When I tell people that I am from Salem, Oregon (unless they have been to a show or are a music head) I usually get a response that sounds a lot like: *Sarcastically projected* “Oh, there’s rappers in Salem? How’s that? I didn’t know there was any kind of hip-hop there”.

Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly not a plethora of hip-hop talent or lifestyle in the capitol city but there IS talent here. There are a lot of rappers, rapping on rapper beats, releasing them on rapper sites and never leaving their apartment. However, somewhere through the Soundclick beat leases and lack of publication support there are a few artists in Salem making serious noise outside of their city. ThatKidCry is one of them. Let’s get familiar:

Matty: Tell the readers, who is ThatKidCry?

I’m just a guy… who also happens to rap. I don’t want to be anything special because “special” just isn’t how I see myself, ya know? I love easily, I get angry for good reasons, I cry when it hurts, and I function like every other human being on the planet. My real name is Aaron Nash (nice to meet you) and I started spitting on a microphone in March of 2012. I am the people I surround myself with… I am the music I write and perform… but above all? I’m just human.

Matty: Living in a smaller market city like Salem, how do you manage to continue to grow and expand?

Well I came from the coast honestly. My biggest fans, friends, and family are all located in the Newport/Toledo area and that’s where I’ll forever come from. I moved to Albany after I graduated high school and ended up in Albany for 4 years where I attempted to record my written raps. I eventually started performing and it was like a drug to be honest. I couldn’t get enough of it! The people, the atmosphere, the different places – it was all so amazing to me. I went from being this nervous kid who didn’t tell ANYBODY that he rapped, to this “ThatKidCry” person that everyone in the area knows today. I wouldn’t say my market is Salem, Portland, or even the coast. In just under 3 years, which is how long I’ve been performing, I ended up going all over the place. Montana, California, Washington, and this year we’re talking about a tour from Oregon, through Idaho, and then down to Arizona. Really the best method to grow and expand is to put yourself out there… No body gets anything by staying in the same place forever.

Matty: What is the origin of your name, ThatKidCry?

Well… the name is based on the concept of “the town crier” if that makes sense. I started as just “Cry” and the “ThatKid” part of the name eventually came, for whatever reasons, afterward. I deliver the words (mostly based on what is important to me, of course) to the people. My pedestal is Hip-Hop. For me it’s one of the most powerful tools I’ve ever stumbled upon… and I really do mean “stumbled upon”, too. I never use to listen to Hip-Hop music when I was a kid. My mom actually hated when I listened to any form of rap and wouldn’t let me buy the albums until my dad bought me the edited soundtrack to 8 mile (cliche, I know). I remember JAMMING to that track “R.A.K.I.M.” and the Macy Gray joint on the album, though. It wasn’t even Eminem that hooked me. Anyways… I’m getting off track. The name is just something that kind of stuck and kind of embodies the purpose of music for me. Speaking to the people in a way normal words just can’t.

Directed and edited by Israel Gomez for Pyro Media 

Matty: You are one of the only artists in the town not only making noise but doing it the right way. What advice would you give up and coming artists?

Don’t fall for the bullshit! Which I say because right away in this business, and I call it a business because it’s really NOT all fun and games, I learned the hard way with shady promoters and coattail riding artists. I had no idea what I was doing. I’m honestly still learning every single day and I would say that the day you stop learning is the day you should quit making music. You can be all kinds of different things in music. With rap it’s like you have to be one kind of artist. People don’t let you just be an artist… they put you in a category. Gangster Rap, Hip-Hop, Conscious, Trap Rap, Club Music, ect… I say fuck all that. Be who you want to be. Master the craft and show people you can do it all if you can, but more importantly? Be yourself and don’t lose that.

Matty: I hear you’re about to release multiple projects this year. What drives such a work ethic?

Well I already dropped a 41 track two-disc album titled “The Rise & The Fall Project” in March of this year. It was by far my favorite piece of work to date. I spent almost 9 months working on the tracks for that. It took time to create and every experience on those tracks is real. My favorite part about the work is that it comes so naturally. It’s basically a personal diary that I get to put on display for people… and because of that the output just becomes second nature.

I already have two more projects, a “Mixtape” and an EP almost finished.. not to mention the two unreleased music videos on the way before that. The future looks more productive than the present to be honest.. I find that I have to work harder with every project because as emcees we really just want to best ourselves. It’s an unspoken truth but it’s true regardless.

Matty: Artists in the town seem to want to work with every other artist they meet in the town. Do you think that’s a good look? It’s my experience that it’s not always a great look to just put your homies on your album because they’re your homies. What’s your opinion?

This was another lesson that I learned the hard way. There’s artists that I regret working with actually. My 2nd “Mixtape” had like 22 tracks and 24 features, ha. It started as an idea to network and quickly became a disaster. There’s a few tracks that I’m happy I made on that project, but the finished product was very dissatisfying for me. Today I’m very picky about who I work with and I have to enjoy the music of the person I work with… I don’t work with artists I think are whack even if they offer to pay me. My upcoming projects have very few features – you actually being one of them! (Editors Note: I KILLED that haha). It’s all preference honestly though… I don’t knock the hustle of the dope emcees charging the terrible ones and I’m not against paying an artist I enjoy to hop on my project.

Matty: Tell people where they can find your music and/or find you live. (Plug everything you have going on). Appreciate your time my man, keep going!

It’s going to be harder to catch me performing for the rest of the year! I have shows but not near as many as I was doing. I rocked like 38 shows from January to now, while working my normal 40 hour a week job, and kind of burnt myself out.. But on August 9th you can see me opening for Portland’s own Serge Severe at Duffy’s Hangar in Salem, OR. I’m also rocking Electric River Festival in Florence, OR on August 1st-3rd. The music video “Kids/School’s Out” drops on August 2nd. Expect at least two projects to drop before November as well. It has really been an exciting year for me and I can’t wait to see what’s next… who knows, ya know? Ha.

Anyhow… Shout outs to everyone out there doing their thing and to the people listening to the music. Shouts out to Matty and WOHM for this interview as well. Ya’ll are really doing a good thing for the community. That being said… you can find me and my work for FREE at all the following links: