When a human body ceases to function, there is a two hour period of “primary flaccidity” and sometime in the following four hours adenosine diphosphate ceases to break down, causing the onset of rigor mortis. It is the job of a skilled embalmer to prepare the body for it’s final interaction with the living.
“Embalming is searching for a way to last forever – the idea that, no matter how incredible your music is – is very slim” says Breeze Embalm. The 26-year-old Bronx native, government name Tyrone Holguin, is seated on a bench in New York City a few months after his debut mixtape Embalming Fluid hit the Internet talking about how hip hop changed his life.
“The album that turned me from a listener to a fan was Cassidy but it was Eminem who got me into rapping” says Holguin. Raised by an actress mother, as a child all of his time was spent in the theater, either watching rehearsals or shows and he was largely banned from going outside in the neighborhood he describes as “the hood for sure – through and through.”
The influence of this isolated childhood can be heard throughout Embalming Fluid; choruses are multi-lingual and the beats are clearly influenced by what he describes as “those Spanish and African-y tribal kinda joints” his mother used to play in the home.
In person, Holguin comes off as meek and unassuming – the typical puffed chest swagger that you see from most rappers is nowhere to be seen from the near six foot Crown Royal-colored mc. Most questions are first met with a smile and laughter before he gathers his thoughts and responds; it feels perfectly natural as questions meander from who would be his dream feature (“Lupe Fiasco”) to talking about being ignorant high schoolers (“I wanted to be the Gerard Way of rap”).
On the track though, Holguin’s promise is shocking. SAT vocabulary pours out as he rhymes about “sweat pouring out the dermis” and names checks on tracks range from Bane to Sodom and Gomorrah – each track is distinct and for the most part Embalming Fluid feels like a coherent concept project from a much more established artist, not a guy who’s still working a public access tv job to make ends meet.
“I’m working on two or three projects right now and I’m basically always working or rapping,” said Holguin as he puffed a spliff in the East Village. “There’s days when I’m like ‘I could have lunch, or I could save those five dollars’ and if I don’t eat lunch for like a full year that’s a beat yo!”
Witticisms like this are common when you’re with Breeze – Holguin without fail makes those whose paths he crosses feel like they’ve reunited with a middle school buddy all grown up. Even his dream collaborations are pulled deep from the nostalgia specials – “I’d definitely want DJ Dahi, I would only rap over this beats forever if I could. Also, Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand, just really come outta left field with it. Alex, hit me up.”
The Franz Ferdinand frontman has been extended an open invitation to come work on any of Breeze Embalm’s upcoming projects including an as of yet untitled collaboration with Rajiv LeRoy. On their next EP, the two aim to have each individual song inspired by a country and incorporate sounds from the titular nations.
Whether Breeze Embalm is a classic prospect coming out of the Bronx, a skilled embalmer, or Charon the ferryman himself, one thing is clear; Embalm produces distinct pieces of work and is capable of the talent and depth needed to be a successful MC.
Until his next project drops though, keep Embalming Fluid on rotation by streaming it or downloading the mixtape for free on here; if you still want more, stay tuned to True Too for Breeze Embalm’s new single dropping later today.
Photos by Sebastian Sayegh