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Exclusive: MTD Interview w/HAM
You have a really generic name when it comes to rapping. What’s the story on getting the name HAM?
My full name is Michael Antonio Hamilton. They used to call my dad Ham-Bone, because that’s his last name too. They initially used to call me Hammer. It was like a hood joke. They just shortened it up and called it Ham. We already got an MC Hammer, so they just called me Ham.
When did you realize you wanted to be a rapper and do you remember your first rhyme?
I’d say when I was about nine years old, I got a cassette tape of Scarface’s The Diary, and I was listening to that, like man, this is what I want to do. I want to be a rapper, when everyone saying they wanted to be firemen and what not. I used to tell everyone I wanted to be a rapper. My first rhyme was a song called “Wild Side.” The chorus was just, “wild side, wild side, you gotta take it easy on the wild side.” I was 11 years old at my uncle’s house. He was a DJ, and I told him I wanted to make a song. It was over Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You.” I had that on the hook.
There’s a quote I found. You had said, “even though I’m a hustler from the hood my music is different. I’m not doing things how other rappers from Orlando might do it.” Can you explain how your music is different from the other hustlers in the game?
Everybody is talking about bricks, cars and robbing, you know what I’m saying? It’s just basically the same sounds. Like I was telling Seneca, my music is like the street-est backpack type music. It’s gonna reflect that I’m a hustler. I put in work out here. This is real music, real good music. I want it to be authentic. Anytime someone listens to me, I want them to know that it’s not all the same subjects, not about street stuff all the time. They’re gonna get real life situations too.
What made you go into the life of being a hustler and looking back, do you feel you made a good decision?
It’s things out here that I learned that I couldn’t learn in school. It’s some things I would change. I just had my reasons for doing what I did. My Mom had four kids and I was the oldest. There were things that I wanted and needed sometimes that I couldn’t have because I was the oldest. I had to do everything myself.
Talk a little bit about your recent release, Arm & Ham 1.5.
This is my debut project. I sat down and I took time to write each and every song. I was searching day and night for beats. I scrapped a whole project that I was about to do because I felt it wasn’t hard enough. That’s where the 1.5 in the title comes from. When people hear the mixtape, it’s got a mixture of songs. There’s different subjects and diversity. I got some songs for the females on here. The title is just me embracing the hustle.
Given the opportunity, what producer would you want to do a whole project with?
A whole project? I would do some with Cool & Dre, Swizz Beatz and you know there’s a lot of rappers who make their own beats too. I’d want something from Kanye. I’d rather work with a couple people instead of one.
Last question, sir. What do you have in the works currently?
I’m putting together a couple singles. Then, possibly come up with an album after I do a little EP, like taking songs off Arm & Ham 1.5 mixed with new ones.
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