Tuesday, September 24, 2013
OUT HIP-HOP'S MUSICAL KING AND PRESIDENT SPEAKS WITH DA-PROFESSOR
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?