The verdict is in
“I’ve literally ducked bullets,” says rapper Jorge Chacon, 28, who goes by the moniker Guilty One on the mic. “Literally—I’ve heard the bullets thumping around me. And that’s right here in Reno.”
He’s not bragging.
But Chacon, who grew up on Montello Street, acknowledged as one of the roughest parts of the Biggest Little City, doesn’t glorify violence in his music.
During a weekday afternoon in his modest but pleasant home, he watches his two young daughters. He is more eager to talk about his work ethic and his plans on how he’s going to make it in the music industry than the horror of street violence.
Sitting across the dining table from the rapper, heavily tattooed down to the Old English tats on his knuckles, it’s hard not to be curious about his past.
“I had a friend die in my arms,” he says. “I’ve seen all the childhood members of my group [be killed] … You learn to have a greater appreciation for life,” he says, preparing a snack for his 2-year-old daughter, Natalie.
“What I aim to do through music,” Chacon says, “is to open as many doors as I shut through my negative ways.
“I want to provide for my children like I was intended to.”
Chacon put out an album called The Underground Shyt on Cinco De Mayo in 2004 and sold 1,500 copies by hand.
Since then, he has made every effort possible to network with well-known artists and to make a name for himself in the gangster rap genre.
Chacon’s work ethic is simple: “I’m going to let you know what I can try to do for you,” he says.
That ethic has helped him win the respect of many West Coast rappers, like Celly Cel, Paperboy and King T, to name a few.
“These are friends,” says Chacon. “We don’t have to be about music when we talk. I’ve just been fortunate to build the relationships that I have.”
He’s opened for various rappers, from Snoop Dogg to Trick Daddy, and most recently for Too Short, at The New Oasis on Sept. 9.
Guilty One’s next album, Criminal Intent, doesn’t have an official release date yet, but it will feature a large line up of artists. He’s excited—the new album will have national and Japanese distribution through a friend of his with a distribution deal. But he knows that distribution doesn’t mean his album will be a success.
“Your albums are on the shelves,” he says. “But you have to make sure your albums don’t stay on the shelves.”
He’s also a featured artist on several albums recently released or soon-to-be released, all with national distribution.
Locally, Guilty One has won his share of rap freestyle competitions, but he recognizes his style of gangster rap isn’t always accepted in the local hip-hop scene. It’s a scene that tends to champion its gangster rap’s opposite, the more socially and politically aware “conscious” hip-hop.
“Good music is good music,” he says. “There are a lot of people who can relate [to my music]. And a lot who can’t.”
“As long and I’m being true to myself and my music … then my music is no less righteous than yours,” Chacon says, regarding the many critics of gangster rap.
“Art is an expression of life and soul.”