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Hip-Hop Survivor Skydro Still Pushing Through

In a rough-and-tumble town for hip-hop, he's one of the survivors. Skydro's a lifer, the opposite of a defeatist, an upbeat, invigorated presence on the mic. So what does he bring to the Vegas scene?

What does Skydro sound like?

"I've been compared to 2pac, Mos Def, Sean Paul, but I feel that I'm original. I blend hip-hop, reggae, even cinematic sounds, plus more, which I think makes me the best of this new generation of hope -- like Obama!"

This can be a tough town for hip-hop acts to catch much of a break. How would you characterize the Vegas hip-hop scene?

"The Vegas hip-hop scene seems impossible at times. Like my close friend, R&B artist Airamis, says, it takes heart to make it. Vegas seems to judge rappers with no trial, but me and my crew, FunkDNA, and my producer, David Rosen, just keep pushing though. Vegas needs diversity in all music forms."

On the cover of your latest CD, "Success Stories," you're burning money. Is this a comment on hip-hop's commercialism?

"The cover is meant to be interpreted in many different ways. It absolutely is a comment on commercialism in hip-hop, going about as far in the opposite direction as I could from the usual hip-hop imagery. But more importantly, it's a statement of where the average American is right now. The idea of having to burn money to stay warm I believe is a powerful visual. Our first video, 'Freedom,' which was directed by Eric Kowal, also features a lot of powerful, controversial images."

All told, "Success Stories" seems like a galvanized, optimistic record. It may be fueled, in part, by some hard times, but it doesn't wallow in them.

"We're all fueled by hard times. The middle class and credit is disappearing; only the rich and poor remain. 'Success Stories' seeks to give hope to America to inspire, overwhelmingly, our will to survive, to think positive and win. It's been a very hard year for a lot of people, myself included, but 'Success Stories' is a symbol of positivity for me and I hope it becomes one for others as well."

With that in mind, how would you define success?

"My mentor, Jarvee Hutcherson, the president of the American Society of Young Musicians in Hollywood, taught me, along with my own personal experience, that success is to find peace of mind and to know you're best at what you are best at, and to live with your choices and still smile in the mirror, win or lose. That, and being able to provide for my children is my version of a success story."

Hear Skydro at www.skydrosphere.com.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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