From writing with conviction and vivid imagery, to self-production and distribution; this Brooklyn native, known as KA is laying the building blocks for for his brand, his way. A love and respect for Hip-Hop motivates him, while getting his message across via bars and hooks has become a reprieve. Check out our interview with this rising star in Hip-Hop. Get the details on his latest album, his upcoming show as opening act for Beanie Sigel, his overall grind musically and more.
Parlé Magazine: You self-produced Grief Pedigree, what was the motivation to do so?
Ka: I love Hip-Hop and I’ve wanted to be a part of it since I was young. I started out rhyming, where I was from thats what Hip-Hop was about, you either rapped or made beats. Over the years I worked with different producers but I always felt confined by other people’s schedules and preferences. I wanted to become self sufficient, and when I started making beats there were times when I didn’t wanna give a certain track up, feeling that I would do it more justice. Self-production has given me the opportunity to create without restraints. Also, I feel like no one else knows my sound better than I do.
Parlé: What is the prevailing theme of the album?
Ka: I think I defined all of that with the title. the title is very significant. Its an album where I am able to express my somber feelings; the struggle of losing friends, impovished upbringing, and also the deprivation of not hearing a certain type of music, the kind that I represent. I write to escape my block, or the things that were taking place in my home. This project embodies what I stand for as an artist. People get it. It’s not a party album, its got a chill out vibe to it. I want people to appreciate the lyrics.
Parlé: You have an extensive background as a group member, with Natural Elements and Night Breed, what prompted you to go solo?
Ka: I never got into music to be a solo artist, I came up listening to impactful rap groups and being influenced. I’m talking Boogie Down Productions, Whoodini, Treacherous 3, Run DMC. I always wanted to be in a group. All I wanted to do was spit verses, and rock with my mans on stage. Over time the groups that I was in ended up outgrowing each other in a sense, and my friends began to have real lives and responsibilities, families, etc. I still had the fire and I couldn’t pressure my friends to keep late nights in the studio. I felt the need to venture out. Like I said I never wanted to be a solo artist. I was scared at first because I’ve always been the person to help out not so much the leader when it came to making songs. When it was all said and done, I just decided to step up and do it on my own.
Parlé: You are a very talented brother, you also direct your videos, not many artists are as hands on as you are, do you feel wearing all these hats gives you the best opportunity to control your brand?
Ka: I wanted more people to be exposed to my music. My rhymes are really dense and I felt it needed more visuals. Some people don’t grasp it on the first listen. A person with a lazy ear may say I am boring, I dont know. I didn’t have the energy to keep forcing the music on people or trying to convince them to support. I felt that directing my videos indeed gave me greater control of the message and how it gets to the people. It’s easier to get people to watch a video than to listen to a song. For me it’s a mind game, I’m simultaneously getting them to watch and listen.
Parlé: You have described Hip-Hop as consisting of 2 sub genres, classic vs new age: what do you feel is the biggest difference between the two?
Ka: Well actually I feel like there are many elements of Hip-Hop. With that being said, I feel like Hip-Hop is done an injustice cause we only have a Hip-Hop award, unlike heavy metal for an example. They have broken Rock-N-Roll into genres and award on the basis of all those different variations. I feel like Hip Hop deserves the same amount of respect. There is not just one kind of Hip-Hop, there is a huge difference between artists like MF Doom and Nicki Minaj; her method and approach works for her, and his for him. So I definitely think there should be a creation of more branches for Hip-Hop. In the hood we know the differences, we understand the back packers, the conscious rappers, the hardcore, and the commercial. The rest of the world doesn’t recognize it as such. To them we’re all just rhyming, but the thing is, there’s different content.
Parlé: You say that you feel like Hip Hop was created just for you, how so?
Ka: That’s my selfish side; I feel like its really helped me. Hip-Hop made me smarter. It has inspired me to read more, learn more; I remember listening to KRS-ONE and feeling revolutionary. I respect it so much, and I love Hip-Hop. It has been a big brother to me, a comforting friend. The founders in the Bronx definitely created Hip-Hop for me. I am just honored that people get a chance to hear my version, my style of Hip-Hop because I’ve been working hard for a while. I am normally very humble, but thats my bravado, feeling that Hip Hop was created for me.
Parlé: Are there any artists that you haven’t worked with, that you want to hook up with?
Ka: I respect a lot of artists. I’ve never really worked with no one but GZA and Mack but I would be open to the idea. I’m not entirely sure how it would gel, but I can say that I have developed a rapport with some good dudes, whom I call brothers in Hip-Hop. Sean Price is one, he is a genuinely good dude. At the end of the day I would work with anyone that Loves Hip-Hop as much as me.
Parlé: You’re opening up for Beanie Sigel at SOBs how did you and Beans get together?
Ka: Actually yes coming up on the 16th I will have the pleasure of opening up for the brother Beanie Sigel at SOBs in Manhattan. I haven’t met him personally as of yet, but he is definitely a respected lyricist and its an honor for me to have the opportunity. In terms of how it came together, the credit goes to my manager for finding venues for me that fit the brand of music that I create. People will undoubtedly be coming to see Beans, but my focus is to impress and further my fan base. I am in a great space right now and just to be mentioned and supported is a blessing.
Parlé: Where can the people get up to date with you and your movement?
Ka: Well I have a video for every song, I have a YouTube channel that I would like for people to check out. Also my album is available on iTunes, Amazon; I also keep it grassroots, I ship albums out myself to people when they purchase. I am the label; I’m at the post office everyday. As a matter of fact a brother down the block from me is awaiting my delivery to him right now. I’m going to shake his hand and thank him for the support. I just want everyone to support and even if its not about buying the album, tell a friend to tell a friend.
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