“We started off as fans.” ~ Dae1
Words by: Raelyn Batacan
Photos by: Vina Cristobal
Video by: Reese Kato
In 2010, three local boys from Kaneohe broke into the Hawaii hip sop scene simply as supporters. By doing their homework, showing love to those before them, jumping into cyphers and meeting other rappers, Koins, Izzy I Am and Dae1, collectively known as the Broke Mokes, made their way respectfully as rappers in the Hawaii hip hop community.
The term ‘broke’, since coming together in high school, evolved from just being without money. Their context of the word ‘broke’ turned into breaking through life experiences and breaking through adversity.
“Hip Hop is the story of life,” says Koins.
What they put into their music comes from something they’ve been through or have seen that compels them to say something.
“We’re not gonna rap on something that has no meaning to us,” said Dae1. Opening up for Murs, an LA-based rapper formerly part of Living Legends, and performing for his audience where people appreciate lyricism was a humbling moment for them.
“Everyone has something to say it’s just a matter of choosing what you want to say. Hip hop you need balance. You need the fun, you need the consciousness but you definitely have to understand the responsibility of being an artist with a platform.” ~ Koins
“Keep Your Head Up”, originally named “The Placement Test”, is a story of their growth as individuals and artists. For the past three years, while making the EP, moving out of Kaneohe, being away from one another and living their own lives tested their artistry. Composing a song for a friend of theirs that passed made them come closer together and understand that their music can touch people that’s bigger than they realized.
Artists today have the resources to be able to get their music out. With medians such as podcasts, radio, the news and social media more people can listen and if they choose to listen they would be able to relate and develop change. When asked the question of how would you put Hawai‘i hip hop on the map, not only did the Broke Mokes mention that being able to represent their hometown of Kaneohe is great but they’d be able to let everyone know the real facts, the real grit of Hawai‘i by providing their own insight.
On Friday, October 2, 2015 the Broke Mokes will be hosting their first ever EP Release Party for “Keep Your Head Up” at the Republik. $5 for 21+, $15 for 18+. You can purchase their EP at thebrokemokes.bandcamp.com and check out some of their songs at soundcloud.com/brokemokes.