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Live from Studio D: Hope the Rapper & Christian Moreno

From left to right: Hope the Rapper, Christian Moreno, and Brad DiPalma
Emily Quirk
/
NHPR
From left to right: Hope the Rapper, Christian Moreno, and Brad DiPalma

Hip-hop may not be the first thing you think of when connecting a thriving music scene to New Hampshire, but Jon Gonzalez of Nashua, known affectionately as ‘Gordie’ to friends, is hoping to change that.

In 2015 Gordie started Flow Free or Die Entertainment as a way to build a support network for up-and-coming artists and connect local talent with nearby venues.

Jon 'Gordie' Gonzalez of Nashua leads Flow Free or Die Entertainment
Courtesy of Jon Gonzalez
Jon 'Gordie' Gonzalez of Nashua leads Flow Free or Die Entertainment

Transcript

Jon ‘Gordie’ Gonzalez: Actually, [Flow Free or Die] started as a battle rap league. We made a bet, to battle up against each other, and it kind of blew up locally with social media. And then we ended up, you know, kind of coming together and saying, ‘Hey, you know, this actually can be a thing.’ So then we started doing events. I went from doing battle rap events to doing showcases in New Hampshire, and [we’re] just kind of trying to build from there.

And today on Live from Studio D, we're happy to help Gordie showcase some of that talent he's worked to cultivate over the past few years. Here in the studio, we have:

Hope the Rapper: Hope the Rapper from Kenya, Africa, all the way to New Hampshire.

Christian Moreno: Christian Moreno, New Hampshire born and raised.

Hope and Christian on vocals. And we also have Brad De Palma on acoustic guitar. They brought along DJ K-Low, and let me just say that having a live DJ here in the studio is a first for us, so thank you for that. This is so cool. Hope, let me start with you. Give me some background here. How did you get to New Hampshire?

Hope the Rapper: So in 1997 Nashua, New Hampshire was voted the best place to stay. My dad in Africa was looking for a place to move our family here. And since that was voted the best place, he moved us here. And ever since then, music has always been something in my life. I actually dropped my first mixtape when I was 14. My dad bought me 100 CDs. We paid $2 a CD, and I was selling them at school for $8. Um, and I sold out within two weeks. So then it's just something that has always stuck with me because– like, everybody, said that it was something that they liked.

Yeah. It's grassroots. You know, you're just doing it by word of mouth.

Hope the Rapper: Mhm. Exactly.

But it's grown since then, since your high school days selling CDs. This feels like you've [all] built a community.

Jon ‘Gordie’ Gonzalez: And, you know, it's a very small underground community. Everybody knows everybody. But I think the best thing about it is because we're so small, we all stick together in regards to that. And we've been building each other up. I mean, as long as I've been doing this, we've been building each other up.

Yeah, right. And Christian, you've seen that, right? I mean, New Hampshire born. Plenty of talent around.

DJ K-Low sets up in NHPR's master control room along side NHPR's Rick Ganley
Jon 'Gordie' Gonzalez
DJ K-Low sets up in NHPR's master control room along side NHPR's Rick Ganley

Christian Moreno: Yeah, yeah, I mean absolutely. Um, and obviously Gordie's been doing this for, for a while now. And, more recently, I myself just, you know, got involved through Hope, here.

Hope the Rapper: Yep. I heard his voice, and I don't… I don't understand why he hasn't been putting out music. Like this is something that needs to be shown.

So you guys are looking forward to the next community event– a block party? Can you tell me about it?

Jon ‘Gordie’ Gonzalez: The Block Party! Well, the block party is June 15th in Nashua on Ash Street. It's organized by a nonprofit called Involved to Impact. Shout out to Tom Lopez and his team over there. So, we get a bunch of local businesses in restaurants, food trucks. Hope performed last year.

Hope the Rapper: Yeah, it was amazing. Honestly, the crowd that you get there, it's…

Because I grew up in Nashua, so I'm not sure how another artist would feel about it, but you're in a city, you've driven past these streets, you've seen these people multiple times. Sometimes these people are busy. They can't get out to your shows or anything like that. But then you have this one day where the whole community can get down together– vendors, whoever you are, if you're an independent business or something like that– you want to bring something to your community, [and] then it's all in one zone. And then when you're performing as an artist, um, everybody is in their chaos - but they stop because, like, all of a sudden now there's good music playing too in the background. And they don't have that every day. They live on that street. So like, it becomes a different environment for them too, as well.

Jon ‘Gordie’ Gonzalez: Yeah. The city is starting to appreciate art a lot more, I would say in the last 3 to 4 years. They're really embracing it with regards to music. It's been a blessing for me, to be honest.

______________

The Tree Street Block Party is happening this Saturday, June 15, in Nashua. There will be more live music, kids carnival games, food trucks. You can find out more information by heading to the Tree Streets Block Party page on Facebook.

Before becoming Program Director, Quirk served as NHPR's production manager. During that time she's voiced and crafted the 'sound of the station,' coordinated countless on-air fundraisers, produced segments for Give Back NH, Something Wild, New Hampshire Calling, and developed NHPR's own NHPR Music vertical with features such as Live from Studio D, and long-loved favorites like Holidays By Request.
For many radio listeners throughout New Hampshire, Rick Ganley is the first voice they hear each weekday morning, bringing them up to speed on news developments overnight and starting their day off with the latest information.
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