INTERVIEW: HKC – A focus on Lyrics and Wordplay
Born and raised in Long Island, NY, HKC draws influence from all types of music and conveys a message of positivity and self-assurance.
- Can you tell us a bit about how you got started, and why you chose the moniker HKC?
HKC: HKC stands for “Holy King Cobra” and it means that one can praise a higher power while still being dangerous, or sneaky. I got started as a producer about 3-4 years ago, but began writing lyrics not to far after.
- Do you handle both the songwriting and beats on your songs, and/or do you collaborate with others in any of these processes?
HKC: I like to collaborate with people, but most of the time it’s just easier to have complete control over my project.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
HKC: I feel my strongest influence in my music comes from rappers such as Eminem, Kendrick, Joyner, J. Cole, etc. But as much as I love hip hop, my first musical influence is people such as Michael Jackson, Usher, and Drake.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
HKC: My lyrics always have something behind them, my listeners will always be able to vibe to the beat or the flow but if anything should be focused on, I’d say it’s my lyrics.
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?
HKC: I made and wrote to a lot of trap beats because that’s what was most popular, and even now I notice trap elements in most of what I create.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
HKC: I think everyone is speaking their mind one way or another with their music, with all the chaos in the world its difficult not to get political sometimes. When you feel strongly about a certain topic you should express it through your music.
- Do you think it is important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own way?
HKC: There is usually one concrete idea behind one of my songs and I thoroughly enjoy when fans try to guess what that idea is.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat, or a narrative in your head?
HKC: I start with the beat every time, maybe because I was a producer first but writing comes so much easier when you know what beat you’re writing for.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or career so far?
HKC: Not too sure, I’m pretty young, I feel like I haven’t experienced enough difficulty yet, especially not in my career.
- On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or career so far?
HKC: My song “One Man Army” doing big numbers or dropping my first album during quarantine.
- Putting aside the accolades or criticisms that fans or the media may afford your releases, what’s the one thing about you or your music, you think people may overlook or misunderstand most often?
HKC: I think people might misunderstand a good amount of my wordplay, some might not get the reference and others may not be listening closely enough.
- If I switched on your media player right now, which artists or songs will I most likely hear?
HKC: Not gonna lie, Jennifer Lopez.
- If you had a choice to collaborate with any acclaimed international artist or producer in the near future, who would you choose, and why?
HKC: I want to collab with Snoop Dogg for sure.
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
HKC: I laugh at the expense of people who hate for the sake for hatred. People who take the time out of their day to try and insult me just seem petty an immature to me.
- Could you tell us something about your latest project and what the highlights are to watch out for?
HKC: My “Art of War” EP is a project taking you through the thoughts of someone before, after, and even during making the biggest mistake of their life.
- Do you have a personal favorite track amongst those in your songs that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?
HKC: None have special meaning because it is a fictional story, I mentioned “One Man Army” earlier and that is everyone’s favorite. But “Let It Rain” is a pretty emotional track about coping with guilt and forgiving yourself.
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most?
HKC: Excite? Live audience interaction. I pretty much live in the studio but I haven’t performed since March 2020
- Do you have a favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
HKC: The competition is working right now, am I?
- How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a video you suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your persona and craft?
HKC: The music video to “Back Up” is incredible. Shoutout Grafic for making an appearance in the song and video. This track is also part of the “Art of War” EP.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
HKC: I just want to perform to be honest. Perform all around the country, get enough fans and hopefully set up a world tour one day. I just want to see a big crowd get hype hearing my life through lyrics.
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