Hector Dominguez, formerly known as Witness, released a statement explaining the name change. Check it out below:
“I need a new rap name! Any suggestions?”
I put that up across all of my social media platforms on 12/1/16 and I was immediately flooded with comments, concerns and suggestions.
- Why are you changing your name?
- I love the name Witness!
- I know a hundred rappers named Witness!
- Are you no longer a Christian rapper?
- Change your name to El Chapo!!!
These are just some of the comments that were left on my posts and I feel like I should explain a little and give context to why I am changing my name.
PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
I started rapping when I was 9 (1996) years old but I didn’t start taking it serious until 2001 when I opened up my bible after being grounded and read Rev 11:5-6. Witness was a cool name at first. I loved it! It made me feel like I had special powers and gave me a persona to sort of hide behind. My name kind of made me feel like nothing could hurt me, but if we are honest wasn’t unique and there are over 100 Christian rappers named Witness.
Under the moniker Witness, God has allowed me to do some crazy things. I have put out a total of 29 projects under the name Witness. Anything I have accomplished as an artist big or small I have been able to do because God is sovereign Point. Blank.
When I wrote God is God I was trying so hard to fit into this Christian bubble, so much so that I intentionally crafted my music to sound as “Holy” as possible. Now there is nothing wrong with that but in doing so I made a project that totally neglected the things I wanted to talk about because I was told that I had to make specific songs for the church and for youth groups.
When I wrote Leading While Bleeding I did the complete opposite. I had my sights on my neighbourhood, my city, Chicago and I wanted to write a project for them to give them hope. When I did that I felt like I didn’t really lead anyone anywhere. On the deeper level I used LWB to try and prove that I was just as good of a rapper as so and so. That I could get on a track and hold my own with the best of them. Pride and bitterness started slipping in and I realized that I was just making music to please the Rapzilla fans, the JamTheHype fans, the DJ Wadeo Fans etc and not one time did I ever stop and think was God pleased with the music I was making.
Now don’t get me wrong my music was still Christ centered but I was holding back. I wasn’t being authentic to who I was. I am not saying that I lied, fabricated, exaggerated or said anything on these 2 records that weren’t true but I was still trying to make music in hopes to be invited into this circle that I wanted to be a part of so bad that I compromised my art, craft and sound and guess what …. it still didn’t work J.
Then something catastrophic happen that altered my life, both my father and my wife almost died on 2 separate occasions. Suddenly trying to impress people with my music didn’t matter anymore.
See music has always been therapy for me. Before I entered into CHH I always used music as an outlet for me, a way for me to deal with my failures and problems so that I wouldn’t blow up or do something I would later regret. When my world came crashing down I ran to music in hopes that it would bring me some solace but man I was so wrong. I was listening to Andy’s “SIN IS WACK” project and he said on Jesus over Hip Hop “I seen so many make a – pen and paper their saviour, and when they don’t find peace in the storm they wonder why”. This was so convicting. I learned very quickly that the only thing that could bring me hope and peace and comfort was Jesus. Nothing else on this planet could bring me the satisfaction and freedom I was yearning for except for Christ.
These last 2 years have been the hardest of my life and as I reflect on what has been going on with me musically I just wanted a brand new start.
NO SOY WITNESS
I am not a delusional rapper. I know that I don’t have a bunch of fans. I know that I am not selling out concerts. I know that no one knows the words to my songs, and that is so freeing to me and you have no idea.
I have been working on a new project called Misunderstood and I feel like that is exactly where I am in life. I love making movie references so bear with me: I feel like Trey and Ricky from Boyz in The Hood. I grew up in Chicago. I am from the Humboldt Park area, Hirsch and Kedzie. My mother and father never let us out their sights because of how dangerous the neighbourhood was. It is because of this that I fell in love with cartoons, comic books, Pokémon, video games, computers, etc. Everything the hood says I am not supposed to do or play with I was.
In school I excelled with my grades and was very popular which helped me find my “identity” for a little while.
When I moved to the suburbs I saw first-hand what it was like to have someone have a preconceived idea of what you are or who you are without getting to know you as a person and I felt a lot of that in CHH.
CHH reminds me a lot of High School except I’m on the receiving end of the ridicule from the cool kids and it’s not fun and that is why I want to change my name.
As Witness I have done a lot and said a lot. Some things I am proud of and some things I am not. I have built some very strong relationships but I have also destroyed a lot. And I am looking for a new start.
The journey towards my new name has been a rough one. I have been thinking about it for almost 2 years just trying to think of a new way to present myself. A new way to market myself and then it hit me, why don’t I just give you the real, unedited, unaltered, raw version of me that I can. Before I settled on the name Hector Dominguez, I was flipping through a lot of different names, my personal favorite being El Chapo but I’m Puerto Rican so…… . After it was all said and done I chose Hector Dominguez. Why? Hector Dominguez is my government name. It is the name my dad gave me when he adopted me. It’s the name that I gave my son and it’s the name that I want to leave a legacy with no matter how big or small it may be. I wanted my name to be something real and not made up. I wanted it to come from a place that was honest and true to who I am.
As I move forward with my career (whatever that means), it is my desire to be as honest and transparent with people. I want to craft art that is real, honest, personal and reflective ultimately pointing to a HOPE that this world can’t provide. I was created to reflect Christ with my life, my wife, my children, my art, my walk etc and this is what I hope to communicate with my music. I really want my music to have a chance. If you rock with me after this, I really appreciate you. If you don’t get its cool, I guess I’m just misunderstood! Music should be a reflection of who you are and I Am Hector Dominguez.