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Underground beats mainstream for hip-hop artist Andrew Bell
East Union High graduate Andrew Bell during an impromptu performance. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

East Union High graduate Andrew Bell has become a permanent fixture in the Sacramento hip-hop scene since moving to the State Capital from the Bay Area several years ago. 

Here are a few of his views on the status of that culture and where he hopes to see it go:

• What he appreciates most about the underground scene – “It’s where there aren’t any rules or expectations of the mainstream. Where there aren’t fat cats that own half of the town looking at you like a business investment and a number. Mainstream wants exactly what they want. They are paying big money to put you in a box. The underground doesn’t make a lot of money, but we also don’t have a lot of boxes.”

• On how long hip-hop has been a part of he stays focused – “Hip-hop has been a way of life for me since I was 15-years-old. Probably before that. There is an inherent hustle in hip-hop. That hustle is part of why I’ve been successful in promoting and throwing events. There are only two steps to achieving any goal – educating yourself and do the work. My life is consumed with art and creation in so many facets, be in performing and hosting my own gigs, working on my album, producing music, shooting videos for Sizzling Sirens Burlesque company or promoting – I don’t really have time to consort with people who don’t share the same passion. I believe that you are the five people you spend the most time with, so I only really keep the biggest dreamers and the hardest workers in my circles.”

• On where he wants to be in five years, and who he was five years ago – “I’m so far from where I wanted to be five years ago in such an amazing way. I wanted to be a rapper. Now I’m a mentor. I’m a host. I’m a videographer. I’m a consultant. I’m a content creator. I’m producing a lot of new, interesting music. I just want to keep creating and see where it goes. We operate on the philosophy of “do work every day” which means that every day ZFG is doing something towards growth, progress and community development/empowerment. It’s been a successful recipe thus far. Truthfully I’m in awe sometimes at the way that this grew into a real movement. And I could not be more excited to see where it goes.”