Riverdale's own KO steps into the limelight as the artist of the week. The 20 year-old 20NVR affiliate attends Towson University where I first met him, and had the pleasure of listening to his verses full of word play. "Music is my life", KO told me in a interview last Thursday. Listen to KO tell you his unusual story; how he only listened to Christian music until 2004, and his desire to not be classified by genres.
What is 20NVR?
20NVR is a movement of innovators who are tired of the current state of the industry. All members are equipped with the desire to be the very best version of them. It’s actually exciting to be apart of it. Expect debut albums from D-Keys and Young Oceans in the next few months.
What do you want to do with music? Where do you want to take this?
My goal for music is to create genre-less albums. I want to create music that defies the audience’s ears. I believe that genres today hold micro racism to them, and by embracing various genres and culture your platform inspires others to do the same.
What are your first memories of Hip-Hop? When did you know you actually wanted to rap?
My background on hip-hop is pretty strange. Growing up my mom didn’t allow me to listen to the radio if it wasn’t the Christian station. I didn’t grow up on 90’s rap like a lot of my peers. One day I turned on the radio and “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West came on and she was convinced that it was Christian music. I was lost because I never heard anything like it. Later that week my cousin Demi told me that he bought the album “The College Dropout” and he allowed me to listen to it and I fell in love. I knew that I wanted to rap in elementary school, when I convinced myself I was going to be successful.
How do you draw inspiration when making your music? Who do you look up too, music related or not.
I draw my inspiration from my life and the life of others around me. Mostly Michael Jackson, Freddy Mercury, Kanye West, M83, members of my squad 20NVR and myself. I used to have more artist, but now I feel as if we’re peers.
You’ll be featured at Howard’s homecoming, is this the biggest moment of you career so far?
Yes, absolutely. I’m extremely humbled for this opportunity.
What drives you to keep making music?
The inner child in me, like I said previously I told myself in elementary school that I would be successful. I can’t let myself down.
How do you feel about the DMV rap scene as a whole right now?
I feel as if it’s on the rise. You know now we have Logic about to debut his album through Def Jam Records next month, and Fat Trel having people think its cool to eat ass. But nah, seriously it’s a lot better than it was 10 years ago and Wale played a part in that. I can just say that the underground scene is extremely hungry. 20NVR is all I'm truly focused on though it’s about getting our voices heard.
Who’s given you the best career advice so far?
I will have to say my mentor Ty from back home, he told me only make music that I can feel in my heart and get business oriented. I reflect on our conversations all the time because its hard to not worry about your stats on twitter and blogs, but I just got to stay true to myself and know that the best it yet to come.
Do you critique your own music? How do you look for ways to improve?
Yeah I do, I hate a lot of my verses before I present them to people. Each song gets edited at least three times before I present them to my friends. Then a few more times before I release it. I try to ask myself am I getting repetitive? I like to out rap the next man or myself on that record. My next verse is my best verse and my next album is my best album.
How do your parents feel of your music dreams?
It took my mom like five years but now she’s a huge fan. I haven’t lived with my dad since the age of 6, so I don’t how he feels we haven’t spoke in years.
How do you spend your free time?
Listening to music. I love all types of music so I try to expose myself to it. I also love writing and reading in my spear time. Practicing for shows in my room is probably the last thing I do before I go to sleep every night. Just got to make sure that it’s perfect
When can we expect and what can we expect of your next project?
Due to the process of actually creating music I will have to say next year. I am currently writing a new album and I already have the tracklist down along with 7 records written down. It’s just a matter of finding the inspiration and producers/composers for the last few records. I want to make something I love more than anything. Expect a genre-less album; don’t expect 100% hip-hop because you will be highly disappointed. You can however expect great writing, sounds, and messages along with cool videos.