In the very short time that I’ve learned and discovered urban artists in Buffalo, one trait has stood clear here in the Nickel City, and that is originality. The heavy influence and competition coming from rhymers, singers and poets just eight hours south in New York City creates a sense of urgency here- And Hefebossup is here for the challenge. Hailing from Buffalo’s West Side, the charismatic rapper known for his infectious anthems and unapologetic online personality has garnered an interestingly large fan base in young suburbanites. Despite his provocative one-liners and rebel like aesthetic, HefeBossup is a crowd favorite. Thanks to his high-energy performances and heavy crowd participation, he is definitely one to watch in the Nickel City.
“Without music I wouldn’t be alive.”
Inspired by the pursuit of success and a nod to his Dominican roots, Hefebossup also known as Howard Martinez grew up in Atlanta. Moving to Buffalo at nine years old, and suffering through a rather unstable home life with his parents and grandmother led him to music. Losing family and friends at a young age, pushed his aspirations to write and rap around thirteen. With influences from Southern and East Coast Hip-Hop, Martinez often imitated artists, but soon found his own style. Inspired by nursery rhymes and catchy pop music, the rapper found his niche in colorful storytelling and shock-value hooks.
“I’ve been that dude at Gypsy Parlor. Just me and the sound dude at open mic going back and forth, two people sitting at the bar and the bartender… I feel like I’ve been at the lowest of the low.”
Despite building confidence in his music and sound, both his personal and public life came with intense setbacks. From selling drugs to survive, to losing his mother as a young adult, Hefebossup experienced more than a fair share of tragedies- and also opposition. When working to record and release music with fellow artists became difficult, he left local labels and ventured out on his own. With minimal support in Buffalo, the young rapper began performing in Rochester and surrounding areas.
“Once I separated myself I started actually figuring out what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Continuously performing on the outskirts of Buffalo, Hefe gained traction opening for noteworthy artists like Mobb Deep, Migos and Kirko Bangz. Building his repertoire, the self-proclaimed underdog also expanded his social scope. From hanging out with Famous Dex to chatting with Adam Levine, Hefe soon began booking shows in Buffalo. Releasing his first project in 2017, called “Bossup,” and then another in 2018 titled “Just The Beginning,” his influence, particularly with young people, became undeniable.
“With this age of technology…you have to seize the moment.”
On Instagram alone you can find five to ten videos of fans lip-syncing Hefebossup’s music, playing it at school or just shouting him out. With a strong admiration from local youth, Hefe hangs on to that support by keeping his online personality lively. Sharing intriguing videos, funny quotes or his next show, the West-Side rapper capitalizes his platform any way he can, but also makes sure he leaves an impact.
“A lot of my fans start making music because they listen to mine… you never know what you can do for somebody just by giving them a positive experience.”
Despite his rough beginnings in the Queen City, and now five year rap career, Hefe consistently expresses his ironic, undying love for Buffalo. He’s known to surprise his most loyal fans at local shows and games to support them in the day to day. Hefe’s considerable work ethic in and out the studio is notable, besides his music.
“Having these fans now inspire me more and more to make music every single day…Some of these kids are from way different walks of life than me…better walks of life than me, and for them to even care about anything I got to say blows my mind within itself.”
Inspired by one of his favorite rappers, Nelly, Hefebossup’s music plays off of witty punchlines. His best known singles like “Gimmie Gimmie,” “Vlone,” and “New Era” all encompass slightly humorous wordplay. While risque and raunchy, Hefe’s tenacious attitude heightens his music. Equipping his sound with catchy themes makes it easy for fans to sing to, and like his southern idol Nelly, makes for influential creative concepts. With a potential jingle for Papa Johns, currently in the works, the slick rhymer keeps the idea of one day having his music featured in video games, movies and live shows.
“I always feel like I’m blessed.”
Thanks to streaming sites like Apple Music and Spotify, Hefe is touching listeners in Russia, Argentina and Germany. With a growing fan base and plan to release another project before the end of this year including a single with local rapper K.Rob titled “Pressure,” make sure you check out Hefebossup on social media or check him out right here in Buffalo performing at Silo City on August 25th!