First Day Feature: K.A.A.N. chats about Abstract Art, the honesty in his music & future plans

Every now and then there comes the type of artist that just makes you stop what you are doing to listen. This is the exact affect rising lyricist K.A.A.N. had on me. When searching for new music his Abstract Art mixtape caught my attention and upon listening I was extremely pleased. The content of the lyricism, heavily influenced by his own hardships dealing with depression and other matters, was amazing. The flow was comparable to Bone Thugs or in a more modern sense Kendrick Lamar, very fast but also very well constructed. After only a few tracks I was already a fan. Today FDF gets the chance to catch up with the talented wordsmith to discuss his music, see the vision behind it’s inspiration and find out what will lead him into the future.

To start lets get a little of your background?

A little about my background. I’m 24 and I’m from Howard County, Maryland. Lived here my entire life.

I hear you have a very special love for Tupac’s music. What drew you to him and how does his work influence your own music?

What drew me to Tupac’s music was the honesty of it. He had tracks on his projects that would be about street shit, but he had tracks that were universal. It didn’t really matter where you grew up you could relate to it. It was more about what he said then how he said things that made me a fan. In terms of inspiration for my music I think its the tone and always talking about something other than materialistic shit. The inspiration I get from his music is more like just make an effort to constantly be honest in my music and not fabricate anything.

What other artists are instrumental in you being a musician today?

I like all hip hop honestly. There really isn’t a group of artist, or a certain artist that’s relevant today I look for inspiration from. I listen to everyone from Flatbush Zombies to King Los. I just really love hip hop, and rap music, and can appreciate it all.
In your own opinion what separates you from most other rappers?
I think what separates me from other rappers is my subject matter. Guys have always rapped fast, or had meaningful content. I just know that I have a relate-able story. It may not be relate-able to someone that grew up in different circumstances, but I’ve lived in a trailer park, and I’ve lived in the suburbs. I’ve had life experiences that I feel like the average person can relate to.
Your name is an acronym for Knowledge Above All Nonsense. In what ways do you feel you help to put knowledge in the forefront of what you do?
I think I put knowledge in the forefront by the way I present the music. From the vocabulary to the cadence. I try to make sure the content is something that will make people think. Its hard because people will get caught up in the flow, and just be stuck on that, and completely ignore the vocabulary being used, or even what I’m saying in the song. If you really listen to my music you hear more than just the flow. You here historical references, political and social issues, mental health, poverty. I think that’s how I put knowledge in the for front of what I do. People are really one track minded so they’ll hear a faster cadence, and to them that’s all I do. There’s really no attention being paid by a lot of listeners to music period. If I make a song about a slave complex, or a story about a kid that shoots up a school, but all you can talk about is the flow then I know that I need to improve on the delivery of my message, and also that I’ll prob have to water down my delivery to make sure the content is received properly.
Your last project Abstract Art contained reinterpretations of some popular songs like Jesus Walks on “Wings” for instance . How did you go about choosing which songs had elements you could play off of?
In terms of choosing songs that had elements that we could play off, or take away from for inspiration I honestly don’t. I just go off what I like when I play it. If I like it I’ll write to it, and see what happens. My camera man made that beat, and he asked if I wanted it. There wasn’t like a list of samples, or songs that I wanted to use. It was more like I just want to see what can be created honestly.
You are a very lyrical MC and on top of that you use a rapid flow that only makes the lyricism more impressive. How do you go about constructing your music because the verses sound meticulous in their writing?
With writing the verses I have a certain structure, or way I like to put the words, and sentences together, but I’ve only been seriously putting out music for a year, and a half almost two years. I still have a lot to learn about song writing period. Its structured in a way, but at this point its really just experimenting, and seeing what sticks.
If there is one thing you’d like for people to take away from your music when listening what would it be?
The one thing that I would like for people to take away from my music is that it was real. It wasn’t made to make you dance. I want people to feel like they just listened to a song about something they can relate to. Something tangible where they feel like they’ve had that same experience, or felt those emotions in the song.
Of the records you’ve made thus far if you could only listen to one for the remainder of your life which would it be and why?
If I could listen to one of my songs my whole life It would prob be Get Away rmx. I liked the content of it, plus I’m a really big fan of Khelani. I really like her voice. Her stuff’s real R&B which is dope. It wasn’t an original composition, but I just really like khelani’s music. Honestly I don’t even listen to my music after its put out. I just hear the flaws, imperfections, and the areas I need to improve in. If I listened to my music once its put out I’d want to take it all down, and re record it. I listen while its being made, and mixed, but not when its out. I’m way to critical in a bad way though.
The track that introduced me to you was the outro of the tape ironically. The Concealed Outro’s sound comes off as a very passionate record. I would love to get some insight on your state of mind as it seems you were dealing with a lot while recording it. Also, when the hell do you breathe?
I honestly don’t fuck with that song. It took the least amount of time to make. It was a Yo Gotti beat I found on his last mix tape, and it honestly took the least amount of effort to write. there was no real thought behind it. I had songs on there that I felt were stronger structurally, and were deeper, but people gravitated towards that one the most. In terms of breathing we’ll do a lot of takes. Do some of the song all the way through, and see how it sounds. Do takes with cut ins, and see how it sounds. If it sounds better all the way through we’ll keep it. If it sounds better with cut ins we’ll use that. I could care less if its cut in’s or if its all the way through. The point of recording is to have the song sound as dope as possible, so it doesn’t matter to me if its cut in’s or all the way through.
Abstract Art is still making an impact though it was released earlier in the year but I want to ask what you have lined up in the future?
For the future I’m working on a lot. I have a small project called January 12/199? done. It’s five track remix project with all classic 90’s beats. no real time table on a release, but soon. I write all the time. Right now I have enough material to put out a couple projects, but I want to keep creating, and see what we can make.
You release a freestyle quite regularly so fans can get their fix. How much time do you spend in the studio?
I try to spend all my free time in the studio. I work a day job, so I have to prioritize, but I just like writing, and being in the studio. Any time I’m not at work I’m trying to be in the studio, or writing. Right now I’m in the studio five, or six days a week. It really just depends on my work schedule.
Who are some artists you’d like to collaborate with on future endeavors?
Right now the artist that I would like to create with Would be KRS-One, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Meth & Redman, Rakim, Nas, Khelani, and Allesia Cara. I have more producers that I want to work with like DJ Premier, Statik Selektah, 9th wonder, No I.D, Rick Rubin. I really love 90’s hip hop, so I wanna work with the producers that helped make the sounds that inspired me.
Your videos usually have a certain level of mystique and simplicity to them which I love because it puts more focus onto your mic skills. Is this by design?
Thats exactly how I wanted the visuals to come off. I wanted to keep them super simple to put all the attention on what I’m saying. I dont like the idea of having a lot of props or people in the videos. In that small window of how ever long the video is I’m selling my self to the person thats watching. That video is like an add showing people the product that I have. Some will like it, others wont, but the point is to sell them on my music, and what I’m saying. Not the bad bitch dancing, or this nice ass car, or shiny shit. Its like here yo go this is it. Nothings fabricated. The more realistic it is. The more relate-able it is.
On a more personal note what are your biggest goals and biggest challenges you have musically?
The biggest challenge I have is with the content. I know that to get where i’m trying to go at some point I’m going to have to dumb it down. Its cool now cause its just all raw because I’m still in the beginning stages. At some point though the content cant be as extreme as it is. I can keep talking about suicide, depression, all those things, but I feel like I have to deliver it in a different way. I believe I can do it with out compromising the artistic integrity, but I know it’ going to take time.
Before I let you go your favorite ad-lib (LAWD!) was stuck in my head the entire day after I gave Abstract Art my first listen. Did you come up with the ad-lib on purpose or did the feeling just leave you with that expression one day?
The Lawd thing was just random. I said it recording one time randomly and just kept saying it. It was definetly more of a felling thing.
Whats the best way for people to contact you?
Best way for anyone to contact me is my email.
Any last words for the readers before we conclude?
The only thing else I would say is I’m really just trying to make honest music. I’m not trying to sound like any one else, or bite someone else sound. I’m just writing about my life, the things I’ve seen and been through, my personal thoughts. I could care less if people can dance to my shit. I kept to my self a lot growing up, so its like this music is just twenty four years of emotions and experiences that I didn’t talk to anyone about. Music is just honestly therapy for me. It’s that simple. I just don’t want people thinking its something its not. Plays, views, and all that other shit is cool but I’m just glad I found an outlet, honestly.

Abstract Art


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