In MAGAZINE on January 3, 2012 at 4:50 am
Most rappers don’t incorporate other genres into their music. Most rappers go by one name their entire career. Guatemala Shawty, however, is nothing like most rappers. He knows this and aims to change the way you think rap should sound…if you’ll expand your mind enough to let him. You know that box most people are in when it comes to their perception of how rap should sound? Well not only does he think outside that box, he aims to destroy it.The former Eldorado Redd is something like a master chef, constantly in the kitchen tinkering with the recipe that his colleagues stick to faithfully, creating a sound that is uniquely his. As a 10th grader at Tri Cities high school in East Point, a teacher took an interest in the youth and asked him what he wanted to do with his life. “I ain even hesitate, I knew off the rip, I always wanted to be a music industry mogul. When I told him that, he promised me that if I got my act together he would introduce me to some folk who could help me out.” The teacher introduced him to the team behind Bread and Water Productions, twin brothers Chris and Conrad Rosser. The duo worked with Tupac to produce the hits ‘Thug Style’ and ‘When I get free’.

Guatemala immediately started recording and formed a group called ‘Who You Callin Country’ with local artists The Con Artist and Zay Cash. It was The Con Artist who dubbed him Eldorado Redd, after a pimp who was the subject of a Donald Goines book. . “I also met an old school cross country player who was highly respected at a pool hall on Auburn who went by that name. He gave me his blessings for using it.” If that wasn’t enough, shortly thereafter Donald Goines nephew found him on myspace and also gave him his blessings for recording with the name. And thus Eldorado Redd the rapper was born.

The trio earned a single deal from Dallas Austin. “I felt like we was on our way to bigger and better things then.” The relationship with Austin ended abruptly, however, when the other two members of the group found themselves incarcerated. Undaunted, Guatemala continued on as a solo artist with Bread and Water. “I knew I had to keep pushin no matter what!”

Bread and Water met with Break ‘Em Off Records, a label helmed by cousins Lucky Teflon and Dan Brown. Break ‘Em Off was pushing the number 1 street anthem at the time, ‘Never Scared’ by Bone Crusher. They were already signed to So So Def/Columbia Records when Kevin Liles offered them a label deal with Def Jam. This move made them the first independent label to have two deals simultaneously. Eldorado Redd saw his dream snatched away from him again when Liles left Def Jam. Lucky Tef reached out to him after the deal crumbled and decided to continue working with him at Tef’s outfit, Overdue Entertainment.

He went to work honing his craft, exposing himself to as many different scenes and genres as possible. “I met a girl from overseas who had a lot of connections all over the world; she opened my mind up and made me look at music and life differently. She put me on to making connections with key players in other countries and knowing how the international market works.” Soon, his music and mindset had expanded so much that he felt even his name was not expansive enough to suit his global mien. His ability to make connects with major power players and seamlessly fuse rap with other genres lead to the moniker Guatemala Shawty, The Plug and The Connect.

That he has dedicated himself to pushing the envelope is evident in his latest effort “Westside to The West Coast and Passport to Paree”. Thirteen of the 17 tracks were produced by Overdue Entertainment’s in-house producer Calvin “KeyCal” Ewings.
The double disc album, available for download at (search GUATEMALA SHAWTY), is nothing short of a tour-de-force of alchemy, a perfect witch’s brew with a little bit of this and a little bit of that thrown in. It pushes you out of your comfort zone with the hauntingly soulful “Oceans Ahead of Time”, which features Grace Evora, a Dutch artist of Cape Verdean descent, on the hook. Listeners receive a gentle jolt with the jaunty “Bless Us All”, while artist Mia Ford croons in French.  He even takes us on a trip to Mexico with the infectious “Guatemala”, which invites you to chant his name; hell you probably won’t be able to keep yourself from doing just that. Who ever heard of a rapper using mariachi music…and doing it so well? While he connects with different cultures Guatemala, who was born in Decatur and raised on every side (east, west and south) of Atlanta, also stays true to his roots with “Hot Flame”, a dark, organ laced banger Bun and Chad (RIP) would be proud of. “Daddy’s Girl” has an ‘80’s feel to it and harkens back to a time when girls swooned over their favorite heartthrob, clad in leg warmers and door-knocker earrings. And even though arrogance is not a desirable trait, you just can’t be mad at it when you hear the track with that name; with his talent and creativity, you have to agree, he got it honest!

Despite his well-deserved arrogance, Guatemala is humble enough to know that in order to get his music to the masses he must keep grinding to get the numbers up and doing whatever it takes to get exposure, doing shows, meeting deejays, approaching people from all ages and walks of life to introduce them to his music, and grinding ‘til he becomes a household name. He intends to create a brand, and has already started filming  movies, movies based on experiences and lives of people in his immediate circle (Break Em Off and Overdue family) that run the gamut from death, pain, incarceration, and the ugly side of the game. He also wants to tell his own story, how Guatemala Shawty became El Jefe, Spanish for ‘The Boss.’ His jefe status comes from being a power player, being able to link up musicians and touch different genres across the globe.

Although he is a master at blending so many elements that are seemingly incongruous, he is not satisfied with stopping there. “My thought process is not local; I don’t think ‘who can I work with in Atlanta’. I’m tryna see who hot in London, Africa, all over the globe! I wanna keep exposing people to a different sound in hip hop, keep pushing the envelope and fusing different genres of music together, like afro-cuban, salsa, hip hop, rock and jazz.

You can follow him on twitter @GUATEMALASHAWTY and on Facebook at Once you Plug in and get Connected, get your passport ready; you’re headed to Paree!

-E.C. Jordan 

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 The Day & Life Of Guatemala Shawty  
  1. I love to see a Hustla hustle , a grinder grind, and a Rapper Rap… Guatemala has all those traits. #2012 is the year of Greatness …#ImBeBehindThe Movement Chuuuuch!!!

  2. Shawty get @ me.

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