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Proud rapper Staying Local

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Local rapper Makeem “Haz” Bartley wants to create music that has one major thing: authenticity.

The 21-year-old said he wasn't interested in copying what musicians in other parts of the world were doing.

Instead he's using his craft to delve deep into what life's like as a Bermudian. His latest album “Staying Local” is out now. He spoke to The Royal Gazette about what people can expect from the project.

Q: What inspired your latest album “Staying Local”?

A: “Staying Local” is simply a direct response to the fact that Bermudian musicians tend not to let their environment be the influence in their music. I thought I'd give it a try in hope to inspire others to do the same.

Q: What can people expect with this album?

A: People can expect some Bermudian vernacular, authenticity, creativity and diversity, for sure. I have plenty of interesting guest features and extras. I'm really excited for Bermuda to hear it.

Q: Can you tell me about one song that stands out as your favourite? What about it resonates and what do you hope it gets across to your listeners?

A: I'm trying not to sound cliché, but every song has its own purpose. If I really had to choose, I'd say Parishes, because I find the flow in my verses fun to recite. The chorus is catchy and relatable to anyone Bermudian. Oh, and I produced it! That's always a plus.

Q: How long have you been on the local music scene?

A: Officially I released my debut project, “Eye Opener”, on August 11, 2011.

Q: How would you say your style as an artist and musician has changed from now to when you first started?

A: I'd say I've always been versatile. I don't commit to one genre at all. As far as change, my content seems to be getting a little more unfiltered and truthful, no matter who may disapprove. For me, it's all about discovering your truth and being transparent to those willing to listen. I'm feeling a step closer to my ideal self and I have to document every step.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your music? Is it just something to entertain or do you want people to think differently about certain subjects or topics?

A: Specifically for this project, I wanted to celebrate the uniqueness of Bermudian people, culture and so on, and defeat the destructive mentality of Bermudians believing anything locally produced is never up to standard. Bermuda is chock full of brilliance! We are more than enough.

Q: Where do you hope to see yourself musically in five or ten years?

A: Touring, touring, touring. That's how every popular artist is making a living. I'm excited to see how I progress as far as content. And to have a sea of roaring fans would be boasty!

* “Staying Local” is available for free download at www.soundcloud.com/itsthehazman. Visit “Haz the Human” on Facebook.

In full flow: “Haz”, right, rhymes about Bermudian life in his new album “Staying Local”
Cultural identity: “Haz”, right, with Gracie Edwards. Both have been regular performers at Chewstick
Photo by Glenn Tucker Reggae singer Live Wires enlightens the crowd during the Spotlight for a cause Dion Ford Benefit concert at Whitney Institute Middle school Saturday evening.
<p>Haz’s three favourite artists</p>

Live Wires

Haz said he looks up to the local artist “not only because of his humble vibes, but his impeccable stage presence and ability to cater to any crowd he performs for”.

Kendrick Lamar

The American rapper is another international artist Haz admires. “He’s a resounding voice of this generation and has really made his mark while being sincere, and not conforming.”


The rapper — real name Nasir Jones — has had a huge influence on local entertainer Haz. “I listened to him growing up and his overall message and how he carries himself professionally is admirable,” he said.

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Published December 16, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm)

Proud rapper Staying Local

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