Hip Hop Headquarters sits down with born, raised and residing in the Cayman Islands, Josh Pearl.
What’s it like being a rap artist in the Cayman Islands, where dance-hall and soca is more prevalent? What are the pros and cons?
It’s almost like being in Limbo. I can spend years creating music and videos just as great as anything else that’s charting right now around the world but without a system reciprocating my efforts I sometimes fall victim to questioning myself. At the same time it’s also cool because I get to be apart of building the culture that hasn’t been created at its fullest extent yet. So I can shape and set a precedent for what the future of hip hop in Cayman should be like.
What is the hiphop history of the Caymans? Are there big rap artists out there who paved the way for your generation, or are you guys basically starting from scratch?
I remember being 12 years old and this group named CBR were the first to actually make a rap album and sell it on island. To me they were the pioneers of hip hop but it only surfaced on island because they never had the Internet or any deals over seas. After that, hip hop was really quiet on island for a couple of years until the Internet wave came along. I’m not going to say me and the guys I started with were the first because I know there were a couple of people making music but we were the first to start the new era of hip hop by using YouTube around 06. We started shooting music videos and uploading them onto YouTube and then we started to discover hip hop artist in Cayman popping up and it’s been history ever since. The island literally got their first hip hop radio station about 7 years ago.
You were recently living in LA. How was that experience for you?
LA was dope. I lived in Miami for 4 years during high school so I was already cultured to America’s society. I really went to LA believing I would connect with the right people that can help expose what I was already doing to a bigger audience. I learned and seen alot of what the music culture is really about in America. I’m glad I got to experience it all. It really made me realize that it’s not about where you are, but what it is you are doing. I created my EP “Lost In Eldorado” during my year spent there so I’m grateful that I got to leave with something that I could not have created anywhere else.
What’s your favorite non-rap album of all time and why?
My favorite non rap album would have to be by Fun “Some Nights”. They remind me a lot of Billy Joel. Even though there music isn’t rap they say things that I would want to rap about or want to hear in rap music. From living like a rock star to speaking about dealing with life.
What do you think surprises listeners the most about you?
When I was living in LA I noticed that everyone I played my music for was surprised that I didn’t rap like how I regularly spoke. They would all ask where is my accent and they expected my music to sound more island like. My reason was that rap culture never existed on my island so the only people I listened to were American rappers and that’s why I rap the way I do. Because of that experience I began to experiment on how I can rap with my accent more, which is something I worked on and incorporated on my new upcoming EP Lost in Eldorado.
Born, raised and residing in the Cayman Islands, Josh Pearl presents “Emotional”, the new Taylor King-produced single from Pearl’s forthcoming EP Lost In Eldorado.