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Gremlin's Broken Heart Raps

Stories Of Us
Meet Mark Henriquez, aka Gremlin, the LA rapper making senses out of his family's struggles with addiction.
Show transcript
00:00
I get rid of anybody that talks, talk low or whatever.
00:04
But I don't care if they're family, best friends that I grew
00:07
up with since I was a kid.
00:10
It, if they don't see the vision, I'm just gonna ii I can't have
00:14
that peace.
00:18
Understand me.
00:19
They don't understand that.
00:20
I'm sick of the broke down cameras and now everybody's saying
00:23
what I can't be for my family.
00:26
We had no lights.
00:28
So the landlords came fights back, had the habit like I did
00:33
it with exact that liquor made my family bitter, made my family
00:38
quitters.
00:39
I gotta prove that we can't be winners, make our salary bigger
00:43
and can't eat dinner.
00:44
We don't need to starve in the street and as long as my heart
00:46
got a beat, then we're all gonna eat.
00:48
Oh I swear to God, I'm a beat.
00:50
Uh I think one of the biggest things, our biggest topics that
00:53
I talk about is relationships.
00:56
Um Like I, I just love talking about heartbreak.
00:59
Like it's such, it's such a fun thing for me to do.
01:02
I love making sad songs like sad boy vibes all day.
01:05
Like I, I absolutely love it.
01:07
I know you're feeling low.
01:09
You don't have to lie to me.
01:10
Only thing that scares you more than heartbreaking sobriety
01:14
Now, your drinking and numbing your pain entirely and you
01:17
don't want no one that sees or you're doing it quietly because
01:20
you think that no one can relate to you breaking up with someone
01:24
that you always start with.
01:25
I just rap deep songs, you know, and then you get results like
01:29
with that girl cried in the Uber because I'm talking about
01:31
you know, pain, you know.
01:32
So I think no one has done that yet.
01:36
You know what I mean?
01:37
So that was, that was really cool.
01:39
Oh my God.
01:40
It cheated on like 2.5 weeks ago and you see exactly what you
01:45
were saying.
01:46
It's like, oh my goodness, I feel I need to give you a hug.
01:49
Come my goodness.
01:51
I think most men are taught not to show emotion.
01:53
I never really show emotion.
01:55
It wasn't until recently where maybe like last year or so where
01:59
I actually, I'm ok with getting emotional and I'm ok with crying
02:02
in front of people.
02:03
I was never like that, but it's like I'm a human, like everyone
02:06
goes through it and when you do that, people connect even more
02:09
with your story, you know.
02:10
So I'm totally ok with it.
02:13
I don't care if people, you know, find it feminine or whatever
02:16
Like I don't, I don't care like I'm gonna, I'm gonna be me, you
02:19
know.
02:19
Wow.
02:19
Well, thank you.
02:20
Thank you so much.
02:21
And I know they break ups are never easy.
02:23
Like they, they, they never are, but you'll get through it
02:29
I think, uh, in the beginning I wasn't focused on, uh helping
02:32
people.
02:33
Right?
02:33
I just made music to make music.
02:35
You know, I, I made songs without a, without a vision, without
02:37
a why without a motive behind it just because I like creating
02:39
music.
02:40
But then when I put out my mom's song and I seen the impact that
02:43
that it can have on people, you know, like people reaching
02:45
out to their moms after seven years, I'm not talking to them
02:47
I'm like, this is more than music at this point.
02:52
I remember that my mom was in distress and sick from stress
02:56
My name is Almaraz and Gremlin is my nephew.
03:01
So with Gremlin, um he came to me about five years ago or so and
03:06
he was um at the time he was working at a movie theater and he
03:11
would take the money that we, he would earn and he would go record
03:14
music at a studio being a rapper.
03:16
You have a lot of money.
03:18
I could send a lot of my family to a rehab or something like that
03:21
right?
03:21
So it was the aspect of money, but it was what the money could
03:25
do.
03:25
I could help my family and that, that was a huge driver and I
03:28
kept listening to the music that he would, uh, produce and
03:31
I thought it was good.
03:32
And at one point he came to me and said, hey, you know, it's time
03:35
for me to, uh, to grow up.
03:37
And I've been told that I need to go get a job.
03:40
So I was hoping that you can give me a job.
03:42
I'm gonna just put this music stuff aside because I'm not getting
03:45
traction, nothing's working.
03:47
And I basically said no, that's no, you're not gonna do it that
03:50
I won't let you do that.
03:51
But when family and friends were telling me to get a real job
03:55
they didn't understand that.
03:56
Like this was all I had, right?
03:58
I've been working at this since I was a kid and you're gonna
04:01
tell me to quit because you don't believe in yourself, right
04:04
And one of the biggest thing Opie told me was, you gotta change
04:08
the voices around you.
04:09
When the negativity comes in, your own voice starts to repeat
04:13
what they said and now you think it's your voice and so it's
04:18
repetitive and it's negative.
04:19
And so we have to be able to manage that and understand that's
04:23
not my voice.
04:25
Whose voice is that?
04:27
I told Mark when he's wanted a job, I'm like, dude, I've seen
04:30
that road and that road is, you get a job, you get married, you
04:35
have Children and then you're miserable.
04:37
And when you're 35 years old, you're asking yourself?
04:40
What did I do with my life?
04:42
Why am I stuck here?
04:43
And by then you have a house, you have four kids, you have 2.5
04:46
dogs and now you have debt and you're stuck.
04:50
Like right now is a time to experiment, to dream, to pursue
04:53
to go all in to, to get the voices out of the way and dedicate
04:58
your time and energy and efforts every single night, every
05:02
single weekend on whatever you want.
05:04
He's amazing and he keeps getting amazing each, each time
05:07
he gets, he's just Mark's awesome and all the people he touches
05:11
with his lyrics, you know, I get to on Facebook, I'll like,
05:14
look down and um see the things that people post and write and
05:18
like, dude, you saved my life, you know, or um I started talking
05:23
to my mom again because of the song you wrote about your mom
05:25
and just that he puts himself out there.
05:28
He's not afraid he's going after his dreams.
05:31
That's something I've never done.
05:32
I, I'm, you know, older now and I, I still wouldn't do it because
05:36
I'm afraid.
05:37
And so I admire him for that.
05:39
It blows me away that he's like, this is what I wanna do.
05:41
This is my dream and he's, he's living his dream, you know.
05:44
So, yeah, I admire, admire him and for having the courage and
05:49
I'm on my Instagram or social media and I'm like, yo, Mark,
05:54
it's two weeks before Mother's Day, you gotta write a Mother's
05:56
Day song and he's like, yo, dude, it takes time.
06:00
I can't write a song that fast.
06:01
I saw like, come on, man, like just spit one out really quick
06:04
like, seriously.
06:06
And so anyways, I was giving him a hard time like, hey, man,
06:10
use momentum of whatever's happening around us, use momentum
06:15
to drive this thing.
06:16
I, I don't think my mom has ever seen me cry in my life like ever
06:19
in my life maybe as a baby, but I don't ever express myself face
06:23
to face.
06:23
I do it all behind the microphone because like no one's there
06:25
to say anything until they hear it.
06:27
Two weeks later, he, she like plays this song for me and I'm
06:33
like, are you kidding me?
06:36
Even though we had a lot of pain, even though we felt a lot of
06:41
rain mommy made us who we are today.
06:45
I don't regret a thing.
06:47
Thank you for everything.
06:49
It was so powerful and it's uh it was, it was very um vulnerable
06:57
of him and it was very transparent and things I never knew before
07:02
And it connected so much to the youth that on Facebook, it was
07:09
67 10.
07:10
I don't know how many millions of views, millions of views
07:13
The Orange County register contacted him.
07:16
Uh one of the news um channels interviewed him and his mother
07:21
That song means a lot to me.
07:23
So when I heard it in his lyrics.
07:25
It touched me because that he expressed himself, you know
07:28
telling me what he felt.
07:30
And um, he's, that song was amazing.
07:39
He really touched my heart with that song, face all of my fears
07:44
and never run.
07:44
So, thank you for everything.
07:46
That's why I wouldn't change a thing because if it wasn't for
07:49
you, I probably wouldn't chase a dream.
07:51
Probably would have given up, probably would have backing
07:54
down.
07:54
But I got you in my blood.
07:56
So I always tell you taught me too stronger, got everything
08:02
I it's all for you.
08:04
I wouldn't change anything.
08:06
It made us a lot closer and it made her a better person.
08:10
It made me a better person.
08:12
Um and it gave me this intense drive to help others, not only
08:16
people who suffer from addiction, but people who just suffer
08:18
in general, I want to do everything in my power to help them
08:22
which is why I make this kind of music.
08:25
So thank you mom being sober, being there for my kids again
08:33
and that was the first apartment we got when I got clean.
08:37
So everything meant a lot to me and my kids.
08:42
I'm sure great times good, good picture.
08:49
I love this picture.
08:50
It means a lot after she got off.
08:56
Um or she recovered from drugs like I still wasn't, I was still
08:59
very distant like I didn't really want to get close to her or
09:01
whatever, you know.
09:02
Which is natural from what I hear now.
09:04
You know, like you don't, you don't trust them anymore.
09:06
You know, like you just like you're, you're gonna do it again
09:08
Like, let's not even build a connection.
09:10
Right.
09:11
But she started to, she got her apartment, she got her job and
09:14
she was consistent and cons consistency is everything and
09:17
everything and work and relationship building whatever
09:20
She was very consistent in her recovery.
09:22
So I was like, OK, I see that you're taking it serious.
09:24
I'm gonna take it serious too.
09:25
I'm really happy that it can help people.
09:27
You know, like I've had people say, you know, like, yo, crazy
09:31
messages like, yo, I almost killed myself last night.
09:33
You know, I, I try to offer as best as a uh advice as possible
09:36
You're like, yo, thank you so much for, for that.
09:39
You know, I'm glad that my music can help you here are, are a
09:41
couple of things you could do aside from listening to music
09:43
you know, so actual things that they can do because music
09:46
is, is, is, is, is like a temporary healing, but they need to
09:49
actually do the inner work.
09:50
My name is Pria.
09:52
Um I've been engineering and producing with Gremlin for about
09:55
67 years now.
09:56
The way I remember meeting Gremlin was kind of like hallways
10:00
school and stuff like that and then like word of mouth and
10:03
I had uh a lot of friends and um school that knew I did music as
10:07
well.
10:08
And, uh, they, they kind of linked us um, together because
10:12
they saw we were kind of on the same path and ever since then
10:15
it's been history, everything's always been super organic
10:18
and it's always been, um, very natural and like, easy for us
10:22
to communicate, whatever we need to tell each other because
10:25
just because we, we know what we're doing here.
10:27
We're not, you know, I mean, we, we have a goal and that's just
10:30
to make, to make a, to make good music, you know, he doesn't
10:34
waste a single second.
10:35
He comes to the studio prepared, ready to work, everything
10:39
Like already there's, there's his, his whole, his whole day
10:43
is like mapped out and I love that because it, it's, it's like
10:47
it's really like a no brainer working with gremlin.
10:49
Like, you know, it's gonna be a smooth, like efficient work
10:53
flow.
10:54
Every time when writing a song, I always found it extremely
10:56
difficult to sit down and write.
10:58
Like, very rarely will I sit down and write unless I'm super
11:00
in the zone, which is almost impossible to get in the zone standing
11:03
in one spot.
11:04
So I go in my car and with, with the beat and I drive for like two
11:08
or three hours.
11:09
I get a call concept start, you know, memorizing lines in my
11:12
head.
11:13
And then after that trip, I probably have a verse or two verses
11:17
and a melody for the hook and then I come back to it like a day
11:20
later and then I just wrap it up and then for about a week I memorize
11:23
it, like, fully and then I just come in here and bang it out.
11:26
Like, so I don't waste no time.
11:28
I just have it in my head and we can just come here and just work
11:30
It's hard when they are nothing new.
11:32
Like you though, they saw it as strange when I started it changed
11:35
and I said that there's way more to life, you know, than sparking
11:38
a blunt and calling up girls to see if they wanna get drunk dog
11:42
That's enough.
11:44
I'm straining myself trying to pull all of you up.
11:46
He is definitely like, helped me refine my ear and I like that
11:50
because it kinda, you know, it helps me.
11:52
Uh I mean, it, it really puts me in like kind of the hot seat and
11:55
um for, for the longest time, like, it's been cool because
11:58
he takes it so seriously.
11:59
I just feel like the caliber of the music that he makes as well
12:04
as like not to brag, but like, I just, I, I'm pretty good at engineering
12:08
so we trust each other.
12:10
I gotta prove that we can't be winners, make our salary bigger
12:13
and can't eat dinner.
12:14
We don't need to starve in the street.
12:16
And as long as my heart got a beat, then we're all gonna eat.
12:19
Oh I swear to God, I'm gonna be all I can be.
12:22
And that is a promise for me.
12:23
So grab that lotto because I, that's my mother this four and
12:32
now I got time is ticking and I don't want to waste a minute is
12:39
a because I say I did it.
12:42
You look at OK, I think, I think that's solid.
12:45
I think that's a solid one.
12:46
Can I hear it through real quick?
12:46
Everyone I know said 2020 sucks.
12:48
Right.
12:49
When they talk to their friends, they're like, hey, how's
12:51
your 2020 going?
12:52
Like, oh, it sucks.
12:52
Oh, ok.
12:53
Cool.
12:53
That means it's ok.
12:54
That mind sucks.
12:55
Right.
12:55
And, and I can play small and I don't have to work or it's, it's
12:58
just ok if it's bad.
12:59
Right.
13:00
And that's just the mindset that most people have and I refuse
13:04
to look at it like that.
13:05
It's like I'm gonna make this year a great year regardless
13:07
of everything going on.
13:08
Like, personally I'm gonna make this a fantastic year and
13:12
going in with that mindset knowing that this was gonna happen
13:14
it's 2020 has been a huge blessing for me.
13:17
You know, I, I've gained a lot more fans.
13:19
I made the most money I've ever made in my life.
13:21
It's crazy.
13:22
Everything is just happening exactly how it's supposed to
13:26
happen.
13:26
It's, it's beautiful.
13:28
I have a lot of goals.
13:31
I think one of the main ones that I've had since I was a kid that
13:34
um stuck with me and I'm still gonna do it hopefully soon uh
13:38
is buying uh my mom uh either her a house or a farm, but she says
13:45
she's one of that ever since I was a kid.
13:46
So I'm, I'm gonna make it happen.
13:48
I have no choice now.
13:49
Like I have to make it happen.
13:58
I love you.
13:59
I'm proud of you.
14:00
Keep going.
14:01
You got this and hey, I love you with all my heart and all my soul
14:08
Thank you for being good to Mama Gremlin.
14:15
So first off, I just want to say, I appreciate you for trusting
14:19
me with your sound and your vision.
14:22
Um And second off, I just wanna wish you uh nothing but success
14:27
in the future just because I know that where you're going,
14:31
there is a path set for you and what we're doing is for the greater
14:36
good of people.
14:38
And I wanna wish you major success and happiness and nothing
14:43
but good sessions from here on now.
14:46
So Mark, look, we've been together for a few years and I gotta
14:51
say, um I am very proud of you.
15:10
The your ability, your ability to understand that the only
15:21
person that can keep your own dream alive is you, period.
15:28
So you've done such a great job in managing the voices around
15:37
you to make sure that you stay true to yourself.
15:44
And I think that's so authentic and really needs to be taught
15:48
people can be inspired by you.
15:50
So continue to use your skill set, your talent, your gift to
15:55
influence people to be able to find their better life for their
16:01
future.
16:02
So I'm proud of you brother God bless you.
16:05
Peace.
16:08
I write music for the people who have gone through pain similar
16:11
to mine.
16:12
And I want to let them know that they're not alone.
16:20
I wanna start thinking bigger.
16:22
I wanna start dreaming bigger.
16:24
And now I don't wanna talk about how I'm gonna start and then
16:27
start drinking liquor because I need to be considered someone
16:32
who was seen a winner, someone who was working so hard in his
16:35
life that he never took a seat at dinner.
16:37
But he tried someone who never slept because he'd grind and
16:40
would only throw up love and peace signs and he made a fortune
16:44
But, you know, he always helped the less fortune in on his free
16:47
time and he saw the dreams you dream can come true.
16:49
Yeah, he himself was their proof.
16:52
They'll say all he ever did was the impact because all he ever
16:55
did was give back.
17:01
And that's that one take.
17:06
Drink.
17:06
Let's go.