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The best kept secret in music


"HipHopSite.com (Rating: 4/5)"

HipHopSite Review

Emcees who are about the revolution and bucking the system are pretty scarce nowadays (with the exception of dead prez, Immortal Technique and others). Gone are the days where X-Clan and Public Enemy ruled the airwaves and required every man, woman and child to rock a leather medallion and a Malcolm X hat. Today's hip hop favors bling and the hustle instead of self empowerment. But every now and then an emcee rekindles the fire that P.E. and others set aflame over a decade ago. Akir is an NY emcee with a message and a mission; to carve out his own legacy in the hip-hop game. Not a legacy like P Diddy and reality TV "celebrities" who's television time dictates their status. The legacy Akir is attempting to create is one of revolution. With that, the aptly titled Legacy album is born.

Akir is one of those emcees who has analyzed the industry and obviously doesn't like where it's heading. He landed in The Source's unsigned hype column a while back after the song "Politrix" surfaced and surprised many with Akir's talent ("Politicians that be gargling that garbage shit, bargain with anonymous officers of opposite, doctrines for the legal tender documents, pocketin the profits"). Since then Akir has hit the road with Immortal Technique and has even tabbed Immortal to executive produce the album. That in itself should tell you what type of album Legacy is.

While many emcees have a message but not the skills to convey it, Akir possesses the vernacular to dictate his narratives with elegance and maturity. Some may even compare him to a young Nas because of his depth and poetic prowess, but Akir is still his own man on Legacy. "Rites of Passage" is a three movement intro to those that may not know what Akir is all about - and Akir is all about the power of Hip Hop. For those who may question if Akir is worthy of Immortal's presence, check "Treason" as the two trade lines in such a poignant manner that it almost forces you to buck the system and flip over a car or two in outrage.

Everything Akir spits seems well thought out and with proper production to back his silky smooth deliver. "Apocalypse" provides an efficient backdrop for Akir to provide his watcher-like analysis of the world. The bulk of the production is handled by newcomer Southpaw who seems to have the perfect chemistry with Akir on the album (maybe that's because he is Akir's brother). The moving production of "Change of the Seasons" back Akir and Hasan Salaam perfectly as Akir provides vivid narratives. Even Jean Grae joins in with "Tropical Fantasy" as each crafts their own makeshift utopia.

With all the Nas-like comparisons, Akir is able to project himself rather than a clone on Legacy. As an emcee with a conscious he's able to avoid the trendy "conscious rapper" clones that pop up every now and then. The only drawback to Legacy is the fact that people's minds may not be ready for it yet. But sooner or later, people will have to get tired of the emptiness of Hip-Hop today and opt for something for more substance. And I'm sure by the time it happens, Akir will be around with open arms.

Review By: Andreas Hale - Andreas Hale

"OkayPlayer.com (Rating: 4/5)"

Variations on a theme. It's a slogan you may see on classical or jazz records, meant to say that what you are listening to is a slight knock off of the original. Upon listening to the first few tracks on this CD, I was quick to assume that Akir was a variation of the work done by Talib Kweli. In itself that is a compliment, because the lyrics, the creative flows, and the great beats behind him work to his benefit. But by track three it is obvious Akir is trying to tell us something, as indicated by the album title. He wants to stand out as his own man, and he succeeds.

Legacy is just that, someone with an agenda to do good and do better, in this case not only for the sake of humanity, but for hip-hop at large. A lot of MC’s are trying to cheapen the value of the music, but etiquette has to be shown across the board. Akir is just that guy, who expresses his love for his family and friends, and for the place he calls home. He backs himself on the mic nicely with a number of tracks meant to intimidate other rappers, but he’s also not afraid to drop a political rhyme, as he does in “Politricks” ("I don’t follow the news, they just add to my blues/politicians and their big feets can never fill my shoes/They don’t care, they think we all live off warfare, it’s hell here/Why should I vote like it’s ever been fair?"). He’s not a conscious rapper as much as he is a rapper with a conscious, in that his scope is much broader than those rappers who rapped about politics alone. Akir wants to explore, and he does so with Jean Grae in “Tropical Fantasy”, where they both talk about what they’d both like to look for in an ideal world, if it wasn’t for the harshness of reality. It doesn’t hurt to know that Jean Grae would like to have “ox tail on a grill”.

It is a new legacy in hip-hop, but one that will be as important as all of its contributors and participants. Legacy is a fine piece of work, and it’s nice to know there are still people who care enough about the music to create soon-to-be classics like this.

– John Book
- John Book

"RaymondChiu.com (Rating: 8)"

I’m in so much fucking awe. It’s been so long since I really felt anything with music and this album put me back on track with where I wan’t to go with my work/music. Thank goodness! I went on the last two months like a fucking zombie, but your boy is back.

Right off the bat you will slightly notice “nas characteristics”, but don’t be fooled. They may preach some of the same messages, but the wordplay is quite distant. Something else that you should take note of—Immortal Technique serves as the executive producer and I know many of you are just going crazy waiting for his upcoming album, so maybe this will hold you guys over until his shit drops.

There’s a certain interaction between Akir’s lyrics and the listeners, something many artist’s fail to do. His skits are very clever and educational, but are geared towards African’s to take a stance. The most special and important skit comes in at the end of This Is Your Life Part 2 which leads into two very political driven songs, Kunte Kinte and Politricks. A handful of songs were produced by SouthPaw (Akir’s Brother) and he doesn’t disappoint with Grind and Treason.

The depth and variation of Akir’s lyrics/talent are clearly displayed on Rites Of Passage—3 beats and 3 flows. With all that anger pent up on the first half of the album it slowly decreases. Almost every song after Change Of The Seasons is very relaxing and filled with smooth hooks. Two very introspective favourites are No Longer Home and So Much, but nothing compares to the light and jazzy Homeward Bound. The final bonus track is a lyrical massacre featuring Immortal Tech, Mojo and Poison Pen. Obviously Immortal outshines everyone, but everyone else is able to hold their own.

I’m really glad that someones making an effort to stand on their two feet and not compromising themselves because it really paid off. If you’ve ever had a conversation with Akir you would know that this guy is genuine about his work/craft and he truly cares about his influence towards the younger generation.

01. The Initiation
02. Rites Of Passage 4/5
03. Mood Music 3.5/5
04. Grind 4/5
05. Treason (Feat. Immortal Technique) 4.5/5
06. This Is Your Life (Pt. 2) 5/5 (Crazy skit @ the end)
07. Kunta Kinte 5/5
08. Politricks 4/5
09. Apocalypse 3/5
10. Change Of The Seasons (Feat. Hasan Salaam) 3.5/5
11. Ressurect (Feat. Akua Wilder & Krystl Yardon) 4/5
12. Ride 2 It 3.5/5
13. No Longer My Home (Feat. Mojo) 4.5/5
14. These R The Blues 3.5/5
15. Pedigree 3/5
16. So Much 4/5
17. Homeward Bound 5/5
18. Tropical Fantasy (Feat. Jean Grae) 3.5/5
19. Legacy (Feat. Mas-D & Veks-One) 3.5/5
20. The Louisiana Purchase (Feat. Immortal Technique, Poison Pen And Mojo) (Bonus) 4/5

Best Songs:
05. Treason (Feat. Immortal Technique)
06. This Is Your Life (Pt. 2)
07. Kunta Kinte
17. Homeward Bound

Worst Songs:
09. Apocalypse
15. Pedigree

Album Rating:
Lyrics: 8.5/10
Beats: 7.5/10
Final Verdict: 8/10
- Raymond Chiu

"Platform8470.com (Rating: Phat)"

Featured in the Source’s 'Unsigned Hype' in 2005, a member of The Reavers collective, and signed to Viper Records, Akir has released his first full length after the independently released 'Street Edition' series. Holdin beats that smell like that typical NY street spirit and lyrics (and skits) that are social aware and politically inspired, 'Legacy' is a nice social musical document, offering an in-depth view on how street life is lived and the game is played.

'Politricks' anticipated this album and impressed us more lyrically than the low-profile production did; 'Politicians that be gargling that garbage shit, bargain with anonymous officers of opposite, doctrines for the legal tender documents, pocketin the profits', revealing Akir’s finesse with language, flippin dope metaphors and intricate rhyme patterns. 'Cell phone verbiage, micro waved preservatives, medicated nervousness', he raps in the strong, manifestoes 'Apocalypse'. Akir’s analysis is sharp and well-thought over, with a strong opinion behind every line. The eerie, piano-dominated production, mostly by Akir himself and his brother Southpaw, is ghetto-style and the perfect soundtrack for Akir’s topics and themes, evoking feelings of hope, strength but also melancholy, soreness and despair. Highlighted collabos are 'Treason' where Immortal Technique raps raw droppin a few poignant rhymes 'While the Government talk about a mission to Mars, they leave the hood stuck in a position of starve', 'Change Of The Seasons' with Hasan Salaam and containing a lot of imagery, ànd the escapism of 'Tropical Fantasy', where the chemistry between Jean Grae and Akir is tight, with only the chorus sounding a bit uninspired.

'Legacy' is not a classic, but it reaches a high level on a lyrical side, provin the critics right when they compare him with Nas, although Akir leaves a more profound criticism and a very thorough insight in social and political issues. 'I never tried to be like Nas, I’m my own man, respect to that nigguh though, it’s the same thing they used to do with him with Ra, take it as a complement' he rhymes on 'Mood Music'. Whether Akir’s career will take the same leap as Nas's or he will get the same status as Rakim's is doubtful, but this album will definitely expand his fan base.
- posted by: cpf

"BallerStatus.net (Rating: 4/5)"

As corporate America embraces commercial rap and uses it to spew capitalist propaganda, it shies away from unconventional music with a message. Luckily, Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" hasn't yet proven prophetic, and nonconformist beliefs can still find an outlet through independent labels. Enter Viper Records and AKIR who, with his album Legacy, shows you what the game's really been missing.

The album opens with "Rites of Passage," on which AKIR's retrospective raps form a modern-day ode divided into triads, as the jazzy, piano melody turns into high octave, sliding scales at the hook, and then becomes more classically-based and bass-heavy at the third and final verse. On "Mood Music," AKIR rhymes over a powerful beat from Southpaw and addresses the critics likening him to Nasty Nas, "Things first, I never tried to be like Nas/ See, I'm my own man -- respect to that n---- though, Paw/ It's the same thing they used to do to him with Ra/ take it as a compliment, and nod as I hit the top."

"Treason" pairs a harpsichord and crooning choir to some of the most poignant, politically charged lyrics on the album. AKIR rides the beat with ease, as he spits, "They be manipulating, politicians delegating/ task and perpetrating, sounds like Satan makin' racist statements/ self-abomination n----s pray to somethin' sacred/ waitin' for that force to save them, instead of saving." And to add fuel to the fire, Immortal Technique jumps on the track with his trademark biting bars: "Immortal Technique, Indian Chief, Lord Sovereign/ bear claw necklace and the puma moccasins/ legal money motherf---er, you can bring the coppers in/ 'cause I'm a take a sh-- on them, without Johnny Cochran/ spittin' Prometheus fire, when I speak to a liar/ I'm the last of the Essenes that will teach a Messiah/ rip your heart out with the technique of a Maya/ 'cause only snitches and Kanye speak through a wire."

Other standouts include "Apocalyse" and "Politricks," on which AKIR pens his pain, and A keeps it real on a bossa nova beat with "Homeward Bound."

While AKIR is still relatively unknown by the masses -- for reasons discussed above -- Legacy is an impressive debut that is enjoyable from start to finish, and will undoubtedly put AKIR on the map. And, if AKIR's goal was to bring back the essence of hip-hop, he accomplished just that. - Zio

"www.HipHopGame.com (Interview)"


What's up Akir?

I'm chilling and working hard. I'm trying to keep my movement organized.

Are you happy with how "Legacy" came out?

I'm very happy with how it came out. I think it's a good introduction for anyone who hasn't heard about me or has only heard a couple of my songs. I think it's definitely something to solidify my fan-base. We did a lot of new things on this project that we never did in the past, like having live musicians come in. We also worked on one concept throughout the whole album.

What are you learning about how to put together an album?

Organization is definitely the key. The next time I do this, I definitely have to jot down a checklist on what I have to do and try to knock it out one step at a time. Unfortunately with this one, there were a lot of things that I wasn't aware of and I ended up running up on a lot of my deadlines because of it to prevent the album from getting pushed back. It's funny, until you do everything yourself, you don't realize why albums continuously get pushed back and have a lack of promotion. You may have an album dropping in October and you see the ad saying October, then it never drops in October and you go through your life wondering when this dude's album is going to drop, and then it never does and you don't realize that it dropped later on. It's kind of bugged out.

What's the significance of the title "Legacy" to you?

Our grandparents' generation had a certain way of life. There was a lot more family and community guidance. A lot of them were into doing things that entailed safety and security. Then our parents came up in those homes and after awhile became broken, whether through divorce or what have you. They were trying to find success through corporation. They were getting more sophisticated jobs that you may need a college degree for. There was a much more sturdy foundation back then. When we came up, we had single-parent homes, independent women, and a lot of us, although we may have had some sort of parenting, had to find our own way and we're still trying to find our own way. Looking at the generation behind us, I feel like they're stuck almost in limbo because a lot of them deal with truly broken homes where they may not even know their mothers or fathers, or their brothers may be locked down. There's no one to provide guidance. They're looking to emulate us but there are so many misguided directions for them that a lot of times it just ends up coming out as reckless activity because they just don't know what to do or what to focus on.

I feel that our generation is responsible for finding some sort of direction and example for that direction. No one sits down with them. I sat down with my man the other day and we were just talking. There was always someone older telling you how to do something or work the system. Now, kids are just picking up whatever tools they can find and they don't know where to start, which causes for a hectic-ass environment because you have a lot of motherfuckers that are just wiling out. Where are the elders to sit down with shorty and say, "This is how I did it, and this is how you can do it. You take this, and do better than I did."? That's what a legacy is, and I think that we lack from that.

What was your inspiration for "Apocalypse"?

The world today. When I'm sitting in front of my computer listening to beats, I usually have the TV on and I catch glimpses here and there of what's going on. I wouldn't see anything but terror and despair on TV, and I was like, "What the fuck is this?" It's hard for me to focus on making a party track when I see all of this garbage going on and no one discusses it, or they discuss it as a gimmick to get people into their shit.

"Apocalypse" came about after the album was finished because Immortal Technique felt that we needed one more banger. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to write for it, but I found a 16 I had written on my Sidekick. A lot of thoughts that had been building up throughout the process of the album came together and that's how "Apocalypse" came about.

You and Jean Grae have good chemistry on "Tropical Paradise."

I really like working with her. I really appreciate her style and her tenacity in terms of making her way in this Hip Hop business. I think in a lot of respects in the way her wordplay is, I thought it would be a good match because I like to jumble a lot of things together as well. It was good working with her. She told me to just throw her the beat and we would get it popping. She came to the studio and we got it popping. I didn't even know what we would do for the hook, but she just started singing and I was like, "Word, let's keep that!"

Are you happy with how your single "Politrix" did?

I really like how people responded to it, but as you already know, the vinyl market is kind of dying. I would have liked to see it sell more, but I really liked how people responded to it. I think in a different day, it would have done a lot better, but there are just not a lot of people buying vinyl. I got a lot of spins on radio and a lot of compliments on the beat, which I produced. I'm proud of that.

How much production did you handle on "Legacy"?

A lot of the joints on there I either produced, co-produced, or I helped with the vision of the track. I spent a lot of time sitting with Southpaw working on the tracks. He was a huge part in the making of "Legacy." I would come to him with the tracks that I produced, and it would have a nice feel to it, and he would put something over it to make it much fuller and better.

How was it working with Southpaw?

We've been working together since I started rapping. It's like clockwork. We have our little brotherly feuds, well, not really feuds, but more like disagreements, like all brothers do. For the majority, we're pretty much on the same page. He's the dude that inspired me to rhyme. He knows what I'm going for. He knows that if I have an idea in my head, then six times out of ten, he could probably say my idea before I even say it. It's good to have that type of working relationship. Anytime you work with somebody for a six-month or year time period, there is definitely going to be a sense of frustration here and there, but at the end of the day, we always sit down and try to figure out how we can reach our common goal. I really appreciate that. With someone that you don't know, when it gets to those sticky areas, people either duck out on you or you end up beefing. But when it's family, it's dope because you can always find a way to resolve the issue, even if you have to agree to disagree. Overall, it was a great experience and I'm happy with how the project came out.

What did Immortal Technique do as executive-producer?

He was the guiding force behind making the project come to fruition. Since Southpaw and I own ONE Enterprises, a lot of the responsibility is on our shoulders, but it's dope to be able to have a support structure and financial backing, which is what Immortal Technique did. He was right there the whole time giving his input on what he thought would be a commercially-viable product or he was helping us get shows and publicity or he would be finding us producers and cameos. He helped us with the tracklisting. We did damn near thirty songs for the project and only nineteen made it. We sat down and we thought about the ones that wouldn't be able to make it. We rearranged the tracklisting eight times. He really made sure that the project was a complete package. He brought "Apocalypse" to the project at the final stages.

It's good because he's done it before. Sometimes I would just say "fuck it," but he was there to add a lot of insight into the process of this shit. Don't get me wrong, it's not like he was holding my hand the whole time, but he was able to show me the steps and how he thought we should do it. We would go back-and-forth on that. At the end of the day, he left the decision to me. Usually the suggestions that he had were right because he has done it before. I respect that.

How has Tech's growth and popularity helped you?

I've done about six tours since I first met you a few years ago, and probably about a couple hundred shows, which a lot of them I did with Tech. At first, I thought people were going to box me in on some sidekick shit. Sometimes they thought I was the DJ. After I was able to start gaining some accolades on my own, people definitely started to pay attention a lot more. I was telling my man this the other day, I have this thing called "the buzz versus the buck." I want to make sure that each time, I am able to gain more buzz that it brings other things to fruition. There are a lot of cats that we saw in the past that we really thought would be the next ones to do it. They were killing the mixtapes, DVD's, cameos, and they were being seen at all the parties, and then two years later, you never hear again from that person. That's frustrating. As an artist, I never want to land in that predicament. I hope that buzz helps me get my weight up and helps me to get a larger, more consistent fan-base.

A lot of people don't understand that you can go out there and sell CD's all day long, but at the end of the day, if the fan doesn't feel some sort of attachment or bond to what you're doing, then that's not going to be a consistent fan. Just because you meet a fly chick and bone her does not mean that you'll be able to see her again. But if you look nice, smell good, bring some roses, and tell her what she wants to hear, even if you don't smash, you'll be able to see her again. At the very least, you have a friend.

The industry right now, with all of their promotional involvement, I feel like they're just fucking the fans. It's like a big-ass orgy. Someone new comes out, then someone old comes out and tries to fit a current marketing scheme. Then the CD only has two or three hot joints on it, so all the fans want to do is download shit because they don't trust it anymore. I want to be able to romance the fans and make them understand that this movement is not a fucking gimmick. I want them to understand this so that they can create their own movement. I want this album to be an encouraging effort not only for me to succeed in life, but also to show everyone that I can give you thought and dialogue to help you reach your own goals.

Is there ever a drawback to being socially conscious in your raps?

My main goal right now is for people not to box me in. A lot of the artists that were really going to do it and take it there ended up getting boxed in. It's human nature for people to do that. In the music industry, they're always figuring out what demographic they can fit it in to. That, combined with the mass audience, who is so used to being directed or pushed to something through marketing, means that we have a climate where in order to not be boxed in, you have to either box yourself in and get a consistent fan-base so they don't get pissed off if you want to do something different, or you have to show diversity.

A lot of my music does have a lot of content, but I don't feel that that has to box me in to being a "conscious" rapper or a "political" rapper. I just want to show you the different aspects of my mind. I know some OG niggas that I'm sure have shot a couple of people in their life. But if I ever fall on hard times, I know they'll hold me down not on gangster shit but on some love shit. They're the same people that would help an old lady cross the street and kiss their moms. They'll still make sure their daughter does their schoolwork, and that night they might go out to the strip club. People look at artists and try to come up with an idea of who that person is based on their music and box them into that. At the same time, the fan that's boxing the people in, they have their own spectrum of personality and ideas.

For instance, a lot of people who are Hip Hop fans will listen to an artist for the first time. That artist might be talking about some gangster shit. That person could be from the hood or what have you, and a lot of their elements might be about their gangster surroundings. Then when they want to do a party track on their next album, people turn their back to it. Gangsters like to party too. I want to be able to provide a climate where people can see me as a person and see enough diversity on the album where they won't try to box me in. whenever I pick up a mic, I try to say something with intelligence so people know that I haven't left. The fans, at this point, have chosen me to have a platform to say what I want to say on it. Everybody who's come before me and is responsible for making me who I am today would only respect me if I use that platform as a positive force, and that's what I plan to do. Don't get me wrong, hopefully one day I'll have some party joints. Hopefully one day I'll have some grimy joints. But from where I'm at right now, I'm just trying to make sure that as a people, we have a better life and that I'm instilling positivity in the youth and creating dialogue between people who might not necessarily talk about certain issues. I definitely do not want to be boxed in as a conscious or political rapper, but I do always want to be able to create some sort of message.

I asked Hasan Salaam this same question, but I'm curious to see how you respond. How do you feel about BET not airing Coretta Scott King's funeral?

Wow. At this point and time, I don't even have cable. It distracts me a little too much, so I wasn't even aware of that. I feel like they should have definitely aired the funeral or at least went back-and-forth between their programming and the funeral to let people know what's going on in society and to honor a woman who is very important to our history. At the same time, no one should be surprised because as soon as Bob Johnson opened it up to Viacom, they should have known that it would be used as a vessel for whatever they wanted. The founders of BET had really good intentions, and there is nothing wrong with doing business deals, but it's wrong when it becomes a conflict of interest. You really have to think about it.

What are your goals with "Legacy"?

I want to be able to solidify a fan-base world-wide. This album is more than trying to hustle CD's in the area. Now that I have a vessel to reach out to places where I can't be at, it's very special to me. I definitely want to solidify a world-wide fan-base. I also hope that people identify with my music and personality instead of hearing just a little of it and trying to compare me to someone. I hope that people are able to find my identity in my music and that they give me a chance to show what I can do and that I'm not here to replace anybody in the rap game. I want to create an environment where I can continue to put out music. I also want to tour like a motherfucker and help other artists to succeed and bring their music to the forefront.

What's next for you?

Right now, I'm going to be touring my ass off. I'm basically trying to reach as many people as possible and introduce them to Akir and ONE Enterprises. I've already started, but I want to get more into my next project later on in the year. My primary project right now is to promote this record, but I'll be thinking of concepts and writing this whole time. Now that I'm in here, I don't want to wait too long to start preparing this next project.

What do you want to say to everyone?

I really hope y'all enjoy the album. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. It will hopefully be something that will help to change the climate of what Hip Hop is today. With your support, I can continue to put out music with positive messages and with a real reflection of what's going on in today's society. I'm not here to be a spokesperson for all of the world's injustices, but I definitely want to provoke thought and conversation to y'all so that you can go out and make a difference. I'm just a messenger. Hopefully my little pieces of music will help to inspire that.

For more information, check out oneenterprises.com - 730

"www.NobodySmiling.com (Interview)"

Indie artists are really setting standards with their projects. Akir (which translates as ‘always keep it real’,)is a glowing entity brining more than just light to a rather dull sky. He is taking it up a notch or five with his soon to be released Legacy album. Executive producer status on the album fell into the hands of the infamous Immortal Technique and the Viper Records family has once again excelled in taking Hip-hop to a new dimension.

Not only does Akir have you captivated with his delivery and his creative wordplay, but the beats he rides are supplementing his work and setting standards themselves. He and his production company One Enterprises are once again reminding us of a time when a producer and an artist could get a formula so tight that the skip button suffered temporary redundancy.

Akir QuoteAs Akir explains in this interview he wanted to exemplify diversity with his project, but spit the messages and yet still have fun with it. Interaction with his extensive fan base is critical to him and as he said himself, he likes to ‘just romance the fans,’ something that many artists in today’s environment forget to do.
Read and learn because as his name suggests, he does ‘always keep it real.’

Nobodysmiling.com : OK, so your album drops in the beginning of March, why did you give it the name Legacy?

Akir : Yeah, the album drops on March 21st and basically I felt like it should be tradition for the ‘elders’ to drop jewels on the younger generation and give them guidance as to what is in their future. You know the obstacles and goals you have and I feel that right now that my generation and the generation coming up beneath us suffers from a lack of guidance.

Nobodysmiling.com : You saying that don’t you think that the generation of rappers coming up, particularly in New York are too busy competing with the ones that have come before them as opposed to just letting their legacies live?

Akir : Well yeah because America seems to be built on a ‘crab in a bucket’ type of deal and it is kind of like we are so used to voting on the underdog but not only routing on that person that doesn’t have those opportunities available but more so routing and acknowledging someone as a champion for overcoming their hardships but also taking someone else’s spot, when I think that everybody has their own right to stand as their own because the industry suffers from a lack of originality and personal attributes being promoting and more so everyone tagging on to the same damn gimmick, so you have no other choice than to eat someone else’s piece of the pie in order to survive.

Nobodysmiling.com : To be a rapper nowadays you have to fall into a category, therefore following someone else’s blueprint and from that seriously reducing individuality. How can you change that as from what you have just said you agree with that?

Akir : I definitely agree with that and in this album Legacy we just show a certain type of diversity, just to let people know a little bit more about my personality and my personal view point. In the beginning of my career I was compared quite a bit to Nas and all respect due, the brother definitely has got some great stuff, but it seems like the only reason they wanted to compare me was to prep me for exactly what you are saying, that one route, you know without even taking the time to listen and find out what I am about, immediately people said ‘you know this guy is hot, he has the same characteristic...(continued below)
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s, he is another Nas.’

Nobodysmiling.com : But isn’t this generic? People have to have a comparison to someone else in the game right now.

Akir : It is the machine that is the thing that they built. Immediately the minute you start to define yourself as a professional, the first thing that labels and distribution and retail companies want to know is what genre do you fit in and how are they going to market this to a particular demographic. If you fit into too many demographics it is like they damn near shun that as they have no way to force feed the community or the environment that are being attracted to your music. True success is being able to find that middle ground, take some things from the machine to figure out how it works and then flip it your way. You can’t fight the machine because not only is it the people that are putting the shit out but it is the actual mass audience that is so used to being programmed that way, that if you bring something that is totally different they almost reject it.

Nobodysmiling.com : At what point do you personally think it got to be like this?

Akir : Initially the larger execs thought Hip-Hop was going to be a fad and as soon as Russell Simmons was able to start negotiating deals that involved sponsorship or some co-promotion with companies and finding other sources of revenue for his artists and company, dealing with outside industries as soon as the larger market caught on to that I think that was when the whole focus of Hip-Hop started to change. Basically at first it was like a hobby or a fad, you know a street culture and then they realized that it could be... they tried to make it into a machine themselves basically. That is what we are dealing with now, everything is manufactured versus someone beating on a table and spitting some ill ass rhymes.

Nobodysmiling.com : The first thing I noticed when I heard the album was that it was 19 tracks. Why did you feel that you had to put something out with that amount of tracks?

Akir : To be honest with you, we did so many damn tracks for this CD that that isn’t half of the material. We kept changing the order and taking the songs out and in order for the story line and the true concept and the project to be complete all those pieces needed to be there.

Nobodysmiling.com : You made an amazing album as I didn’t skip a track and each track it just seemed to get better and better. How long was it in the making?

Akir : Probably about a year and a half, but the product I put out, Street Edition, basically the idea we had was that since we were the ‘under dogs’ and were the people that were really on the streets hustling CDs and talking to people and getting their feed back immediately I wanted to take stuff straight out of the studio and get their feed back and base it on the tracks that were more popular and work from that putting out a full polished product. It changed and evolved but there are two or three songs that are re-visited. You know the mass audience hasn’t heard it but the people in DC, New York and Atlanta might have heard it. You know on my Street Edition there is a verse or two that I might have incorporated on this album, so there are a couple of songs that have been in the workings for a long time.

Nobodysmiling.com : Going by the production on the album you appear to be very rounded in your musical tastes.

Akir : Yeah, we all listen to such an array of different genres of music.

Nobodysmiling.com : Its nice to pull that from an album as you don’t get that much anymore, it is the same regurgitated sound.

Akir Akir : Yeah I miss that. You are right you don’t get that anymore.

Nobodysmiling.com : So that was important to you in creating this?

Akir : Yeah as not only to have a well rounded ear, but there are a lot of different places where I grew up that have a lot of different ethnicities and feels and in order for that to come out there needed to be those elements in there.

Nobodysmiling.com : What producers did you use?

Akir : The Heatmakerz, Southpaw, myself, I produced four or five tracks on there and I definitely had the musical vision for most of it for making a full well rounded project. One Enterprise which is my company is basically functioning as a production house and that is myself and Southpaw, DJ N’finite, Y.G and Dada and we all produced something on the album and it is dope because we all have different feels. I am hoping that we can consistently do that and create our own sound. You know that was the main thing, you know like you said you get the same beat over and over again, but when an artist sees someone responding to something they just keep going until the well is dry.

Nobodysmiling.com : Education comes up a lot in your rhymes; it appears to be something you feel strongly about. In today’s environment, how do you think education can be improved upon realistically?

Akir : Well number one I think the parents have to get involved in their children’s education. You know from an early age they should be reading to their children, stop all that baby talk bullshit and talk to them like little human beings because they are exposed to so much stuff out here if you treat them like little babies they end up growing up to resent you or grown up to do some wild ass hit without direction. Also parents need to reinforce what is being taught in school, just because your kid is going to school doesn’t mean they are getting an education, when they come home you have to make sure they are doing their homework. Where schools are concerned it is really hard, I work in a lot of after school programs and I have always been involved with the school system in some shape or form, but especially since Bush, there have been so many different laws and particulars that have been put forth towards the school system to supposedly help and maintain quality and scholastic responsibility, but really it just makes the teachers job so much harder and it ends up forcing them to do things to pass kids just to keep to their jobs. So you have teachers and administration that was already becoming complacent because of lack of funds and attention, now you have not only complacency but you have people that have a fear of loosing their jobs so they try to cover up whatever the shortcomings are. Its not that they are giving no attention to these kids to make sure they get better grades, they are just pushing kids through or editing their semester reports. It even comes down to the principals because if they get low scoring on their assessments they then lose their job. Teachers have to be reprimanded if their classes are failing they have to do some editing on their paper work to make sure they keep their job. You see kids in high school having trouble reading.

Nobodysmiling.com : But do you think kids need some sort of incentive to learn? Do they need someone they can relate to to educate them? Rappers are being seen as role-models/teachers.

Akir : To a certain extent I accept that responsibility, but then I kind of have to fight that as well. Before you know it, like I was telling someone earlier, one thing I wanted to do with this album was to be able to have enough diversity in the record where people would be able to see my different sides. If I want to come out about peace and justice one day then the next day I have a track about the strip club, I don’t want people to get it twisted and selling out. Just as I like to make sure that people are alright and my social liberties are being obstructed and in the same way I like to go and listen to good music and see women shake what they got. Parents should be role models and in the same token I don’t need to be held as a spokesperson for justice and be 100% responsible as a role model, I do think that going out there and blatantly supporting a certain lifestyle that you are trying to get up out of, you know even if it is that real in your hood and all you know is drugs, sex, violence, pimping whatever. There has to be some sort of, you have to be able to give some sort of message or direction back to where you came from because you don’t want to continue the cycle. I support and love Hip-Hop music but to me there is a way to do it. Like with Jay-Z, I was watching Fade to Black and there is a part in there where he is talking to his man about the content in Hip-Hop and there is a young cat in there and basically Jay-Z questions him as to what he writes about and Jay points to the camera and says look what you done to Hip-hop, you know because that dude was basically scared to talk about who he is and what he does on the regular because of a certain stigmatism. You know people don’t want to come off corny, they don’t want to come off soft and I think there is a way to do that without feeding the same system that kills us every day. When you get a microphone and someone gives you a platform and says I want you to speak to all these people and tell them something, like how can you go to sleep at night without putting out a little bit of something. If you talk about your hustles, talk about how hard it was coming up, talk about this lifestyle, talk about what happens when you get caught up, talk about the downfalls’ don’t just celebrate it without showing the other side because there is a risk to all that and all these little kids are taking it in and nobody is there to explain that image to them. All they get from the image is money, women and success so if Lil Johnny goes down the corner to buss off his guns he isn’t expecting the repercussions from that and Lil Johnny will never see the light of day again from something you may have said on one of your rhymes.

Nobodysmiling.com : But isn’t this down to how the machine has been worked, there is so much money poured into Hip-hop now that there are so many people trying to get on that Hip-hop is seen as a way out?

Akir : Yup. It is the same way with real estate. Everyone is a mortgage investor or real estate agent, so when the market busts what is everybody going to do, when that bubble pops it is going to be wrap.

Nobodysmiling.com : You and Immortal go way back and he exec produced the album. He was already signed to Viper, is that how you ended up there?

Akir : Basically Viper is like family, you know we are family in one way shape or another. The support structure, instead of it being based on corporate ideas, it is based on a brotherhood and I think that there are pluses and minuses but the large majority are pluses because at the end of the day you cant just shit on each other and expect it to be peace, you have to work through those issues and keep it moving.

Nobodysmiling.com : Indie artists appear to happier than artists with major labels. Do you see the indies perhaps overshadowing the majors at some point?

Akir : I don’t see them overshadowing but I see the majors having to bend down and start acknowledging the power of the independents especially through distribution because of all the conflicts the major industry has had with the internet and basically that starting off on some wild west shit, they are going to have to find ways to partner up; which is great because now finally I believe artists and small labels are going to get a smaller piece of the pie as they deserve.

Nobodysmiling.com : Indie labels can’t afford to shelve a project whereas a major can so do you think this makes an indie artist put out top quality material?

Akir : I definitely agree because you don’t have the ability to plaster the market with a whole bunch of marketing and promotion and the largest promotion for an independent is word of mouth, you rely on that and your stage performance. You want someone to hear something. For the people that I am interested in attracting to my project I am looking for those people who go the internet sharing sites and download shit. That is how music gets out there. I think that with the type of quality and the type or presentation and the movement I am dealing with I think that those are the same type of people that will come to a show and support even if they already had the album.

Nobodysmiling.com : Talking of stage presence, you were out on the road with Mike Shinoda and Fort Minor, I heard you kicked ass, I missed it unfortunately, but your stage presence is real important to you?

Akir : Yeah it really is because I was talking to someone earlier, artists no longer romance their fans, so you have a fickle fan which is basically like someone who just goes out dating, they try this artist, they try that artist and then half the time when they start trying to connect with an artist by the time they put out another project they do some shit to fit in with whatever the current gimmick is and it turns them off. So the fans no longer have that type of trust and craving for artists no more and it is very important every time I go out that the majority of that crowd has never heard myself before and I want to leave them with something that the next time they come in contact with my picture, my name they want to see what is going on more. In addition to that, even with the album, I have included lyric snippets in the art work so you can see where my lyrics are at, pictures of my journey through this whole process, vivid imagery for the album cover and all that so you get an idea of what the music is supposed to exemplify. I remember getting Public Enemy albums and being so excited because I could sing along with Chuck D. I didn’t really realize the people that were fans of my stuff have a whole different perception of what hip-hop history is. You know if you ask them about AZ’s Do or Die they may not know what you are talking about. I am hoping that the same things that affected me back in the days when it came to hip-hop, I hope I can keep that legacy going on. You know it might be brand new to them but they can still appreciate it. - Melanie J Cornish

"www.BritishHipHop.co.uk (Interview)"

Meet AKIR. You may have seen him touring with Immortal Technique, or in recent Mecca clothing ads. If not, it may be because he invokes the spirit of Nas circa '92. This modern day hip-hop griot has stepped up to the hip-hop batting cages, and he's swinging lyrical swords. His name is an acronym for "Always Keep It Real," and his rhymes don't get any realer. Get ready people, AKIR is no joke.

For all that don’t know please introduce yourself and let the readers know a bit about you…

Yo, what up world, this is AKIR (Source: “Unsigned Hype/ Off The Radar”- XXL: “Chairman’s Choice/ Show & Prove”). You may have heard of me on Immortal Technique’s Revolutionary Vol.2 on the One Remix. I am co-owner of One Enterprises, LTD with my brother Southpaw and we have just released a timeless masterpiece by the name of “Legacy”

First off, where did the name come from, I hear it is an acronym for Always Keep It Real?

AkirYeah it started out as a tag. Everybody had a tag in my crew and I was working out letters one day and found AKIR. I used to write that shit up everywhere. It was also around the time I started rhyming and it quickly became my nickname. Due to the content in my rhymes one day my homie Lazarus suggested that I use the acronym “Always Keep It Real”.

How did you get in to Hip Hop?

Southpaw and I had a radio station in high school and, they would always tell us if we broadcasted dead air we would be kicked off the radio. One day while spinning vinyl the needle broke and we didn’t have music to play. Southpaw started beatboxing and looked at me like do something. I started to freestyle and really the rest is history.

Can you tell us a bit about where you are from?

I grew up for the most part in NYC. Throughout my life I have moved quite a bit to places like: New Jersey, Georgia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Massachusetts

Who your crew are and who they are associated with? How did you get together?

My crew is One Enterprises, LTD. Southpaw and I met in highschool. Myself, Y.G., Dada, and DJ Nfinit all came up together at Howard University together.

I am also down with other crews but, the main other camp I rep for is Viper Records. I been down with Immortal Technique for about 9-10 years now that’s my dude.

Are there any other producers or MCs in your crew to look out for?

DJ Nfinit, Y.G., Dada (The Goldenchild) and, we got our secret weapon in the stash right now.

When would it have been that you first stepped up and started participating in Hip Hop, rather than just listening or spectating, you had wax out back in ’98, what led up to that?

Nah, Politricks was my first piece of vinyl released. I had been getting up on stages with my peoples Dujeous since ‘96. They were the first professional Hip-Hop artist I knew and, they would always show me love on stage.

And you did some battles didn’t you? Howard University’s Verbal Armageddon emcee competition…

I have never been the battling kind. I feel secure in what I do and I feel you should be secure in what you do. Long story short my homies were organizing the event and practically begged me to get in it. I entered in late and ended up being seeded #2 out of 50. Went through a couple rounds and didn’t like the vibe I had to give off just to win. So I quit in the middle of the shit but, I ended up meeting the Heatmakerz there. It was kinda crazy!!!!

What do you tend to write about and what inspires you?

Most of the times I focus on my immediate surroundings because that’s whats real to me. At the same time I try to do it from a broad perspective so not only can more people identify but, so I can peel some of the layers back to reveal issues and/or beauty to the person living in the same environment.

Can you explain your style to us?

I would say I am like a griot, a storyteller, a surveyor.

OK, what is it that is different or unique about you?

AkirI try to instil positive messages in most of my music and, if it doesn’t have a positive slant it is some thought provoking content or raw ass image conveyed.

Who or what are your main influences? I understand that you rate some older school artists such as Run-DMC and Public Enemy, is it these artists that you most look up to or do you have influences outside Hip Hop?

My influences range. I think one thing that makes my camp dope is that we listen to a variety of music. We are very versatile that way and are able to blend sounds of all types together for a beautiful patchwork.

Can you talk us through your releases to date and perhaps elaborate on what you feel are some of your standout tracks?

Well for time sake we will simply start at Street Edition. This project was straight Hustle and Flow. Most of the recordings you hear were done in two sessions. Everything was premixed, then manufactured and sold. The shining moments to me were Best Friend, These R The blues, One, Number Song, Stop Playin, State of The Enemy. For Leagacy everything shines. It is a more solid project and well thought out from beginning to end. Go get it!!!!

Who was it you hooked up with label or finance wise that helped you take the step to getting your material out? How does this relationship work?

One Enterprises, LTD was self sufficient for some time. Barely but, self-sufficient. However, to get to that next level you often need allies for troops, political diversity, and resources. Viper had all 3 and together we decided to take over the world, hehehehehe

What else do you do promotion wise, how do you get your name out there?

I am sponsored by a clothing line called Mecca. You may have seen the ad with myself, Ray Cash, Ra Shaan, and this kid named Unique. The ad was shot by Dave Meyers so it was a pretty big deal. I just finished a promotional tour with Fort Minor, Ghostface, Little Brother, and Apathy. So anyway possible to let people know that I am here.

How do you feel, as artists, about distribution systems like torrents or other P2P software that is out of your control and for which you don't get any money? Do you think that seeing as the free music genie is out of the bag it could create problems in the future for you as artists to get paid for your work?

Nah, I’m ok with it because I feel that it is free promotion for my shit the same way with bootleggers and mixtapes. Otherwise I would never have such a massive outlet to spread my shit. I just know that I need to make a dope package that makes kids wanna support. If not simply because of the quality and message, for the art and/or the collector feel of the cover.

How do you find the scene in Buffalo and the surrounding areas where you are based compared to central NY and the Bronx? Are there discernable differences or is it all homogeneous now?

I was only born in Buffalo. I cannot remember living there.


Do you have any advice for struggling artists in the UK?

Be consistent, constantly work on your craft and, remember when you start getting shine that’s just the beginning. Don’t Sleep!!!!!!

Would you like to, or do you have any plans to try and get out to the UK to do a few shows?

I’m coming out to the UK with Immortal Technique in June-July. I love it out there. Big shout to Conspiracy, Myst, Deal Real and, the whole UK Massive

I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on, but most current Hip Hop heads decline to answer. I guess they don't want to upset anyone. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes too?

Watch the resources!!!! You can always print money but, you can’t recreate natural resources.

If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?

I wish people would be more concerned with there yard instead of being occupied with other peoples way of life. That goes for literally neighbours tryna keep up with the Jones’ to countries interfering with foreign issues, warfare, etc. If we would focus on our own shit we would have no reason to disrupt other cultures or destroy civilizations in the process.

Fit all your shout outs and thanks here:

Go check the album: “Legacy” www.viperrecords.com
For more info: www.myspace.com/akir, www.oneenterprises.com

Thank you very much for your time.

* www.viperrecords.com
* www.myspace.com/akir
* www.viperrecords.com/akir/akirsamples.html
* www.immortal-technique.com/akir/akirpromo.wmv
* www.oneenterprises.com - Administrator

"www.GangstasParty.com (Interview)"

Gangsta's Party: 1) First Off.. I would like to ask u: How did you get your name AKIR?
AKIR:Back in high school I really was interested in being a graf writer. I came up with the letters as a tag and my homeboy was like, "Yo, that's dope, there is a similar word in my language that means the goodness". From that point it kinda stuck with me cause I would write it everywhere I could. Then my homeboy T-ro came up with the acronym when we started our first record label in '98. It fit with what I wanted to stand for. Now I wear it with pride you know. It helps me maintain a standard with my music and with my life.

Gangsta's Party: 2) What is your style?
AKIR: I would say I am pretty laid back unless you get me on one of those break beats, then I rip it out the frame. Most of my focus deals with family and social commentary. I think in hip-hop there is a strong divide between the "underground" and "major" genres, I hope people are willing to embrace the fact that I am not gonna be boxed in.

Gangsta's Party: 3) Where do u get your inspiration from ?
AKIR: On the day to day I run into all kind of inspiration. Most of my inspiration comes from friends and family. Im constantly travelling so things I see walking the block, drivin on highways, walking through airports all add to it as well. The news is also a huge source of inspiration.

Gangsta's Party: 4) With no album out, AKIR is already nominated as The Source's Unsigned Hype and XXL's Chairmen Choice. He has also released a single titled "Politricks". Tell us about this your hit?
AKIR: Yes, I am very proud of these achievements. Every little bit counts. Especially when you are independent and have a small budget for advertisement. People seem to really respect these particular accolades and they have definitely opened doors for my career. I never realized the power of a single until I had one. Many radio stations won't even play your music unless it is on vinyl, although the vinyl market is slowly coming to a hault. I guess if you went through the long and expensive process of creating vinyl, than they respect you as a professional.

Gangsta's Party: 5) In March, Akir will release through Viper Records his debut album titled "Legacy". Is there anything specific you're trying to say with this album? What's the reason for this title? Who are the guests?
AKIR: Yo, Legacy is definitely a piece of art. Unlike Street Edition, we had time to prepare this product and collaborate with other artists and camps. The main focus of this album was to reflect on what we all need to do in life before we die. I feel the most important tasks to be providing something significant spiritually, financially, educationally, and emotionally to your immediate family and to the generation behind you. This album marks the story of AKIR and others like me (you) who are preparing to be the generation to make moves. With the issues and tools we got from the elders, the insecurities and talents we built ourselves, the bright eyed potential, along with mischievious ways of the youth we all struggle to make something for our people. This is our LEGACY.

AKIR - LEGACY Gangsta's Party: 6) Is there a track that u prefer?.. And why?
AKIR: Damn that is a hard one. When I was recording, my favorite was always the newest one I just layed down. They all have very special meaning to me. The one that seemed to gel the most in the shortest amount of time was Apocalypse. People go crazy for that song everywhere I perform it.

Gangsta's Party: 7) How did u hook up with Immortal Technique? What do u feel to say about him?
AKIR: Tech is the homie. We have been chillin together since like 16 or so. We met through Southpaw in high school. Tech has always been free spirited to say the least, so the life he has achieved for himself is definitely the right fit. I am very proud of him for his accomplishments and I think he hopes the same for me. He has been a tremendous help, as you know he executive produced my album.

Gangsta's Party: 8) Have u planned a tour for support this album?
AKIR: I am talking to many promoters in different places to set something up. If you like my shit email NY@theagencygroup.com and tell them you wanna see me in your area.

Gangsta's Party: 9) Is there a rapper or producer that u would like to work with?
AKIR: Large Professor

Gangsta's Party: 10) Tell us something about your future projects..
AKIR: I can't release the info on the next album, but it will be something different. I am trying to do as many cameos as possible. Also lookout for my exclusives here and there.

Gangsta's Party: 11) A free message to Rap/Hip Hop/R&B community
AKIR: One Love! One Music! One Movement! www.myspace.com/akir, www.oneenterprises.com, www.viperrecords.com - Not Listed

"www.AllHipHop.com (Reavers Interview)"

The Reavers: Hard Times

The Hip-Hop supergroup is formed as needed. Diggin’ in The Crates arrived to attack stagnant production. The Wu-Tang Clan swarmed to return the ruggedness into raps. While individually, The Reavers may be unknown to many, this group of established underground artists united with social and musical cause. Vordul Megallah, Akir, Kong, Spiega, Dom Pacino, Billy Woods, Hasan Salaam, Karniege, Keith Masters, Priviledge and Goldenchild are The Reavers: Revolutionary Emcees Advocating their Voices on Everyday Reality’s Struggle.

At the tail-end of a historically baffling and equally tragic year, the group claims to be a reflection of the times. Their debut, Terror Firma, the Killarmy, Cannibal Ox, and Monsta Island Czar alums connect with AllHipHop.com to present their argument, and celebrate their diversity.

AllHipHop.com: Considering that you guys come from different backgrounds, was it hard creating a cohesive unit?

Kong: No, actually it was fun.

Akir: Not only did it build unity within the group, but we were feeling each other’s verse. I could be on a song and be like, “Who’s that?” and they’ll be like, “That’s Hasan Salaam,” and I’m like, “That dude is crazy.”

AllHipHop.com: Listening to the album, it’s obvious that you guys also come from different spiritual teachings. How did that play out once you hit the studio?

Billy Woods: Everybody just spit their life and their experience and what they know about, so instead of trying to make people conform to one another everybody just did their thing.

Spiega: I think what drew us together is everybody on this team, we’re all pointing in the same direction - tired of the ice, the rims…you know the garbage, whereas we’re more aware of everything that’s going on around us so it’s like one man is an island, every man has his own thing but to get anywhere, any smart person knows to get a team. We’re rappers coming from different backgrounds or whatever, but we’re all looking and feeling and desiring the same thing.

Karniege: Everybody’s just hungry, and just wants to get similar points across even though we all come from different backgrounds. I feel it’s all the same difference like everybody got a different struggle like one dude might do the 9-5 and another dude’s hustle is 9-5 on the block. It’s all the same difference.

Hasan Salaam: The problem with Hip-Hop nowadays is everybody from somewhere else is acting like there’s only one plate for everybody to eat on. It’s like I’m trying to run and snatch this man’s food and steal a fan or something, like somebody can’t cop more than one disc a year but on the level of spirituality, that’s my personal business. I’m Muslim, this man might be something else but we’re all relating by a sense. We’re all oppressed people, we’re all Black men, we’re all relating on that level. We’re all struggling, we’re all rhyming and we all love Hip-Hop.

AllHipHop.com: Okay, so you love Hip-Hop but what do you dislike about it?

Akir: The bulls**t that bothers me is it seems like in this overwhelming marketing culture, if you don’t talk about somebody committing a violent act or selling drugs, or pimping some shorties out, you’re not going to make this money.

Spiega: Now it’s all about who has the most drama. Gore, drama and murder, all that s**t sells.

AllHipHop.com: The album artwork seems to be saying a lot, but it’s a little intimidating. It’s a group of Black dudes in fitteds, hoodies, and strapped with ammunition and arsenals. What’s up with all the intimidation?

Billy Woods: That’s the world we’re living in right now. With the artwork, it’s supposed to be a group of child soldiers, which is supposed to represent a lot of different things and also what’s going on in the world. It wasn’t even supposed to look like it was in the Middle East, it just morphed into that by the artist doing that.

Karniege: You got cats in timbs, Adidas with bent laces…that’s Hip-Hop right there don’t get it twisted. That’s what makes this whole thing dope. It says a lot without having to say much because when you look at it, it says, The Reavers with a bunch of people here and somebody writing Terror Firma [on the ground]. So there’s a lot being said by just physically catching a visual of it, but actually listening to the project takes it to a whole ‘nother plain or plateau.

AllHipHop.com: Apparently, you were brought together by Backwoodz Studios. How did that work, and why were you chosen?

Billy Woods: The project didn’t become what it was until later on. Kong and Spiega were some of the first people who started recording, then Akir, and then Hasan came through. Karniege was always down with Vast [Aire] and I had known Vast for a while so I was like let’s get at Karniege. Also, Vordal had been with Backwoodz since the inception doing all sorts of stuff so he was naturally in the mix as well as Privilege and Keith Masters. So, a lot of people have sort of been floating around that just kind of coalesced. Everybody was real hungry and the people made it real easy. The only hard part was deciding what [songs] to cut.

AllHipHop.com: The album is called Terror Firma Vs. Terra Firma [the Latin phrase], which is an interesting concept. Who came up with that?

Billy Woods: I came up with that title a long time ago. It was just a matter of finding something worthy enough to use that title on because it has to be like that.

AllHipHop.com: What makes the project “like that?”

Billy Woods: It’s interesting to know there was no real sense of you have to write this or do this and that. Everybody came with their own thing, from their own perspectives, and brought that to life naturally.

Goldenchild: That’s the beauty of the project…it’s just here. You would think we were all in the studio doing it together and it didn’t happen that way. People came and dropped their verses and before you know it the track was together and it was like damn it just works.

AllHipHop.com: What can people expect from such a unique project?

Billy Woods: I think that you can expect to hear is basically the future of East Coast, underground Hip-Hop.

Akir: The thing that really made this project very special is that people will reflect on this and be like wow all these people from different backgrounds and different camps came together to do that. That’s a powerful thing. Nobody’s really seeing that many talented emcees come together and collaborate since Wu-Tang Clan or something like that.

Kong: Listen to the album. You’re definitely gonna say there are no two rappers on the album that sound the same. Everybody has their own flow, and that’s real.

AllHipHop.com: We’ll let listeners hear the album to get your own jewels. But as social-minded men, does George Bush hate Black people?

Karniege: Black people hate Black people [there’s no unity].

Spiega: I say no, as long as he’s making the money. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bush sitting next to Spike Lee at a basketball game because Bush may have his own line of sneakers and Michael Jordan decided to endorse him. But other than that, if [a Black man] ain’t got on camouflage and in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force fighting for him, then no, Bush doesn’t like a Black person. - Starrene Rhett




AKIR: "The Manhattan Project," Manifest Media '98
DJ R'SONIST: "MixTape," Heatmakers '98
NEW BREED: "New Breed Compilation", One Enterprises '00
AKIR: "Always," Promo, One Enterprises '01
ASHA: "Got it Goin' On," Screw Records '02
AKIR: "Street Edition, Vol. 1," One Enterprises '02 (www.oneenterprises.com)
DJ N'FINIT: "The Blockbuster," One Enterprises '02
NAPOLEON DA LEGEND: "World Conquest," N.D.L. '02 (www.napoleondalegend.com)
AKIR: "Street Edition, Vol. 2," One Enterprises '03 (www.oneenterprises.com)
IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE: "Revolutionary, Vol. 2," Viper Records '03 (www.immortaltechnique.com)
LIVE FROM THE BLOCK: Live From The Block DVD (DC) '03 (www.livefromtheblock.com)
BLOCK MONEY: Block Money The Album '03
WAX POETIC: Heavy Traffic 2 (Road Rage) '03 (www.waxpoeticproductions.com)
D-EN-D: D-EN-D at the movies '04 (www.dendproductions.com)
DJ HYPHEN: Presents Beats, Rhymes, and Life Vol. 2; Daaamn Homey!!! '04
DJ CHELA: Chela 4 President '04 (www.chelaonline.com)
LONGSHOTS (featuring AKIR): "Thugs Prayer" '04 (www.thelongshotsonline.com)
DJ HYPHEN: Presents Beats, Rhymes, and Life Vol. 3; I will not lose '05
THIRD I REVOLUTION: Revolutions Of The Mind Mixtape '05
DJ 730: Presents Hiphop Disciples-Volume 4 mixtape hosted by Cormega '05 (www.hiphopgame.com)
DJ CHELA: Embedded Reporter (www.chelaonline.com)
GROOVE MAGAZINE (France): Sampler February '05
DJ 730: Presents Hiphop Disciples-Volume 7 Hosted by Stimuli '05
LIVE FROM NY(France/US): DVD Soundtrack Out Now!!! Break Neck '05 (www.fnac.com)
AKIR: Politricks 12' Single Out Now!!! One Enterprises/ Viper Records '05 (www.fatbeats.com)
J-RONIN: All Elements-Volume 3 "Out Now!!! "
BACKWOODZ STUDIOZ / THE REAVERS: Terror Firma "Out Now!!!" (www.backwoodzstudioz.com)
BACKWOODZ STUDIOZ / THE REAVERS: Slums 12' Single "Out Now!!!" (www.backwoodzstudioz.com)
DJ CHELA: High Treason "Coming Soon '05"(www.chelaonline.com)
JERSEY ROOTS: Untitled "Coming Soon"
AKIR: Legacy "March 21st 2006!!! One Enterprises/ Viper Records '06" (www.oneenterprises.com)
BACKWOODZ STUDIOZ / THE REAVERS: Shadows 12' Single "Out Now!!!" (www.backwoodzstudioz.com)
P-CUTTA/ UNI ent: Art Of War 3 "Out Now!!!" (www.pcutta.com)
HIROLLERZ.COM Presents: The Grit Face Mixtape"Out Now!!!" (www.hirollerz.com)


Club Congress, Club Freedom, Minders Benders, Old Brickhouse

El-Rey Theater, Club Slo Brew, Coachella, Slim's

Starlight, Fox Theater, 32 Bleu, Cervantes, Universal Lending Pavilion

Toad's Place, Trinity College

9:30, American University, Ben-N-Mo's, Between Friends, Capitol City Records, Club Aqua, Club U-Turn, Howard University, Kili's (2K9), Maya Angelou school, Metro Cafe, Nation, Nation, Nissan Pavillion, Phish Tea Cafe, State of the Union

Central Florida Fairgrounds, Vinoy Park, Pampano Beach Amphitheater, acksonville Fairgrounds

Apache Cafe, Georgia State, Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater

Empty bottle, Tweeter Center, The Abbey Pub

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Assylum, Bates College

The Ottobar, University Of Maryland

Tufts University, Middle East

First Ave, Metro Dome, Blind Pig

UMB Bank Pavillion, Missouri State University

Court Tavern, Harvest Moon, Montclair State Univ., Platinum Night Club, Obsessions

Sunshine Theater

17 Home, BB Kings, Bowery Ballroom, Canal Room, Club Exit, Club NV, CODA, Don Hill's, Downtime, Fordham University, Hamilton College, Hunter College, The Knitting Factory, Joe's Pub, Lion's Den, Madame X, Manhattan Center, Museum of the City of New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Nokia Theater, Opaline, Ra'Nelles (Comfort Zone), Sin-E, S.O.B.'s, Southpaw, SUNY New Paltz, Uncle Mings, The 5 Spot


Oberlin College, Tower City Amphitheater, The Grog Shop


American Friends Center, Haverford University, The Trocadero, The 5 Spot

Red Eyed Fly

Starlight Lounge, Nectar's

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Whitman College, Palladium, Nuemo's, Chop Suey,

Marcus Amphitheater


TORONTO- El Macambo

HULTSFRED- Hultsfred Festival 2005

LONDON- Carling Academy Islington
OXFORD- Atlantic Bar

CARACAS- Plaza De Venezuela


Feeling a bit camera shy


"AKIR" (Source Magazine's Unsigned Hype)
signs with Viper Records & Fatbeats Distribution Release critically acclaimed album,

Maybe, it was the first concert he saw (Run DMC and the Fat Boys) or the first album he owned (Public Enemy) that sparked his creative flame for hip-hop. But, the turmoil in his early surroundings and his struggles throughout life is what ignited the hunger to later develop the artist "A.K.I.R.". The acronym and the promise to Always Keep It Real, gave him a name and a prophecy to live by. AKIR grew up throughout New York City, DC, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Atlanta, and Maryland, which is only partially responsible for his diversified sound and ability to "switch it up". The harsh realities of becoming a black man in today's world would prove to be his main catalyst. "I make the ignorant/ Clap cause they feelin it illin when/ they realize/ Its revealin they brilliant" -RIDE 2 IT

AKIR first entered the hip-hop scene as an on-air personality with WNMH 97.9 (Mass.) from 1994 to 1996. In 1998, he ranked 2nd out of 50 in Howard University's Verbal Armageddon, MC competition. He then guest appeared on DJ Rsonist's (HeatMakerz) first mix tape release. AKIR sought to improve his musical talent and began to focus on production. Collaborating with his brother and business partner RayDogz aka Southpaw (formerly of Daddy's House Recording Studios) he produced for Immortal Technique's, Revolutionary Vol.1. AKIR released his first single "Best Friend" on DJ N'finit's mix CD The Blockbuster Vol. 1 (A One Enterprises Product). At the end of 2001 One Enterprises released Street Edition Vol. 1&2 and it has moved over 12,000 copies to date. In November ‘05 he and 10 other up and coming emcees in the supergroup The Reavers, released the album Terror Firma (Backwoodz/Nature Sounds/Caroline Distribution). One Enterprises, LTD, Viper Records and, Fatbeats Distribution then, came together to release the long awaited album "Legacy". The material from "Legacy" helped AKIR received the honor of Source Magazine's (Unsigned Hype Jan/Feb '05 & Off The Radar April ‘06), XXL's (Chairman's Choice Oct.'05 & Show and Prove June ‘06). The magazine exposure continued as Mecca 5star apparel began to launch an ad campaign shot by Dave Meyers featuring AKIR. Including the Fort Minor '06 & The Vans Warped Tour ‘04, AKIR completed a total of: 7 domestic tours, 170+ shows including London, Sweden and, Venezuela. He has performed with a variety of acts such as: Nas, Kool G. Rap, Mos Def, Styles P, KRS-1, Ghostface, The Game, Talib Kweli, Saigon, Dead Prez, Little Brother, Jean Grae, Masta Ace, Wordsworth, Vast Aire and, Immortal Technique.

In addition to AKIR's vast exposure to varied East Coast flavors, his lyrical influences include: the finesse of SLICK RICK, the mellow vibe and consistent originality of Q-TIP, the smooth delivery and GQ style of BIG DADDY KANE, the complexity and poeticism of NAS, the rapid fire flow and intensity of KOOL G RAP and, the lyricism of RAKIM. "Spittin sparks of light, to guide you through the flight." CAN'T TOUCH HIM. AKIR's vocals are, to say the least, persuasive, melodious, and addictive. His flow is compelling and vividly euphonic with lyrics that are a testament to hip-hop in its purest form.