Rapper and poet Al Basics, Allan Holguin, will perform at ROTA Gallery from his new album “Return of the Scholar.”
Bringing the sounds of a Queens poet to the ROTA Gallery, Al Basics will be delivering his thoughtful cadence of spoken word poetry and hip hop during a show on June 29.
Allan Holguin took on the name Al Basics as a reflection of the advice he received in school.
“I was taught that mastering the fundamentals are key to becoming a master of anything and the basics are the key foundation to growing as an artist,” said Holguin. “I am first and foremost a poet.”
Holguin will be bringing his show to the North Country for the first time at 7 p.m. June 29 at the ROTA Gallery which is located at 50 Margaret Street in Plattsburgh.
The performer said he found his place in his music and his poetry, making his own version of progressive hip hop, with elements of grunge, spoken word, and indie rock. He delivers his poetry through a slow cadence, complimented with scholar and allure.
“I grew up with hip hop, your local anthem is always local music,” said Holguin. “I got into poetry because I was a shy kid and it became my outlet.”
After finding himself as an artist in Arizona, The Queens-born artist said he will be touring the New York area this summer. After high school, Holguin moved out west to Arizona for college, where under the cloak of anonymity his creativity flourished.
“No one knew me, I left all of my shyness behind and I went to open mic nights and performed and just really found myself,” said Holguin.
Holguin studied at The University of Arizona, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing. Upon graduating, Holguin decided to stay in Tucson where he completed several non-fiction publications and won poetry awards.
For the ROTA show, Holguin said he will bring mostly his rap music to the table with a few spoken word poems intermixed. He will be playing music from his newest album “Return of the Scholar” which is an in-your-face and aggressive manifesto.
After his son was born, the sound of Holguin’s music turned.
“Everything has changed, the birth of my son gave me that grown-up feel and since he’s been born I want to make quality lyrics and music,” said Holguin. “I feel so much pressure to have him hear my music when he’s older and be impressed. I plan to make eternal music and try to make a timeless art.”
Holguin said a song on his new album titled “To Allen” was the scariest song he has ever had to write.
The song begins with the actual sound of Holguin son’s heartbeat before he was born. Holguin begins with a question “I wonder how old you are when you hear this?” and goes into a grown-up conversation from a father to his son.
Since expanding his poetry into hip hop, the 26-year-old artist said he has gained influence from many artists while staying true to his original sound.
“You have to be yourself, as an artists it’s hard to stay true when you see another artist getting attention but what you’ve got to do it stay true,” said Holguin. “It’s better to be influenced by a bunch of artists than to steal from one. You have to listen to as much music as you can, read as much as you can and be true to yourself.”
Admission is based on a sliding pay-what-you-can scale from $3 to $10. For more information about Basics, visit his website at www.albasics.com where samples of his spoken word poetry and hip hop can be heard.