Check out the latest interview with Hip Hop Artist Akillezz
WDSR Radio – Akillezz Interview
WDSR: Welcome Akillezz! Let the people know where you are from.
Akillezz: Thank you. Happy to be here and answering these questions. I’m originally from here in the United States although my lineage is rooted in Greece. I was raised in Astoria, Queens although I was born in a hospital in Livingston, NJ.
WDSR: I was noticing the great clarity in your videos. How hard was it, if at all to make that all come together?
Akillezz: All creative endeavors require some amount of focus in order to achieve such clarity as you mentioned. The quality of being clear and coherent enough to translate your ideas to your audience has always interested me. I find the same effort has to be made when I sit down to write music and naturally extends itself into the making of the visual.
WDSR: In your bio it mentions Eminem being a huge influence in your wanting to rap. How easy was it to transition into becoming a lyrical rapper to accomplish that task?
Akillezz: That’s accurate. I think when your influences include some of the best that rap has to offer it sets a certain standard that you aspire to and even attempt to hopefully one day surpass just as Eminem managed to do after the great rappers from generations before him. Jay Z, for example, is another one such rapper who transcended many of the rappers before him just as Tupac and Biggie had done after previous forefathers. There’s no nobility however in superiority, it’s more so an acknowledgement that we wouldn’t rap as we do and experience hip-hop in the way that we do if it weren’t for our predecessors. The rappers mentioned, Eminem and Jay Z, are of course still relevant and active but they have such career spans where we can reflect on their accomplishments and hope that there’s someone to carry the torch after them.
To address the second part of your question, I’m not sure I had to transition into becoming a lyrical rapper per se because lyricism was already an inherent part of who I was prior to becoming a recording artist. I always considered myself a poet, a writer, and an artist. I think, my technical ability, understanding of music, and use of rhyme coalesces in a particular way to make Akillezz. I think, as these other areas continue to develop, the final product becomes one of greater maturity. Additionally, the richer my experiences become the more textured my writing will be.
WDSR: I understand that your parents were totally against you wanting to become a rapper. It was impressive reading about how you changed their minds about everything. But what did you have to learn and accomplish to be able to start putting songs together?
Akillezz: I wouldn’t consider what I was doing at the age of seven or eight songwriting because it would have lacked the structure to qualify. It was more an amorphous assembling of words that rhyme and somehow tell a story. It was very vague and not yet musical rap in the sense that we use the term today because there was no real meter in which it was written. What was there, however, was an affinity for language and a precocious use of rhyme; I think that’s what grasped my parents, particularly my mother.
WDSR: It appears that you are well versed in using public media to bring about awareness to your music. Did that come easy for you or was it and uphill battle for you?
Akillezz: It’s funny you ask that because I consider myself rather antediluvian, which is to say, that I’m not especially with the times in terms of being well versed in technology. I do a lot of things that unfortunately people my age are beginning to find strange like read physically printed books and make phone calls. I’m worried life is becoming too impersonal for my generation. With that being said, I’ve a marketing mind and acknowledge how certain resources can be used to grow one’s metrics and overall viral presence. I’m a fast learner so it wasn’t too difficult yet I prefer to learning about things that ought to take a while to understand.
WDSR: I know Eminem is one of your inspirations when it comes to rap. Who are some of the other artists that influenced you as well?
Akillezz: I have to give Dr. Dre props before almost anyone else because so much of what attracted me to rap and hip-hip music he shaped. He made a sound and left an indelible mark both in the genre and on popular culture and continues to do so in a variety of ways. Without him we don’t arrive to Eminem and an enormous amount of other immensely talented artists. Jay Z, who I mentioned earlier, is another contemporary influence of mine.
Certainly Tupac and Biggie also helped form my understanding of rap. 50 Cent was and is another personal favorite of mine. I was 11 years old when 50 released The Massacre and was arguably the most important figure in hip-hop at that time and so I already knew I would grow to pursue a career in music largely inspired by what he symbolized. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to meet him and express gratitude. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Nas whose lyricism speaks for itself.
WDSR: If I was to push play on your Apple Music account what artists would I hear streaming? What’s your taste?
Akillezz: You’d definitely hear Eminem, Dr. Dre, Jay Z, 50 Cent, Tupac, Biggie, Nas and Kanye West. Outside of my genre, I’m listening to Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and The Wknd these days.
WDSR: If you had the opportunity to perform live and have 3 major artists open up for you, which three would you select and why?
Akillezz: Obviously this question is structured in a way where it would be an honor for me to open up for the artists I’m about to mention but unsurprisingly my line up would be, in no particular order: 50 Cent, Jay Z, and Eminem. Also, hell, if we could bring out Pac’s hologram that would be crazy too. The reason is fairly simple; they’re all great at what they do and I would not do what I do as I do it if it were not for them.
WDSR: I noticed that you were responsible for writing the treatments for some of the videos. What other talents do you possess?
Akillezz: Primarily I’m a writer so it’s not such a stretch for anyone who knows me to imagine that I would write my own music video treatments, especially because I’m so hands-on. I do also consider myself a visual artist and so I also paint and have done some ceramic work as well. Maybe before all of these things, I’d like to say that I’m a thinker.
WDSR: Wow invited to perform at a HOT 97 Summer Jam. Tell me about that experience.
Akillezz: It was crazy and a disrupted experience because of some confusion but finally it was an honor to kick it with Ralph McDaniels and appear on Music Video Box where so many legends have appeared. Big shout out and thank you to Hot 97 for helping me break my first single, One Level.
WDSR: So tell me about the name Akillezz. What’s the story behind your name?
Akillezz: I selected the name as homage to my Greek roots as well as having been inspired by Homer’s central character in the Iliad, who of course also appears in the Odyssey. I found certain analogous similarities between Achilles the tragic hero and myself, namely, the bloodlust, wrath, and pride. I’m an aggressively enterprising person and competitive as an emcee. Most of all, however, my pseudonym is a reminder to myself that one small weakness despite overall strength can be completely compromising and even fatal. I spell it with added aggression, the word “kill” obviously at the heart of it.
WDSR: You’ve made so many accomplishments thus far with Billboard, to Hot 97 and single sales. What’s next for Akillezz?
Akillezz: A hostile takeover of rap. That’s partly in jest but I can begin to feel it coming. Certainly new music is always on its way. I’ll be performing at SXSW this coming March. Come check me out.
WDSR: If one wanted to grab some of your music, where can they find it online or offline?
Akillezz: I think the best thing to do would be to check out my SoundCloud page and see if there’s anything that appeals to you as a listener and if so to go ahead and pull up my debut album, Transgressionzz, on iTunes. SoundCloud.Com/AkillezzOfficial is the place. Also all of my music videos are readily available on Vevo and YouTube.
WDSR: What advice can you give to upcoming artists that want to get involved in music?
Akillezz: Do it only because you love it. Do it to become the greatest. Never quit. If you don’t arrive your personal expectations you still lived vigorously and with unbridled passion in the pursuit of something greater than yourself.
WDSR: We ask all the artists we interview, what’s the best piece of advice someone’s ever given to you?
Akillezz: A portion, three words to be exact, was offered to me of a longer quotation from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, “silence, exile, and cunning.” A former English teacher of dear friend and mine, Dr. Collins, offered these words to me during a time when they were most needed.
I’d like to extend a similar courtesy and offer it to those who may make personal use of it, ““I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.” (Joyce)