Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Recording Artist Carlito' Santino': Rapping Truth While Repping Mississippi

by Cyrus Webb

For recording artist Carlos Sims aka Carlito' Santino' (formerly Jokah da General), life has come full circle. The Mississippi native is seeing his hard work pay off in a big way, and that is helping him in fulfulling some of his goals in life.

It seemed inevitable that music would be a big part of his life as an adult. "I knew I wanted to be a performer at a young age," says the 29 year old native of Jackson, Mississippi. "I would be watching Michael Jackson on tv. He was preforming the song "Rock With You", and I said then that performing was what I wanted to do. I grew up listening to music. My mom played alot of music at family gathering, and I couldn't help but start dancing to it. It spoke to me."

Carlito' has gone from dancing to singing and evenutally rapping, not giving up one for the other--but allowing them to co-exist within him.

What surprises him the most about the music he creates? "The fact that I have been able to find audiences of all ages, including what are considered older people," he says. "My music is diverse, and that has been true of my listeners as well. It's the power of the music and how it speaks to the person that makes them listen."

Coming from a state that is known for great talent, Carlito' does find it frustrating that independent recording artists like himself are not always supported by their hometown, whether in events that are going on or even on the radio. "It seems that other states work more together, like in New York and Georgia. I feel like this: even if you don't like each other personally, you should want to support the talent because it's homegrown. We as artists dictate a lot of things in our community. For us not to work together and show unity can bring division into the city, and that's not good."

Since he brought up division, I couldn't let the opportunity pass to ask Carlito about how he balances the business side of the music industry and his responsibility to be a positive influence. "It's kinda hard to balance the two," he responded, "but the important thing for me is being honest. I speak reality rap. Some reality is good, some is not. I do, however, make positive songs and give real messages in my music as well. You better believe that when I open my mouth to speak, there is a always a lesson to be learned by what I say."

For Carlito' Santino', the future seems bright. He is currently working on a solo project, but he is also involved in his group Jack Squad. Carlito' is also a member of the Shadow Play Entertainment family and supports its literacy campaign Hip Hop and Books which gets music lovers involved in reading (see www.hiphopandbooks.net).

For more information, Carlito' can be reached by email at muzic4dapeople@yahoo.com or at 769.251.3308. Download Jack Squad's single "Welcome 2 Da Jack" free here: www.esnips.com/web/welcome2dajack

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