When you hear the name Vakill you think of one thing, lyrics. On his debut album “The Darkest Cloud” we were introduced to a lyrical emcee hailing from Chi-Town. Amongst the talent in Chicago Vakill has always stood out as one to watch. He’s serving you up again with “Worst Fears Confirmed”, but if you expected album like his debut you might be disappointed. I got a chance to chat with Vakill about the new album, artist growth and how Chicago is looked in the hip-hop community. You might be surprised at what this up and comer had to say.
HHS: What’s good, how are you doing.
Vakill: Everything is going real well, the album seems to be doing real well.
For those who don’t know who you are, introduce yourself and where your from.
I’ve been rhyming this about ’88 but didn’t really decide to go hard with it till around ’92. I rep Chicago Southside forever. .
Before we get into the new album, “Worst Fears Confirmed” you mentioned that you were about ready to hang it up, why would you do that?
Nothing negative really. The game hasn’t been made to me at all and basically life is good. It’s not a negative reason; I just don’t know what my purpose is as far as my God given gifts. Whether I’m supposed to take it beyond 2pac measure or maybe it something to just look back on and say I had fun. I didn’t come into the game with any expectations I came into the game just having fun with it which is what is missing right now.
Do you feel that hip-hop is struggling right now? Commercial music is all but lost, but even on an indie level the caliber of artist has really went down hill the last couple of years.
Hip-Hop is definitely struggling right now, the game is infested. People get into the game for the wrong reasons and they don’t have any good intentions. A lot of people look at hip-hop as a quick buck scheme and they aren’t doing it from the heart anymore. I remember when the indie level was keeping shit afloat, but that has dwindled. You have artist putting out 8 different projects in one year and you can tell in the quality of music, it’s sad, very sad. I had something to say and I wanted to get it off my chest.
The new album is called “Worst Fears Confirmed”, explain the title.
I think that the worst fear confirmed is for me to evolve as far as doubters and fans. When I was first heard I was placed into a box. We live in an era where emcees where placed in a box. Before the internet came in to play, you were just an emcee. You were either dope or wack, now you’re a punch line rapper, a gangsta rapper, a storyteller or a battle rapper. It’s not just dope or wack anymore, everything has a title. I’ve never read an old Big Daddy Kane article saying he’s a battle emcee; it’s just Big Daddy Kane. Everything has to have a label on it, and when I came in I was placed in a box of being just a punch line rapper. I’m so much more than a punch line rapper, my mind runs deep. It exceeds just punch line.
To play right into the hands of hip-hop heads you actually enlist the talent of Ras Kass on the song “Introducin” how did that collaboration come about?
We have mutual friends. The game runs in circles everybody knows everybody. Whether it’s indie or major everybody is rubbing elbows if you’re out there. I just happened to know somebody who knew him right off jump street.
I’m sure you have heard that you are compared in voice and content to Ras Kass, do you think you sound like Ras at all?
Not at all, I think I settled that with the record on the album.
The entire album is produced by the Molemen camp, Memo, Panik, etc. The only track that isn’t Molemen produced is the Chemo produced “Flow Fever”, but everybody wants to know….who is Chemo?
Chemo is from Britain; I’m branching out a little bit, finding and tapping into to new talent. Actually, J-Zone was supposed to be on the album but we got a lot bigger plans with J-Zone. So that tells you I’m not going anywhere. This is like my biggest record to date. The artistry is really showing on this album. I can see both sides now. I understand how people felt when they heard “Darkest Cloud”, thinking it’s some super lyrical throwback 90′s type shit. I wrote most of that album in 2001 and it came out in 2003 and now it’s 2006. It’s been 5 years and I’m a grown man now and my mind is in another place. I can’t do that in 2006, the world has changed and my mind has changed. I’m not trying to bring it back I’m trying to let music progress, and be what it is.
Do you think the Chicago has finally got it’s just desserts, or do you think that people still overlook the city even though Kanye, Common, etc have really blown it up?
Naw, not really, they know us and they have learned that Chicago has talent. Even off my album they are learning. With this record I have people hollering at me that I never thought would have given me the time of day from all walks of life. Those types of things have me teeter tottering on hanging it up or going hard. I’m going to tell you right now, if I go hard it’s going to be a problem, right now I’m just having fun. Thing is nigg*s is doing numbers on accident, Kanye is just having fun he’s not trying to go triple platinum. When it’s from the heart it’s always like that. What makes Chicago so dangerous is now that we are relevant. Chicago music isn’t that run of the mill music, we have conversations, we have discussions. The world is realizing that Chicago has something to say, we aren’t just punch line rappers, we have something to say.
So is this the last album we will see from Vakill, or do you have that fire, that hunger back for hip-hop?
Definitely, it has. With the first album people thought they knew me but they didn’t know shit. The “Darkest Cloud” was Vakill from 0-60, but with “Worst Fear Confirmed” has a feel good record? People can’t believe I would have a feel good record because there wasn’t anything like that on “Darkest Cloud”, it was the darkest cloud. The only way I can stay in this game is have fun, when I stop having fun. I’m gone.
Any last words?
Listen to the record and listen to the record for what it is. It’s always hard to have your second album accepted. Follow up albums are just as tight, but you have to loosen your grip on the debut. All I’m saying is respect the work for what it is, grow with your artist and respect your artist.
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