Suddenly, everyone wants to be the rapper with the heart of gold. There’s Eminem, asking for us to collectively take his hand (and earning massive Grammy nods for it). Then Kid Rock drew rave reviews with his new ode to Detroit, receiving a standing ovation at the American Music Awards.
I personally am nominating a guy named Hush for the position. And when this MC says he’s doing everything he can for Detroit, you can actually see, hear and feel the impact on the community.
To wit: the rapper is hosting his 7th annual “Hush for the Holidays” event Dec. 17 at Club Amnesia inside Motor City Casino & Hotel. The concert benefits the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. Hush also is asking the audience to bring canned goods, a coat or $10 donation to further the efforts of these non-profit organizations.
So who is this Hush character? He’s a pretty average guy, a mix of Lebanese and Italian. He’s the one you see walking his sons to school, hanging out with his neighbors. But at the same time, he’s trying to keep a career in music and television going. It turns out Hush happens to live on the Eastside, just about half a mile away from my family. (Hey, I also went to high school with Kid Rock, but those are my only claims to fame.)
Some background: Hush began life as Daniel Carlisle. His parents, a former Detroit police officer and a homemaker, live just around the proverbial block from him. The former Navy man has three boys ages 5 to 14. Hush and girlfriend, Heather, are working like dogs to keep their little family of five chugging away.
He daydreams about finding that hit song that takes him to the same stratosphere his friend Eminem lives in. (The two met as up-and-coming rappers. “Marshall got the record deal (and) at that time, they only let one white guy get a record deal. Vanilla Ice really screwed it up for white guys, even if to this day I still like that song of his,” Hush says with a rueful laugh.)
He has had a taste of fame: Hush opened for Usher and toured with Eminem. He has performed live before 10 million television viewers during the show “The Contender”. Right now, he is promoting his new album, “The Open Book.” Hush also is producing a new Detroit-based TV reality show for the Discovery Channel. (Keep that one between you and me; it’s a work in progress.)
“Anywhere I go, I always promote Detroit,” Hush says, noting that he probably could have hit the Top 40 a few times by now if he had moved to Los Angeles or New York City. But he’s a local guy, a Detroiter for life.
“I try to bring people here; the people from LA, they love Detroit,” Hush says. “They love the architecture, they love the food, they love everything. But when they see the decay, they get a little shocked.
“I tell them: Don’t focus on the abandonment; it will come back. It takes time. It does look like a war-torn city. That’s what people have had to live through. There are so many people who don’t think they have a future; they would rather destroy than build. … It’s time to focus on the building.”