Updated: Mar 3
Hamilton grown rapper Joshua Bowman wants to see the local hip-hop scene continue to blossom.
Hoss Bowman thought he would become a wrestler.
"I got started in music basically through just being a hip-hop fan," said Hoss. "I never thought I wanted to be a musician or artist, as a kid I always wanted to be a wrestler- I was really into WWE. Other than that, I liked rock a lot as a kid, but it was really hip-hop that inspired me to start making music myself. It was really the vocal thing, and I was really into writing raps and rhyme-schemes, so I wanted to take a crack at it myself. Through that, it just opened up a bunch of doors, and the older I got the more I expanded my palette, and now I'm looking at music a lot differently than I used to."
It took Hoss a few years to discover rap.
"I was really obsessed with Nirvana when I was 12, 13. My mom used to always be really concerned that I was a weird kid, you know?" said Hoss. "My sister had a big part to do with it too- she's 12 years older than me, and was really into like, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Fallout Boy, a lot of post-punk and pop-punk bands, that had a lot of influence on me too. After that I discovered Eminem, and stuff like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog when I was around 16."
Although not musical themselves, Hoss grew up in a very supportive family.
"My family don't really have much of a musical background, but they always thought that me getting into music was cool," said Hoss. "They're great- my mom was kind of surprised that I rapped, because I was always this quiet kid, kind of dorky looking. But my family have always been very supportive, come out to shows, everything. I've always had a lot of support from them, it's something I've always been very appreciative of."
The 20 year-old started creating music as a hobby.
"I started creating my own music when I was around 16. I just kind of ripped a beat that I found- it was a cypher, so it's a beat that a bunch of different rappers were rapping on and having their own take on it," said Hoss. "I just kind of threw it up on Soundcloud and showed it to my buddies. It wasn't something I was really proud to share at first, I was just kind of like, "Oh, I made this rap song, isn't that kooky?" I would, like, send it to my close friends, but not actually post it on Facebook or anything. But as I got more comfortable, I started promoting it more."
Hoss took his title from a high school nickname.
"Well my original rap name was Respected Wizard, it came from the Wu-Tang name generator. My original idea was around this picture I found on Reddit, it was this kid wearing a skeleton costume for Halloween, it was a meme or something- I thought it was funny, so I got that and photoshopped a wizard hat on it," said Hoss. "That was my image for like a year, just sort of messing around with what I wanted. I changed it to Hoss Bowman because it was a nickname I had in high school. It kind of seemed like something that stuck."
"It's dumb, it's just something my friends used to say when we all smoked weed. Like if you had a really big toke or something, they'd be like, "Yo, that's Hoss bro." Because my name sounds like Hoss. There were a bunch, like Hoss Blowman, Hoss Smokeman, stuff like that."
Born and raised in Hamilton, Hoss says that being involved in the growing hip-hop scene is an important experience for him and other local rappers.
"The music scene is pretty great. The hip-hop scene is slowly growing, which has been really cool to see, really cool to be a part of too," said Hoss. "The hip-hop scene was always kind of like, you know, you got all your 90s scene revival rappers- there are a lot of rappers that fit into that crowd, it's kind of all the same. I respect everyone who is doing their craft, but like the hip-hop scene in Hamilton was pretty limited until recently. There are a couple modern rappers who are starting to pop-up and do their shows and get traction, people like Jay Portal is one of them. LTtheMonk sort of fits into the 90s-revival crowd, but he's doing his own thing."
Hoss slowly started playing shows after visiting an open mic.
"It started when I went to an open mic recommended by my friend Riley Cranston. He's actually the guy who does all my music videos as well," said Hoss. "It was at the Baltimore House, which is closed now. It was the first time I had actually performed outside of high school- it was great, of course I was a little awkward, but it went over well. After a couple people came up to me, one woman named Francis, she owns a really small venue called The Clef- she invited me to come over and do a set, and after that I sort of kept an eye out for venues and gigs looking to book artists."
After taking the one-year Mohawk College pre-media program, Hoss was accepted into the Television and Broadcasting program.
"I really like TV and Broadcasting, a lot of the profs are currently in the television industry and writing, editing, and getting jobs in the community. It's really cool, they're all very experienced."
A couple of his first big projects include shooting music videos for fellow Mohawk College rapper LTtheMonk.
"LT pitched the first video idea to me late at night while we were walking down the street somewhere, it was after a gig at The Casbah," said Hoss. "His idea was the whole fatherhood thing- for Papi Face. I actually recorded and mixed that song myself too. He explained it to me as he wanted it to be, like, an absent-father class about how to be a better father. Sort of like a home-ec class, but like a workshop that random people take. His stylistic idea for it was that he wanted it to be like a Wes Anderson movie, so he explained that to me and I thought it was awesome."
"Actually, our first creative project in this one class was basically open to whatever we wanted to do, so I invited LT to this studio that my buddy records at in Burlington, and that's when we filmed the video for "Oscar"."
Hoss is collaborating with local artists on his next musical project.
"I've got a new project coming out soon, I don't have a date for it yet- it's called Systematic," said Hoss. "LT is going to be on there, Judah Jump is doing some production on there- he's also LT's producer. Hopefully I'll get another couple of Hamilton artists on there as well. It'll probably be more of an EP, maybe a mixed tape."
Hoss plans to be involved in multiple projects, whether that's music based, film based, or a mix of the both.
"I have a couple music video ideas- I want to be more hands-on with my videos, I've been playing around with shooting my own music videos," said Hoss. "Beyond that, I want to just keep creating and growing artistically, work with new ideas and such."