In his song “Sidelines,” Seal Beach hip-hop artist MC IMPRINT raps “Get me on the field, and I’ma shine like a diamond.”
Well, he’s finally getting his chance, and he’s not wasting it.
A little over four years ago Brett Guidry was a drug addict, in jail, facing a 6-year prison sentence and had a choice to make—prison and drugs or music and positivity. That’s when he made the decision to turn his life around and pursue music full time. Since then, he has been on the grind making music, and its all starting to come together for the MC.
"Seal Beach hip-hop" isn’t exactly commonplace. But MC Imprint might be changing that.
Last month MC Imprint was crowned the Power 106 FM “Who’s Next” Competition winner, beating out 2,200 other rappers. Next week he’s flying out to the SXSW music festival representing the West Coast to battle the East Coast contender B. Martin. Their battle and performance will be the opening act for J. Cole and Prodigy of Mobb Deep. The performance will be streamed live March 15 on Power106.com at 1:30 pm. Listeners will vote for the winner.
As a thank you show to his fans for their support, MC Imprint is having a free show this Friday at O’Malley’s on Main at 9 p.m., and he hopes to see a show of support for Seal Beach hip-hop.
Though he’s looking to make it in a genre synonymous with bravado and pride, MC Imprint talks about his journey with humility.
His sobriety date is March 18, three days after opening up for J. Cole, a fitting ending to his SXSW trip. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: How did you start rapping and when did you start?
A: I was always a freestyle kid and a fan of music forever, but I didn’t start writing my own lyrics until I was about 17. What got me into writing lyrics, was one of my best friends growing up - his older brother was in an alternative rock band, but he happened to be producing his first hip hop record. His name is Matt Embree from the RX Bandits. Matt was producing a hip-hop album for Secret Society. At the time, I was still smoking weed and getting high. I would just go over there, and hang out, and drink and stuff. But watching the process of them recording was so attractive to me I would make a point to be there. We would have freestyle sessions and I was like ,‘damn I want to do this.’ I went home, wrote my first verse.
I didn’t actually take off right away. I got busted and went to jail for the first time when I was 18, and I only did that one verse. I was made to go to rehab - court ordered. Once I was in there, on my free time, I decided to keep writing. I had a lot of stuff going on in my life, and this was a good way to get my feelings out on paper.
I kept falling in and out of addiction and didn’t stop completely until four years ago when I was facing six years in prison. I was in county jail for about a year fighting a six-year prison sentence. Once I got out, I went into rehab and started writing and started performing. I did an album that I produced and have been going hard since then.
Q: What were you in jail for?
A: A bunch of stuff. Back in 2006 I caught my biggest case, which was residential car burglary for seven counts. That was seven felonies on me. I went into this residential neighborhood when I was on drugs and jacked a bunch of cars in LA County. They ended up giving me a joint suspension where they leave your case open. They gave me a four-years prison sentence, but they leave it open and let me out on rehab. But if I catch another felony they give me those four years—no ifs, ands, or buts.
Q: This was 2006?
Q: So music really turned everything around for you?
A: Yeah. Music and God, man. God was always in my life. I’ve always been a Christian; my mom raised me that way. My father passed away when I was four so it’s just been my mom who raised me and my brother. She raised us the best she could, did a great job. But I was just an addict. I had that in me. Basically, I believe the Lord gave me music as a sense of fulfillment and to give me dreams and aspirations. It helped fill that void I was trying to fill that whole time with drugs.
Q: Can you tell about your career from 2006 until now?
A: It was actually 2008 I got out of jail, and four years ago, I went to rehab for the third time. But I was in jail for a year and came to this crossroads. It was a very real situation where jail could be how the rest of my life played out. I had two options here: If its God’s will, and I don’t go to prison for 6 and a half years, what am I gonna do to make sure I never get back in this situation? I knew I wanted to do music but I could never do both at the same time because all my attention went to chasing drugs and robbing and stealing.
It basically came down to getting out and taking that same energy I was putting into getting high and doing bad stuff, and put it into music.
Q: Do you still live in Seal Beach?
A: Yeah. I still live in the same apartment that I grew up in. It’s funny because some people hear my story and write it off like yeah ‘right you grew up in a paradise city,’ because Seal Beach is such a small, white neighborhood. But I didn’t just run around Seal Beach. I ventured out to Long Beach or Downtown LA. So Seal Beach wasn’t the problem as far as getting into trouble, I mean there was room to get into trouble, but it is so small and very safe, I chased that bad lifestyle elsewhere.
Q: Your lyrics seem very personal. What inspires them?
A: My past experiences inspire them. When I first started writing that is strictly what it was, talking about what I had just went through but more so as an addict. It was a tragedy to triumph story. I still incorporate that into my music now, but I also love making music people party to as well. But I don’t promote the typical ‘let’s get drunk and have a bunch of bitches around’ and all that. It’s not that. I love doing feel good music and love reflecting on the past because I love to stress the fact that I was in a bad place but now I feel like I’m on top of the world.
Q: This Power 106 thing is Huge…
A: Yeah it’s a blessing. A friend of mine tweeted me about a month ago and told me to turn on Power 106 because they were about to announce a big opportunity for up and coming hip hop artists.
There were 2,200 artists who submitted for the L.A. area and you had to get your music rated in the top 36. I did it, and I was actually the 36th person, which is crazy. This was just to get into the competition.
It was an everyday thing of getting on my social networks, bugging people, and my fans were so great promoting it as well, and it worked. I won. It’s just so great to see everyone support me that I wanted to do this free show and give back.
Q: Your starting to get attention and your career is taking off. How are you reacting to that now?
A: Just thanking God.
It’s such a blessing but also a typical story of hard work paying off. But I haven’t made it yet. So I’m just going to continue to keep working very hard at making great music.