When you think of Hawaii, what comes to mind? It could be everything from the beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, cool breeze, coconut trees, and everything that comes along with the island culture. Now, imagine a mix of Hawaii and the genre of hip hop. It seems somewhat ironic. I.A., a Hawaiian based rapper opposes the thought. Born Jordan Salud, in 1985 on the island of Oahu, I.A. is the son of the World Champion boxer Jesus “The Hawaiian Punch” Salud, who is a local icon to Hawaii.
At a young age I.A. was exposed to music. “My mom would always play music for me when I was young. Everything from Prince, The Jets, Steely Dan, and Jodie Watley,” says I.A.. “LL Cool J and Michael Jackson were my favorite artists at the time,” I.A. adds. Throughout time, I.A. now looks up to artists like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z as his favorite MC’s. At age six, I.A.’s uncle started a local hip hop crew, and was later offered an audition for the movie “House Party 3”. I.A.’s interests in hip hop were greater after his uncle’s accomplishments. In 8th grade, I.A. began to write his own lyrics to instrumentals of popular songs. Soon after, I.A. started a group with classmates in high school named “The Otherz”, and recorded numerous songs in his homemade studio in his bedroom. From engineering to producing his own music, I.A. would soon venture to his own solo projects to make his passion a profession.
In 2004, I.A. went into the studio to work with Derek Perkins, who is the former producer of Stevie Wonder and has worked with artist such as Mary J. Blidge. I.A. would also go on to work with numerous other local artists throughout Hawaii. Outside the local scene in Hawaii, I.A. recorded with Chicago native rapper/producer Devious. In The Summer of 2005, I.A. went to San Diego and recorded with engineer/producer Julian Tydelski who is a protégé of Brian “Big Bass” Garner, in Signature Sounds Studios. Now, I.A. is recording out of Exclusive Studios with Dean Wakatsuki, recording songs for his long awaited solo debut. His debut album is cleverly named “The Kama’aina Classic”, and features other artist such as B.E.T., Devious, and local up-and-coming artist Kawika Mcpeek. I.A. shows his skills behind the boards producing nearly half of the project, along with production from Devious, and San Diego based producer D’ Tha Enemy.
I.A. has made a local buzz performing in several of Hawaii’s hip hop events everywhere from Pipeline Café, O’ Lounge, The Blaisedell Arena, Mai Tai’s, Waikiki Shell, Panama Hatties, Fashion 45, & The Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park. I.A. has opened for national acts such as E-40, Yukmouth, Baby Bash, Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, Paul Wall, Mya, Brooke Hogan, Frankie J, Nina Sky, and Halftime at The AND 1 Basketball Game. I.A. was featured on the radio station Island 98.5 with comedian Auggie T, where he showcased some of I.A.’s music. I.A. was also crowned champ on Hot 93.9’s “9:00 Knockout”, for his single “Ready 2 Ride”. The single “Ready 2 Ride” has also been in rotation on 102.7 Da Bomb’s Stone Grooves show. The second single “DAT ISLAND SOUND” featuring B.E.T. was recently crowned champ on 102.7 Da Bomb’s 7:00 Smackdown. The single is currently in rotation and has the most spins to date from any Hawaii hip hop artist. I.A. is networking his music through the internet powerhouse myspace.com, where his profile views and playlists plays have reached the ten thousands. You can see his page at www.myspace.com/kamaainclassic. Exploring new ventures, I.A. linked up with The Nanakuli kick boxing club and The Daily Driven Car Club to make theme songs for their clubs. Breaking international borders, I.A. has caught the attention of Toshiaki Takahashi and Tomoyuki Matsuo for Xplus Entertainment from Japan. Xplus Entertainment is interested in licensing some of I.A.’s music and possibly releasing a full length album in Japan.
I.A. is in pursuit to bring Hawaiian hip hop to national and worldwide attention. “You have every region of the U.S. and different countries using hip hop to express their culture. I feel that it’s time for Hawaii to shine. There is so much talent out here and I want to help revolutionize the Hawaiian hip hop sound,” exclaims the anxious rapper. “My dad was the champ in the ring, but I want to be champ on the mic!”