WilsonBlock100 Radio

Q&A With Cleveland Based Hip Hop Artist Komplex

Congratulations on your latest mixtape release “Prestigious”. We checked it out and we really enjoyed the fresh new sound & perspective on new Hip Hop coming out of Cleveland Ohio. What motivated you to create this style of music. And how did you come up with your MC name Komplex?

My dad is the one who got me into hip hop. He grew up in the 80s/90s, so I was definitely exposed to some artists from that era during my childhood. Predominately, I would say this era influenced my particular style and taste in hip hop. Initially 50 Cent got me into rapping. It was something about his persona that I liked. His aggressive lyrics, delivery, and his beat selection were also things I enjoyed. So, when I started rapping, I tried to emulate his style. Although he got me into rap and was my favorite rapper for a while, I couldn’t relate to his lyrics much. At first, most of my raps was me talking about gangster shit knowing damn well that wasn’t me. I didn’t grow up in a rough environment, sell drugs or shoot at people. I just was a regular kid from Cleveland who got good grades, stayed out of trouble and just so happened to like hip hop. Once I got older and fully embraced who I was, I started listening to the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Common, Nas and more. I identified with these types of rappers the most and they helped me develop my current style of conscious lyrics and introspective topics.

As far as my stage name, there are three main reasons on how I got it. First, my birth name is Kameron with a “K” so I wanted to spell Komplex with a “K”. Secondly, I chose this name because it described my personality and how I saw the world. People always told me my mind was complex and was hard to figure out. After hearing that so much it just stuck. Thirdly, I developed an acronym for it: Knowledge Over Money Plus Leaving Everyone X’d Out. In my opinion, knowledge is more valuable than money. The value of money is mostly dependent on how it’s used by the person. If you don’t have the knowledge to maintain wealth or help it grow, what’s the point? I also believe eliminating anyone or anything negative from your life and staying true to yourself is the best recipe for achieving your goals and becoming the best version of yourself.

How is the underground sound out in Cleveland Ohio?

It’s a mixture of different sounds. There’s the hood/trap side and the introspective/lyrical side. Unfortunately, the hood side is more prominent in Cleveland than the introspective side. The introspective side doesn’t get the respect or recognition it deserves, not only in the city but around the world. I respect trap for what it is but there needs to be more balance. Overall, Cleveland is rough and there’s a lot of crime, poverty and desperation. I want people to know that Cleveland is more than that and there are artists with real talent who shed light on the good things in Cleveland.

How are you dealing with this whole nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19 Corona Virus? Has this effected your music career in any way?

I’m doing well in the midst of all this. I’m grateful I’m still able to make money and continue creating my art. Overall, this virus hasn’t affected my music career that much. The only thing it impacted was my live performances. I wanted to perform more this year to really show what I can do on stage instead of just in the studio. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year apparently haha.

Who are your biggest underground influences?

I would have to say Elzhi, Little Brother, Locksmith and Oddisee just to name a few.

The project took me a total of 8 months to complete. 6 months to record and roughly 2 months to mix and master. It was hell trying to get it done. Either some of the engineers didn’t know what they were doing, or I had to rerecord songs because files were lost. Thankfully, all the stress and hard work still resulted in great music. I started the whole process in July 2019. I knew I wanted Prestigious to be a concept driven record. I just wasn’t sure how it would all come together until I came up with different life experiences and thoughts that I felt could help the project flow smoothly. Each song had its purpose and it presented a mini story line for the listener. To really make the content stand out, I wanted soulful production throughout the whole project. This is also my most personal project to date, so I knew everything had to be presented properly. This was my own version of Jay-Z’s Blueprint in a way. As far as the artwork, I saw it at an event in college. It was a painting being displayed and it caught my attention immediately. I was able to replicate the painting and use graphic design to make it into cover art. To me, the painting shows a boy looking at the stars wondering where his life is headed and reflecting on the past that made him who he is today.

You recently dropped a new mixtape “Prestigious” across all streaming platforms! Please give us some background on that project!? Could you tell me the inspiration behind the project and artwork?

How does social media play a role on pushing Komplex music?

Social media plays a crucial role in pushing my music. Over the years, I have learned how to effectively promote my brand and reach thousands of people. I can also connect with my fans personally if I choose to. I want people to know the type of person I am in addition to my music. I feel it is important to engage with them because if people can relate to you, they will more likely be interested in listening to your music.

What are a few different moves your making for 2020 when it comes to your music career?

I’m in the process of developing concepts for music videos. I want to have at least two to promote my project. I’m also working on a few features that should be dropping sometime later in the year. Finally, I’m working on getting merchandise to further support my brand. That would include shirts, hats, posters and much more!!

Our most popular question…. What is your definition of “Underground Hip Hop”?

It is Hip Hop that is pure and authentic. Reality bleeds through the music for the most part. There are certain topics that underground hip hop artists aren’t scared to talk about or explore. There are no boundaries and you don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing. In the mainstream, it’s more of who you know rather than talent and freedom of expression. In the underground scene, this is not the main priority and it’s the artistry that counts. Don’t get me wrong connections are important everywhere. I just believe that the setting can greatly determine the type of artistry the listener will get.

Where can our BLOG audience find your music and follow you on social media?

You can find my music on all streaming platforms. Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, Napster, etc. My social media mainly revolves around instagram and twitter. My instagram is @komplexthinker720. My twitter is @komplex2death.

Any Shout Outs?

First, I would like to shout out the sole producer of the project, ENON Jacobs. His production made the project cohesive and was a major component in developing the sound I wanted. Next, I would like to shout out the features on the project: Silk Satchmo, Moon and Fonz. Thank you all for your contributions. Finally, I want to shout out my fans and supporters. Your love does not go unnoticed and I greatly appreciate it!!


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