Haastattelussa East Palo Alto -veteraani Ad Kapone

Haastattelussa Kalifornian East Palo Altosta kotoisin oleva räppäri Ad Kapone, joka kuuluu legendaariseen Totally Insane -räppiyhmään. Ad Kapone on julkaissut urallaan useita sooloalbumeita, kuten “Mansa Musa: The Old King” (2023), “Heavy Work” (2022), “Kingpin: The 6th Year Theory” (2010). Hän on tehnyt urallaan yhteistyötä useiden tunnettujen räppäreiden, kuten Dre Dogin, Cougnutin (RIP), Chunkin, Baldhead Rickin, The Jackan (RIP) ja Mr. Keen kanssa.

  1. What’s up, Ad Kapone? How are you today?

I’m good, bro. Just chillin, living my best life.

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you became interested in pursuing a rap career?

Well, I was born and raised in East Palo Alto, and music has been a big part of my life from an early age. My mother used to listen to a lot of music, including The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Parliament/Funkadelic, and James Brown, and I loved it all. When rap music came on the scene, my mother started buying me all the new albums, and taking me to concerts at The Oakland Coliseum and Henry J Kaiser. I saw acts like Run D.M.C., Fat Boys, and Eric B & Rakim, but it was when I saw LL Cool J perform that I knew I wanted to be a rapper. The way he commanded the stage and controlled the audience was mesmerizing, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. So, I went home, started writing raps, practiced performing in front of my mirror, and told my mom and close friends about my newfound passion.

  1. How did you come up with the name Ad Kapone?

I came up with the name by learning about history. Growing up, the gangsters were the heroes, even in the neighborhood. The ballers or D boys were our heroes until rap came, then rappers became like superheroes. I grew up reading comic books, so to me, LL became my Superman or Batman. Before him, they were Michael, Chris, and Ray Washington, Peter Holland, and Eugene “The Wolf” Jackson, who were like neighborhood superheroes. Big Tyrone Riley and other real people in my city were also looked up to. So, when it came to choosing a rap name, I was inspired by Al Capone (Alphonse Capone), probably the biggest gangster in history. My real name is Adam, and my first rap name was Rappin Ad, with ‘Ad’ being short for Adam. Then, as the gangsta rap era came in, I needed to change it, so I chose the biggest gangsters of all time, alongside Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel. Out of respect, I spell my name with a K instead of a C. I have no gang affiliation at all; I’m from the Bay, so it’s Kapone, not Capone.

  1. Where do you find most inspiration? What is your songwriting process like?

I’m inspired by experiences, stories, and history, as well as current events. I love rap music, so I listen and study it. I am a student of rap, and I get inspired by hearing the music of other artists, as it sparks creativity in me. However, when I’m recording my albums, I tend to close myself off to get into my own zone.

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

My music is definitely West Coast Gangsta, G Funk, and Mob Music because that’s what I grew up with. I think with Totally Insane, we created our own sound. T.C. is a musical genius, so he crafted a unique sound for us. He knew which beats were right for our voices and flows. Over the years, I have used the tools that T.C. taught us, and I try to find producers and beats that resonate with me and bring out the best in my bars.

  1. What you enjoy most about being a musician?

I enjoy creating new music and watching the reaction of the listener. I like sharing my thoughts, opinions, stories, and feelings in the hope that someone will hear it and take something away from it. I have been rapping since I was ten and making music since I was sixteen. It’s a part of my life, and when I bought my house, the first thing I did was build a studio. It’s my own space to create in.

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

My all-time favorite rappers are LL Cool J and Ice Cube. Their music impacted my life more than any other artist. I admired their styles and the aggression in their voices. I believed that LL was a real nigga from New York who didn’t play and wasn’t soft. Girls loved him, and niggas respected him. Ice Cube was different but similar; he came from NWA and was a monster in the group. When he went on his own, he took over the game and became a force to be reckoned with. Girls loved him too, and niggas respected him. He was more dangerous than LL, but had the same lyrical talent, and he was from the West Coast, so that gave me someone to root for from California. We already had Too Short from the Bay, who was also a big influence for me. But at the time, he wasn’t on that level yet. When he blew up, he became one of the Mount Rushmore niggas.

Totally Insane – Backstreet Life (1995)
  1. How did you get connected with Mac-10 and Scoot Dogg?

I grew up with Ten Dolla (Mac 10) and Scoot, and we are all from the same neighborhood. I met Ten in kindergarten, and we were in the same class. As we got older, we used to visit each other’s houses. We started messing with rap in fifth grade, and our English teacher would let us stay after school to work on our music. A group of us would meet up and practice in Ms. East’s class. It went from there to the playground, then school assembly, and finally, talent shows. Scoot is a few years younger than us, and our families go way back. My grandmother, who is an immigrant from South America, Panama, received help from Scoot’s grandmother to stay in America. Our mothers grew up together and went to school together. They raised us together in the same neighborhood, and all of the homies I grew up with had parents who grew up together.

  1. Tell me about the recording process for your guys debut album ‘Direct From The Backstreet’?

Before we recorded “Direct From The Backstreets,” we had recorded an album named “Krazy Shit.” Our executive producer, Mike D, was murdered in Oakland, CA. His brother Chris didn’t want to put the album out, so we had to scrap it and record a new one. We recorded “Direct From The Backstreets” in TC’s garage. It took us seven days to complete the songs, and TC took a week to mix it. The whole time we recorded, Black C and Mr. Cee from RBL Posse were in the studio with us, quietly watching and giving positive feedback. Cougnut was a big inspiration and a close friend as well.

  1. You guys also did some work with Cougnut. What was that experience like?

When we first started recording at TC’s studio, Bank Roll Studio, Cougnut was the first person I met. He unlocked the front door for us and welcomed us to the family, and from day one we were good. Cougnut is a Bay Area legend that I personally feel doesn’t get the full props and credit that he deserves. He helped pioneer this Bay Area rap scene. My homie Big G used to post up on the block with a giant boombox and play I.M.P.’s music. When I heard “Scandalous,” I knew I had to do some shit with him. So when I finally met him, I was kinda starstruck.

Cougnut was one of the hardest working artists I ever met. He stayed in the studio, and his imagination was off the charts. Him, TC, and Enhancer used to be in the studio making motion pictures. He was a real nigga who wasn’t scared to throw hands with anybody. If he got drunk, somebody was getting their ass whooped.

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

I have been recording music all these years, and now I have my own label called The Insane Empire. I have some new projects and artists dropping soon. I’m also excited to announce a new group called The Duffle Bag Mob, featuring talented artists like Gucci Smoke, Chekkmate Chequez, D Dow, and Wild Bill. Stay tuned for more updates!

  1. What has been the hardest part of being quarantined?

The hardest part about being quarantined has probably been not being able to perform live shows. However, I used the time to record a lot of new music and shoot videos.

  1. Aside from music, what other things are you passionate about?

Apart from music, I am also passionate about breaking into the podcast industry. I enjoy conducting interviews and introducing new artists through my label, The Insane Empire.

  1. What’s next for you?

I am currently focused on running my label, releasing new music and videos, and developing scripts. I am also planning to write a book in the near future.

  1. Any last words for our readers and your fans?

To my fans and readers, I would like to say, keep your business affairs in order, build a strong team, and remain true to those who are loyal to you. Please check out my latest album, “Mansa Musa The Old King”, and follow me on Instagram at @AdKapone.

Haastattelu: J-P / Fileerausveitsi