SK: I’ve been rapping for 14 years. I’ve been rapping well for about five. I grew up on a lot of good music.
DIVE: Apparently you’re popular on the Internet for rap battles.
SK: It was a very fun thing to do for a couple of years.
Unfortunately it’s a thick barrier to access musical success or the musical success that I consider enduring in America. It helped get my name out there, but that’s about as much as I could do in it.
DIVE: How do you feel that your Internet fame translates into getting a crowd at a show?
SK: Sometimes it lines up and sometimes it doesn’t line up at all. It’s because the Internet is one space where you can consolidate everyone on a material plane. Whereas when you’re in the material world, those people are scattered.
If you have a million fans but those people are scattered in pockets of 20 across the planet, it’s real tough to get a show in a location. You just have to do the groundwork and know where your fans are and build up your presence from there.
DIVE: What happens if you mess up or miss a word at a live show?
SK: It happens occasionally. I don’t have a hype man, so you know it’s just all me on that. I’ve seen recently people who are supposed to be professional rappers and people who have a decade on me just forget all their words, so I’m doing all right.
When I first moved to New York and I started working with Brown Bag AllStars, I rehearsed my material everyday. So I think my work ethic and my rehearsal ethic is in the top percentile.
DIVE: You said you’ve been rapping well for five years. Would you attribute that to your strong work ethic?
SK: I think I’ve been rapping well because I’m taken more seriously since I moved to New York and started working with Brown Bag AllStars. I think that I had the facility and talent for rap prior to that, but I don’t think it was very developed until I started working with Brown Bag.
DIVE: How do you keep your flows going?
SK: I sing a lot to myself. I scat a lot. A lot of my flows perceive the formation of any words. The flow often dictates the words, often not the other way around. I do have my style, but I try to diversify how I rap.
DIVE: What’s your background in singing? Did you sing before you started rapping or have you recently started singing?
SK: I sang way before I rapped. Growing up in school, I was in the choir and that fell to the wayside pretty early on, but my sister was a pretty well-trained singer. My dad was an aspiring rock musician early on in his life, though I sing way better than he does.
DIVE: What’s your stage presence like?
SK: I would say it’s pretty assertive. It’s a mix of dominance and conversation because I do like having a rapport with the audience and I do like trying to capture their attention. I don’t jump all over the place. I don’t dance. People pay to see me rap. I try to do justice to the audience’s intentions; they’re buying the tickets.
DIVE: Have you performed in the Triangle region before?
SK: I’ve never performed in North Carolina period. I’ve heard wonderful things and I know there’s a vibrant musical and hip-hop scene in North Carolina and in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, so I’m excited.
DIVE: What should the audience expect at the Local 506?
SK: Great singing and great rhymes, all the stuff they want in a rap show. I promise something that will astound and satisfy them when I come there in February. I do a hip-hop show. I don’t dress it up.