Annimeanz is the Rodney Dangerfield of hip-hop. The Latino rapper has completed two projects this year —with a third on the way— and counts over 100,000 YouTube views of his content since January but the Cudahy, California artist still can’t seem to get no respect.
“Right now, my biggest concern, truthfully, is that as a Mexican artist, you’re never like a West Coast artist. You’re a Mexican artist,” says Annimeanz soberly.
“I wanna be respected like my peers. I don’t wanna be a Mexican rapper. That’s not my niche. I’m a real rapper,” he continues.
He finds himself, along with a handful of other Latino rappers trying to bust through, marginalized, seemingly, due to his ethnicity. Mexican emcees such as Young Chapo, Young Hu$Tle, and King Lil G come to mind when Annimeanz thinks about other local rappers who aren’t as heralded as their non-Latino counterparts.
Wins such as outstanding project reviews and radio spins on stations in the heavily-Latino areas surrounding Los Angeles are just small tokens to Annimeanz, who wants a piece of the pie being predominantly taken up by Black rappers from around the country. It’s a battle Annimeanz has been waging since he started rapping 10 years ago. But breaking into mainstream relevance for the rapper resembles bouts waged by historically marginalized groups vying for worldwide recognition in all aspects of society.
Interestingly, Annimeanz broaches societal issues, analyzing his community’s relationship with a power structure that threatens to oust Latinos from homes they’ve known their entire lives and subvert other minorities around the country. Currently, Cudahy residents are engaged in a battle with outsiders, who plan to terminate the town’s status as a sanctuary city.
Similar to Annimeanz’ bid for relevancy and mass appeal in music, though, the conniving methods of gun-toting White supremacists in his city has failed to stir-up much attention from audiences around the country. The rapper’s best chance to truck through both of those barriers remains in the recording studio where he can commit himself to telling a story appetizing enough for a bigger demographic.
Annimeanz takes listeners further inside his hometown, including the motel he formerly inhabited, on his latest tape Cudahy Dopeboy. A trip to the motel for a video shoot sparked a plan to roll out a series of tapes to show the city from different perspectives and plot points in his life.
“I was like 13-14 selling dope right there. I’m a grown ass man now. So, it’s like to see it and get the feels and just remember certain things, it was crazy,” he says.
Subsequent installments of the city-themed tapes will flashback to time spent on other blocks in the 1.23 sq mile town. Still, Annimeanz is ready to break out of the locale, where he sees himself as somewhat of a prime rib on a small saucer. The world wide web has played a part in nudging Annimeanz toward that goal.
While feeling like an alien in some aspects, Annimeanz does mirror his burgeoning peers in finding success on digital platforms. Placements on sites like SwaysUniverse.com, popular YouTube channels, and Spotify give him the opportunity to be consumed like any other artist. Where he differs from today’s major players is the lack of traditional radio play.
Annimeanz acknowledges the insights and opportunities for discovery provided by the net but undercuts its capabilities with a fixation on FM love. He realizes that having a nationwide radio cut certifies the recognition eluding his fellow Latino artists even as the web evolves into the primary source of contact for all media.
“Regardless if it’s a major factor or not, radio is still radio. And you need to have that under your belt. In order to be the type of artist I want to become, we need to have all that,” he says of radio’s role in his overall success.
Whatever his entrance point, Annimeanz feels more ready now than ever to scale whatever frontier stands before his acceptance into the fold as just a “rapper,” as opposed to a minimized square in a novelty quilt of Mexican emcees.
Not only has he configured the most-fit team for the job, outside circumstances, such as a cooling of tensions between Blacks and Mexicans in recent years, give Annimeanz a chance to stand eye-to-eye with game’s best higher than ever before. Plus, Kap G — the Pharrell-backed, Mexican rapper from Atlanta— breaking through appears like a crack of daylight over once foreboding megalithic structures barring diversity in the Hip-Hop scene.
And loath to come off as the woe is me emcee, Annimeanz doesn’t cast his furled success completely on an obstructed industry.
“At first I did but now I feel like we’re right on time because when I listen to music we did three years and I listen to music we did today, I understand,” he admits.
Plus, the pride taken in delivering the best product possible remains Annimeanz’ main motivation in chipping away at the big time.
“Without sounding too cocky, I just want to be a premiere artist out. Not Mexican, just West Coast. I want to be appreciated as a West Coast lyricist,” he relays. “I know we belong here because we earned it.”
I listen to music. I write about it. I like hot sauce on my chicken.