Hip Hop Flippin

Tassho Pearce, aka Emirc, isn’t just Hawaii’s top rapper, he’s making a name for himself internationally as a performer and as a fashion designer

Melissa Moniz
Friday - October 10, 2008
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Tassho Pearce, aka Emirc, is considered by many to be Hawaii’s best rapper

Kaimuki hip hop artist Tassho Pearce is also making a name for himself as a fashion designer, all the while promoting Hawaii to an international audience

Transplanted to Oahu from a rice-planting village in Japanat the age of 2, Tassho Pearce - aka Emirc, pronounced “immerse” - has re-rooted himself pretty nicely.

The young entrepreneur has rubbed elbows with top names in the hip-hop world such as Russell Simmons, 50 Cent, DJ Qbert, The Wu Tang Clan and many others. Whether Pearce is performing, recording, designing apparel for his clothing line, or acting as president and CEO of Flip The Bird Entertainment, he’s kept busy while representing Hawaii the best that he can.

“Everything I do, I have a strong sense of doing it not for myself, but for Hawaii - it’s all about putting Hawaii on the map. I feel like the quality of material that we’re putting out as Hawaii artists should be getting respect on a national level, and that’s my mission. It’s to make enough noise so that people start paying attention outside of Hawaii.”

Pearce has indeed been stirring things up. In early 2007, Pearce collaborated with Run Athletics, the sneaker company headed by hiphop mogul Russell Simmons. The limited-edition sneakers called Shave Ice, Bird Of Paradise and Humuhumunukunukuapuaa were available locally at Kicks/HI, In4mation as well as in stores throughout Europe and Asia.

So how did Pearce hook up with Russell Simmons to create Hawaii-themed sneakers?

“A friend of mine, Hakeem Khaaliq, and I saw a flier that Russell Simmons was coming to town (Honolulu) to promote one of his upcoming clothing lines. So I kind of jokingly made a remark to Hakeem (to see) if he can get me a meeting with Russell when he’s out here.

Tassho at a recent performance at The Loft with the Spacifics

“We just kind of laughed about it at first, but he ended up making some calls, and through his affiliations the favor was called in if he would sit down and talk with me. So we went down to the Halekulani. We had a rough interview with Russell’s right-hand man poolside. I told him about the clothing line, he liked the logo and then he invited us over to have brunch with his staff. At that point I started talking with Rasheed (president of Run Athletics), who commented on my shirt, which is the Flip The Bird logo, and he liked it a lot. He then asked me, ‘Why don’t we do a sneaker together?’ And I said absolutely. We got the ball rolling right there.

“Russell then ended up sitting down at our table for a good 20 minutes after that. We just talked a little bit. It was a great experience.”

The Humuhumunukunukuapuaa actually looks like the fish. It features the Hawaiian Islands, a tiki, and “HI State"on the tongue. As with all things Pearce does, the entire project was very geared toward promoting Hawaii

His recently released album, The Opening Act, is the latest of his efforts to show the world that Hawaii has talents beyond hula girls and ukuleles. And to ensure this album reached audiences

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