Wollongong, NSW, Australia

hoodsta.com | www.facebook.com/hoodstakidd

One of the most talented emerging artists in the Australian hip-hop industry today is a Wollongong local with the tag of “Hoodsta”…

Here is his story:

A long time ago in the city of Sydney, Juan R. Gonzalez was born. He and his family soon moved south to the coastal city of Wollongong, where he grew up and where he and his wife still call home.

At the age of 14 a young Juan was introduced to hip-hop by a friend of his who was an up and coming graffiti writer with the Sydney crew Rock City Funk. But, his graff career never took off because as he simply puts it; “I was wack with a spray can!”

It was this door closing that lead Juan to stop designing graff pieces in his note books and to start writing rhymes in them. It was also the time when he gave himself his first hip-hop moniker “MC Styles” [not incredibly original, but he was only 16] and formed a crew with some mates at school, they dubbed themselves 3DMC. They rehearsed, recorded a demo, and then broke up. RIP 3DMC.

Two years later Juan hooked up with a hot local DJ and producer; Diego Biancullo.

After recording a tight demo with the group Juan had a spiritual awakening and started to look into the Bible and visit local churches. This lead him to a decision that left a lot of fans, not to mention the other 2 members of his crew, scratching their heads-
He left the group and left Hip-Hop.

He started going to church and becoming involved in working with youth.

Over the next two years his friendship Diego grew as they would talk about his decisions and discuss his new found faith. Soon Diego found himself in the same place spiritually, and was frequenting the church with Juan.

It was with this new mindset they formed a new crew together; “Next Disciples” which soon became “Soulkeepers”.

Realizing that this was a new beginning Juan re-christened himself as “Hoodsta” and Diego gave himself the name of “DJ Diggz”

Soulkeepers started off with the classic set up of the DJ and the Emcee, but the boys were looking to experiment with the hip-hop sound and change the live shows. They added a talented local guitarist and bassist [back before the rock rap thing was cool] and Soulkeepers began to gain a reputation for an edgy Hip-Hop sound and played many festivals and countless local gigs.

In 1999 Juan married his long time sweetheart Tammy, but also found the time to begin a popular gathering of all the elements of Wollongong’s hip-hop community called Quadraments.

Musically Hoodsta kept working hard with Soulkeepers, playing live, recording and evolving their sound. Eventually they shed the live instruments and stripped it back to the original 2 man team. It was around this time that they got the attention of the indy record label Mustard Records and released a 10 track EP called “Infiltration”. They got to tour the CD with special U.S. guest Vex Da Vortex from Boogiemonsters and to date this independently done CD has sold well over 800 copies, due to their live shows and word of mouth.

However, feeling that Soulkeepers had run it's course, Hoodsta and Diggz decided that it was time for Soulkeepers to call it a day and both go solo. They both remain close friends and still work together on different projects.

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