Originally from Long Beach California, this West Coast rapper relocated to the UK and won the best new Hip Hop act at the 2004 Diesel U Music Awards (http://www.diesel-u-music.com/) and debuted with the Bone Idols production crew on the ‘Keep On’ 12” which dropped via Above The Clouds Recordings. He went on to release a second platter ‘The Bump’ alongside a killer mixtape both dropped the Eclectic Breaks imprint. He recently went goes solo on Adrian Gibsons eclectic Freestyle label with three solid cuts of up tempo party hip hop… and has a new record out in June. We grabbed a few quick words with him in the run up to this years U-Music awards…
Please introduce yourself – What’s your claim to fame so far?
My underground hit, ‘Keep On’ Feat. Ty. Numerous shows with members of Hip Hop’s finest; Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monche, Pete Rock, The Pharcyde, Slum Village, Beatnuts, Ugly Duckling etc…
Can you please explain the name and how you got to it?
The name Aphletik was given to me by the heads I use to rhyme with back in the day. They called me that because I could rhyme at any pace, on anything. Sort of versatile like a Decathlon athlete.
Who would you cite as your influences?
Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, Doc, The Dogg Pound, Pac, Hell a whole bunch of West Coast MC’s first put me on to rhyme.
Do you remember the first time you took the mic?
That was at a house party back when I was 15.
For you, which is more important: performing live or recording in the studio?
Both. Because in the studio you need to put yourself in the situation you’re talking about, so the listener can feel your words. Performing live, you need to be the show, so you keep the audience’s attention.
What’s the most important battle you’ve ever won and/or lost?
My father recovering from a life threatening illness.
Why do you rap? Is it purely about style or have you got a greater vision/message to relay?
I rap for the love of a good rhyme. That’s why I keep trying to improve my style. Hopefully I intend on setting up my own thing label-wise, cause I roll with a gang of rappers and they’re all nice.
“…I rap for the love of a good rhyme….”
How important to you is the ability to freestyle?
Put it this way. If you can’t freestyle, you’re only half a rapper.
How long do you tend to spend on writing a verse?
Depends on what I’m writing about. It could be 30 minutes to an hour and a half, cause I write a line, then think of a better one and so on.
What’s your opinion about using or being a ghost-writer?
Cool if the money’s tight.
If you could be part of the greatest ever posse-cut, who would be the other emcees?
Me, Cube, Jay Z, Pun, Big L, Pac and Nate on the Hook.
Are you part of an existing group/partnership or do you prefer to work with many different producers?
Yeah. My team is called TC (THE COMING). But I do work with a lot of people. Currently producers, ‘The Bone Idols’.
Please give our readers a useful tip/hint to aspiring emcees.
Fuck the negative shit! Just keep writing and get yours homie.
Finally, here’s your chance to plug a website, event or any product!
Check out Aphletik Events on www.aphletik.com. Also watch out for Aphletik mixtapes on the streets now! Finally my new single ‘Let’s Do This’ is out in June.
Props to Julian Simon at Spiracle Management for hooking this up.