S.H. Fernando Jr.
a.k.a. "Skiz"

Skiz Fernando strikes a singular figure in the music industry. After graduating from Harvard and the Columbia University School of Journalism, he began his career as a music journalist for The Source magazine. He parlayed his knowledge and expertise in the field of hip-hop into the critically-acclaimed book, The New Beats: Exploring the Music, Culture & Attitudes of Hip-Hop (Anchor/Doubleday, 1994), which has become an important document of the culture behind rap music.

After becoming familiar with the music industry through his work on the book, he borrowed $1000 from a friend, producer Bill Laswell, and started his own label, WordSound Recordings, in December 1994. A long time club and radio deejay, Fernando had by this time become deeply involved in music production, and the purpose of the label was to create an independent outlet for the music he and his friends were making. Over the last five years WordSound has released 35 full-length albums, running the gamut from dub and hip-hop to electronic and Middle Eastern music. WordSound is distributed in the U.S. by Caroline and in Europe by EFA with various licensing deals in Japan, Austrailia/New Zealand, and South America.

WordSound has created a very close-knit and creative community worldwide collaborating with such artists as Bill Laswell, Prince Paul, DJ Vadim, Kevin Martin, Mick Harris, Style Scott (Dub Syndicate), Scott Harding (New Kingdom), Umar Bin Hassan (Last Poets), DJ Rob Swift (X-ecutioners), and the Jungle Brothers, to name a few.

Last year, Fernando started another label, Black Hoodz, dedicated solely to vinyl releases. He runs both Hoodz and WordSound, single-handedly, from the WordSound compound in Brooklyn. In his spare time, he creates music under such pseudonyms as Spectre, The Ill Saint, Slotek, Special Dark, The Eye, The Mystic, and The High Priest. His byline has also appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Vibe.