Current Salt Lake Community College student and local rapper, Santo Guzman, is making his way up in the local hip-hop community.
Local record label, Feel Good Music Coalition, released Guzman’s first full-length album, “Elapsed,” in June 2012. Guzman is currently working on new songs.
“Right now, my goal is to make a whole bunch of songs and give them out for free and [get] back to that mentality of promoting,” says Guzman.
Guzman’s favorite rappers include Lupe Fiasco and Common, and he wants to take a similar direction as them with his music.
“The direction I’ve been trying to go towards is conscious, maybe political hip-hop,” says Guzman. “I want to perform at colleges, because colleges have young people that are trying to be conscious or be intellectuals.”
Guzman’s next performance will be at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus for the Latinos in Action High School Conference on Nov. 5, where he will also be giving out free copies of one of his mix-tapes.
Guzman has previously performed at the Latinos in Action Conference at Utah Valley University, at Kilby Court and, opening up for Salvador Santana, at In the Venue.
Rapping started as a hobby for Guzman in the sixth grade. He would write his own lyrics to hip-hop songs he heard on the radio. His passion for rapping took the next step when the Boys and Girls Club he would hang out at after school opened up a music studio in his ninth grade year.
“When I got to the Boys and Girls Club, when I started recording in the nice mic, I started hearing my voice, started hearing what it sounded like, that’s when I was like ‘Man, I want to do this,’” says Guzman.
Encouraged by a mentor at the Boys and Girls Club to put on a live performance, Guzman and some peers performed at the club, and according to Guzman, it felt like his whole middle school showed up to watch.
“I was way nervous,” says Guzman. “My veins felt electric.” No feeling has ever quite matched the feeling of his first performance.
Guzman performed wherever he could including coffee shops and as part of a weekly hip-hop spotlight that used to be put on at Mo’s Bar and Grill. Sometimes, parents would pay Guzman to perform at their daughter’s quinceanera after one of his friends would recommend him.
Guzman continues to strive for success as a rapper and has made such an impact on the local hip-hop community that another rapper even tried to start a rap beef with him.
“There was this one guy; I have no idea who he was. He actually made a video about me, and he was just talking trash all day, and he was saying some stuff about my sister, and I don’t even have a sister,” says Guzman.
Guzman didn’t respond to the video but says he was somewhat flattered that another rapper thought attacking him might make the rapper better known.
“I don’t believe in them [rap beefs]. I feel like we should all agree and just have mutual respect for each other, like, even if we don’t make the same kind of hip-hop, we should all kind of get along and support each other—have each other’s back—because at the end of the day, we’re all doing hip-hop,” says Guzman.