Growing up in Arizona, I’ve seen a lot of the local hip-hop scene and have a few connects here and there around the state. My two bids in Tent City solidified a few more street connects, and I’m proud of every budding entrepreneur in my home state.
Whenever I’m in South Phoenix, I have to stop by and chill with Vik Junior’s fam, which includes a lot of musicians on their grind in the valley.
Vik Junior resembles Wakka Flocka Flame, but that’s where the similarities end – VJ comes from a musical family, with deep roots in gospel, soul, jazz, and classic R&B. Jay-Z is clearly more of an influence than Wakka.
Judge Da Boss, VJ’s longtime collaborator, business partner, labelmate, and friend, leans more toward the Southern rap style, and the mixture between them can be music to my ears.
After a few years working with indie labels, Judge signed with Amare Stoudemire’s fledgling Arizona hip-hop label. When Stoudemire was traded from the Suns to the Knicks, he brought Judge to New York, where he signed to Def Jam. Last year, Judge signed a deal with Sony Records, who he currently records with.
I’ve spent a few holidays barbecuing with these men and gotten to know them as fam, so my view of their music may be skewed, but their Crack Muzic mixtape was blaring through my speakers the morning of my document leak with Anonymous. I’ve followed their musical evolution and careers ever since.
I bring it up now, because I believe they’re at a level where they deserve more media attention. Both Judge and Vik Jr have a flawless grind, and I want to do my part in rooting on the home team.
So as I light this blunt and turn up my speakers tonight, I’ll be listening to Judge Da Boss, Vik Junior, and all the other talented Arizona MC’s, DJ’s, instrumentalists, singers, dancers, and other artists on the desert streets grinding until the wheels fall off…
Brian Penny is a former Operations Manager and Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. He’s a frequent contributor to Huffington Post, Main Street, Hardcore Droid, and Cannabis Now.