Newtown Literary Contributor: Kevin Hinman

Writer Kevin Hinman’s story “Don’t Sleep/Hip Hop is Deaf” was featured in Issue #6 of Newtown Literary.  We interviewed him about his writing, and his answers are below. For more of Kevin’s work, check out Magnum Opus (Beats.  Bass.  Braggadocio.) and Ill Stills (Film. Form. Future.).

What is your relationship to Queens?
Though I’m now a full time California resident, Queens was my post-undergraduate real world crash course. Crammed into a sliver of a Jackson Heights apartment, I fell in love with everything New York had to offer.  I rapped Biggie lyrics with my face pressed against the dirty glass of the 7 train as it rounded the glorious 5 Pointz building in LIC, and knew that wherever I ended up, part of me would never leave.  After all, New York is a state of mind, and that’s word to Nas.

How would you describe the writing you do?
If Donald Barthelme was a member the Wu-Tang Clan, I’d probably call him out for biting my style.

How did you come to writing?
I wrote my first book as a five year old, sprawled out on the kitchen floor with a fat grip pen and some loose leaf paper.  Ninja Turtle fan fiction, I believe.

What inspires you?
Other writers.  Rappers. DJs.  Filmmakers.  Painters and photographers. Time travelers and alchemists.  Tight rope walkers.  Mustachioed double agents. Cereal box mascots, especially Count Chocula, who runs a really tight ship as far as marshmallows are concerned.

What does it mean to be a writer in Queens?
To write in the spirit of Queens is to celebrate the diversity of its people, not only its artists, but its shopkeepers, barbers, nurses, and MTA employees, and all of its out-of-work and out-of-this-world denizens who might otherwise scrape by on the margins unnoticed.  It’s the exuberance of drinking all night at Dutch Kills and the frustration of having to squeeze onto the E the next morning at rush hour.  It’s sneaking into the PS1 and getting gobsmacked by the power of what you saw on an index card.  To be a writer in Queens is knowing you have to come hard every time with every project, because your peers really are that good.  Just take a second to flip through Issue 6 and see for yourself.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
I’m currently cruising through the final third of a wild and romantic hip-hop novel entitled When the Mic King Spoke, which takes place over one summer and reads like a hip-hop head’s Nashville.  The story is written in a free flowing prose-rap style and follows the lives of the emcees, producers, beat junkies, wannabees and hangers-on that make the NYC rap scene so amazing.

And, finally, my favorite question: What should I be asking you that I didn’t?
I’m also in the final mixing stages of my first full-length hip-hop record with my group Magnum Opus.  The album is called Grown Ups are Talking, and mashes a cavalcade of battering ram beats with non-stop, razor flow emceeing and huge anthemic hooks.  Due out at the end of the year.  Don’t sleep.

Thanks, Kevin!

Readers, mark your calendars:

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