Some things are just meant to be. Take the Texas born rapper Bone for instance. Ever since he was seven years-old, Bone (Born DeMarcus Hamilton) knew that one day he would be a rapper. As a youngster he would emulate hip-hop legends like LL Cool J on his Fischer Price karaoke machine. But unlike most kids who love to rap along with their idols, Bone was positive that one day his words would be just as accessible as the most popular MCs.
Bone’s dream for stardom didn’t take long to come into fruition. At just 22 years-old, Bone scored a deal with the legendary Def Jam Records thanks to his enormously catchy single, “Homegurl.”
“I never had any doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going to get a deal,” says the self-assured Bone. “I never really had a plan to do anything but this. I always told anyone who knew me that I was going to be a rapper and I’m big about backing up whatever it is that I say.”
Growing up in Northeast Texas in the small town of Atlanta, Bone learned at an early age that determination was his ticket to stardom. At 15 he started working at a local barbershop sweeping up hair. Lucky for Bone, the barbershop was equipped with a studio which he would frequent between haircuts.
“I was the little kid who would always rap at football games, basketball games, or wherever I could,” remembers Bone. “The dude who owned the barber shop knew I really had a passion for music and he took a liking to me and gave me the opportunity to start recording music there.”
In 2004, Bone released his first album with another local rapper named Young Kazz. Unfortunately, their LP, HB and Young Kazz wasn’t the instant hit they had hoped for. “That was actually the first time I had really heard myself and I sounded horrible!” says Bone. “In my mind I was good, I just didn’t know how to express it yet.”
Bone began studying his favorite MCs like Eminem, Devin the Dude, Scarface and UKG. He tried to figure out what it was that made so many people hang on their every word and quickly began to develop his own style. At 17, Bone released his first solo mixtape, The Come Up, Vol. 1 which was very well received in his small Texas town. “I sold 130 copies the first week in Atlanta, Texas,” says Bone. “There’s only 5000 people in Atlanta so for me to sell that was literally remarkable.”
After graduating high school, Bone enrolled in Texas’ Prairie View University where he is now finishing his last year of college and majoring in history with a minor in sociology. As a freshman, Bone met fellow Prairie U student JB who was an aspiring producer. “I was trying to go to his room to get some answers for this test that we had the next day and I ended up walking in and hearing him make a beat,” says Bone. “He had a real unique and innovative sound. So I went in there and rapped and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
Soon after meeting, Bone and JB formed a group with some other local MCs called R2. Together they recorded a series of mixtapes which grew increasingly popular around campus. When Hurricane Ike hit in September of 2008, Prairie View was evacuated and Bone took shelter in Ft. Worth at his manager’s house where he recorded “Homegurl,” the song which would become the catalyst for his major label deal.
In December of 2008, Texas’ most influential DJ, Michael Watts, added Bone’s “Homegurl” to his I45 2K8 mixtape which introduced the up and coming MC to musical tastemakers throughout Texas and beyond. After causing a ruckus at the Texas Summer Music Conference and the Core DJ conference in 2009, “Homegurl” caught the attention of independent music executive Citi who lucky for Bone, had close ties with Island Def Jam president, L.A. Reid.
“I auditioned in front of L.A. on October 16th, 2009 in New York at the Def Jam building,” remembers Bone. “I wasn’t really nervous because since the time I was 7, this was the opportunity I had been waiting for. So I went in there and I performed for L.A. and he really liked it. He had these drumsticks and he was beating on the desk the whole time I was performing. I was like yeah, I know I got it! After I was done, they told me L.A. said don’t let him leave the building without signing a deal and that was it.”
Now that Bone is backed by popular music’s most powerful label, his cocksure hit “Homegurl” is spinning out of control on radio stations across the country. His catchy raps and carefree flow exemplify the future sound of hip-hop. “The biggest compliment that I’ve gotten was from L.A. who told me that he could see me two or three years down the line,” says Bone. “He saw the potential in me to have a career and not just one song. I think my confidence really comes through when I speak. A lot of times new artists play it safe with a lot of things they say. I’m willing to step out there and take a risk and if it goes wrong, it goes wrong. But I’ll never have to wonder ‘What if?’”