By Luis Ari Lopez Wei
Bergen Community College has some impressive individuals studying and working here, and Kyran Guerra, is one of them.
Kyran or “Ky”, as everyone calls him, is an employee of the school working for both the bookstore and the custodial department. He travels back and forth between the Paramus and Hackensack campuses as a part time student. Collectively, between working for the bookstore and as a custodian, Guerra works around 13 hours a day; he still finds time to do much more.
Ky writes and recites poetry, does spoken word, raps, performs, gives back to the community, and has started a clothing line with his friends.
Starting to get serious about his rapping when he was 19, he started with a group called Success Over Struggle. Now, he and his team brand themselves as Team MACHO, which stands for, Many Accomplishing Changes Over Time. Guerra has been doing spoken word for longer than he’s been doing rap and admits that he started off writing poetry for girls. He had written a piece for one of his ex girlfriend’s who had loved it and encouraged him to keep doing it, and he hasn’t stopped since.
Ky’s group and another group headed by Public Safety Officer Jaquan Montgomery recently did a performance at the Englewood Teen Talent show where Nancy Jones, mother of rapper Jim Jones, attended, after finishing recording their first music video called “99.”
Guerra shows excitement for it, saying “It’s different seeing a video than being with it from the ground up, it’s totally two different things.”
Team MACHO also just released a new single called “Right Now” and Guerra himself is working on a spoken word piece called “Her Stories in a Jewelry Box.”
For Guerra, all the work he does is connected, saying “Rap is just a more urban form of poetry. “Poetry is just rap without a beat, acapella. Poetry is expressing your art without an instrumental,” he added.
He says that everyone is different, but for him, he does express more emotion in his poetry than in his hip hop. “Ky” Guerra does hope to make money from what he does, but he shares greater enjoyment from letting people hear his thoughts and emotions.
“Real art, comes from real emotion,” he said, after doing couple pieces for the fashion show at BCC entitled, “My Superstar” and “A Monday Morning” – the works focused around about his parents. His mother kicked him out of his home when he was 19 and he’s been on his own since then, using a lot of what he feels about his parents in his work.
Another one of his pieces called “Designer” talks about how often people kill each other over material things. He wrote the piece after seeing on the news that someone had been trampled to death over a pair of Jordans. “How can somebody take a life over something that can be bought?” He said.
Ky’s cousin came up with the name Team MACHO growing up in Weehawken, NJ in a largely Hispanic area, and the idea behind it is to stand as role models for urban youth. “We don’t want to be anybody else,” Guerra says, “we don’t want to be like the people selling drugs, we don’t want to be the group gangbanging, we just want to be influencing the urban youth. The whole idea behind many accomplishing changes, is to get something done positively.”
A plan to start a clothing line with him and his team, Jordii Martin and Jovan Campbell, grew out of wanting to create a united image for the group. The logo, an “M” with a chain around it represents that unity and strength. Today, they’re already selling a number of different clothing items and are working on more.
“Ky” and his group have accomplished a lot in the last two years and they continue to build on their success. Most recently, they’ve been working on their website, more clothes, another music video, more songs, an event on August 29 to give back to a school in Paterson and on September 12, they participated in a fashion show at the Paterson Art Gallery.
“We’re a force to be reckoned with,” says Guerra.
To keep up with Ky and his group, you can find them on Instagram: @ky_gambino.
Originally published in The Torch Student Newspaper of Bergen Community College