On a warm night in April, I got a chance to sit down and chat with my longtime friend Camino. He just got started rapping last year, but he’s already made a name for himself in the Jackson area. I wanted to pick his brain, and find out what he’s really all about.
PH: What’s good, Camino? What have you been up to lately? How has 2013 been treating you?
Camino: It’s good. I’ve been working. Same ole shit I been doing. Just trying to get my name out there, trying to get where I need to be. I want to be more noticeable, more recognizable, to a point where I don’t really have to introduce myself.
PH: I’ve known you for a couple of years, and rapping isn’t the first thing I would expect you to do. What put you on the path of being a rapper? What made you decide to start doing that?
Camino: I’ve been playing music my whole life. As I’ve grown and matured, my mind has changed, and I’ve started to want to do something different with my life. It’s a maturity thing. As I grew up, I started listening to hip hop more, fell in love with it, and started trying to do it. I wasn’t too bad at it. Started freestyling with my homies and shit. I wasn’t bad, I was already in love with the shit, and already liked making music, so that’s where my heart was. It’s the only thing that really makes me happy. And making money. Making money makes me happy.
PH: Word, and they do go together sometimes.
Camino: Yes. Yes they do.
PH: Before you decided to start rapping, what was your plan as far as education and working goes?
Camino: I was gonna be an investor. I was gonna try to be involved with stocks. My uncle owns a bar and restaurant; I was gonna try to get involved with that, and try to learn how to invest money in stock. I’ve always been interested in money. It’s always been a motivation.
PH: What do you hope to accomplish by making music? What is your goal for this?
Camino: To change the lives of me and the people around me, physically and mentally. On the money tip. None of us really come from rich families. I just wanna make some money and tour the world, see the world. It’ll be a lot easier to pay for, because I’ll have a check. I want to make positive music for positive people. I want to help people keep their heads up if they ever feel down.
PH: What countries are you most interested in touring?
Camino: I wanna see Japan. I’ve always wanted to go to Barbados for some reason, and find another Rihanna who has poorer judgment. [laughs]
PH: Tell me about the making of your mixtape, Aspirations, which was released in January. Who all was involved? What was that experience like? How long did it take?
Camino: It probably took a solid six-seven months. I like to take my time with my music. I wanna give people what they wanna hear, but at the same time, I wanna make music for myself. I choose what’s fitting for my music. It was my first tape, so it’s not 100% how I wanted it to be, but for my first tape, it’s fitting. I mainly recorded with my bro Hershey Blakk. Shoutout to him. Durdy Costello hosted the tape. He’s like my brother. I worked with Air Slim on it. Got a chance to work with Jay Scott and Bob Street. My brother Doe Hicks is on there.
[His phone goes off, he apologizes, and I tell him it’s fine. Shit happens.]
PH: You just named a bunch of people you worked with, so I assume you’d want people to be listening to them. But who else that you didn’t get a chance to work with, do you admire?
Camino: Hollywood Luck. Check him out. He’s working real hard. He’s been doing this for a while. He actually guided me a little bit. I’d recommend him to people. As far as local, independent artists? Big Chillin’ is definitely one of my favorites. The list is long, though.
PH: Anytime I see you, you’re with JP, Burger, Bradley, Zan, all of them. They’re obviously essential to your creative process. How do they help you in terms of music?
Camino: I wouldn’t say they help me make music, but I mean, they do. They’re just crazy.
PH: Like motivators.
Camino: Yeah. They’re crazy. I feel comfortable around them. That’s my family. They’re crazy as hell, but it’s funny. You know that.
PH: Definitely. What are you looking forward to in the future with your music, besides touring the world and making millions?
Camino: I want to perform to very big crowds, and see at least one person jamming their heart out, and knowing every lyric to my song. I don’t know that feeling, but I imagine it’s a pretty dope one.
PH: Yeah, knowing something you created is giving someone so much inspiration.
Camino: Yeah. Somebody’s really feeling it. It’s an unimaginable feeling, for me, at least. For some people, it may not be that big of a deal. But that would inspire me to keep going.
PH: Yeah. That’s what it’s all about. Tell me something about yourself that might surprise people.
Camino: I have anxiety. Is that not a good one? I don’t know. Something people don’t know about me… I am actually… I’m trying to think. I don’t really have secrets or anything. My life is an open book. I didn’t graduate from high school. Does that count?
PH: Yeah. I mean, I didn’t know that. Anxiety isn’t a bad thing to add, because you have to overcome that to perform and record music.
Camino: I will say this, though. My anxiety helps me when I’m on stage. I don’t really think about it, and it makes everything go away. I’m an over-thinker. I guess if you don’ t know me personally, that might surprise you. That’s one of my flaws. But we all have them.
PH: Exactly. Who do you hope to work with in the future? This isn’t limited to Mississippi artists, or even to rappers.
Camino: I wanna work with Diplo pretty bad. A lot of people aren’t familiar with him. My bro Durdy Costello put me on to him. It’s kinda dubstep. I’m not really into dubstep, but his style is pretty dope. It’s different. It’s crazy. Have you heard of him?
PH: Yeah, he performed at Buku Fest in New Orleans recently. I’m really not a dubstep fan either, but I have a friend that is. He showed me Diplo. I like the way he does things.
Camino: Yeah, he merges into hip hop. He’s very creative. I would see us making great music together.
PH: Anybody else?
Camino: Yeah, on the rap tip- It’s been a lifelong dream to have Wayne featured on one of my songs. Drake. But realistic goals for 2013- Dizzy Wright. Vinny Cha$e. We might have some stuff coming out… We might now. I’m not gonna say anything. Wait, I just did. [laughs]
PH: Ha! Well, we don’t know exactly what it is, so it’s still a bit of a mystery. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Camino: If you’re making music, and you’re just starting, or anything that involves your dreams- and I’m not trying to be corny right now- don’t give up. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do anything. If it’s really what you want to do, and your heart is really in it, man, do what you want to do. I don’t put anybody down. Even if it doesn’t make you a lot of money. I know I’ve said a lot about making a lot of money, but at the end of the day, money’s nothing.
PH: You can’t take it with you when you die.
Camino: Yeah. It’s all about your happiness and the memories, so make the best memories you can, and live out your dreams. Life is real, this shit’s real, and it gets crazy and hard. Sometimes very hard. I know from experience. But do what you want to do, not what you feel you have to do.
And that’s likely one of the most noble things one could aspire to.
Also, stay tuned for a special “blooper reel” of Camino and his homies clowning on camera. It should entertain the hell out of y’all. I know it made me laugh hard.
It was all a dream/I swear it never happened/I wrote like Edgar Allen/I was Poe like Edgar Allen,