Since his first studio mixtape in 2010, H3RO has been attracting media attention and making a name for himself in the underground Carolina music scene. Born Justin Daniels, he grew up listening to hip hop with an affinity for lyrics and poetry. A student of the great Nasir Jones, the name H3RO manifested in 2008 after the “Hip Hop is dead” emcee dropped the single “Hero” off his untitled album. Daniels felt it was up to him to save hip hop, and from that point onward began to record and perform under the name “Hiro”, which later became “H3RO” with “3” being his lucky number and a way to differentiate himself from others.
H3RO draws influence from many genres, although his heart comes from hip hop. Lupe Fiasco was an early inspiration, and “Food and Liquor” remains one of his favorite albums to date. He studied the flow patterns of Phonte from Little Brother, The story-telling bars of the Cunninlynguists, and multi-syllable rhymes of Eminem & Nas, while taking notes on the braggadocio Jay-Z & Kanye West presented. Daniels still hopes to capture the essence of Lauryn Hill from her “mis-education” era and incorporate its earthy brilliance into his own, while staying tuned to current greats such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. With these, and influences outside of rap such as Linkin Park and A Day to Remember, H3RO has the potential to break the mold of the traditional rapper and become something more.
“One of the most brilliant voices on Columbia’s rap scene” Eric Tullis, The Free Times
When asked about what he wants to do with his music, H3RO Said, “I’m not so much here to save hip hop anymore. I think that era has passed. But I do feel like it’s my job to produce meaningful music, and still use it as an outlet to exhibit my take on issues we deal with from day to day.” H3RO’s latest release, “Between The Panels”, is a return to this exact way of thinking, spurred by the single “Be Something” that aims at the youth in an attempt to spark a revolution to follow their dreams. In the same breath, H3RO brings up social problems such as on “City under Siege”, a homage to his city and the necessary evils he became used to growing up there, and even still attack the industry/social norms with his single “No Rules”.
H3RO feels that his newest project is his best to date, saying “I realized I wanted to make the music for me again. I spent so much time making music in 2013 in an attempt to appeal to others. Between the Panels is dope because at its core, it’s a more accurate reflection of me as a person. The more you listen to it, and the more you connect the themes, the better you understand Justin.”
“Deftly skates the thin line between the underground and the mainstream like Wale or Jay Electronica” Patrick Wall, The Free Times