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Why We Do It

Hello, My name is Charles Cruz Dueno, the artist you know as Agueybana X. Although I was born into the Hip Hop culture in the South Bronx, 1971, I actually began taking the music serious around 1986. I was in high school at the time; I was writing and reciting raps for my comic-book characters, then performing them for my friends, one of them being the artist you know as Mr. Ward. He was the one who convinced me to try writing for myself, and there began my legacy in this culture we call Hip Hop.

As time went by, I grew as an artist, meeting people along the way who would have a big impact in my life, like DJ Marv, AKA "Quan-Tut" now known as the Grandmaster DJ Que-Stylez, and Ronin Ali who was a part of the Bottomline crew. Together, we actually formed a super-group called "The Egyptian Empire" and performed together locally in the Lehigh Valley on the regular. Many of these bonds remain intact to this day, to the point we consider ourselves family.

So during the 90s, (which many people consider to be the Golden Age of Hip Hop), the Egyptian Empire mades its impact in the Lehigh Valley. Those days, we were full of energy and ambition, but we were young. If we knew then what we know now about the industry, I'm sure things would be different, but as the case with most people, we went on with our lives.

I, myself "retired" from making music in 2002, after returning from a hiatus when I served in the US Army. I retired from music, mainly because of the unrealistic expectations that were made on us; It was clear the music industry was changing, and I decided my family was the priority. This of course was the best decision to be made, because in that time I focused on my education, to include an "Associates Degree in Occupational Studies in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Technologies", as well as multiple certifications with Adobe, and AutoDesk.

I moved to Atlanta GA, and worked as a structural designer in the tradeshow industry for almost a decade, thus I was exposed to a lot of knowledge about marketing and sales. From time to time, I still render projects in 3ds Max and AutoCAD, on a freelancer basis, but as you can tell, my heart is and will always be Hip Hop.

So in 2014, a certain rap artist (who I will not name) angered the Native American community with a song and dance, using depictions of the sacred war bonnet. Regardless of what people believe, these things are sacred to the Native American Community, and should be treated with respect. I am Boriqua, thus I have Native American roots, plus I have strong roots in the Hip Hop culture, so everything about what he did is wrong in my eyes.

Well, this set something off in me, because one of the unrealistic expections that drove me to retire from the music scene in the first place, was that in order to be successful, I had to become some kind of "cowboy-western gangster rapper." I came from a conscience era of hip hop; theres just some things we dont do, and it sad to see how we have become desensitized to the very things that made Hip Hop culture great in the first place.

I began recording "The Ill Philosophy" at the Grand Hustle/Soul Asylum in Atlanta GA, as an answer record; This is how we did it back in my day. But also, I found myself experiementing with Ableton Live to create the sound I use today. I rebranded myself as Agueybana X meaning "The Great-Sun Mysterious" and began developing the sound I called "Jibaro Stylee" as a tribute to my forefathers.

I eventually returned to the Lehigh Valley in 2015, taking my freelance design business. "Bohio LLC" with me to Pennsylvania, and applying all my knowledge into the branding and marketing of myself as an artist "Agueybana X", as well as lending support to Mr. Ward with his phenomenal album, "The Goal Is..." As stated before, many of the people I associate with are considered family, so of course they lend in their support.

DJ Que-Stylez also followed a similar route, pursuing his education with an Associates Degree in Computer Information Technology-Networking. He was already a master DJ when I first met him, but during this time he has mentored many DJs in the craft, thus earning the title of "Grandmaster". Ronin Ali made an incredible transition from being a lyrical MC, to being a vocalist as well as an amazing percussionist; He has performed all over the world, with legends like Lady Alma, and Carol Riddick. Ronin Ali has even performed at the White House twice with the band Jelly-Roll!

As I continued my "reemergence" as a recording artist and now a producer, I found it necessary to leverage my other skills and knowledge which I've acquired along the way. Today's artist has the power of social media and networking is critical to success, although this formula isnt really new to us because of our history as the Empire; The Bohio Artist's Network is simply an extension of the original Egyptian Empire and WestWard cliques which originated in the Lehigh Valley.

Every artist you hear on BAN Radio is a part of that family; We interact personally with each other, and offer a wide range of services critical to the success of each other as artists. Not only are we recording artists and DJs, we are technical specialists, graphic designers, web-developers, engineers, producers, managers and consultants.

It is important for a successful artist to develop professional relationships and partnerships; The Bohio LLC website is hosted by Hostbaby, thus we release our music through CDbaby, which is are both owned by Discmakers. If there is one important theme to remember here, its that, we are artists working with and for other artists, hosted and distributed by a company founded by musicians who work for other musicians.

Internet Radio as well as social media integration has allowed us to reach people from all over the world, putting our creativity on display for the world to see, independantly and with integrity to the great culture we know and love as Hip Hop!

 

Charles Cruz Dueno

AKA Agueybana X