“ Stop Tripping. You’re going to be alright” is what 21 year old rapper/producer ‘AK’ from New Brunswick, New Jersey would tell his 15 year old self if he had the opportunity and that advice couldn’t be more accurate. With more than 1 million followers on his YouTube channel, an impressive Friday Fire Cypher appearance on Sway in the morning and tracks that have landed in the top 50 Hip-Hop iTunes charts, AK is rapidly becoming a name in Hip-Hop we will surely start hearing regularly. Substream Magazine is eagerly anticipating AK’s next project ‘Family Tree” releasing September 4th 2020 and we were elated to have the opportunity to ask AK a few questions in order to get to know this growing powerhouse of an artist a little better.
Substream: What kind of music did your parents play around you as a child? Did it shape your influences? Who are your influences? Why?
AK: I was listening to whatever was popular as a kid. If it was on the radio, I was listening whenever I was in the car with my mom. I think because the majority of radio music was pop/r&b it gave me that influence as a young kid that I never really let go of. I love Akon and I remember listening to T-Pain and Chris Brown a lot specifically.
Substream: How do you tap into your creative mode? Many artists kind of have a routine whether it’s sitting in nature or somewhere peaceful to write and think clearly or _____________. Tell us about your process.
AK: I like exercising. That’s one thing I notice when I do the morning before a session I feel better creatively things flow better for me. I don’t think as much.
Substream: Some artists have hidden talents like Chris Brown and painting or like Logic and solving rubix cubes with his eyes closed. Do you have any non-music related hidden talents that might surprise your fans?
AK: I skate. I can do a backflip. I know card magic.
Substream: If you could tell your 15 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
AK: Stop tripping. You’re going to be alright.
Substream: I see you play the piano, when did you start ? Do you play any other instruments?
AK: I play drums a little, same with guitar.. I started playing piano in 7th grade after my mom asked me to learn her favorite song at the time ‘Boston’ by Augustana on the piano and after I learned it from Youtube tutorials, I fell in love and wanted to learn even more.
Substream: What artist is personally your favorite? If you had the chance to collaborate with them, would you rather produce a song for them but not have the opportunity to also have a verse on the song OR have them produce a track for you but them not have a verse ?
AK: Well it would probably be J.Cole and I’d want him to rap over my beat. That would be crazy to hear what he comes up with over one of my own beats.
Substream: I know you had plans to tour this year and then the pandemic started. Do you have any plans to do any virtual performances? In what ways can fans look forward to interacting with you?
AK: I thought about doing some sort of virtual performance or event where I can interact with my supporters beyond just Instagram lives. Trying to figure out maybe doing something over zoom. It’s tough to put a live performance together though without access to a location/studio that’s safe to go to during the current moment. Unless I just set one up in the crib.
Substream: Continuing your #FamilyTree on conversation on IG/twitter, I want to know more about the moment you fell in love with rap/hip hop? At what point did your love for it make you want to start making it yourself?
AK: I loved the music the second I heard Ill Mind Of Hopsin 5. It was the first song in general I can remember. I connected to it so much and I never had that moment before with music. I explored more rap beyond that and when I found Cole that’s when I felt a hunger of expressing my own experiences and messages I wanted to share with other people. I knew my thoughts and perspectives always had value to others. I just never had a vessel to express them through and Hip-Hop made it possible for me. I’ll forever be in debt to Hip-Hop, it gave me everything I could’ve ever asked for as far as a purpose on earth. I know that sounds really heavy but there’s so much truth to it. And when I went to see J Cole at the PNC Bank Centre in Holmdel, NJ it changed my life/perspective of what music especially rap could turn into. 17,000+ people in an amphitheater sharing a moment to connect with the man on stage and say his words as if they were their own. That energy is unmatched and when I was in that crowd I saw myself on that stage and that night I went home and made my decision as a sophomore in High School that when senior year was over I was going to do whatever it takes to put myself in a position to connect with that many people with my words. So blessed and forever thankful for how far I’ve come since that night and I have no one to thank besides my family and support system we’ve built all around the world. I trip out thinking about it, and to think there’s even more coming? Crazzzy.
Keep up with AK through his socials linked below: