“PaulWrites23 is a hip-hop artist who loves God and wants to help advance the culture.”
South Florida native Paul Martinez’ artist names comes from a combination of his first name, his love for journalistic and musical writing, and his love for Michael Jordan, whose jersey number was 23.
He grew up surrounded by hip-hop music and culture, saying, “Its a way of thinking, a way of talking, a way of dressing.” He first began to rap around age seven. “My cousin Cindy was a big hip-hop fan. When I hung out with her, a lot of music was played around me.” Another cousin, Eileen, took him to poetry events at a young age. He enjoyed battle rapping with friends in middle school and won a talent show for a performance in high school. “I had little cassettes or CDs that I would try to sell in school. In high school, I had a CD, but it was never released digitally.”
Writing raps is not his only talent. In recent years, PaulWrites23 has written for Rapzilla, HipHopDX, and has been a part of Jam The Hype for over five years. “I haven’t been releasing tracks consistently as much as I would like to up until September 2017… there was like a five or six-year gap where I was focused on the media side.”
Throughout his youth, he would often spend the summer with his grandmother, who would take him to her church In Dania Beach. “I think that was the first time I got to know a church family and really had an opportunity to get involved.” After seeing his love for hip-hop, the church’s pastor, Alex Pareda, began to introduce him to Christian hip-hop artists such as T-Bone, Lecrae, and Grits.
“He mentored me, taught me a lot about God, and when I was thirteen years old, he took me to an event.”
After hearing the Gospel preached at this event, PaulWrites23 “realized that me only doing what I wanted and subscribing to the messages in a lot of the music I was listening to wasn’t the way to go.”
Within a few years of graduating high school, he took a pause from making music. “I never really had any older Christian rapper embrace me and put me in the studio consistently. I didn’t understand the work ethic and what was needed to be an artist.”
He continued to rap, but his lack of education about the music industry from an artists’ perspective led him to dive into journalism. Throughout his years in school, he said he “was good at English class, creative writing, and poetry.” He was offered an internship at Jblaze’s then radio station, La Nueva 88.3 FM in the Miami area.
“He gave me a lot of opportunities to go behind the scenes and meet a lot of the people that I listened to and help advance the movement.”
Seeing Paul’s knowledge of hip-hop culture, Jblaze and his business partner Andre Mullen gave him an opportunity to write for their then website, FNF Live. From then, he started writing for Rapzilla and later Jam The Hype, the latter of whom he still writes for. He also did articles for HipHopDX, interviewing artists such as Gemstones and Social Club Misfits.
About two years ago, he decided to pursue a career as an artist. “Its a gift that God has given me and I can’t waste my talent.” In April 2018, he released his first single, “Catch Me Slippin,'” produced by his friend Daramola, formerly known as D-Flow. “There were periods of time where we hung out almost every day.” They recorded the song together and “its basically just a song where I’m showcasing my flow, and I’m talking about how God is on my side.” Despite the influences of the devil and harmful people who will try to make them look bad, PaulWrites23 encourages the listeners to trust in God.
Earlier this year, he moved to Chicago, a city that he has loved to visit and has always dreamed of living in. “I feel like there were more opportunities for me here to use my gifts and talents.” He is getting involved with Legacy Disciple, a ministry lead by Brian Dye which is known for the Legacy Conference, an annual conference in the city that features numerous Christian hip-hop and spoken word artists as speakers and performers.
On August 30th, he appeared on Sway in the Morning, the coveted radio show hosted by legendary hip-hop radio personality Sway Calloway. “Someone from the Sway in the Morning team saw one of my videos of me rapping [on social media], and they emailed me.” The original email came in 2018, and “it sounds crazy, right? I guess sometimes raw talent can beat out a lot of material. I’m grateful that they saw my talent.”
His trip to New York to get on the show was a great experience, saying, “I love the food. I love the architecture. I got to see the Shade 45 studio.” PaulWrites23’s appearance on Sway in the Morning consisted of an interview and an opportunity to freestyle. He was joined by his longtime friend and former roommate, boxing journalist Brendan Taylor, as a guest. Being able to be interviewed by Sway Calloway was an incredible experience, saying of Calloway, “He is a legend. Who hasn’t he interviewed?” Calloway and the other Sway in the Morning members were very supportive of Paul during his visit, both on and off the air.
PaulWrites23 was grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed and thought that he did a good job with his freestyles. Since getting on the show, he has gained many new fans and social media followers.
Outside of music, Paul enjoys watching Chicago sports teams like the Cubs, Bears, and Bulls, reading about sports and theology, and traveling to big cities like New York and Los Angeles, checking out their architecture. Living in Chicago has been fantastic for him.
In the coming months, PaulWrites23 intends to release more freestyles as well as songs.