Say Hello to: Kasper

10 03 2009

So, long story short, this is an interview I did that was orphaned for a couple years. The album and songs are old now of course, but the talent behind them is just as fresh. The MC is Kasper, an long distance friend of mine,  I think he was about 16 at the time of this interview, and from his words the maturity for his age shows through.

Peep some of his tracks at:
http://www.myspace.com/whoskasper



What inspired you to MC at such a young age? When did you start?

Well, I grew up with an almost geeky appreciation for poetry and language arts, and I wrote a lot myself. When I was about 9, I became hooked on the hip-hop scene, and coincidentally, the two worlds kind of collided. I started out as a DJ with my man when I was 11 years old, and about a year later I started making beats for local acts. Around that same time, I started just writing to some of my own beats to kill time in study hall. Soon enough, I began to gain more and more confidence with my writing, and started studying the art of hip-hop more so as a dedicated science than a spare hobby. I really kept my music to myself until I felt it was quality enough to release to the public. So I officially released my first tracks to the underground when I was about 13 and since then it’s been a long and whining road.

I showed your tunes to a few of my friends and they seemed to really get into it until I told them your age. It was almost magic how their attitudes changed. They suddenly seemed to notice a lot more flaws in your tracks when I unleashed that on them. Do people have trouble taking your lyrics seriously when they see how young you are?It’s gotta be frustrating, man.

Hell, man, if I had a dime for every time I’ve seen that happen, haha. I can understand why some people might feel surprised when they hear me and see my age, but I don’t see how they can totally change positions towards me because I’m younger. I mean no disrespect to the veterans of the circuit when I say this, but I’ve put in work, and while my time is nothing compared to the time I still need to put in, it’s the same blood, sweat and tears that would come from someone a few years older than me, so I don’t see much justification on people who criticize me for my age. To put it basely, music is music. I don’t care if you’re a well-known head with a corporate deal or a nobody in his aunt’s basement recording tracks, music shouldn’t be affected by stereotypes and labels, it should be heard and felt for what it is: Music.

You seem to rhyme about the real things in life. Women, the rat race, all that. Do you make it a point not to resort to the stereotypical gangstas n grillz lyrics?

Honestly, I don’t make a huge deal of staying away from that stuff, I’m just really not a fan of it and that’s not the type of stuff I’m interested in making. I know I’m gonna get reprimanded by the hip-hop society for saying this, but music really just isn’t how it once was. And I’m not talking golden-age hip-hop, where everything is 20 times better looking back on it than it actually was, I just mean there has been a transformation of music from being the portrait of an artist’s passion and soul laid out on a track to this new movement of whatever sounds good and not what people can actually relate to. I can’t front, some of these club records aren’t half bad, they’re designated club records and I can see why people want to dance to them. But that’s all I’m hearing. Even on the underground scene now, that passionate, hungry-for-more rap is fairly rare to come across. And as far as relating to folks in my own music, I just take personal experiences and translate them into sound, the fact that fans can relate to it definitely pleases me and is a constant reminder to keep myself in check.

Is there anything you hope to accomplish with your music?

Personally, music to me is the fine line between a profession and a hobby. I’m not looking for any corporate success, but at the same time, music isn’t something I just plan to do on the weekends. It’s just something I do, I don’t really bother asking why. Maybe it’s the self-expression, maybe it’s the naivety, maybe it’s the attention (even though most of it’s negative, haha). As far as goals, my only real goals are to put out good music, possibly have a few LPs to call my own before I’m wrinkled and gray, but there’s too many politics involved in the music industry today, so I’m not really too worried about reaching the masses with my music. Respect from a few real heads is enough gratitude for me.

I understand that you’re big into the graff scene? Did that kind of just come hand in hand when you decided to pick up the mic or did you take an interest to that earlier?

Yeah, I definitely picked up a respect for graff when I first got into the hip-hop scene. Of course, every kid my age wanted to be able to draw crazy graffiti like they saw in the music videos and magazines. I had a deep appreciation for the visual side of hip-hop, but it wasn’t until a year or so ago I started dipping my own hand into the proverbial can of ink and really got involved in the graffiti scene. Just as I said of music, graffiti will forever be a solemn art of the culture, and to respect any real art is to respect all real art, whether painted on the ceiling of a church or on the wall of a subway tunnel. That comment is void for any serious toys, though.

Do you think you’ve found your true style of rhyming or is the search still on?

The search is always on for me. I don’t think I can ever really find a “true style” but in all my music I just plan to express myself and hopefully the essence of my own music will reflect onto a unique style. But some days, I might write smooth, jazzy stuff, and others I write heated raps. It’s difficult to see things from the crowd’s perspective, so I just do what feels right, and see how the crowd reacts.

So what does the future hold for Kasper? Do you hope to get a record deal or are you gonna try and keep it humble?

I don’t plan on signing to anyone, unless it were a solid underground label that could truly benefit my music and save me some of the promotions and publications work. Once I graduate from high school I’m considering going to college to study history, while still continuing my music, so should any offers arise, we’ll see how things turn out.

So lastly, anything you got to say to the people?

I recently dropped my debut LP, titled Cultural Revolution, it’s available through my Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/whoskasper), as well as being on iTunes, UGHH.com, CDBaby and a few other joints. Huge respect goes out to any of the heads who still know that hunger and to all the supporters of real music, it’s more than just a catchy battle cry. Big ups to my man Epidemmik, my dude Talk-Sic, Drew and the whole hometown crew, Cafarelli, Gideon, Holland, Worcester Square, a solemn hoorah to the Blood Brothers, and to the warriors true in spirit. Peace.

-Sherp

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