Busy with the recent release of his album Popular Misconception, talented DMV artist Awthentik takes a moment to share his journey, philosophies, and what drives him to put out the high caliber music that he creates.
Achickwitbeatz: Who is Awthentik?
Awthentik: Im definitely NOT your typical "rapper". The room starts with silence and within a couple of hours I can have a completed song produced, written, mixed and mastered from scratch. I have never been into a studio and paid for studio time. I got the name Awthentik while working in a shoe store during highschool when a clothing line came in called "Product Authentic" and my homie says "You're Authentic". It has stuck with me since. I changed the spelling of it for reasons to be able to identify it. I live and breathe music. Literally as we are doing this interview I am in the studio with Sergio Cortez listening to a new batch of his beats. I'm from an era in hip hop when lyrics were key and production was expressed with pure skill not imitation.
Achickwitbeatz: When did you first discover that you needed music to be a part of your life?
Awthentik: I realized that I needed music to be a part of my life when I was going through a difficult time when my mom was diagnosed with cancer back in 2004. The next year my father was diagnosed with diabetes. As their bodies both deteriorated and led to their ultimate death, music was my only real outlet . I started to write rhymes that unravelled the struggle I was going through. What started off as a form of release therapy ultimately turned into my career when I released a couple of my first recordings. The first time I realized it was going to take a recording studio and a professional engineer to make my compositions really come to life, I decided I would do it myself. I have always been a 'figure it out on my own' kind of person. With about a year of trying different means of recording, I decided to attend Omega The School of Applied Recording Sciences and Technologies in Rockville, MD in 2005. There I sharpened my production and engineering craft for two years. When I left Omega in late 2006, It was then that I realized I would be making music for the rest of my life.
Achickwitbeatz: What can listeners expect from you?
Awthentik: Honesty! I pride myself on being "real". I have always been about integrity. My parents are from Haiti so I have a deep appreciation for hustle, and grind ethic. I want people to know the real me by simply listening to some of my work. I like putting everything up front and writing songs about my experiences but ones that I know everyone is going through on a daily basis.
Achickwitbeatz: What's the most valuable thing you've learned since you started doing music?
Awthentik: The most valuable thing I have learned since I started making music is, making good music doesn't mean it will get heard. There's a quote from Tim Notke that I have on my background of my phone to remind me of this. It says "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
Achickwitbeatz: What are 5 attributes/skills an artist should have to make your top 10 list?
Awthentik: Foremost, I am impressed by lyrical skill. I'm from an era of hip hop where that was and still is important. Second would have to be wordplay. You know, not just rhyming one word with word, but actually rhyming with 3 and 4 words at a time within a couple of bars. Third, originality. Fourth would probably be presence. If you want to be heard you have to sound convincing. Really bothers me hearing a rapper who sounds like he is reading. And last, a good live show. I'm not trying to see my favorite artist on stage winded, out of breath, and not quite the person you heard on the studio version.
Achickwitbeatz: Conversely, what are 5 attributes that would put an artist at the very bottom of your list?
Awthentik: I can't stand a artist who is not himself. Its cool to fantasize, but that shouldn't be your complete make up. My homie Kaimbr has a project called "Why Be Somebody Else" which is the perfect explanation. That's really about it. Other then that, I'm pretty open to listening to all forms of music.
Achickwitbeatz: What's next on the horizon for Awthentik?
Awthentik: Currently we are weighing out a couple touring options for 2015. My latest work "Popular Misconception" will be released in May and we are working on finishing a couple of visuals for that as well.
Achickwitbeatz: How can people connect with you to stay current with what you have in the works?