Neak Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
Any hip-hop fan will attest to the fact that originality is a must in order for an artist keep a solid fan base and appeal to a wide variety of tastes. In that respect, and in many others, Chicago native Neak isn’t sleeping on the job. As he prepares to astound us yet again with his upcoming DJBooth.net-hosted project 84 Vol. 2 (The Silent Fiasco), we can be sure that the March 2 release will be worth the wait.
Neak found and fell in love with music at a very young age. Having been born to Robert Lee Kelly of the r&b/gospel group The Kelly Brothers, he quickly began experimenting with musical interests of his own. At only 17-years-old, Neak, along with his brother Mischief, released their first underground project together, paving the way for future successes. The work put into that early project resulted in Neak becoming the recipient of boast-worthy accolades, such as being included in Writer's Block Magazine's “Top 25 Hip-Hop Artists You Should Know". He continues to build a name for himself as each new song he releases (Make It, Dear Sky, Film School) reveals another flavor that makes up his exceptional talent.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Neak tells us how he stands out from the crowd, what he wants us to learn from his music, and what we can expect to hear with the release of 84 Vol. 2.
Your music has a sound that’s rarely heard in today industry. Do you make a conscious effort to set yourself apart from the pack, or does that come naturally?
Sometimes I make a conscious effort to do so and sometimes I don't. I'm a big fan of creating a situation (lyrically) that people can take many different messages just from something that I've stated... the ultimate goal for me is to speak from the heart and enjoying the art form. I love being creative and witty. It's just part of who I am as a person and as an artist. If I can make you find a different emotion and/or thought every time you listen to my records, then I've done my job.
What do you want your fans to learn and take away from the experience of listening to your music?
I want the people to appreciate the sincere emotions that I convey on my records. There's nothing about my music that I will falsify or enhance in order to fit a certain mode. There will never be a situation when you are listening to a Neak record that you will get a sense of "dishonest emotion." I just want the people to respect and love the honestly that my records hold...
"Dear Sky" is a song that seems to give listeners some insight into who you are as a person. Are there any other tracks on 84 Vol. 2 that you feel shed more light on your innermost self?
The track on my upcoming project that will give you the most insight on me as an individual would be [number one], "Falling" That track basically breaks down my insecurities and doubts as an artist. That record gives you the confident and not-so confident side of me as an artist as well as a human being. Nothing in life is promised to us. Who's to say that making music is my calling? This could just be another step to whatever God has called me to do. These are some of the self-doubts that [crossed my mind] as I wrote the record.
What can listeners expect to hear on 84 Vol. 2 that they didn’t get the first time around?
Listeners will get a more "insightful" look at Neak on 84 Vol. 2. On the first project, I just wanted to show people that I could rap and I had talent. On 84 Vol. 2, I wanted to tell my story in the "realest" form possible without any set structure (concept-wise). It was more a situation where I told myself, "Whatever comes to your heart, speak on it and don't think to hard about why you would want to speak on that emotion." Mulatto Patriot (the Executive Producer of this project) was a huge uplifter for me. I credit him greatly.
Last week we premiered your video for the single "Make It." What do you need to accomplish over the next 10 months in order to truly feel as though you've "made it"?
I feel like I just need to keep "believing" in what I do as an artist. Keeping the "Faith" in what I do is the strongest way to keep [my dream] alive. A lot of artists fall short because they can't endure the "struggle" or "constant-grind" it takes to make it. Everyone who is destined to make it has a time and place set aside only for them. For some, its overnight. For others, its years down the line. We don't know (as artists) when our time will come. If you have faith, there is no [wait] long enough to keep you from doing what you love; making music.
Any final thoughts? Any special (DJBooth.net) shout outs? Confessions? Admissions? Revelations?
Love God and Love Life. I would definitely like to give a shout out to DJ Z and the entire DJBooth.net staff for sponsoring my next upcoming project - 84 Vol. 2 (The Silent Fiasco), which is due Tues. March 2. I definitely appreciate your belief in what I do as an artist. What we do is not easy, and it takes a lot of effort and hard work. At the end of the day, we all have one common goal: to "Make It!"