jordan Salud, aka I.A., has been just as much a fan of Hawaii hip-hop as an active participant and performer. Living life and turning it into music provides the veteran entertainer with a slew of reasons why it’s hard to find someone more dedicated not to just rap in general but to incorporating island influences into the sound.
He’s not bragging when he says he’s reached his goals while sustaining his brand and music. He has Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominations, music videos, albums (his most recent, “Ride,” was released this summer) and a long list of impressive live performances to show for it.
As much as what can be seen in heard by the public, there was never an audience or microphone around when inspiration struck the Nanakuli native on his latest offering “Situations,” an EP of personal songs that detail relationships, fatherhood and recent travels. Notable artists on the project include Jah Maoli, Jordan T., Dru Singer, J. Wiz and production by Jim Hurdle and Osna.
“The life experiences I went through helped create this body of music,” said Salud, who focused on hosting a prep sports television show on OC16 and a recurring role as Jamie Kamaka on “Hawaii Five-0″ during his time away from music. “Nowadays you have to have a heavy arsenal of music and record like 2-Pac. Before you could release an album and push it throughout the year. Now its like you have to release a new song every month and at least two or three projects a year.”
At this stage of his career, Salud’s dedication remains at a high level without the pressure to prove himself. Many of the situations he’s endured personally and the grind involved in being an artist have all had value to him, even the times when the outcome didn’t end up in his favor.
“With all the hard work in creating awareness I feel the respect toward my music is at a pioneer level,” he said. “It’s a great feeling seeing the hustle pay off. It also gives me the voice that people will listen to outside of the hip-hop scene. Because of that, it’s my goal to bring the attention to the urban scene as a whole. We have so much creativity that deserves to be heard.”
Over the last few years, big hip-hop concerts at The Republik have opened with headlining local hip hop artists, with a squad of artists performing a track or two solo and collectively. The shared spotlight not only allows helps the emcees’ confidence but more importantly shows the diversity of the local hip-hop scene.
“I can say as long as I’ve been in the game, Hawaii’s hip-hop scene has never had a distinct or signature sound,” he said, attributing that to our state’s “melting pot of cultures.” “Artists have a different sound from Waianae comparing to artist that come from town. It’s somewhat a gift and a curse.”
Salud’s live set is one of the most well-crafted around. Instead of rhyme after rhyme, crowd interaction, whether it be from himself between songs or incorporating his DJ to keep his audience interested, the elements of party, performance and energy stand out as well.
“I found that you can’t be stuck trying to relive and utilize old tactics in this always evolving business of music. I studied the greats who have been around for a long time and able to retain their legitimacy,” he said. “What I noticed is that they embrace the evolution and change and support it. So that’s what I try to do. I try my best to be always be a student.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.