Hip Hop Reaction Interview With Ankh Amen Ra
Posted on April 4, 2007 by Jamie Slaughter
We caught up with emerging hip hop artist Ankh Amen Ra, to discuss his new album The Sun Raise in Dark Dayz, and to explore a little more on what he has to offer to the hip hop audience.
HHR : How did the name Ankh Amen Ra originate?
The name Ankh Amen Ra is of ancient Egyptian or Kemetic origin. My most concise and to the point interpretation of the name is, the living God force bringing forth the light. I actually traveled to Egypt the summer of 2001 and although I had already accepted that name for myself the meaning became even more powerful to me. I guess there is something about seeing the pyramids from a plane, walking through the ancient Temple of Karnak, respectfully visiting the resting place of Tut-Ankh-Amen and spending time with the original Nubian people (the black population of todayís southern Egypt) in Aswan. The musical inspiration for me was incredible. I can recall sitting in my hotel in Cairo as some of my deepest bars just flowed out onto the page. It was a great feeling! I truly must experience it again with my wife and son one day.
HHR : You come across as relaxed and confident behind the mic. Who are your main influences from both past and present?
I guess you can say I've been doing this for a while now and I am certainly comfortable in my skin at this point. I know what makes me most effective on the mic. Iím the type of artist that has to bring substance to the music. My influences range from traditional African music, Middle Eastern music, 60s and 70s soul music, James Brown, Sade, Eric B and Rakim, PE, Tribe, Nas, Wu-Tang, Common OutKast and Kweli among others. I also get inspiration from the various underground movements striving to keep innovative hip-hop alive, such as groups like Self-Scientific out in Cali, Dead Prez, Saigon and the Def Jux line up in New York. I thinks itís good to draw inspiration form the streets and stay current and relevant.
HHR : How did your journey into music begin?
I'm not sure, but it had to start in the womb with my mother playing her favorite records back in the 70s while I was in her belly. In terms of hip-hop, Iím a late 90s golden era MC. Most of us began our initiation process freestyling in ciphers back in high school. From there, it was an organic progression towards completing songs, producing and recording in the studio.
HHR : The album features production from DJ Vlad. How did this collaboration come to fruition?
Actually, DJ Vlad is only co-hosting along with P-Cutta. DJ Vlad is a cool dude and on- point with his business. I have a closer relationship with P-Cutta and Universal. We all went to Howard University in Washington D.C. together. The production for the album/mixtape was done by myself, Universal, Hakim and Tajh of Sunland music, Dan Delany, Guns-n-Butta, Repnosis and Beathoven. Itís a nice mix.
HHR : The album The Sun Raise in Dark Dayz involves a number of different producers and styles. How would you sum up the album as a whole?
The common thread that binds the various musical styles together as a cohesive fabric is POWERFUL MUSIC with a message. I think it is important for an artist to experiment with different musical landscapes in order to keep the music fresh and interesting. The key for me is powerful music that moves the soul in some way. If the track does that I want to find a way to give it a timeless existence by spiting classic lyrics over it.
HHR : Which song on the album do you believe truly encapsulates your style of music?
It's hard to point to one song in particular. They all capture different aspects of me and what I bring to music. The have different emotions, different moods and different objectives.
HHR : What are your thoughts on the Hip Hop Is Dead debate?
The commercial industry of hip-hop is dying a not so slow death right as we speak and guess what, for an independent artist such as myself thatís not necessarily a bad thing. Iím finding that with the decrease in traditional cd sales and the boom of internet resources such as Myspace and YouTube we are seeing a equalizer empowering the independent artist. Digital distribution allows me to sell my music on Itunes and other digital platforms right next to the majors. Our website www.rebelmixtapes.com also provides the consumer with access to my music. As long as hip-hop culture is alive and people want to hear quality hip-hop music we can thrive. Many people have lost faith in hip-hop because they are lost in the sewage that the majors are constantly trying to force feed them through the traditional outlets. However, once artists like myself master a cost-effective approach to digital marketing so that the masses know where to find the quality, innovative and powerful hip-hop that the majors will not touch, you will see tremendous success for independent artist like me.
HHR : What do you believe separates you from other aspiring artists?
My experiences, my vision, my perspective, my ideology, my motivation, my inspiration, my music.
HHR : What are your long term goals and aspirations?
To continue to make quality music that pushes the envelope in conjunction with independent economic prosperity that allows us to successfully fund our campaign of Truth and Peace.
HHR : What does the future hold for Ankh Amen Ra?
I plan to do more installments of The Sun Raise In Dark Dayz series. I will be strengthening our brands and businesses. We have the www.rebelmixtapes.com RebelMusic mixtape is coming soon with DJ Emmo and of course the tremendously successful P-Cutta Art of War vol. 4 (World's First Conscious Mixtape) is available at www.mixtapekings.com. Iím looking forward to doing more collaborations with like-minded producers and artists. You should start noticing more media coverage. Basically, Iím on a slow grind to build an empire fortified by golden pillars of principle. Get at me www.myspace.com/ankhamenramusic
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