OC hip-hop heads best not sleep on South County. If they do, San Clemente's Bumps the Goosegot is just one rapper they'd foolishly overlook, depriving themselves of his offerings of quality beats and rhymes. Born in Santa Ana, Bumps, whose real name is Eric Fernandez, forms one-third of Rock Bottom. As his emcee brethren Innate & EP do their duo thing, Fernandez is carving out a space as a solo artist. He's hoping to put a musical chill, raise hairs and deliver a case of the goose bumps through speakers!
But how did Fernadez start going by Bumps the Goosegot in the first place? A long time ago, he and his brother vibed to some music when his unique stage name stumbled out by chance. "It gives you bumps the goosegot!" Fernandez said, playing around with the phrase 'goose bumps.' His brother started laughing mentioning that should be his moniker. "I just rolled with it ever since."
Aside from side joke that stuck, Fernandez started taking hip-hop seriously in 2005 linking up with Innate & EP in a crew called Herbal Supplements before evolving into Rock Bottom. His recent turn at the mic apart from the group is a new venture. "We just branched off. It was a natural progression. Nobody was beefing," the bearded bard says. There were creative differences and Fernandez was at a different place in his personal life, but everything stayed smooth. "I'm still getting used to rocking solo shows."
He crafted his material early on, finishing Harry Bellies before his Rock Bottom cohorts began recording their duo debut Such As I. "I just wasn't able to release it due to financial reasons," Fernandez says. "I couldn't afford to press it up." The album finally dropped last September and features 16 tracks entirely produced by Fernandez's brother, OhSo Mugroso. Standout tracks include "Rise Up, "State of Mind," and "Fiesta Sin Gorra."
The beats are on lock with sharp snare hits and bass line grooves. The lyrics are introspective, political and clever. Bringing it all together on a solo tip was a task–one that Fernandez would gladly do over again in a heartbeat. "I feel like I learned way more about the craft, putting an album together, verses, concepts, wordplay and just thinking outside the box in order to make full songs," he says.
Though Harry Bellies hasn't been out for even a year yet, Fernandez is staying hungry, working in the lab for an untitled sophomore follow up. He enlisted the production talents of Dan Diggable. "Dan is a little more involved in the process. He likes sitting in on the writing sessions, where to go with verses and ideas," Fernandez says. "His production, he just goes super deep into that."
"We're trying to focus on putting a full, cohesive album that you can play from beginning to end," the rapper adds. "That's always been the goal but each experience you grow and learn from your mistakes."
As the new album awaits, Fernandez is looking to rock stages in the meantime. He's featured on the Day 2 lineup for the Observatory's Back to Basics festival, OC's finest weekend of hip-hop all year long. "Dan's going to be playing some live music on the MPC," Fernandez mentions. "I just try to change the flow of it so that anytime the energy might seem like it's about to drop down, I try to keep it going with something new and unexpected for the crowd."
The talent on the bill inspires Bumps and other local rappers to bring their A-game. "Nobody wants to come weak," Fernandez says. "That's the last thing anyone wants to do." The stage will be stacked with rappers who influenced him throughout. "There was a time in my life were I was all about Immortal Technique," he says of Sunday's headliner. "Revolutionary vol. 1 and 2, that was my shit right there." He also bumped Pharoahe Monch and Sick Jacken religiously.
As Bumps the Goosegot, Fernandez hopes to make a similar impact on listeners through his music. "For the most part, I try to stay consistent about my overall message to the world as I put myself," he says. "It's a unique thing. People take it in or take it back. To each their own. That's all you can do."
Bumps the Goosegot performs at Back to Basics (Day 2) with Immortal Technique, Raekwon, Souls of Mischief and more at the Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.observatoryoc.com, Sun., 4 p.m. $40. All ages.