Parlous pushing Painted Rust
Photos and video by Jason Genegabus / firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jason Genegabus / email@example.com
By definition, you shouldn't like Michael Tuaileva.
Anyone who calls himself Parlous, which means dangerously clever or cunning, can't be trusted — let alone liked. Right?
Spend some time with the 24-year old rapper and you'll discover Tuaileva is a Hawaii Kai resident who, yes, happens to live at home with his parents. But he also pulls 12-hour shifts at his day job and is leaving this weekend for Florida in order to try and transfer college credit he earned there back to Hawaii.
He quickly admitted the name describes an earlier time and a less mature individual than the one sitting at a Hawaii Kai Towne Center table on Thursday, sipping an iced tea from Starbucks and reminiscing about the "good old days" hanging out with his buddies from nearby Kaiser High School.
"At the time, I was a little knucklehead," said Tuaileva. "I got the name from my teacher. It was one of those vocabulary words. You know, like, every week you have a list of vocabulary words, right?
"My senior year, one of my words was 'parlous' … My teacher saw me at lunch, so later on in the day she was like, 'Mr. Tuialeva is very parlous in battle.' Everybody just kept using it after that.
"I didn't like it at first. It's one of the most unused words in the English language. But it kind of just grew on me."
AFTER HIGH school, Tuaileva spent some time getting familiar with the local hip-hop scene, making connections with other rappers and collaborating on studio tracks. He became a fixture at open-mic sessions and parking lot battles, his casual flow barely masking a sharp wit and versatile vocabulary.
But a detour to Florida for school and a series of personal setbacks in recent months have given him enough pause to remember the bigger picture when it comes to his music.
"I just want to make good music and let it be appreciated," he said. "When I find a way to do that and make massive amounts of money off of it, then I'll take that route.
"But right now, I'm at that point where I need to work and work on my music at the same time. But it's good. It's like a stepladder that will take me to that next level. I just gotta remember to look at my bills, too. It's a give and take."
Tuaileva said he hopes the interest in his new mixtape, "Painted Rust," will translate into a healthy amount of buzz for his next full-length release due in 2011. In a market where other artists and DJs are attempting to charge for their material, he's confident the free route will only serve to help him gain new fans in the long run.
"I took some old stuff and put some new in it, took some new stuff and mixed some old in it and remixed it all down together again," he said. "Like a fresh coat of paint.
"I wanted it to sound like I just burned it and handed it to you. How many of the homies just pass along a burned CD and that's your copy, you know what I mean? It's crazy how you just hand it to a couple of people and they leave it in their car.
"And then a couple months later they pop it in accidentally and they're like, "Oh yeah, I remember that guy." That's what I'm going for."
Click each of the following links to listen the the tracks on "Painted Rust," or right-click and select "Save As…" to save each audio file to your desktop.
Painted Rust Mixtape: Volume One