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Soy Artista Series: B1G $UAV, social justice rapper

El Leñador’s new “Soy Artista” series focuses on artists at HSU. This project was created by Diana Renoj.

José Juan Rodriguez Gutiérrez, also known as B1G $UAV, is a rapper and wildlife major at HSU. His music meshes together his passions by rapping about social justice and the environment. Gutiérrez was set to open for 21 Savage in late April on campus, but due to COVID-19, the show was cancelled. 

More About Him

José Gutiérrez is B1G $UAV, and HSU student. Video by Diana Renoj.

This HSU sophomore is building his name and a following in the local scene. Gutiérrez has the kind of energy that bounces off him and onto other people, and it’s that energy that is played out through his music. He has a big personality in a form that becomes contagious, and he lives by his motto of, “as long as I’m breathing, I’m smiling.” It’s that type of positive attitude that rubs off on the people that know him and listen to his music. 

Gutiérrez’s style is exemplified in his name, he said, “‘B1G’ because you’ve gotta do it big, ‘$UAV’ – make it smooth.”

Opening for 21 Savage

Before he was set to open for 21 Savage, he performed at The Depot on campus and it proved to be a success. The Depot Coffeehouse concert was a big step for B1G $UAV and putting his name out.

“I can’t have the 21 Savage show. It was an honor to get that show, but you’ll still see a lot of me,” Gutiérrez said. “When I performed [at the Depot] people had their flashlights out and they wanted an encore. All I can do is be grateful for the opportunity that I did get.” 

José Juan Rodriguez Gutiérrez, also known as ‘B1G $UAV’ on HSU campus. Photo courtesy of Gutiérrez.

Since his name was recognized after that concert, Gutiérrez got in contact with Center Arts at HSU and secured his spot on opening for 21 Savage. Shortly after, people lined up outside Center Arts to get their tickets for the concert. 

“Just having my name on the concert tickets was amazing,” Gutiérrez said. 

Music Inspirations

In an industry that tends to be money hungry and superficial, Gutiérrez has the goal of making his mark and turning into something more.

“I started making music because I was mad at who was being represented,” said Gutiérrez when talking about the start of his music career.

Gutiérrez said that his inspirations in music have been J. Cole, Biggie and Tupac, and artists that try to make a stand in their music. 

“There’s progress to be made around the world, and I’m fighting for people to focus on my content, not on me.”

José Juan Rodriguez Gutiérrez

Moving from Long Beach to Humboldt was a huge inspiration for his music, and being outside in the woods has been his muse. Gutiérrez started making music when he was a junior in high school. He got a sense of activism when he moved up here, and that turned his music to rapping about social justice and climate change.

“I love hearing things that we can disagree on, we should look at the world and be mad, and want change,” he said.

More aspirations

It’s not often that we see science, humanities and music combined together for one goal. Gutiérrez admits that he is a mix of many things and that is seen in his academics and music. 

Gutiérrez found a love for animals at a young age, and throughout his time in high school discovered that he wanted to pursue that. This influenced his decision in becoming a wildlife major, and with his love for public speaking he became a communications minor. A big thing that he’s taken away from conversations and the topic about climate change and environmental justice is that “to help animals, you must influence the people.” 

The music that he’s been working on always has a positive message, but Gutiérrez has been working on incorporating bigger topics. 

Platforms that stream B1G $UAV’s music. Photo courtesy of José Juan Rodriguez Gutiérrez.

“There’s progress to be made around the world, and I’m fighting for people to focus on my content, not on me,” said Gutiérrez. 

Gutiérrez makes an effort to maintain a positive outlook on everything. Despite missing out on opening for 21 Savage, he really expressed his gratitude for the show that he was able to have at the Depot. Gutiérrez tries to apply this positive mentality in every aspect of his life, and he explained that he had a big influence from his mom. 

Future Goals

He’s planning for future events in his hometown of Long Beach, as well as more local events in Humboldt. Despite everything happening with COVID-19 right now, Gutiérrez continues to write music and is planning to release even more music for the rest of this year.

B1G $UAV’s music can be found on Spotify, Soundcloud, and Apple Music. He can be found on Instagram at b1gsuav as well. Here is a link to access B1G $UAV’s music on various other platforms.


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