By Saskia Chanoine
When we think about hip-hop we have an inkling of an idea that any artist blasted on the radio did not rise to stardom overnight. And we rarely take a peak behind the curtain and witness the climb out of obscurity. But we got a small glimpse with movies such as 8-mile starring Eminem.
For K-Prime, to make it in hop-hop it takes more than passion; it takes a whole-hearted devotion. “This is a lifestyle and not a game, he said. I don’t have time for a part time job. If you aren’t doing it every single day, it’s a very hard and long road. It doesn’t stop, even when you get noticed. There are boundaries you might cross and sacrifices to be made with the people you love and care about. If this is something you really love, it has to be the only thing you know. Point blank period.”
The tall and lean artist from Bangladesh background came in the United States when he was three. He attributes many of his musical influences to his Bengali roots. “I have heard a lot of different sounds that people wouldn’t have heard, or vice versa, he explained. I didn’t grow up listening to Frank Sinatra; I was introduced to him.”
His music clearly shows his divers influences, and that’s why he has troubles describing it. “The only thing I could say is it’s honest, he said. Musically, I am jazz influenced; you could hear me do acoustic jazz and Texas drill next. But I do whatever feel right at the moment.”
Up until his teenage years, K-Prime lived in the Queens, and moved later on to Northern Virginia to finish high school. While in school, his parents would get angry because he would skip classes to stay in band practice. As a teenager, he started composing his own lyrics. “First time I wrote something down was in high school 9th to 10th grade, he continued. I was talking about girls and crushes. I was never a cool person, I never got the girls, I was not the guy with the cool clothes, and everyone called me weird. Generic rap is what I rapped about. Now, I rap about life, pain, pleasure and politics.”
To succeed in the music industry, the hip-hop artist came back to New York City. For him, it is where the hip-hop scene burns bright, but this is also the city that shaped him. “You can try to change the top layer but you were what you were before you got here, he said quoting Jay-Z. Going back to my old house, I get goose bumps because of the nostalgia. The Queens is heavy in my music and it made me who I am from my attitude to my aspiration. There is so much culture and that’s where my music comes from.”
The fact that hip-hop is often seen as a black man’s game does not bother K-Prime. He thinks that there is room for everybody. “That stereotype is only still around because we bring it up, he said. Hip -hop is about accepting what’s not accepted.”