Cincinnati, Ohio-bred, Austin-based rapper and songwriter 2K! took a few minutest to sit down with ILLwriteR and give us a few insights.
- Describe the typical 2K! fan.
Any 2K! fan has had a strong struggle in life that’s led them to Hip-Hop in some way shape or fashion. They look for an escape from the problems they’re currently facing and share the same vision of being great and becoming successful.
- What do you think the old school can learn from the new school and vice versa?
I feel the old school can learn from the new school to stop taking Hip-Hop so seriously. If they pay close enough attention then they can realize the problems with the “New Wave” that have raised in Hip-Hop are due to the decisions they made. On the other hand the new school could learn to take music a bit more seriously. I don’t consider myself in either class, but all in all both just need to learn to listen.
- What’s Cincinnati like, both as a city and a hip-hop scene?
Growing up in Cincinnati was a journey in itself. There were times you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from, or a stray drive by bullet. Everyday there was something new. As far as the Hip-Hop scene it could range from new wave to lyrical gangsta rap. I’ve gotten a few fam that’s added to that scene other than myself, but the flavor of Cincinnati’s Hip-Hop scene lies in the renaissance I feel I’m commencing in Hip-Hop alone.
- What’s your favorite verse in hip-hop history and why?
One of my top verses is from the song Control by Big Sean Ft. Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica. I admired the intensity of Kendrick’s verse, and not just because of him calling out all major rappers in the game. But more of the meaning behind it. It was almost as if Kendrick was being Knighted into the game from that verse. Regardless of the outcome of that song Kendrick would’ve still gotten the same response. Regardless of how the rappers responded Kendrick would’ve still had control.
- Your new single is about freedom from money. How do you propose to attain that?
I consider my single to be more about freedom from anything that is not yourself. Recognizing that you hold the keys to your own destiny. There’s no true proposal I can make that’ll say I’ll always act in character but the action is held in to be or not to be/ to do or not to do. The only thing I can say will help me attain that is being myself.
Dropping the “Trust the Process Volume 1” album the same day Jay-Z released his 4:44 album was unplanned and a blessing,” conversed an enthusiastic Legend McCall as he sits with journalist Hector De La Rosa to discuss the behind the scenes of his latest opus.
The moment served ironic but, “special for me because Hov is my idol. I always aspired to be one of the greats like Jay-Z and Kanye West that make timeless music.” Crafting classic music serves the ultimate for the hip-hop artist. “I make music that speaks for young black males that gravitate towards rapping who never had guidance or [any form of] mentorship,” articulated the fervent emcee. He adds, “My music caters to those who do not have life’s roadmap laid out for them.”
Not only does the vigorous emcee make music for the misguided but music that represents home- Rockford, Illinois. “I developed tough skin while growing up in Rockford.” It is considered, “the tale of two cities where the city went from a community of love, peace, and joy to a [place of devastation and chaos]. It is a small city but statistically violent and impoverished.” He utters in disgust, “one can feel the terror that exists within Rockford.” Legend McCall shows concern as he pauses for a moment as if he were in deep thought. He continues, “There is no hope for people out there.” With this said, “I use my music as a vehicle for change for my city with anticipation of seeing better days.”
The city of Rockford is not only responsible for the development of his artistic endeavour Trust the Process Volume 1, but also a tweet from Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid inspired the title of the album. “It consists of spiritual themes and confident booster singles. I speak on subject matter ranging from basketball, hip-hop culture, relationships regarding my significant other, family, and close friends to politics.” For the lyricist, “It is all about feeling when it came to recording songs for the album. Each song has to describe what I was going through in that particular moment in my life.” What makes Legend McCall an interesting artist is his song selection process that makes the final cut. “I would repeatedly listen to songs after the recording session and sit on them for weeks. I go back to see if I still have that same feeling when I first recorded the songs. If so, they are definitely keepers.” He admits to being his, “own worst critic. However, I am truly satisfied with Trust the Process sonically.”
What serves important for an artist like Legend McCall is carving his own niche and not subject to the standards of the music industry. He lives by the artistic motto of, “being true to me. I do not seek approval from anyone when it comes to making music nor seek fame.” He wants to be able to express and, “relay my message trusting one person can get something out of my music.” He highlights, “I want to be remembered as an artist and person who took chances and reached the highest pinnacle life has to offer.”
Legend McCall continues his conversation with journalist Hector De La Rosa to discuss the behind the scenes of Trust the Process Volume 1 most noteworthy tracks.
I vibe out and get into a carefree zone when I hear that nostalgic ‘80s and ‘90s hip-hop. This song has that nostalgic feeling. The production to this song gave me the platform to display my skill of rap; projecting my flow, cadence, and delivery at the highest level.
This is a favorite- soulful, uplifting, and personal to me. The record lets my uncle know, who has been incarcerated, that the family and I have been holding it down for him and are with him in spirit. Also, the song cites how I hear God talking and guiding me in this journey of life. Sixth Ave produced the track. He was very excited how the song formed [to perfection] once I sent him the finished product.
Madness on the 8th
This song almost did not make the cut. It is creative but felt it did not fit the theme of the album. However, I gave in after listening to it more than once. I wanted the song to capture that sentiment and moment when Donald Trump was elected in office. I expressed how I felt when that event took place. I knew the outcome of the presidential elections beforehand. I am not surprised about the things that go on in America. I know how the system works. I rather focus on something different than dwell on the foolery and madness [that came with the elections].
This [particular single] helped me realized I recorded a great piece of art [Trust the Process]. I was honored that my friend Katrina Brown, a talented woman who grew up in the church, blessed the track with her soulful vocals. I was promoted in my place of employment at the time of recording this song. I felt everything was falling into place for me. It is a ‘momma I made it’ type record.
Consider this my second favorite joint off Trust the Process Volume 1 and the very first song I recorded for the album in 2015 before I took a two-year hiatus in music to develop myself as a person and artist. I am a huge Shaun Livingston fan. Growing up, my homie used to brag about Livingston from Peoria, Illinois and how he used to bring the terror to Rockford high school basketball. To see him early in his career playing for the Los Angeles Clippers and getting an injury only to come back in great formation demonstrates his strong resilience. It is that Midwest story I can relate. His story describes who I am as a person. This record captures Shaun Livingston’s outstanding achievements.
Hector De La Rosa
After featuring on many hip-hop artists tracks and releasing her own singles earlier this year, Dhniera Blu(@DhineraBlu) is finally delivering her long-awaited solo EP, Blu Sessions!
The 7 song EP features production from Classixs Beats, LA Kidd, theBeatPlug, Chicago’s very own J. Hill and more! Longtime collaborator, Pennjamin Bannekar assists with the writing effort to forge a truly exceptional first solo project release for DB.
Blu Sessions is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play and other digital stores worldwide!
Every once in a while I hear something that helps me remember that creativity in hip-hop isn’t dead. TheKnuBlack(@knublackent) is a current favorite. They’re running in their own lane and creating some fantastic material.
Yonkers rapper Iman(@onlyoneIman) drops the dope new visual for his Rondon-produced single, “Costs”. The video serves as a small slice of life in Iman’s neighborhood, giving viewers a glimpse of the block’s signature New York staples: the nail salon, the liquor store, the park, and apartment complexes. The creative editing technique gives the video extra dimension and includes alternative shots of the neighborhood, as well as snippets of the track’s lyrics.
After being featured on many hip hop artists hooks and songs, Dhniera Blu(@DhnieraBlu) is ready to step out on her own with her brand new single “Surprise U“. This is the first release from her EP, Blu Sessions which is scheduled to release in the Spring of 2017!
Driive(@IamDRIIVE) kicks it up a notch with his new Club Anthem “Bring Them Bottles“.