Tuesday, September 24, 2013


For years, Hip-Hop artists have been dubbed, Kings, Queens and The greatest. Well Out Rapper I.K.P.s name fits him royally. Also known as The President, the Brooklyn-born-Virginia raised artist is known for his versatile flows, lyrics, mellow yet masculine voice and his positive, laid back yet out going energy and personality which makes him one of Out Music's many loved artists. The President released his first EP which showed his poetic flow, but he showed his fans that he could be versatile and get open with his hit "Super Hoe" with fellow Out Rappers Splash T and Loco Ninja, which was only a sample of what he had for his fans; In January he released his mix-tape which further displayed his talented and his ability to work with other artists. He also did production on Singer Da Quan J Motley's current CD as well. The President spoke to me via email about his career.

Da-Professor: What's up President how are things going?

I.K.P.: Been feeling very inspired lately, more than usual. This year has given me a lot of experience that I hope to share in my art.

Da-Professor: Cool Tell the viewers about your name King of Positivity how did you come up with it and what does it mean?

I.K.P.: I.K.P. was something that struck me spontaneously.  The Infamous King of Positivity, which is what it stands for, combines everything I want to represent as an artist. It came from putting together 3 things; the word ‘infamous’, which is a synonym for ‘notorious’ as in The Notorious B.I.G., one of my key inspirations in striving to be larger than life; ‘King’ which was inspired by T.I., another one of my inspirations and his constant references to the meaning of being a “King”, something that commands respect through actions, and since I have to be the King of something, I chose to be the king of Positivity because I feel it’s necessary for me to represent that as lifestyle and a state of mind that can bring personal freedom. When I became infected with HIV in late 2006, I needed to find a way to take back the power that the infection inflicts on millions of others and myself, converting it into something that could empower others.

Da-Professor: Interesting. How did you get into music?

I.K.O.: I come from a musical family. My father plays sax. My older cousins loved hip-hop and their aspirations influenced me to try it.  Music helped me get through my most troubling days when I felt like I couldn’t connect with anyone else.

Da-Professor: Which artists influenced you and how?

I.K.P.: In the beginning I was influenced by Biggie and Missy Elliott, even when it wasn’t exactly cool to like Missy and because people didn’t consider her hip-hop. But the fact that she was from my area of Virginia made her and Timbaland real champions to me and they showed how to think outside the box.

Da-Professor: Cool interesting. You have various types of flow which has a mixture of spoken word to spitting hard and your music has different genres from Jazz to Hip-Hop, Dance, Rock and New Wave. How important is for you to be diverse and versatile vocally musically and lyrically?

I.K.P.: I think it’s very important to bring as many skills to the table so that I can operate in different worlds. I want to be just as accepted at a dance club as I would be at a jazzy open mic event and I want people from different walks of life to find some connection with me.

Da-Professor: You're also a Gay and Out rapper. Have you had any challenges being an Out Musician?

I.K.P.: I would say not yet.  I don’t think I’ve had much trouble because I haven’t yet cracked the level of exposure I’d like to see. But I anticipate any and all challenges.

Da-Professor: I loved your debut singles The Poetry of Color and Let It Be Known. What were the inspirations for those songs?

I.K.P.: For The Poetry of Color, I’ve always felt like more of poet, if not a traditional rapper because there’s a level of class attached with a “poet” as opposed to a rapper. That type of song got me love at open mics and with more mature crowds for its sound. I think rap is a form of poetry and I love using words to draw comparisons and paint pictures. Let It B. Known was inspired by listening to Ice Cube and drawing from his energy and the grooves found on his records. I caught wind of Katy Perry’s single “I Kissed a Girl” at the time I wrote the song and was a little mad about the fact that it felt like girl-on-girl action was way more accepted that guys being romantic, even if guys tend to objectify women. I was going for the principle though.

Da-Professor: Your single Super Hoe is one of my all time favorites. It reminded me of Kid-N-Play's Last Night, UTFO's Roxanne Roxanne. What made you decide to go with those vibes, what prompted you to work with Splash T and Loco Ninja on that song and will you film a video for that song?

I.K.P.: I’m a fan of Boogie Down Productions and I thought that record would be fun to do and it would be the type of record to make me more memorable in people’s minds. I knew Loco would fit because he brings a certain edge that I liked a lot. Splash T was one of the first performers in the Out Hip-Hop world that I saw perform and her stage presence had me hooked since then.  When I made the Super Hoe record it was only right to bring her in. Anything’s possible as far as a video is concerned.

Da-Professor: Another thing I loved about the song is how you discuss insecure women who be so quick to jump on Gay and Bi-Sexual men who they think are trying to flirt with their men when in reality it be their man who be the ones flirting. What inspired you to address that in your song?

I.K.P.: I witness a lot of drama with people in relationships. House parties, personal experiences pushed me to vent on that subject matter. I’m all for defending the person you are in a relationship with but insecurities just don’t look cute. This something that I see a lot in the gay community as well as straight community.

Da-Professor: You also recorded your version of Boogie Down Productions' classic My Philosphoy What prompted you to give that classic a new twist and why is that song a Hip Hop classic.

I.K.P.: Being a fan of B.D.P., My Philosophy was always a record I wanted to cover.  It’s a timeless record that is a prime example of raw rap music at its finest. The album it came from By All Means Necessary was the fire that lit the inspiration to record and produce my first album.

Da-Professor: Another favorite is Bully. Many people especially in the LGBT community are constantly bullied, but when they fight back, they get repriminded by cops for defending themselves. What prompted you to record the song and how important is it for the LGBT community to not tolerate disrespect by ignorant ass homophobes?

I.K.P.: If it’s something I want people to remember me for, its for telling them to fight for what’s right whether it be for yourself or others.  Be the one that sparks the conversation and starts a movement. We need the attention on that. It’s the same as when Blacks had to defend themselves from racist whites in the days of segregation. 

Da-Professor: You know I loved your joint Torch Light Up (Live)! I loved the live feeling on that song. What made you give that song a live feel and do you plan on releasing that song as a single?

I.K.P.: I wanted to have a song that I could do on stage with a live band. I had a great time producing that.  It allowed me to flex my production muscles to pull it all together because I had never put a record like that together.

Da-Professor: You recently finished shooting a video with Out Rapper Kaoz for your single Check Mate. What was it like working with him and how was it working in Minneapolis the city that put Prince, The Time Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis on the map and did you see Jam & Lewis while you was there?

I.K.P.: I think I did see Jam & Lewis at Mall of America! Then again it was so many people there….

I had the best time working with Kaoz and having him in the video was a dream. I respect him a lot for what he does in his city and his community. He’s a ball of energy, all we did was crack jokes.

Da-Professor: You're family is from Honduras. I like to know what is your ethnicity? Black or Latin or both?

I.K.P.: We are Caribbean Latin. We got the best of both worlds. There’s no half anything because we essentially Caribbean Black people due to our ancestry and culture and Latin by nationality.

Da-Professor: From your perspective what is about Black Caribbean men that makes people wanna holla at them?

I.K.P.: There’s a lot to like about Caribbean Blacks!!  I would venture to say some are physically fit from spending a lot of time outside and lifting things like canoes and playing sports.

Da-Professor: Besides rapping and writing do you have any other projects you're working on?

I.K.P.: I be in the lab producing for other folks mannnn….. I love music. I’m in bed it all the time.

Da-Professor: If you have the opportunity to work with any artists mainstream, independent and LGBT who would it be?

I.K.P.: I would love to work with Kanye West, Timbaland, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. How sick would a record like that be?

Da-Professor: Many were affected and upset at the Trayvon Martin verdict with George Zimmerman getting off. How did you feel about the verdict and how important is it for many Black and Latinos Gays to realize that they can be victims of racial profiling despite their sexual orientation?

I.K.P.: I felt like the verdict was a failure of the justice system to the family and it reinvigorated conversation about race in America like nothing else.

The whole thing with Stop and Frisk is that it’s effective to an extent. If it helps keep the guns of the street and the drugs out of the neighborhoods then that’s where it should end.  If it comes down to sexual orientation, then its time to re-evaluate the true intentions of the policy.

Da-Professor: Sadly we lost many talented legends during the past couple of years including Michael Jackson. How did his unexpected death affect you and the industry?

I.K.P.: We won’t ever have an icon quite like M.J. in our midst because he was a once in a lifetime deal. There’s no amount of words that can truly explain the impact he had on so many generations of people all around the world. It’s a crime shame that we don’t get to see him progress pop culture further and embrace the new generations of pop artists but he will absolutely not be forgotten.

Da-Professor: We also lost Hip-Hop Legends Heavy D and Miss Melodie. How did their deaths affect you and the Hip Hop industry and how important is it for the new generation to learn how the impact they left on  Hip Hop and how important is it for them to be honored?

I.K.P.: They were Hip-Hop pioneers that paved the way for a lot of what we see today. It’s always important to embrace what the past was and the contributions Heavy D and others have made while still looking forward.

Da-Professor: We also lost Whitney Houston as well. How did her death affect the industry and how important is it for fans to honor her legacy and not blame her ex-husband New Edition co-founder Bobby Brown for her issues and drug use?

I.K.P.: Whitney Houston had a voice unlike any other that has influenced so many that came after.  I think it affected the industry greatly. Her death left a void that can’t be filled. People have to realize that there’s more layers to our pop stars and role models than what we see on TV and read in the news. You never know what’s going on in the minds and hearts of our celebrities and so it’s not anyone’s place to judge them for things we can’t see or things they can’t defend themselves from.

Da-Professor: The world was hurt and shocked by passing of Disco Icon/Songwriter Donna Summer. How do you think that her death has many fans still in shock and hurt?

I.K.P.: She’s a terrible loss in the music world. I think fans and admirers will be hurt from her leaving us so soon for a long time.

Da-Professor: Both TLC and Beyonce Knowles each sampled her classic Love To Love You Baby for their hits I'm Good At Being Bad and Naughty Girl. What did you think of them sampling her classic for their hits.

I.K.P.: I thought those were excellent interpretations of that classic song. I’d have to say those records by TLC and Beyonce are among my top favorites by them, if not more because the Queen of Disco’s spirit lives in those records.

Da-Professor: Donna had also worked with Hip Hop producer JR Rotem on her last album Crayons. What did you think of her recruiting him to work with her and what did you their work on the album track The Queen Is Back?

I.K.P.: I thought that was a great move on her part to explore new sounds and that record was dope. Well produced by JR.

Da-Professor: Last summer R&B Singer/Songwriter Frank Ocean revealed that he was bi-sexual and his first love was a man. What did you think of him coming out and do you feel that many in the community will start to show support for the Openly and Out Singers and Rappers who's been representing the community for years?

I.K.P.: I thought it was very respectable and admirable that he chose to be honest with his fans about himself. It will be a slow process before more R&B and Hip-Hop stars come out about their sexuality but from what I can see, the opportunities are opening up everyday with more celebrities in the Black community like Raven-Symone and Jason Collins opening up and sparking the debates.

Da-Professor: What do you want fans to get from your music and videos?

I.K.P.: I want people to be entertained first, then I want other artists to be motivated to seek out the other talented individuals in film to put out higher quality material.

Da-Professor: How do you think you're making an impact on the music industry and the Out Music and LGBT Community?

I.K.P.: I just want to be remembered as someone who was daring and challenging people’s minds and ideas about who we are an what we can be. I don’t believe I fit the common stereotypes of what a rapper LGBT or otherwise are, so I’d like to show that just like my influences have showed me, it’s OK to look different and think different.

Da-Professor: What advise would you give to a brother who wants to pursue a career as an Out artists?

I.K.P.: Don’t be scared to fight for the right to be accepted as you are and question everything.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


When I purchased Novelist Armani Williams' debut novel "Scandilious" he gave me a warning; the book was going to be hot with lots of hot scenes, and he was right. Not only was the book hot, it was great (the book was so hot that I had to rush out the train station and into my apartment to cool off). Born and residing in New Jersey, Williams' original goal was to pursue a career as a singer or actor, and it was while he was taking a youth community drama course where the instructor asked the students to write stories, and after his story got positive feedback from the instructor, he continued to hone his skills, which is paying off in a big way. His debut novel has gotten great reviews and fans are eagerly awaiting the release of his upcoming novel "Harlem Boyz" which will further display his pen game. Armani spoke to me via e-mail about his writing, acting and avoiding stereotypical characters in his writings.

Da-Professor: Hey bro how are things going?
Armani: Things are good. Thanks for reaching out to me.

Da-Professor: No problem. So you're about to drop your second novel "Harlem Boyz" this fall. Are you excited?

Armani: Yes I am very excited to release my second novel. A lot has happened between releasing "Scandalicious" and releasing "Harlem Boyz" so the fact that I can release another book makes me very happy. I'm more than excited. I'm over the moon! 
Da-Professor: What can readers expect from "Harlem Boyz?"
Armani: Folks can expect an honest story about the lives of four black male best friends who happen to be gay. It gives you a real glimpse at the lives of these men as they experience life along with their careers, family lives, love lives, and the bond they have as friends.                                                           
Da-Professor: Interesting. How did you get involved in writing?
Armani: Writing found me when I was ten. I was in a drama class down at Newark Community school of the Arts and the teacher was a college professor. A man by the name of Professor Stewart. He told us we were going to write plays. I was terrified. I didn't know anything about writing. But when I went home, an idea hit me about a woman who was on drugs who found out she was pregnant and wanted to deliver a healthy baby so she went to rehab. I always seemed to write about things that were much older than me. My mother still has the original draft I wrote in her photo album. 

Da-Professor: Which authors inspire you?
Armani: I have been inspired by a lot of authors but I have to say every time I read a book by my favorite author Carl Weber, I get super inspired to write. I love his work.

Da-Professor: I have to admit you was right when you told me them book was hot. I read it on the train on my way home and I'm glad I got home in one safe piece (if you get my drift lol) What was the inspiration for the story?

Armani: Wow! Eight times? That's awesome. Thank you for that. I'm glad you enjoyed it that much. The inspiration came from my listening to a lot of NYC hip-hop radio jocks and the crazy calls they received from listeners. And a lot of things people suspected was happening in the entertainment industry. It was birthed out of a lot of "What if" situations and my imagination just ran wild with it.

Da-Professor: I love how you had all the characters being college educated, college graduates and professional. What inspired you to have the characters educated and not all ghetto?

Armani: I can't say it was a conscious decision to make them that way. It's just kind of how the story unfolded. I think my being in college at the time had a lot to do with it.

Da-Professor: One of the things I also loved was how you had Teddy's wife Tameka not being the typical basket-ball wife and having a college degree and career as working in real-estate. What prompted you to write her not being the average stay at home wife and having something to offer besides her looks and pussy?

Armani. I wanted to show that she really did hold him down off the court. Even though she was a stay at home wife, she wasn't stupid. She had a degree of her own, helped manage his finances, was his real estate partner, and kept a lot of things together for him. I think it was important that she be more than his beautiful wife, I wanted her to have some sense. In other words I didn't want her to be a bird.

Da-Professor: It was a great move. Athetles nowadays want a woman who's gonna bring more to the table more than their looks and pussy. Another aspect is Teddy's secret relationship with rapper L.Z. an Hispanic rapper. What prompted you to write Black and Hispanic story line?
Armani: LZ was Black and Hispanic. At the time I wrote the book, there was a Hispanic man I had a crush on. I worked for an after school program at the time and I forget the little boy's name but I certainly remember his father's face. One of my co-workers and I used to drool every time he came to pick up his son. (Laughing) When I created LZ, I saw that man's face. 

Da-Professor: Your book had 2 twists that made the story hot and added mystery to the story. Teddy's wife Tameka having an affair with L.Z.'s girlfriend and Tamika catching Teddy making love to her brother Andre who comes on to him.What prompted you to write Tamika having a chick on the side, and will you write a future story line with Andre in it?

Armani: It added a little more spice to the story for Tamika to be having an affair of her own. And it really made it sizzle that she was to having an affair with another woman. And Andre definitely could show up in one of my future books starring in his own story. You never know. Stay tuned.

Da-Professor: One of the main aspects I loved about the book is how you had Teddy's parents, sister and her Jamacian fiancee support Teddy showing that there are many fathers who do support their gay sons. How important was it for you to show that not all fathers are homophobic?

Armani: I wanted to show that there are fathers out there who accept their gay sons. It can be real. 

Da-Professor: Many readers have given you positive feedback on your book. 
How does it feel to have support from both the GLBT and the Hetero communities?

Armani: It really means a lot to me that people from all different walks of life enjoy my work. That's so cool. Being human is really what unites us all. 

Da-Professor: Cool. If you're book was to be made into movie, who would you like to play the

Armani: The only person I have mapped out in my mind is Jennia Fredrique as Tamika. Everyone else I would leave up to whoever handles the casting to find. 

Da-Professor: In addition to writing, you're also involved in acting as well. Do you have any upcoming projects?

Armani:  It's funny you ask that. In the last 12 months I've been cast in three different projects that I either walked away from or was released from. I also had some auditions where I would make it to the final round of auditions and I would be cut at the last minute. I didn't even think about it until time had passed that all of those things distracted me from my writing. I honestly couldn't do both things at once. My future as an actor at this point is still undecided but I am having fun writing and releasing books. So that is where my focus is. 

Da-Professor: Do you have any plans to write movies or television sitcoms in the future?
Armani: I am definitely tempted to write movies and series but not at this very moment. After "Harlem Boyz" drops in fall 2013, I have its sequel and another book I am working on called "Jerzee Loverz" to finish. So in the words of Kelly Price, I'm booked. LOL! 

Da-Professor: Many were shocked and pissed that Zimmerman got off for killing Trayvon Martin. How did it make you feel to know that he got off and how important is it for Black and Latin Gay males to know that they can be the victims of racial profiling despite their skin color and orientation?

Armani: The Trayvon Martin verdict broke my heart. My heart ached for him and his family. For the first two days after the verdict, I remember being furious. Incensed even. And I felt so powerless. You would have thought he was my little brother. I really hope this is a wake up call to the world that racism is still very alive. I think this goes beyond being gay. It has to do with the unfair targeting of black men and boys worldwide. We all have to watch our backs. 

Da-Professor: You're from New Jersey? What is about guys from New Jersey that makes people wanna holla at them?

Armani: Our swag is addictive.  What can I say? LOL! 

Da-Professor: You're from the state that produced many talented acts like Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Faith Evans, Queen Latifah, Naughty By Nature, Derek Luke and Frank Sinatra. How does it feel to come from the state that produced these talented acts and how do you feel you're gonna add on to their legacy?

Armani: Don't forget Tisha Campbell and Lauryn Hill are from here too. It feels great honestly man. I feel like I come from very good stock. Whitney, Dionne, Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, and Faith Evans are all actually from the same hometown as me. East Orange, NJ is where its at! 

Da-Professor: Many were shocked at Whitney's passing? How did her death affect you personally?

Armani: I was devastated by Whitney's passing. Being that she is from my hometown and I have been a fan since I was a small child, she felt like a family member as crazy as it sounds. It's funny though, my dad's side of the family went to New Hope Baptist Church in Newark with Cissy and Dionne before Whitney was born. My father sang in the youth choir together when they were kids. My grandmother directed the youth choir too. So my aunts actually when Cissy came to the church and became the minister of music. But yes, Whitney was my girl and I still play her music. 
Da-Professor: Many fans are finally stopping blaming her ex-husband New Edition co-founder Bobby Brown for her drug usage. What did you think of their relationship and their duet "Something In Common?"

Armani: I think what Whitney and Bobby had was real love. It was sadly tainted by their drug use but I truly believe they loved each other. And "Something in common" is one of my favorites. 

Da-Professor: We also lost singers Teena Marie and Donna Summer as well. How do you think their loss affected their fans and how do you think they made a great impact on music?

Armani: I had great respect and admiration for Teena Marie and Donna Summer. Both ladies had amazing voices and were trailblazers. 
Da-Professor: During the past year, many Black singers, athletes and actresses including Frank Ocean, Akill Patterson, Jason Collins and Rayvone-Symone came out publicly. How do you feel seeing more Blacks in R&B and Hip-Hop and Sports coming out and how do you feel it will make an impact on Black youth and adults who are struggling with their sexuality?

Armani: I think it will start the conversation and make people more cmwillo think it is.

Da-Professor: How do you feel you're making an impact on the book and acting industry and with the GLBT community?

Armani: By just being who I am. I only know how to be me. 

Da-Professor: Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

Armani: Living somewhere peacefully with the man I love who loves me back in a beautiful home. Happy, successful, and living my life like its golden. 

Da-Professor: I also see that you're very business-minded. How important is it for people entering the industry to be business-minded?

Armani: What one first must realize is that this is a business before it's anything else. And if you don't stay on top of the business side, you will get taken advantage of.