The legend behind the hip-hop guru (@THHGURU)

TheHipHopGuru is an outlet for artists and creatives. Created in 2016 by Alex Henein (@stainlessreal), TheHipHopGuru (THHGURU) is a product of Hip-Hop and serves as both a platform and a resource for all things culture. They strive to promote the highest caliber of content and artistry in hip-hop, R&B and soul.

Born and raised in Toronto, TheHipHopGuru’s offering is spread across all major content platforms and growing rapidly. With over 200+ international artists supported and engagements from all corners of Hip-Hop culture. THHGuru continues to focus on showcasing both tastemakers and newcomers; “All of culture deserves a voice, and we aim to provide it.”

We recently caught up with @THHGURU founder Alex Henein and chatted about his passion for music, the arrival of his Hip-Hop page, and where he hopes to go in the future:

Q: Where are you from and what is your background?

A: I grew up in Toronto and studied marketing in school!

Q: When was your passion for music born and where does it come from?

A: I’ve always been a fan of music. Hip-Hop/R&B was always something I listened to growing up. Whether it was playing basketball, hanging out with friends, whatever the occasion…Music would always be a part of my daily life. The success of artists and seeing someone go from underground to mainstream success made me very intrigued by how the business side of music works.

Q: Diving into your @thhguru page, how did you come up with the name “The Hip-Hop Guru?”

A: Come to think of it, it was a pretty bold name to go with the name “Guru”. When I started it, I thought of two things: if Rap Genius could do it (as the platform I studied), so could I. The main reason behind the name was the origin of the purpose of the platform: to work as a medium to find new artists worldwide and to be known as one or the best sources of new music and content. of confidence. Everything is possible if the work supports it.

Q: Do you consider yourself a strict fan of hip-hop or are you interested in other musical genres as well?

A: Most of the music I listen to is Hip-Hop + R&B depending on the day. I would say it takes up 90% of my music library. I like to watch where the sampling of music comes from, so I like to expand my musical knowledge.

Q: What made you decide to create this page?

A: I wanted to create a platform that gives artists a spotlight and try to change the narrative with a platform that pushes the genre forward and gives insight into the business side of music. The main goal was to push a positive narrative with an opportunity to share some ideas learned along the way about the business side of music. I launched the platform on SoundCloud for hours every day to find new artists to post. I would find the songs, post them on the website + YouTube channel and do the same daily for a few years. This is actually how we created the next core – the artists we supported would show us their appreciation for supporting their music. Over time, we built the basic support system and then moved on to publishing news and conducting interviews.

Q: Did you expect it to get as big as it is now? How does it feel to see such vast and remarkable growth?

A: The growth of the platform still surprises me to this day. I had to learn everything about the industry through trial and error in order for the current growth and success to be truly rewarding. People don’t see the amount or work involved in building a business and usually only see the business when it has reached a mainstream level. I still see it as the company that was created from nothing, so I will always have respect for people who take time out of their day to show their support. We’re just getting started!

Q: Looking at your page, you have developed a series of amazing interviews. How did they come about and what was the vision behind each?

A thank you! We currently have two series in production:

‘The Mic-Drop’ was created with the original plan to give artists the opportunity to have a platform to showcase their music. This was the goal from the original creation of the platform, to find artists on SoundCloud for hours and post their music. The platform was created to support independent artists and build community. Seeing her turn into a show we can have people on is a looping moment.

“The Sit-Down” is a series of traditional one-on-one interviews where we sit down with artists in an effort to understand each guest’s story from a personal perspective. Our goal with ‘The Sit Down’ is to learn more about artists in an intimate sense and give fans better insight into topics such as the artist’s life, approach to musical ideation, career progression and the music industry as a whole.

Q: Do you plan to publish new interviews or a new series soon?

A: Our goal is to add some new interviews and shows in the near future! Really excited for people to see what we’ve been working on.

Q: Have you recently been approved for the official cover of Rolling Loud Toronto? How did you feel and how was that overall experience?

A: Getting approved for Rolling Loud was a big moment for us. It made me realize the possibilities and heights we could reach as an independent platform. It was our first festival cover, so being selected to be part of the first Rolling Loud in Toronto was a big moment. It was amazing to see Rolling Loud come to the city of Toronto. It is remarkable how much the festival has grown over the years and the continued growth that extends to new cities and countries.

Q: Any specific highlights for you that happened at the event?

A: Just being there, interviewing the festival goers, watching the headliners, amazing opportunity to be a part of… Really cool to see that some of the local artists have a big stage to perform as well. Toronto has many artists who deserve more recognition.

Q: What impact do you hope to continue to have in the music and hip-hop industry through your page?

A: My initial goal was to create a platform from which people could share information to be motivated and ultimately learn. We want to show that there is more to the music industry than traditional tabloid content and show the positive side of Hip-Hop. At the end of the day, I’m just a music fan who created a platform. Nothing happened overnight, so seeing people supporting him over time is a win in itself. If what I did could motivate someone else to do the same, that would be the ultimate victory. The new goal is to take THHGURU from a trending platform to a household name. We are an independent player but we also have what it takes to do so. Every day is a new opportunity to achieve this goal.

Instagram: @thhguru / @thhgurutv / @stainlessreal


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