Hometown: El Paso, TX
With a mic and a beat, hip-hop gave unheard voices a means of expression to share their own stories and experiences. As it spread across the country, it made its way down to the borderlands of El Paso, Texas where it found teenaged Arturo Hernandez and renamed him Artson. From rapping to dance battles to graffiti, hip-hop introduced Artson to a culture that was both new and familiar and set him on a path that would lead him away from the perils of street life that had defined his childhood. “Hip-hop saved my life,” he says, “There’s no question, it saved my life. It gave me an outlet to express myself.”
A descendant of the Tarahumara people, Artson recognized the connection between hip-hop and indigenous culture. In the same way that hip-hop gave black and Latino New Yorkers a shared language and a vision beyond the ghetto, hip-hop has empowered indigenous peoples across the country by giving them an influential voice to share their history, struggles, and dreams of a better life on and off the reservation or in the ghetto.
At the 17th annual Native American Music Awards in 2017, Artson walked away with his first Nammy for Best Narrative Music Video for his song “Never Give Up” off his EP, E.A.R.T.H. His latest full-length album, Brave Star, has just earned him his second award – this time for Best Hip Hop/Rap Recording.
Grateful and humbled by this latest achievement, Artson continues on his lifelong journey to spread his own message of courage and strength in hopes of elevating the legacy of his Tarahumara ancestors while inspiring the next generation.