ameriKKKen talks transitioning from spoken word to music, support from fellow artists, upcoming project, and more in her exclusive Q+A.
Rising artist and songwriter ameriKKKen chops it up with GroovNuke for an exclusive iLLANOiZE Q+A.
Listening to ameriKKKen is like placing yourself in her shoes through every line. While most artists styles can be compared these days, she's in a lane of her own.
Her style is sleek, her vision is clear, and she's coming for the throne. I recently reached out to ameriKKKen for an interview so the people can learn more about her artistry and craft, future happenings, plus more. Get in tune below with our exclusive Q+A.
GroovNuke: How did you come up with the stage name, amerikkken?
amerikkken: I wanted a stage name that had meaning but I also incorporated my real name into it. It was loosely inspired by the mixtape 'AmeriKKKan Korruption' by Capital Steez. My stage name has a number of meanings, but I also wanted to flip the negative meaning and have my three K’s stand for something positive. Knowledge and Kindness is Key (KKK).
Groovnuke: How long have you been into creating music?
amerikkken: I’ve been creating music for about seven years. I started poetry when I was young, then transitioned in to songwriting when I was about 14.
GroovNuke: What artists would you consider as musical influences?
amerikkken: Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Big L, Mobb Deep, J Cole, and Kendrick to name a few.
GroovNuke: Describe your transition from spoken word to rapping?
amerikkken: It was natural. When I was younger and into writing poetry I always admired hip hop. I thought if I could write poetry, a rap couldn’t be too hard. Over time I just got better and more comfortable.
GroovNuke: Where are you from?
amerikkken: Indianapolis, IN. The Far Eastside to be exact.
GroovNuke: Describe the music scene where you're from?
amerikkken: There’s a bunch of different styles of music in Indy. I just feel certain artists get overlooked because of popularity. The city is just a weird space because no one big has has made it out yet. Everyone just pretty much stays in their own lane and hope to get recognized for their talent and not because of who they know. The city (Indianapolis) is so small.
GroovNuke: How does your style stand out from the rest out there?
amerikkken: I think my style stands out from the rest because my rap persona is also who I am as an individual. I make music that people can relate to or feel. As far as how I present myself, I’m not a flashy person. I’m a humble artist who just wants to be heard. There’s no gimmicks.
GroovNuke: Describe your experience from the first concert you performed at?
amerikkken: If I could relive that experience I definitely would. I was so nervous, but I had confidence. I spent years getting comfortable with my art and sound. I also had more support than I thought I would get. That was my sign to definitely keep going and stay serious.
GroovNuke: Have you ever headlined a show yet?
amerikkken: No. I plan to headline my own show with the release of my debut project.
GroovNuke: What's your ideal studio session?
amerikkken: If had a personal studio that I could sleep in and lock myself in for hours that would be great. I guess my ideal studio session would just be one where I can spend as much time as I want without having to book a certain amount of time and feel rushed.
GroovNuke: Who's the hottest artist in your city? In your opinion?
amerikkken: Myself, of course. If you don’t bet on yourself no one else will. I believe my talent and lyrical substance alone is what sets me apart.
GroovNuke: How has social media impacted your growth as an artist?
amerikkken: I’ve gained support and have networked with those who aren't even in my city which I’m extremely grateful for. Also when I go out and do shows, I gain a lot of followers who want to stay connected and support.
GroovNuke: Describe your growth as an artist over time?
amerikkken: I’ve just been getting more comfortable performing, faster at writing, and more confident in myself and abilities. Of course there’s always room continued growth.
GroovNuke: Who are some of the producers you've worked with thus far?
amerikkken: Many of the producers I worked with have been those I have networked with through YouTube and don’t personally know. However, shoutout to my big bro and manager Legendary P who send me beats, Dola, and Zero, who are talented producers in the city. Just to name a few.
GroovNuke: What motivates you as an artist?
amerikkken: Me wanting to work with the artists I’m inspired by and wanting be mentioned as a great. Also, knowing that I have people who genuinely support me and I can’t let down are things that motivate me.
GroovNuke: What messages do your rhymes give off primarily?
amerikkken: My lyrics are relatable and give off a message of hope and inspiration. Also messages of confidence and overall good energy.
GroovNuke: Who's your favorite rapper?
amerikkken: That’s such a general question that could be answered in so many ways. Of all time, Big L, Wayne and Trina or Lauryn Hill. Currently, Kendrick and Rico Nasty.
GroovNuke: What have you learned from the rap game thus far?
amerikkken: Stay consistent and true to yourself. Also, don’t take anything personal. Know your worth or others won’t either.
GroovNuke: When tough time hit your artistry, how do you respond?
amerikkken: I take time to live life and listen to new music to naturally become inspired again to create.
GroovNuke: How's the support for/from fellow artists where you're from?
amerikkken: Indy is very cliqued up in my opinion. I’ve had a lot of support from artists who I didn’t know personally before putting myself out there. I just found my lane and audience and naturally gravitated towards the artists on the same wave I am.
GroovNuke: Describe your support system?
amerikkken: Again, the city is very cliqued but I have a great amount of support from people I wouldn’t have known if I did rap, and I have a great support from my friends and family. Im thankful.
GroovNuke: What's the best song you created thus far?
amerikkken: As far as songs currently out, definitely The Come Up because it’s raw emotions and one I feel everyone can relate to. In general, definitely songs that are unreleased.
GroovNuke: How do you deal with coming into your image as an artist?
amerikkken: I just allow it to come naturally and peep who I’m inspired by and how I can make it into my own.
GroovNuke:Does music take up most of your time or do you balance out well?
amerikkken: Music actually doesn’t take up a lot of my time. My regular jobs take up my time but they fund the music so it works out. I’m working on having more balance though.
GroovNuke: Do you have a project on the way?
amerikkken: Yes. I can’t speak too much on it but I do plan to release it within the next couple of months.
GroovNuke: If so, describe the process of creating the project?
amerikkken: The project consists of songs I created during the time of me getting comfortable as an artist before announcing that I was taking it serious. Because the project wasn’t made from scratch, the process for each song was different.
GroovNuke: Does poetry makes your raps run smoother?
amerikkken: No. My poetry and my raps are two totally different things. Although they are very similar, the art forms are different, at least for me as the writer/artist.
GroovNuke: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
amerikkken: I plan to stay independent. Honestly in the next 5 years I just see myself traveling more and gaining more attention outside of my city on a bigger scale. I see myself touring and working with some of my favorite artists.
GroovNuke: What do you have in store for the summer?
amerikkken: I plan to release my project before the summer is over.
GroovNuke: Who are some artists you would like to work with in the future?
amerikkken: All of my favorite artists currently. I’d love to work with Denzel Curry, Kendrick, Cole, Joey Bada$$ and WS Boogie, to name a few. As far as women, definitely Cardi B, Trina, Rico Nasty, Tierra Wack and Maliibu Miitch. I’m a fan of so many.
GroovNuke: If your time to blow was soon to come, would you be confident in being next up for the lady MCs?
amerikkken: Of course. There’s so many women flourishing right now and with different styles. I believe there’s enough room for all of us. I believe I bring something different to the table and I’m hungry. I have faith that every goal I have will be met and exceed my expectations.