Following the release of his brilliantly nostalgic nineties ode and collaboration with Shawna Roxanna, we caught up with rapper and artist Ares Knight to find out more about the music, his plans for the future, and his thoughts on modern hip hop. Here’s how it went.
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Hey, thanks so much for the interview. Congrats on the new single – I’m a huge fan of this one. What inspired or prompted you to write such a stylish ode to a simpler time?
Thanks, I appreciate the love a lot.. absolutely. What inspired this song is simply two factors and that’s the playeristic lifestyle combined with my long-time love for video games. The N64 system is like an iconic symbol for my generation growing up in the 90’s and combining that with the player-ish lingo/talk I’ve grown up around, it just made the right track. I can’t explain everything like it was all intentional… everything just came together really well and I’m proud of it.
Do you always work with this kind of retro vibe or was this a new direction for you?
I tended to work with a more old-school vibe in past projects, but I’ve discovered different lanes of the genre I can tap into while maintaining my vibe & creating something new. I’m a straight sucker for the old-school west coast & southern hip hop vibes, so I’m on it when I love it.
How did the beat come about?
I had purchased the beat from a guy named Denis The Producer and I can’t even explain his process. He specializes in a lot of west coast production, so my business with him is slated now. I’ll always go back for more. I heard this beat when browsing through his recent work and I was like “damn… this some retro playa playa shit” and that started the process for me. Absolute love & respect to the beast Denis on those boards. He’s nasty.
How long have you been making music, and what are your main aspirations right now as an artist?
I started writing music when I was about six years old. We had these little journals in school to write our book reports and other English work in. I always used it to write raps and I would spit them to my friends at school or on the phone. I didn’t really start taking shit serious and recording til I was in 11th grade. Didn’t make my first serious project until 2014, but where I’m at now feels amazing. I love the evolution.
My main aspirations with the music is to just extend my talents & my passion to the fans. I’m a music fan and I’ve been a fan all my life. I know how music can impact and embrace our spirits. I just want the people to embrace my art and rock with a n-gga if they feel my vibe. Just want to take this show global and make some waves.
Is there a longer project on the way, and if so – what can fans look forward to with that?
My EP Royale is set to hit the streets all over on August 13th, so that’s something to look forward to if you fuck with my music. I’m just really proud of this project and it’s my first studio EP. I had went in for a couple hours to the studio (inspired as hell), showed up 15 mins late and told my engineer, Mike Hitt “let’s go bro, I’m ready” and we started working. Finished the individual tracks in under 3 hours before I even knew they would form an EP.
Folks can expect a variety of styles in production, yet my overall style is always going to be present. I’m going to talk about channeling ambition, pushing forward, sneaky women, my ambitions, staying loyal to your purpose, etc. I’m just excited to put this work out. It’s special to me.
What about contemporary hip hop – what are your thoughts on the genre at present, and your hopes for the future?
As far as contemporary Hip-Hop goes I love it. There’s a lot of different lanes in this rap game and I can understand the sub-genres/styles that come with it. I’m a music fan so if you’re good then you’re good and if you’re bad then you’re just bad. Good music is good music to me, so I can always find positives in the modern scene.
For the future I just want artists to focus less on petty beef and more on getting this art out… securing these paychecks. We can all impact the game and get paid together to feed our families. It can be healthy for everybody, but the game is already on the path to this.
If you could collaborate with anyone at all, past or present, who would you choose, and why?
That’s hard to choose but I’ll have to say Bay legend, E-40. I’m a major fan and ironic enough the first time I heard him was his album from the early 90s In a major way. He’s just so different and such a veteran in the game. I’ll always respect the work he’s done, his contribution to the slang of each generation and just his overall style. He’s a special dude. Plus he worked with Tupac… that’s major points.
What’s next for you?
What’s next is a series of projects I have coming. A lot of EPs, singles and a joint collaborative project with two of my fellow S.L.I.E. artists. S.L.I.E is a brand my brother Leafy Luhk and I founded, so you can expect some other artists to really pop up and shine on my future work. We’ll be hitting the road in the real near future because these support numbers are doing great. Love building these fanbases in different cities, states and countries. It’s a dope ass feeling.
Is there anything else we should know?
I’ll just leave you with these lil info drops to cap it all off. My lifestyle clothing brand “Diamond Royale” will be making its way to everybody really soon. Diamond Royale clothing and sneakers will be making an arrival, but you’ll see it on my crew first most definitely. When I say lifestyle brand, it’s all in the meaning behind the name. It’s about finding your self worth and realizing royalty is within each individual. We might not see it past our self observed flaws, but diamonds come out of the dirt to become something beautiful. Everybody can shine and I want to press that message. It’s some self worth type of shit, which is perfect because I had a hard ass depression bout for about a year, so I found my worth again and want to show others they are worthy.
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