I sat down with SOK, an underground rap artist who recently released a killer instrumental EP. Here’s what he had to say.
NT: How did you get into music?
SOK: Well, music was something I was always around. My parents were music lovers, Mom supplied the late 80s and 90s Hip-Hop and R&B. Pops gave me the 70s Soul and Dance music and such
Sometimes he’d even break out some Elvis Preslely and Frank Sinatra records haha.
My Grandfather is the only one in the family I know with any background as a musician, he was even in a little mock group called “The Little Temptaions” back in the day.
So music was always something I enjoyed,I started out as a DJ back in the 4th grade using the Virtual DJ Program. The “Chopped and Screwed” sound from Texas had crept its way into my area, so I use to mix songs and sell the CDs for lunch money.I managed to by some turntables and the DJing keep on, I was rocking house parties and all and the production bug hit me in like 7th grade haha. Soulja boy had just hit the scene and it was at that moment everybody decided they could be a rapper. Now even then I realized that I was absolute ass at writing rhymes even by club music standards..so I did the next best thing, PRODUCED. I managed to cop a pirited version of Fruity Loops.
Again, I was selling beats to make cash. At the end of that that entire scene I had entered that “I fucking suck at everything” slump and shutdown off making music completely. I had decided on the suggestion of my therapist to do something that’d realize some of my anger so I picked up boxing. I was heavily into it,but was running low on cash to continue my lessons. So I got put back into producing by hanging out with some friends who were crazy about breaking into the music industry. Originally I just wanted to sell enough beats to keep my boxing lessons going, but the pleasure from mashing pads on the MPC was a bit more satisfying than knocking around the punching bag. So
I guess you can see which one I stuck with in the end. *chuckles*
NT: Who would you say inspired you the most?
SOK: Uh…Musically I’m inspired by creativity and the ability to instill emotion in the listener. I take aspects from Fat Jon, J dilla, and Nujabes in that department. I try and keep it Hip-Hop with my whole battle anybody attitude, I get that from DJ Premier. I like to let my appreciation for music take over and just zone out. A lot of people don’t know I do all my tapes and mixes in one sitting on the first attempt. I get that from DJ Screw (R.I.P.)
NT: How do you feel about the watering down of rap music in mainstream society today?
SOK: Regardless to shady business men shoving bullshit down your throat, Real Hip-Hop is out there, something that stays true to the culture of it all. Ultimately the truth of it all overshadows popular belief, people know there are a ton of cats who put heart into what they do, and really as a musician that’s what I like to see..talented people getting the admiration they deserve.
NT: Anybody you wanna collaborate with?
SOK: Yes. Dylan,Dylan,Dylan,Dylan and Dylan..because he spits hot fire. *laughs* But really. I’d like to work with Blu, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown, and I also have this reoccurring dream where I produce Outkast’s reunion album and of course, MF DOOM.
NT: Which artists do you believe are completely undeserving of their fame?
SOK: *laughs* Well you know, I would say Chief Keef but he can have me killed *ahem* so that’d be a big no-no. Honestly I can’t sit here and slander another artist..and on my first interview no less. It’s a bad look…But…Fuck Kitty Pryde..I hate that bitch. Alrighty moving on.
NT: If you could bring ONE artist back to life, who would it be and why?
SOK: That’s a toughie, I wanna say somewhere between Big L or Camu tao, Both are know by few. Both are extremely taletned,underrated, and not a huge catalog of work. Curious as to know where they’d be know if they had time to progress and grow…Oh well.
NT: Any update on future releases?
SOK: Siniser Sequel is due in January
After that I may step out for a bit, work on something else..My brother is a comic artist/animator. I write, he draws. I may compose some soundtracks for his projects but I’m not sure, too early to decide on that.
Helladope with me and shawn should be ready this summer. My label Mutant Workshop is having a group collaberation tape, which is hard because we’re all lazy as shit *laughs* but hey it’ll be here eventually.
Comtose and Astro( Both of Mutant Workshop) are dropping single that I might appear on…might.
But yeah, anything else is on the hush.
NT: You released your instrumental album for free (Editor Note: I scored it a 10/10). Do you ever plan on doing this for a living? Like actually making money off your work?
SOK: Eventually yeah, as for right now. I wanna break into the game doing it just to please myself, to make a point to myself that I can do this. To give my friends something to smoke blunts too on fridays. But at the age of 18?
Naw, I feel as though I have shit to do before I can honestly turn on my sampler and say “Alright, this time, for the dough!” Nah. Not now.
NT: Any words for your fans?
SOK: I love you guys like Kanye West loves Kanye West
NT: What about your haters?
SOK: *fart noises* Eat a lightbulb and wash that shit down with lemon juice.