Bodega Bamz: “Since my parents were strict, we couldn’t curse in the house and couldn’t watch rated R movies. So the only person we could really listen to in my household was Michael Jackson. We all grew very fond of him. When he passed away, I feel like my childhood passed away with him.

 

I listened to this artist named Carman a lot. Carman is a Christian contemporary artist. He was a big inspiration to the way I perform on stage because I used to cover his songs in church in front of the congregation.

 

“But we also listened to salsa, Héctor Lavoe, and a lot of house music and Christian music. I listened to this artist named Carman a lot. Carman is a Christian contemporary artist. He was a big inspiration to the way I perform on stage because I used to cover his songs in church in front of the congregation.

“We really couldn’t listen to all the hardcore shit growing up. Whatever was on the radio, that was what I heard. I used to go to Long Island with my cousin Ace. My cousin had a crazy collection of albums so me and my brother Ohla used to steal his rap CDs. He was the one who introduced me to the Biggies and 2Pacs. The first CD he gave me was 2Pac’s Greatest Hits. I remember listening to that whole thing front to back; that was one of my favorite albums. I was a Pac fan, crazy.

“Around 11 or 12 I got introduced to all the other hip-hop acts, not just what was on the radio. But I really don’t listen to rap nowadays, I stick to the golden age, like 1997 to 2002.”