Harlem, USAthe mecca of black America, and the birthplace of the legendary Apollo Theater, has produced some of hip-hop’s most iconic figures. From Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs, Doug E. Fresh, Big L, Cam’ron, to the newest Harlemite—Josiah Hotwire, a witty emcee gifted with a universal flow. Josiah’s musical influences vary, from Jimi Hendrix and The Doors to Jay-Z and Nas. But his greatest obstacle was making it out of the ghetto alive, and not getting caught up in the trap.

Josiah was destined to be an emcee. But that realization didn’t occupy his mind, until he and his father attended the famous ‘Jack Da Rapper’ event in the early 90s. Josiah met The Pharcyde, Naughty by Nature, TLC, Grand Puba, Fat Joe, and even managed to take a priceless photo with Tupac Shakur. After the event, Josiah wanted to become an emcee, and when he was eleven years old, a great coronation took place.

One day my friend came over with a book, filled with African king names,” says Josiah, “and my friend said, ‘we gonna call you Josiah,’ and I was like why? And he replied, ‘King Josiah was 8 years old when he restored order in his kingdom.’ I didn’t like the name at first, but you know in the hood—once people start calling you something, and you don’t like it, they’re going to keep calling you that. So overtime, the name Josiah stuck, and I added Hotwire to it because I’m like a hotwire on the microphone.” 

Years after being coronated, Josiah and his older brother got the opportunity to write lyrics for an Off-Broadway play entitled—The Runaways. Jay-Z heard the rhymes and asked, “Who wrote the lyrics? It’s dope!” All fingers pointed back to Josiah and his brother, and what transpired next—blew their mind. Jay-Z invited them to come to one of his boxing workouts at Chelsea Piers, and while in the presence of the god-emcee, Josiah rhymed and Jay-Z listened intensively. The chemistry in the room was great, so much so that Jay-Z spoke about his future plans, but also gave Josiah and his brother—business advice about the ins and outs of the music industry.

“He told us how big he was going to be in the future,” says Josiah, reminiscing about the meeting he had with Jay-Z. “It was dope—hearing Jay-Z speak about his life now before it happened.”

Meanwhile, Josiah has performed on main stages in Paris, Canada and Australia—where he lived for 10 weeks, performing and lecturing children at many stop the violence/anti-bullying workshops. “I met a fan named Mike,” says Josiah, about his most memorable moment in Australia, “and Mike knew the rhymes to my song, 365 No Days Off. He asked me to sign his van and then he said, ‘Dude I’m not gonna sell the car!’ It was such a surreal and fulfilling moment.”   

For more information about Josiah Hotwire please contact him via Twitter and Instagram. Support his latest singles, “That Work,” “Rope Chain Music,” and “Moonshine,” all coming off of his new mixtape/album, Can’t Take Me Down.

Writer: Zangba Thomson

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