[Aural Reports] Santa Ana Hip-Hop's Siccness Reps and Raps the OC Underground

Ill Communication
Siccness reps and raps the OC underground

Santa Ana rapper Siccness sells his dream out of his trunk.

How did you become a rapper?

Since junior high school, I messed around with flows and stuff like that, but I really got serious with it when I built a studio in my closet. After work every day, I started making music with my friends, and I just became more serious with it.

What goes into making a studio in your closet?

I got the sound foam and closed it up like a professional-style booth. Now, I've got a different type of booth where I've got sound foam, sound glass and moving blankets, and we closed out the closet and have a mic hanging down on a gooseneck. We get a nice clean sound with no echo, kids, or dogs barking.

So it's like a home-improvement project as much as buying audio equipment?

Yeah, pretty much. You've got to build it and make sure no sound gets in there. You don't need the $100-to-$200-per-hour studio. If you put in the right effort at home and get someone who can man the board—mix and master down—you can get that studio-quality sound right from your home.

How have you tried to promote your music?

When I had my first EP, I sold it out of my trunk. I was going to the Bristol Swap Mall, MainPlace Mall, the Block, concerts at the House of Blues. I was standing in front with some of my friends. I had them for $5 each, just so I could push it and get my name out there in any way possible. MySpace is a big help for independent artists trying to come up right now. A lot of the shows I've gotten have been from people who've heard my music on MySpace and contacted me.

Did you develop a technique for selling your music on the street?

I tried to be out on the streets and face to face with people. “I'm a rapper and trying to come up. Here's my new CD, if you'd like to buy it.” For my new project, I'm going to do that, but also get together some street teams and hit up several parts of Orange County. I'll have banners, posters and fliers. If you don't stay in the streets directly with the people, they ain't going to feel you. I'll sell them at my shows and let them know that if they want to get with me in the parking lot, I'll have them in my trunk.

Has anyone ever been rude when you've tried to sell them a CD?

Not really. Honestly, everyone's real respectful. They take the time and listen to what I'm saying. If they're not interested, they'll just say they don't have money.

You have a song called “Born N Raised” that's specifically about being from Santa Ana?

That's where I was born and raised. I rep Santa Ana and Tustin, but Orange County in general. A lot of people said I made an Orange County anthem. I want to put Santa Ana and Orange County on the map. If I blow up—it's Orange County. I've got that across my forearm.

How do you see the Orange County hip-hop scene?

When I first started, everyone was doing their own thing. Now, there are so many artists in Orange County coming together. That's a good thing. There are different styles, but we're all collaborating. There are a lot of hungry artists ready to let the music world know that we've got rappers in Orange County.

Do you identify your music as gangster rap, commercial, conscious hip-hop, or something else?

We've got several rappers in Orange County who will rap strictly gangster rap and several who rap strictly commercially, and we have rappers who are strictly lyricists with that lyrical tip. Then there are the artists who do it all. I go the lyrical and the gangster tip. As far as the bling-bling, the money and the flashy-cars stuff, that's not me. I stay with the street music. But people can bob their heads to it. I love music to death, so I don't have dislike for any music, but when they start talking about cars, jewelry, money and champagne—that ain't me. I'll turn it off. I'm more into hardcore, underground music.

For more information, visit www.myspace.com/siccnessmusic.

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