Haastattelussa East Palo Alto -räppäri A.K.

Haastattelussa Kalifornian East Palo Altosta kotoisin oleva räppäri A.K. Hän ja hänen kaksoisveljensä Mac julkaisivat debyytti-EP:nsä ‘Westbound (Riders Only)’ vuonna 1996. A.K. on tehnyt urallaan yhteistyötä useiden tunnettujen rap-artistien, kuten C-Funkin, Mac Mallin, E-40:n, Chunkin, Scoot Doggin ja Sean-T:n kanssa.

  1. What’s up, A.K? How are you today?

What’s up man, just working on some music and some other projects. Doing great, what’s poppin?

  1. I’m doing great as well. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

I’m from East Palo Alto a well known hood in the Bay Area. I grew up with 4 other siblings as well as my fraternal twin brother Eric, Mac Gordon.

  1. What was the role of music in the early years of your life?

Music was very influential in my life. I grew up listening to the Isley Brothers, Curtis Mayfield, and Isaac Hayes. I loved the guitars, and bass and the sound of live music. Once rap music hit the scene, I was stuck. My first inspirations were Run D.M.C, KRS-One, Kool G Rap, Ice Cube, N.W.A., The D.O.C., Big Daddy Kane, and Rakim.

  1. What was the first rap album you bought?

The first album I bought was Eazy-E’s first one “Eazy Does It”. I heard “We Want Eazy” and had to have that album.

  1. When did you get started creating music and why?

My brother Mac was in a group called Black Jack and I used to go to the studio with them and soon after I started writing rhymes.
I actually did a song with them, but it didn’t make it on the album. It was a posse cut. It was dope, I was rough and raw, but I had a good voice, so my twin brother pushed me to keep writing. Eventually, he left the group Black Jack and asked me if I wanted to form a group and that’s how Mac & A.K. came about.

  1. How did you come up with the name A.K.?

Well, my original name was Smooth K, but that didnt fit my style. I thought about my style and I don’t have any breaks in my rap style, it just goes on and no pauses, so that’s how I came up with A.K., because it is sort of a fast style and straight flow and no gaps in my bars.

  1. Where do you find most inspiration?

I found inspiration by looking at the violence and life in East Palo Alto, which was the murder capital in the United States in 1992. So, I took inspiration from what was going on around me at the time. I like to have the beat and sit in a quiet room or in my car and let the beat play really loud and just craft my rhymes on note pad on my phone. Back in the day, I had hundreds of actual notebooks and I would just write freestyles and then come up with concepts for songs.

  1. How would you describe the music that you typically create?

I like music that have a live feel to it with live bass, guitars, scratching, keyboards and live drums. I like to get away from samples and create original compositions. The advantage is that you are bringing something to the table that no one has heard before and number 2, you don’t have to pay for a sample clearance.

  1. Who would say are your all time favorite rappers?

My all time favorite rappers are Scarface, Rakim, Conway The Machine, The D.O.C., Ice Cube, Kurupt, Method Man, Nas, Tupac, E-40, Rappin’ Ron and Ant Diddley Dog, Canibus, Rass Kass, MC Breed, T.I., Black Thought, Common, Inspectah Deck, Locksmith, Snoop Dogg, Spice 1, Mr. Mike, Eightball & MJG, Big Daddy Kane, Redman, Busta Rhymes, you know guys with amazing bars.

  1. How did you get connected with Mac?

Well, most people don’t know this, but Mac is actually my fraternal twin brother. We are blood related and were very close growing up and we stayed that way until the day he passed away in November 2013.

  1. Tell me about the recording process for your guys debut EP ‘Westbound’?

Well, with Westbound, we were signed to Tommy Boy Records in New York, but we had not yet put out an album, so Westbound was 7 songs taken from a 20 song album called “Drastic Measures”. We would go to G-Man Stans studio in Hayward and my brother would make the beat and we would write the song in the studio, Mac who produced all of the beats would just make a bunch of tracks and we would write them at the house and then go to the studio and lay them. We would write all of the verses and then come up with the hook. Stan would play live bass and guitar on every song.

  1. Can you tell us a little about your and Mac’s latest single ‘Gasoline’?

Well, as I mentioned Mac and I were very close, so after he passed away for many years I could not listen to his voice. But after a period of time, I got ok with hearing him, so I decided to remix all of the tracks we working on prior to him dying and Gasoline is one of those songs. The full length album is called “Only The Strong Survive”. The title track is also called “Only The Strong Survive” and it features Planet Asia.

  1. Do you have any new releases lined up that we can look forward to?

Gasoline in the first single, then the next one is called “Don’t Play With Me”, which features King Cydal and Money $Mont aka Mr Fetti. The next single will be King of The Grind and I actually did a 3D animated video to bring my twin brother Mac back to life. The album as mentioned is called “Only The Strong Survive” and it has songs featured by King Cydal, Dem Hoodstarz, Planet Asia, M-Dash, Jet Black and some other heavy hitters.

  1. What do you like to do in your downtime?

I like to create, workout, learn about effective digital marketing and running a label, travel, kick it, hit up a lounge and listen to some live music, and smoke a nice premium cigar every now and then.

  1. What’s the main focus for 2022?

The main focus of 2022 is to bring back the name Mac & A.K. as a brand, so everybody knows about us and to rep Mac Pacino till the death.

  1. Any last thoughts?

Just be looking out for several videos, singles and projects coming from Mac & A.K. The first rip in early 2022 is “Don’t Play With Me” featuring King Cydal and Money $ Mont aka Mr Fetti. The video was filmed late in 2021, so that’s coming. Expect big things to come from E&K Music Group and Mac & A.K.

Haastattelu: J-P / Fileerausveitsi

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