I didn't know what quite expect from an artist who's projects have the name ass in all of them. I didn't know whether to be intimidated, see it as a joke or just embrace the experience inside the mind of an artist who may be senile and a tad bit conflicted. So as soon as the skype call began I was entered access into his studio. It's messy, looks creepy and would seem to be quite cold. But what I didn't expect was to find a black male with a bright smile upon his face and so the question began.
Michael Cooper: Hey, You're Khirey Akeem?
Khirey Akeem: Indeed, I am. How are you? I caught wind of your email and decided to not be an asshole... See what I did there? Super plug *Laughs out loud* but besides that I'm guessing your name is Michael correct?
MC: Yes sir, you're correct and that was funny, a little bit corny but you seem to be in character. It doesn't seem like you're putting on an act like most artist.
KA: Well I feel if i'm always me, either you'll like it or hate it but you won't be unsure about it. You'll know for a fact how you feel. That's pretty much how I approach my music, you'll either love it or hate it but you won't be in between. I hate "in-betweeners" if that's even a word, excuse my grammar.
MC: What do you see as in-between?
KA: Those fans are casual music listeners who'll say something in the manner of, "Oh I think it's cool but I don't really care for it." I just rather here you say you hate then give me a PC (Politically correct) answer like that. I think it's pure bullshit, and with the music history I have and know it's just like you should have an opinion on something as soon as you hear it. I'm not doing anything different. All I'm doing is what others before me have done just reactivating it in my own manner.
MC: That's an interesting take on things. Most musician feel as if they are completely different to all others inside their so called "lane".
KA: Think about this... There has been so much music released over time, hell I have VINYLS *Shows VINYL collection* that are from the 1900's. You me to tell me you are doing something so different it can't be compared to anything? That's fucking crap. And oh dude can I curse, I'm sorry if I can't.
MC: No you're fine, it shows you have a comfort with me an I appreciate it greatly. I am new to this... Speaking of new this upcoming project of yours is your 2nd official release. Do you still feel as if you're new to this?
KA: Hip-Hop, yes. Music, no. Why I say that is simply because when my punk band, "I Really Hate Mondays" were popping hard we were major but minor. We were doing shows at places that legends of rock have performed. I don't feel new to music but hip-hop is a whole nother field. And why I say that, is because hip-hop the fans are all fickle and lame and it's an overflow of hipsters and wannabe music snobs. It pisses me off and being in Atlanta it's harder because they hate you so much while you're grinding yet when you make it, it seems as if everyone was there from the start and it just toys with me daily.
MC: Atlanta is quite the scene right now, but it's quite rough too. Would you go as far to say Atlanta is the new New York? I mean they break majority of artist, even those who aren't from there and the crowds are horrid. I've seen live videos online of indie rappers getting booed.
KA: Ummm don't want a Trinidad James situation but I would say that to a degree it is. New York DJ's aren't putting forth the effort they once did. How is it that most artist from Atlanta are getting played EVERYWHERE ELSE! It sucks, I miss when New York cats supported each other and hated the south, now they hate the south but they mimic the sound. It's almost as if they know what Atlanta possess but they won't give them the just due so they rather try to out due them and they should just get back to basics. No disrespect whatsoever.
MC: I think we might ruffle some feathers once this is posted. But I can agree and disagree. Boom Bap is dead and gone. Trap reigns supreme and...
KA: Well not to cut you off but you can make anything modern. Did you hear Joey Badass' record? B4.DA.$$? That's a modern day boom bap album. IT'S SOOOO NOSTALGIC. Like Me is vintage and raw it just makes you feel the power of the record more. You can take any sound from any era and make it modern. I don't think it can be argued. When Indie Pop & Rock had a massive 80's Synth Pop resurgence all those instrumentals and songs sounded reminiscent to anything from the 80's. I can't stand how people complain wanting "Real hip-hop" back whatever that may be and then once they get it, it's outdated... That's some fucking looney shit yo. *Lights a cigarette* Sorry stress and this convo is one of those things that stress me out
MC: It's fine you're at home, but what I see is like a Logic making records that have those elements but also have newer soundscapes as well. I don't think you should have all out boom bap joints anymore. Joey's record is great, very much so on all levels slept on but why so? It's because the sound makes you feel as if you can go pick up any 90's record from the past and listen to that. It was 2015 not 1995.
KA: But history repeats itself, does it not?
MC: Yes but...
KA: So what's the problem? A dope record is a dope record.
MC: Yes but, you should know for yourself with hip-hop it's much different. You must adjust to the times or you will falter to the trends. The trends weigh heavy on your following. Can Joey rip a trap beat? Maybe but it hasn't been seen, so now it's all speculation because all of Joey's records sound similar in some sense. One song sounds like another just redone. That's my take and opinion on it.
KA: I feel you man, Let's just agree to disagree and move on.
MC: So where do these references for all your projects having the term ass in them?
KA: Well... Really to be completely honest there's nothing to it. There just simple names. But after the sudden suprise success of jackass. I figured why not keep em coming? Let's keep the ass titles going. There simple and they sound cool. Also to a degree they describe me on all levels. I'm a jackass, I'm a asshole, I'ma dumbass. Ooops
MC: Why the oops?
KA: I accidentally revealed the title of my next EP after asshole. So you got an exclusive.
MC: Well that worked in my favor. *Laughs out loud*
KA: Yeah it did... You bloggers you *Makes funny gesture* I'LL GET YOU ONE DAY! Hahahaha
MC: So what is asshole? jackass was quite the local and underground success. I mean you were reviewed positively by one of the most notable music magazine's in the world, Sputnikmusic. How did that feel?
KA: So should I answer the asshole question first or the jackass one?
MC: Whichever makes you more comfortable.
KA: Well then i'll answer both in a long response. I hope you got your pad ready or recorder. Anyways literally after so much turmoil, as in homelessness, failed 2nd engagement, lost music files and folders and just a dream was how jackass was birthed. I literally had no budget, still don't, no friends, no family, no anything. All I had was a raggedy iPod touch 4th generation *Shows iPod on camera* a shitty car to live in, a shitty microphone and laptop and that's how the journey began. I...
MC: Wow, every artist has a story huh?
KA: I guess, but picking back up I literally just was so angry and hurting and rhymes were just writing themselves in my head every minute. I could've recorded an 100 track mixtape if I Wanted... But who would listen to that, especially an unknown force dropping it randomly on soundcloud.
MC: Lil B are we?
KA *Laughs* I wish. I need the based god powers but back to the matter at hand, once I finished it because it was done in May of 2015. I got in a car wreck and coma and I was a laughing stock on twitter because my ex made it seem as if I were pretending to be a woman on twitter, making me lose all my contacts and friends and industry ties. It was so shitty. I hate her for that. But I thank her as well.
MC: Wow what a bitch if you don't mind me saying, I just met you and that doesn't seem like something you'd pull.
KA: Exactly, but thanks anyways... It doesn't matter anymore my new woman is extremely beautiful and I'm thankful to have her in my life.
MC: Is she around?
KA: No but soon she will always be around. Might be getting the knot tied soon but that's for another subject...
MC: Well early congrats if it falls through.
KA: *Crosses fingers* My fingers are crossed.
MC: We went off subject, this is a great convo but now explain asshole please and thank you
KA: Yeah isn't it, but asshole is more so deprived of the aftermath of all that came with the success of jackass. It's leaning on spoken word to a degree. It's my emotions being poured out in a manner that can only be stated in a spoken word like format. It's 5 songs. It's 17 minutes and 38 seconds. It's simple but effective. I don't expect a lot of people to like it.
MC: Why is that?
KA: I don't have a "Turn up song" or a "banger" it's just a man displaying his emotions out in the open. It's very close to "Days With Dr. Yen Lo". If you've heard that record.
MC: Oh yes, one of my favs from last year. If it's like that why worry?
KA: I've always been insecure about me as a person, a musician, my looks pretty much everything.
MC: You seemed so confident earlier and now i'm hearing this it's like a hidden passage in your thought process.
KA: Everybody has these thoughts I'm just more open to displaying them. Like everybody thinks about suicide, or dying, or being sad, or being alone. It's just people are too cool to embrace their emotions as a whole so it's cool to have this i don't give a fuck attitude about everything and too me it's just corny. Not saying be like old Drake and sound like a sensitive pussy but be aware of the fact you do have emotions. We all do.
MC: Wow you just got really deep in such a short matter of time. I didn't expect this. To be honest I was expecting... Well an asshole.
KA: The plug in! *Chuckles* Thanks for that but people think I'm weird, or i'm crazy or i'm this and that and everything else except what I am and that's just me. I am me. Get to know me before you make your judgement. And now you know a little bit. A lil sum sum lol
MC: Hmmm well would I be able to listen to your new EP right here and right now?
KA: Yeah I keep it on me, always.
So at this point 17-23 minutes go by as we listen to each track and he breaks down certain lyrics.
MC: Wow that was quite the experience. It's very well put together. It's cohesive indeed. It sounds like exactly what you described it. Emotional and still lyrical. It's not that sure fire as your older mixtape but it does it's job. I think it's perfect. It's short so it doesn't become a snooze fest as it may have become had it been a full fledged album of this material. But the production is so sonically textured and absolutely layered to match every emotion. Great job and I heard it through Skpye. Can't wait to hear it fully.
KA: Wow man I'm honored. Thank you for that. That brightened my day. That made me feel wonderful. That made me want to drop it right away *Laughs*. But I guess this is the summary of our interview?
MC: I guess it's safe to say that. I enjoyed our interview. I've learned so little but so much about you.
KA: Well man I appreciate the interview. Let's do it again sometime and soon. Maybe when I'm dropping dumbass or even before that.