Gean “Snatch” Henriquez is an artist, not a rapper. To him, the difference is that an artist creates music and a rapper is just raps on a beat. Sitting in his living room, with his three closest friends walking in and out of the apartment, Snatch wears a hand-sown beanie with a teddy bear on the front that he bought from a Mexican artisan in Downtown. He talks about his flow, which he labels as SnatchFloww, and when he speaks, his head and hands follow the rhythm of his words.
“SnatchFloww is everything from how I carry myself to how I approach a track in the studio,” he says, “And you’ll relate to it, and if you don’t, someone you know will.”
Instead of reaching out to the public with a sad story or complaints about hardships, Snatch tells listeners his story, and with that, he tells everybody else’s story.
Snatch first got his stage name in the Dominican section of The Bronx where he grew up. Rap battles are common in the The Bronx, and while Gean would watch them he’d rap back to both of them in his head. Later, he would go upstairs and write it down.
When he showed his verses to a friend, Gean was told he should start battling. From that day on, he always came out the victor. As he won battles, one of the other rappers asked what his rapper name was. He said he didn’t have one because he “wasn’t a rapper, just a n***a who knew how to rap.”
The rules to the battles are as follows: if you lose a battle, you don’t deserve your rapper name, so when you lose, you lose your name. The verb for this action is having your name “snatched.” Gean was snatching left and right, and so those around him gave him the name Snatch. Now at 21-years-old, Snatch has made his name a lifestyle, and has made being an artist his career since 2005.
As he sits in the stairwell of his apartment building, away from the busy living room, he talks about being broke just last week and not being able to go to the studio.
Snatch has taken off his teddy bear beanie. He spaces out for a couple of seconds and then begins to talk about a time when there was hardly any money at all. Gean and his mother arrived in the United States when he was six and had no income whatsoever. He learned English in the second grade and after a couple of years he had to get a job and bring some income to the household; making money to help out in the house was a priority, going to his classes wasn’t.
One aspect of school that he did enjoy was basketball. Snatch was the top player at his school, but got kicked off the team for having other problems to do with fighting and attendance. After missing too many classes, he was falling behind and needed to enroll in night school, but that wasn’t for him either.
“So you never graduated?” I ask him.
“No, but don’t judge me.” He then bursts into freestyle about his past and how he’s feeling about the present.
The way he raps and his word choice is similar to iambic pentameter; he pronounces the words to fit his heartbeat, sometimes making words up by putting them together, as it was in Shakespearian verse.
Snatch tells me hasn’t been compared to mainstream artists and his flow is uniquely his own.
“I’ve never heard anybody tell me I sound like Lil’ Wayne, or so and so,” he says, “Never that….I’m doing something different. I could follow them, but I’m original.”
After asking him to show-off his room, where he said he does most of his thinking, he nods, but doesn’t get up right away. When he finally does get up and leads the way back into the apartment 15 minutes later, he makes a left, walks through white curtains which lead into a kitchenette, which turn into his bedroom. His bedroom is separated from the kitchen by curtains, dark red this time.
Snatch tells me the kitchenette isn’t used much because he doesn’t know how to cook and his mother is too tired after work to make something. He usually orders or eats out on weekdays. Today, since the guys are over, he has ordered from a “hot Spanish spot.”
Finally in his room, he has a new beanie on. This one is white and blue with a comb-look-a-like on top, making him resemble a rooster. The room consists of a single bed, a chest of drawers that is piled with shoeboxes from True Religion to Nike SB, an out of place Vaseline container and a side table with a television from 92’ sitting on it. The four train can be heard from the small window above his bed. On the floor there is an array of work boots.
“Well, this is where I come from,” he says, “Now let’s see where I’ll end up.”
Monday through Friday from nine to five, Snatch is a window washer making approximately $450 a week. He doesn’t like this job, but needs it to support his career. All the money he earns during the day is used to pay for the studio time, video and photo shoots, and promotions, which don’t come cheap. Currently unsigned, Snatch works to work.
He’s confident that this “all work, no play” lifestyle will pay off when he’s on a stage with millions of people to hear him speak. Having performed many times, including at a Def Jam Showcase and at a gig in Plattsburg, as well as having put out various mix tapes and videos, Snatch is confident in his talent and knows it’s a matter of time before he’s recognized.
As of now, Snatch is preparing to rap a capella during commercial breaks that feature up-and-coming artists on MTV2.
“If I get a deal, great, if not, fine,” Snatch says, “I just want people to hear me and know me.”defjjam, gean henriquez, Hip-Hop, MTV, music, new york, rap, snatch, snatchfloww, underground