By: Mut Asheru
Hello Everyone. It’s time to introduce you to some good music. Even though our filters are set to let in a wide array of ear candy from all manner of musicians it sometimes gets difficult to actually hear over the music (ala Eric Roberson). It takes a mighty noise to rattle our chains and but when those shackles are shaken loose we know we’ve found something / someone worthy of your attention.
Milwaukee, WI, based Hip-Hop artist Klassik is who you need in your life right now. Encouraged to pick by his late father, Robin Abston to start playing the saxophone at an early age and mentored early on by local jazz saxophone legend Berkley Fudge, Klassik knows his way around-up-over-and-through a track. Not one to just rely on a beat to caress your soul he lovingly and ferociously weaves stories with intricate patterns that challenging and actually fun to try and dissect.
Klassik’s evolution to a professional musician culminated with the release of his first full length album in IN THE MAKING. The album garnered national attention and charted on the College Music Journal’s Hip-Hop top 40 for 15 straight weeks following its release. Klassik has further established himself as a premier artist with the release of his second album in late 2013 “YRP (Young Rising Phenoms)”, along with featuring or producing in several regional artists’ projects. His hard work has paid off, as he was named “Solo Artist of the Year” 2012 for the 88.9 Radio Milwaukee Music Awards, “Rap/Hip Hop Artist of the Year” for the 2013 Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards, and Milwaukee Magazine named “Anything” as the “Catchiest Song of the Year” for 2012. He has received coverage on several prominent publications including The Source, Hip Hop Dx, and 2DopeBoyz.
He took some time to interview with us and answer a couple questions. Enjoy.
Knowshi: What does it mean to conform musically? And what do you see yourself doing when the time comes to conform or…?
Klassik: I think to conform musically means to abandon your own artistic voice and individual creativity in the hopes to be more accessible and replicate that which is already popular. It’s easy to follow a formula that seems to work for so many, but in order to have longevity, and to have your art stand the test of time, it must be unique; your own creative vision, which is unlike anyone else’s, because no one thinks the same. I don’t believe there will come a time for me to conform, because I constantly strive to challenge my own artistic vision, and that inherently pushes it further into more unique and original levels.
Knowshi: Please take this moment to categorize your music before us media folks do. How would you describe your music?
Klassik: Actually, a writer that reviewed my first album IN THE MAKING coined a description that I’ve kind of run with for some time now: symphonic rap & soul. The elegance and grandeur in composition characteristic of many great classical composers, set against the poetics of hip-hop, which are in turn delivered with a more soulful, melodic finesse uncharacteristic of traditional “rap” records. A lot of that has to do with my jazz background. I approach every verse melodically verse, very much like a jazz scat; unintelligible melodic mumblings that transform into words eventually.
Knowshi: Can you run down your top 10 lyrical inspirations for us be they person, place or thing?
Klassik: Andre 3000, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell Williams, Aristotle, art museums, the west banks of the Milwaukee River down the street from my house, scotch, big cats (tigers and lions and such), and beautiful women.
Knowshi: From “In The Making” to your current project “YRP – Young Rising Phenoms” what has inspired you to create and what keeps you going?
Klassik: My friends and family, and my community. But behind all that, and most predominantly, is my never-ending desire to grow and expand my abilities as a musician and artist. I have an anti-complacency complex haha. I cannot stay in one place for very long at all, in all aspects of life, and with music, I am my biggest critique, biggest motivator, and biggest inspiration. On a surface level that may seem somewhat pretentious, but I believe that type of passion is what separates the greats from the average. My desire to be great, and to make my mother, my father (RIP), my whole family, and to make my whole city proud and excited for the passion I put into making quality art; that is what keeps me going. People think great in Chicago, and they think Michael Jordan, or Kanye West. People think of great in New York, and you’ve got thousands of names: Basquiat, Jay-Z, Spike Lee…thousands. I want to be that name for Milwaukee, and I believe I can be that because I strive to represent all that is positive and great here, and that type of energy can change the world, I truly believe.
Knowshi: What can you promise us to expect from you musically now and forever?
Klassik: That I will forever improve, always expand, and always deliver my all; all of my passion, my intelligence, and all of the beautiful melodies in my head. The sound is just going to get bigger, more adventurous. I want to end my life scoring entire films, like Quincy Jones. He helped craft “Thriller”. He also composed large band and symphonic arrangements for many films. That is what you can expect from me, a higher level of artistry, and a passion to deliver light and love, always.
New Album: Klassik – YRP (Young Rising Phenoms)