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Creating a Phoenix Out of a Monsta » Urban Island Hip-Hop Artist MONSTA

Entertainment, Music 11 May 2011   »   by TheWhatItDo

Today, there are experts on how to create and target a niche market but the fact remains, the Urban Island niche market cannot be achieved without people who possess longevity power. Like the classic mythology of the phoenix rising, the bird that never dies because of its ability to resurrect, Monsta Ganja reappears after being shot in Hollywood and years touring around the world as part of the group, The Regime, with Yukmouth, a Grammy Award nominated rapper from Oakland, CA. Monsta rises above the burning ashes of gangsta rap and reintroduces himself simply as, Monsta, soaring on the front of a stirring Urban Island movement.

“We are on the forefront of some groundbreaking stuff,” Monsta admits. That groundbreaking stuff is exactly what his newly released U.S. debut album Pacific Coast Highway contributes as it paves a way for this new Urban Island genre. “The album is letting people know who I am as a person. It’s not hard, not too soft. There’s something for everybody. It’s like a book.” His “book” (album) is selling by the thousands with the international hit single, “This is Love” featuring Samoan Reggae artist J Boog, which recently went gold in the New Zealand and Australia markets and is scoring heavy radio rotation with another hit single, “Like You” featuring Aaradhna. “Going overseas has been a blessing,” says Monsta. During the Kurupt/Luniz World Tour, Monsta discovered “a good opening door for us Polynesians” while performing in both New Zealand and Australia. “There are more Polynesians out there,” observes Monsta, “There’s radio play on all the major networks. And now we’re just starting to break mainstream once people can identify us.”

Monsta is a nephew of the legendary Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E, the Samoan Hip-Hop empire, formed by the Devoux brothers from Carson, CA. “My family is all into music,” says Monsta. Born D’andre Lino from Long Beach, CA, 32-year-old Monsta was raised by his Samoan father and Mexican mother. “‘This is Love’ is my own experience with my parents and I did it as a universal thing.” The music video, which features Samoan actors, Teuila Blakey and Shimpal Lelisi from the comedy “Sione’s Wedding”, was filmed in Samoa during Monsta’s first visit to his beloved homeland.

Even with a growing worldwide audience and numerous Urban Island artists that support and collaborate in the making and distribution of his music online and in the international and U.S. markets, Monsta remains humble and relaxed. But with a keen determination to influence the events unfolding within the Urban Island movement, Monsta admits, “This is a real trifling business. Make sure this is really what you want to do.”

There are few Polynesians today in the Hip-Hop industry and even fewer who have travelled around the world performing gangsta rap and surviving the way Monsta has succeeded in doing. He returns to the stage with a solid and stellar album armed with collaborations with international, mainstream artists, which creates a bridge that engages underground Urban Island artists in the U.S.

As flawless and effortless as it may seem, entering the music industry in a crippling economy to define and create a new genre requires a lot of focus, a passion to help others acquire the power they need to be successful,  influential and most important, a deathless inspiration. We spent years listening to our Polynesian brothers rapping about their lives in the streets and the hard knocks of incarceration, gangs, and drugs, but the Urban Island movement, regardless of whether it’s a short-term or long-term deal, requires phoenixes like Monsta to resurrect and lead it.

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Article Written By: Marina Latu

*Article Photo courtesy of

*Photo of Yukmouth courtesy of Getty Images via

*Photo of Boo-Yaa Tribe courtesy

*YouTube video courtesy of DawnRaidMusic.

*YouTube video courtesy of ThatGurl266.

*YouTube video courtesy of aspex212

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