From Dorm Beats to Hip-Hop Collectives: An Interview with Sal Patlan

todayMarch 20, 2023 213 7 5

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By Evelyn Lopez

Rap/Hip-Hop Music Journalist

I first came across Sal Patlan at an open mic night at Stellar Coffee, where he was performing his poetry. I resonated with his art, and he had a sick flow to it too. Much later, I met him through mutual friends, and after experiencing his sense of humor, I knew I would become friends with him too.

Sal Patlan is a first-generation student at Texas State and contributes his creativity to the hip-hop scene here in San Marcos. You can see his versatility in the way he dresses and the way he can keep a bit going. He has been influenced by artists such as MF DOOM, JPEGMAFIA, Griselda, and Saba. And back when he was first rapping in high school, the song “GUMMO” by 6ix9ine was on repeat.  He likes grimy sounds, melodic flows, and getting hype.

To better understand who he is, I interviewed Sal over some gyro wraps. I slightly copied his order to truly understand the person that he is. To keep the article focused on Sal and his music, I will be gatekeeping the order, but I can confirm he has great taste. I asked Sal about his recent projects, creative influences, and what inspires him.

Two songs by Tyshonisfire featuring Javier (one of Sal’s aliases) were released on Apple Music and Spotify on March 3rd. While the tracks have different tones to them, they’re both still amazing.  “Must Have” uses the TikTok viral sample “Aces” by DKJ as a foundation for hype and witty verses. On the other hand, “Man of Your Dreams” is more melodic and groovy, something to bring up your mood. Sal tells me he first met Tyshon Joseph back in the dorms when he was an RA. They clicked and would hang out while making dorm beats and freestyling just for fun. Just a week ago, they performed the new tracks opening for Chase B at The Marc.  After hearing these tracks myself, I knew I wanted to follow up with Sal and learn more about his musical journey.

Sal is not just a rapper. He is multi-faceted through his art; he is a performer. He has crafted a few aliases, and he shares them with us in his first single “SJM”, which was released on SoundCloud on February 20th under the name “Sal the Pal.” I asked him to describe the three personalities and concepts that he utilizes while performing. This is what he had to say:

“Sal the Pal has a red essence…The rapper…A critic and always wears a mask. Javier is blue-toned, more of the creative and always wears the glasses keeping it cool, …the ‘M’ represents myself, Sal, or ‘the ego.’”

At first, Sal admits having doubts about his first alias, “Sal the Pal,” a nickname his mom gave him. “I was not rocking with it… but these concepts are a part of my story, so I stuck with it.” Sal is still getting used to people referring to him as “Javier,” which is a nickname that was created from his finsta account back in high school. “I’m not sure how long I’m going to keep the concept, but for right now I like where it’s going,” he said.

Community is something that motivates Sal to put his art out there. He is vice president of Texas State’s Hip-Hop Congress (HHC), an organization focused on creating and having conversations in the hip-hop community. Through HHC, Sal has made connections with people who support and push him to create more.

“Not only do these people like the same things as me, but there are opportunities to create with them. It inspires me to create more, like.. oh you’re creating something? I should be too,” he said.

Sal is also a member and head of photography for LoGen– Lower Generation Living Out Greatness Embodied Now, a hip-hop collective focused on embracing the creative differences among its members. This fresh collective was started by Leroy Bradley, head of membership recruitment for HHC. They are still in the early stages of building their brand and putting themselves out there. Sal tells me they are releasing a cypher soon.

11 members are sitting of these wooden bleachers scattered from left to right. On the top center of the image, the text “Lo Gen” is in graffiti style with green, brown and white detail.
Showcase of all members in LoGen currently. | Sal Paltan

My interview with Sal confirmed that this is someone I want to keep up with. He is passionate about what he creates and has a solid gyro wrap order. If you like following artists that carry who they are in their art and own it, I highly suggest you listen to Sal’s music and follow him on social media @javiersfiles and @logenthecollective, as well @hiphopcongresstxst on Instagram.


Last thing, any words you want to leave for the people?

“If you have an idea, just stick with it. Make sure you know yourself well and stick with your gut when it comes to your art.”


Featured Image by Kelley Khyree.



Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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