“Feels was carefully curated to bring a feel good energy into the new year, exploring various sounds and merging them together to create a storytelling piece. A journey through the hardship we have faced. The realizations. The love shared. The joyous moments. I feel liable to create straight from the heart, and keep it as real and as raw as possible, I want these mixes to reflect the times of now and all the positive attributes our generation has to offer. The club bangers can be amazing and all but I want to push the not so highlighted artists who are geniuses. No pressure, just good music.”
Archives for January 2017
Recently we got to sit down with up and coming Hip-hop artist Mike Kensah and talk about a variety of things from influences, music’s purpose, heritage and more. Check out the full interview below
1. How did you get started in music?
Mike: Growing up I’ve always liked music and everything about it. Besides that my aunty (Georgia Agyei), ie my mother’s sister is an established gospel artist back in Ghana. My grandmother also used to be a singer, so i can say music has always been apart of me subconsciously or consciously.
2. At what point in your progress did you realize that you were good enough or could be good enough to do this?
Mike: I was about 15 years old when i first recorded a track in a professional studio.
Anybody that I played it for couldn’t believe it was actually me. They said i sounded like a pro already and i had confidence in my voice. Bottom line they liked my style. Since then I’ve always enjoyed the writing, recording & mixing process.
3. Who/what are some of your main non-musical influences? (movies,books,public figures, actors etc..)How do you feel their influence correlates to your music? And is their influences directly applicable to your music?
Mike: Doctor Kwame Nkrumah, a very respected Man/Leader who gained independence for Ghana, the first country to gain independence in the whole of Africa. So you can see how easy a kid will be influenced by such bravery and power. Especially Ghana being my origin of birth and motherland. Another great figure that influenced me is Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X and everybody else that influenced the world and changed lives.
4. You also cited Tupac, Big L, Nipsey Hussle, Akon, & Chris Brown as some of your musical influences, that’s a wide range of very different artists, what do you take from each of those guys specifically?
Mike: first of all i respect every Artist doing music on a major platform, every artist that has passion for his or her music thus consistency and a goal of changing lives through their lyrics and lifestyle.
What i take from Tupac: Bluntness, motivational messages in his music, standing up for something, his respect for women etc.
Chris Brown : His over all talent, it seems whatever he put his mind to, he does it. causes that guy sings, raps, dances, back flips, he shows you, you could do anything you put your mind to and be great at it. At least that’s how Chris influences me.
Nipsey Hussle: The whole independence thing. Owning your own, cutting out the middle man. Nipsey’s music speak to me in a lot of ways i relate.
Akon: We both share similar story for the fact that he’s an African like myself, and migrated with his family from Africa. None of that stopped him from succeeding majorly in the American Music industry, that alone motivates me and gives me hope that i can make it too.
5. You’re Ghanaian, explain how your culture and background effects your music?
Mike: In Ghana my culture is an Ashanti Culture, if you do your research, the Ashanti Kingdom has been around since the 1600’s. we’re known for Gold being out major products. Prior to the Europeans invading us and trading Golds, slavery etc. with all that being said i think you can find that in my music.
6. What do you think music/art’s role is in the world and society and do you think it is fulfilling it’s purpose currently?
Mike: i think without music the world would’ve been a crazy and boring place. And yes its fulfilling its purpose people use music to escape from depression, problems, reality etc. like i said without it, i can’t imagine.
7. If you had to do one other art form besides music what would it be and why? And do you have any plans to ever implement this art form to your music if possible?
Mike: Drawing, i always to start with a blank mind, just like the blank page. I drawing what I imagine and i keep drawing as i keep imagining so to me i feel that freedom in creativity is everything and there’s no room for mistakes for that matter cause i create as i go. I very much implement every bit of it in my music since i like to go to the studio with a blank mind and start creating from scratch, i always like that challenge and freedom than to go in with a concept already, it keeps me limited to stick to the script or whatever.
8. In Hip-Hop we constantly hear about it’s lack of originality or diminishing quality..Do you believe there is such a thing as “bad” music?
Mike: I don’t believe that at all, i think people feel however they wanna feel about music. With that being said, we all cant feel the same way or like the same music. People relate differently so everybody is entitled to their opinion, me being an artist i don’t expect everybody to like my music.
9. If you had free reign to do what you wanted and complete creative control what would you do artistically? (if you could put on a certain stage show, film a documentary, perform at the super bowl etc..)
Mike: Put on a free stage show for everybody, poor, rich etc
10. Where do you see your career going and what goals do you hope to attain?
Mike: I see my career on a major level, i hear my name being mentioned amongst the greats that ever did it dead or alive. I see myself being apart of hip-hop culture. I see my Albums in people’s favorite categories. I see my works changing lives of listeners that need it.
Links to social media
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mikekensah/
It’s hard to believe that Killer Mike’s ‘R.A.P. Music’ LP is basically 5 years old, the album that first brought forth the audacious pair that is now Run The Jewels. Those in the know knew that El Producto producing an entire album for Dungeon Family’s Grammy award winning slept on heavy weight would bring forth something special. Those that knew didn’t know it would lead to Hip-Hop’s most sought after new duo, in an era where groups are virtually nonexistent and album’s production being entirely overseen by one producer is seen as even less of a commodity, Run The Jewels manage to bring these two iconic staples back from the foundation and into present-day and furthermore the future with shocking ease and much needed acceptance.
El-P’s soundscapes always exceeded the integral polarizing noise-like aesthetic that Hip-Hop sonically set out with as a means of separation and ironically acknowledgment. A student of the ‘golden-era’ El-P has described his sound as Boogie Down Productions on acid, this adherence to the roots of Hip-Hop coupled with progression and growth has lead to El’s beats being the one true sonic descendant of the original East Coast sound, a rightful evolution in a genre where many claim farce in the direction the sound has gone toward since the mid-90s. ‘R.A.P. Music’ and even RTJ2 deviated off the path and even stumbled upon melody on some tracks, especially on Killer Mike’s solo record, El specifically catering to Mike’s southern flow-driven roots, RTJ3 completely strips that down to a skeletal scarcity. Almost to a fault Run The Jewels 3 plays as pure minimalist angst, synths, distorted basslines, thumping 808s, and not much more create a haunting dystopian background. Tracks almost blend together in their scarcity only to be lifted into distinction through choruses, sung hooks, and features. Danny Brown stops by on a indistinguishable muddled bassline on ‘Hey Kids’ and Tunde Adebimpe chimes in to bring “Thieves” up from obscurity and drill home the message of a much needed lyrical analysis of societal problems. ‘2100’ ft. BOOTS shines some sonic lights as the distorted abstraction of sound materializes as melody and guitar chords string out of the gutter and combine to bring beauty to the listener. Immediately we are plunged back into oblivion on the Trina assisted ‘Panther Like A Panther’, war drums bang and a constant percussion loop reverberates in the background.
Run The Jewels not only push the envelope sonically, bringing early 80s electro-funk 100 years into the future on ‘Call Ticketron’, they push the envelope lyrically and topically. ‘Thursday In The Danger Room ‘ has Hip-Hop’s new dynamic duo dealing with the reality of death and how it effects the psyche of more than those just physically going through it. The album’s finale hosts a bonus track where the crew brings back Zach DeLa Rocha on ‘Kill Your Masters’ a call to arms after an introspective look on the proceeding ‘A Report To The Shareholders’ a message to their aware fans while noticing their stock rise which doubles as a pledge to ‘remain hostile’. ‘Strike while the iron is hot’ seems to be the maxim this crew is going for so we still expect more following the conclusion-filled final statement on the last track, in under 5 years Mike and El have already put out 3 stellar albums and 2 joint effort solo albums so it’s a safe bet to say that Run The Jewels aren’t quite done with their heist yet.