INTERVIEW: Tucker HD Chats To Blixxack About UG Hip-Hop & Afroppuccino.
It’s only two days left to the release of Blixxack’s debut album titled “Afroppuccino”. This will be Blixxack’s first full body of work in a longtime, however time and again he has given us projects such as “W.Y.K” ,“The Proem” and lately “Queen”. In these few projects we’ve listened and noticed the growth of Blixxack as an artist. As a platform dedicated to pushing the hip-hop culture forward we decided to have a chat with the rapper formerly known as Benny Black. His longtime collaborator Tucker HD chatted with him about the new album, the growth of Blixxack and UG Hip-Hop. It’s Thursday 22nd February, 2018 02:00 AM in Kampala, Uganda & Wednesday 21st February, 2018 06:00 PM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, the two rappers get to having a hip-hop conversation.
Tucker : Blixxack! What’s good bro?
Blixxack: Man I’m chilling. Enjoying every moment. What’s good?
Tucker: Alright I’d like to start the interview here. I notice there’s been a re-brand from “Benny Black” to “Blixxack”. What is the explanation for that?
Blixxack: I was re-branding so I could stand out. I found out there were a lot of Benny Blacks out there so decided to go with the name Enygma and a couple people used to call me at studio, Blizzack. But that was copyrighted so I replaced the Zs with Xs. Doesn’t hurt that 2 Xs remind me that I’m 2 times better than I used to be.
Tucker: Why the long hiatus? (I’m sure fans would want to know the cause)
Blixxack: I was focusing on school, giving it my 100%. So, once I was done with my degree, I had time to focus on my art.
Tucker: This is definitely a huge moment for you and your fans, this being your debut album. How do you feel?
Blixxack: I am very happy right now. I’m in the most creative state I’ve ever been in and I’m excited to share my new work.
Tucker: So why Afroppuccino, what’s the idea behind it.. And why now?
Blixxack: The title “Afroppuccino” came from the word “frappuccino”, a well-known blend of coffee, ice, creams and other ingredients. This project is a fusion multiple genres from hip-hop, to R&B, and Afrobeat that I’m serving. The “Afro” part of it was inspired by my roots. I wanted it to be known that this was something done by an African.
Tucker: The first single, WYK was a rather unexpected, touching record and it received such an incredible reception online. What was its inspiration?
Blixxack: After I heard about the death of Lil’ Peep, I instantly sat down and wrote the song. I feel like so many people tend to think artists have these perfect lives and are constantly happy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. So, I just put my personal experiences with depression, insecurity, anxiety, self-doubt and all that good stuff on paper. I didn’t expect it the reception to be honest. I still get texts from people telling me how they relate to it and it’s great to see my music touch lives like that. I’m glad it got the conversation about mental health going because that is something we(Africans) tend to shun.
Tucker: Black’s W.I.T.S & The Lost Tapes were landmarks, each in their own right. How best can you describe your growth as an artist since then, and what do you think will make this new project different?
Blixxack: On my first two mixtapes, I felt like I had the need to prove that I could spit and rap the hardest. I lived off the props and I wanted to make each song have better bars than the last one, you know? Punchlines, metaphors, intricate rhymes schemes and all that. Afroppuccino is different because I went into it just wanting to make songs I would enjoy, songs my little sister could listen to and play for her friends, music that just felt good and authentic. I am also more or less an open book now. I talk about my experiences with situations like depression, questioning my (religious) faith, dealing with loss, and many more topics that most rappers I know would rather not touch…to safeguard their “street cred”. And finally, on this project, I got myself out of the “rap box” that I had let people put me in. I experiment with a lot of singing, using afrobeat inspired instrumentals, messing around with various vocal effects, and making music that I can dance and party to.
Tucker: What was the inspiration behind the creation of this album?
Blixxack: The inspiration came from finishing school, and not really knowing what to do next. Music is one of the few things I know I can do, so I decided to just sit down and make songs. I just wanted to put out all things I have been dealing with since the last time I released a full project.
Tucker: The creative process of the album: Did you do any production for yourself (what percentage) and also who else features on the album (production and rappers)?
Blixxack: I got in touch with various producers based in the US. Some from YouTube, others from Soundcloud. I would just walk around listening to instrumentals and humming ideas. When I got home, I would record demos and later turn them into full length songs in my bedroom studio and then send out vocals to producers. As far as mixing and mastering, most of the works was done by Young Royalty(a producer based in Little Rock) and Samurae (Talent Africa) . The guest features are mostly my friends or artists that I have always wanted to work with. Finally got to work with Mal X, and Pryce Teeba whose music I enjoy. (Tucker HD)You and Suspekt 92 are like family so whenever we discuss concepts and love what we got, recording happens naturally. And I got to meet a great artist from my school, Langston Okinawa that I had fun working with.
Tucker: What’s the one thing you want people to take from this record?
Blixxack: I want them to enjoy the music and realize that this is not the same dude that made Black’s W.I.T.S or Lost Tapes. I was in a different mental space then, and I have grown as an artist as far as concepts, melodies, experimenting with songs that would have previously been out of my comfort zone.
Tucker: Thoughts about the growth of the industry and what you would want to see change?
Blixxack: I think the Ugandan hip-hop industry is always moving forward, that’s for sure. I would love to see artists do music that’s true to them. I see a lot of that already and it’s music to my ears. We definitely need to release more visuals, get on more platforms, have websites, and just get out there because we got so much talent that people worldwide would appreciate.
Tucker: Any chance of a Guudfellas joint project?
Blixxack: Anything’s possible. The right timing is everything.
Tucker: Lastly, when are we likely to have you back here in UG to perform the album?
Blixxack: I have been giving that a lot of thought and it could be any time. All I know for sure is that I’ll be in Uganda this December. If people want to see me perform the album and all factors work in my favor, then who knows….it may happen.