The Hip Hop scene in Jersey City is thriving; local artists are coming out of the woodworks, open mic events, hip hop dance parties, mix tape releases and it’s only the beginning. When I started blogging I never thought I would rack up a list of almost a hundred local hip hop artists to interview, and I am not even exaggerating. I’ve only scratched the surface with my posts on Nizz, Verbal, Junestar and Dead Poet Society.
I heard about Charles Bowers after the first G.E.M Show event he threw at The Dopeness. We somehow became Facebook friends and he’s shown nothing but love and support; consistently sharing my posts to his networks. It was apparent he is so proud to be part of the Jersey City music scene and wants to catapult it further. I wanted to hear his story.
We met at Barcade on a fall afternoon, we talked hip hop and our love for Jersey City. Charles Bowers exudes positivity and the feeling I had after meeting him was, that he will be huge in the hip hop game one day. Charles will hate me for saying this, but he reminded me of a friendlier/ much nicer version of Hip Hop Mogul Suge Knight.
What’s your name? Charles Bowers
What do you do? I am the CEO of Golden Era Music Group. I organize all the events, I along with the artists, plan releases for all of our mixtapes and albums.
When do you start? I started around March 7th 2014 when we came out with the G.E.M Tape… On second thought, it started more like around January when I issued out a challenge to a lot of rappers in the local scene. I gave them 3 beats and tailored it to the artist. Basically they had to pick one and had to freestyle to the song or make one. Nizz Sentine gave me the idea to make it a mix tape. I had help from people like Martin Strange and Poorhouse, they helped me make commercials… it turned out to be a success and here we are.
Have you always been into music? What got me into hip hop back in the day, a couple of mix tapes my dad gave me. My dad used to give me tapes, the first one I got was it was a Leaders of the New School “T.I.M.E.” Album. Throughout the years I had a cousin that played nothing but Tupac and I just loved hip hop at the time. My mom wanted me to just listen to the clean version all the time… until she got comfortable with me listening to it.
Tell me more about the artists you work with? It came down Nizz Sentine, I think I saw him at a Wolf Juice event about a year ago, it was called Sounds of Saturn and the first thing I saw out of all the acts was his stage presence which always key to the becoming of an artist. DJ Mega Mission hit me up and he asked me which artists I liked because we was trying to form a record label at the time…. I said I like the guy with the dreads! haha About a month or two later we connected at an event , we kicked it and ever since then we’ve been friends.
Everybody else from Lachy Osirus (now he is Fat Caesar), one day his manager Paulie Gwap, called me and he wanted to see if we could work together…. we met and connected very well. I ended up asking him to be the first artist in the Golden Era Music Group. He was telling me about a project he wanted to create using “G Funk Beats from the West Coast” and I was like “Let’s work on it, I want to see it happen”… ever since then we worked together. It was my first project that I ever went to a studio and gave input about song construction etc… I felt it was the most humbling experience. Every time we left the studio after working on a few songs we left smiling! We knew we created some great stuff. Now Fat Caesar, has moved to Miami but we still are working together on expanding…
We also have Louie Ave(through Gang Grizzly Records) , Lyrik, Tall Can (from San Diego) , and Harlem Lamar( who I met through Fat Caesar). Pretty much Harlem was mostly on every chorus and hook of the Fat Caesar project, and I was very impressed with his talent. Fat Caesar told him to join us… ever since then we’ve worked together and we just released his latest project “XI” Which was our first ever R&B project. Right now we are working on releasing two more projects this year.
Why G.E.M? During the 90’s, we had The Golden Era of rap music. It personifies the timing of a generation where it’s their own Golden Era. Right now, it’s the time of this generation, it’s music coming from us that’s going to personify every generation. That’s why we have talent like Nizz, Caesar, and Louie Ave…. I feel as though we are trying to cater everyone from different eras. Trying to bring back a certain feeling in terms of music quality.
Can you tell me about the events? The GEMSHOW, had been something to honor all the artist that were in the GEMTAPE and it was a success. Since then I wanted to keep going with it, a lot of people loved it for the culture… someone told me it felt like a reunion. None of these artists really knew each other when they came down to the GEMTAPE. When the event was over a lot of these artists wanted to work together which is the common goal. Right now we are trying to survive as a city of culture and music but a lot of us don’t necessarily support each other. That is what I wanted to bring to the table… I want everyone to support each other and make music together. I would love to see everyone co-exist.
I love that! We need that. I was told that it’s a bad market over here in terms of people not supporting each other, but I don’t think that’s true. I can give it a year and things will be changing even further…
How do you feel about the hip hop scene in Jersey City? I feel much better now about it than before… a lot of people told me to not give the scene a shot because they didn’t like the quality of music…. I went to all these open mics and showcases and saw so much potential. I had to take my chances…. and I gave this scene a shot. These days I actually don’t listen to the stuff that’s out there, I listen to a lot of Jersey City music as well as New Jersey music. We have to embrace each other in order for it to get even better, once that happens I think we can be a very powerful scene. They can’t ignore us for that long!
You’re good. Have you done this before? Haha. Thank you!
What are you listening to right now? What’s your jam? The thing with me is I don’t really listen to commercial music, I listen to underground music more. The last thing I was listening to now is an album called “Cozz and Effect” from this rapper named Cozz. It’s a great album. I think I was the first person to reveal this artist when I was writing for “Poorhouse”. I used to blog actually about hip hop!
Oh really? Yeah, I did album reviews and it all stemmed from when I was in High School and worked for the school newspaper. I started the Golden Era music page and it was me doing album reviews or articles on music.
So you have a very good ear for music. What are your future plans for the label? Network more, go to different events, get our name out there. When the GEMTAPE came out I got an email from a radio station in Germany asking to play our music and I was so honored by it. I want to get our music out there, passed Jersey City, passed the US. Every artist that we work with has the capability of being international stars, not just here. At the end of the day, countries outside the US consume music differently than everyone else.
What is your favorite Jersey City hangout spot? It used to be LITM. I try not to hang out that much…. I went to Kraverie recently and its one of my favorite spots. I also really like Left Bank.
Anything else you want people to know about Charles Bowers? I am 25 years old and I am trying to do what I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. Since I was 16 I’ve wanted to be in the record business. You have to follow your dreams, a lot of people will deter you from it but at the end of the day if you work for it you are going to get it. People have told me that this could go far and I believe them, I have to see it happen. I want Jersey City to be known everywhere. The next move is to bring the G.E.M show to New York City.