Q&A Feature: K. Sankofa

DSC_0367.MOV.00_00_35_09.Still003K. Sankofa isn’t your ordinary music artist. With a dab of hip, a splash of jazz, and a spruce of Caribbean flow, he surely knows how to keep his sound original, while eclectic in the ears of his listeners. That isn’t the norm produced in the music rooted from Wisconsin, or from the stereotype from Wisconsin, but here we are. K. Sankofa isn’t going anywhere else anytime soon. Music isn’t the only knowledge K. Sankofa possesses. He proves that with us in this recent interview with the young man, himself, as well as the song lyrics he creates for his content.

K. Sankofa is such a unique stage name, yet a beautiful name as well. Would you tell us the story of how you came up with that name for your musical presence?

K. Sankofa: For the most part, I learned of the term ‘sankofa’ while in college. It is a proverb from Ghana, Africa that means, “Go back and get it.”

Being involved in many social justice efforts I was able to see how the term was used in fighting for justice. Reclaiming culture and heritage in roots of indigenous, as well as, revitalizing the spirit of justice that swept over those who fought through momentous periods like the Civil Rights Movement.

For me, personally, it has become a motto for continued self-development, while never leaving behind the upbringing that made me who I am. I celebrate every part of my past and every lesson that I have learned. This includes being raised in south central L.A.,  and being raised to reverence God in everything.

I started writing and experimenting with music early on in life. However, when I got to college, I told myself that I’d have to leave music behind to focus on things that I believed to be more important. I soon realized that when times got hard it was music that could make me feel whole and revitalize me in the way that I needed to move forward and carry on. With that I took on the stage under the philosophy of sankofa, going back, and getting the music.

For someone who might not have listened to your music before, can you tell us a small description of what your music is about?

KS: My music is about liberation. For me, I feel a sense of freedom in the creation of my music. Even more, I hope to reflect the struggle of the people who may not have the voice to speak out against injustice. My music is spiritual. I try to keep God in everything I do.

My music reflects my own pain and my own adversity that I have experienced. I feel like it might have a blues feel to it with how saddening the content can be sometimes. My music is about rising up against the forces that are here to keep people in inequitable socioeconomic conditions. My music is about love, hope, truth, and justice.

DSC_0380How did you find your voice for the music industry and how did you find your gift for writing music and your ability to rap?

KS: I started rapping in the 7th grade. I first discovered my love for rap music during that time, because a friend of mine urged me to get into some writing sessions with him. I loved putting the pen to the paper and expressing my thoughts. I try to make sure I let my influences and life philosophy speak through me. I try to stay in tune with God. I think it is a confluence of these thing that helped to develop the voice that I have.

Are there any current musicians who have helped influence your style of music?

KS: Definitely. Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Jay-Z are a few people who influenced me the most, but even today I have been influenced by newer artist like Chance The Rapper.

Even though your music focuses on your life stories, music is actually not your priority goal is it? Care to tell us what is your main goal in life is?

KS: My main life goal is do what I believe is right. I want to do what God has set out for me to do in this world. I believe that encompasses organizing towards justice and being a voice for the oppressed and the unheard. I believe that it is our great mission as a race of humanity to serve our fellow man and put our focus into achieving a well-fare state. I know that the task is endless and bigger than any one individual but I believe that we all have a part to play. My main goal in life is figure out the part that I am best suited for and fulfilling the duties of that role to the best of my ability.

_DSC0008You’re not actually from Wisconsin, but you are originally from California. How did you find yourself in Madison?

KS: I got the Posse Foundation full-tuition scholarship to come to UW-Madison.

Not only are you gifted and talented, but you are a young, well-educated human being. Can you tell us what you are studying and/or majoring in for your Bachelors degree? What drew you to choose your field of study?

KS: Sociology was my major. I chose this, because I had a mentor who opened me up to the major. I fell in love with the pursuit of understanding the development of our world through a societal lens. I was drawn to how interdisciplinary sociology is. You will learn about the law, history, the economy, politics, and so much more. I graduated back in May.

Does Sociology have a part in your influence to make music?

KS: Most definitely. It gives me perspective. If there is one thing that I have learned it is that we are social creatures, and that people are generally a product of their social environment and upbringing. I try to equip a broader lens of understanding of this in my music.

_DSC0250In December, you dropped your first mix-tape album, The Audacity. I must say my top three songs on that album are “Young, Gifted & Black”, “Surrender”, and “Say Less.” What were your top three songs you enjoyed creating the most in the studio process on this album? Why?

KS: I enjoyed creating every song because they are all different and require different approaches in the creation process. But if I had to pick a top three it would be “Sing Sankofa,” “Surrender”, and “Go Down.”

“Sing Sankofa” was the first song I recorded for the tape, so it was exciting to jump into it with full intensity. I got to work with the brother, Lucien Parker, at Strange Oasis Entertainment. Lucien is cold with the audio setup and the vocal production.

“Surrender” was an interesting recording process, because we incorporated live instruments. I was literally rapping the track to the beat while the homie, Mandell, went to work with the saxophone. Then, later on, we brought in the home girl, Jada, to hit a violin outro. So overall, music collaborative process was just powerful in “Surrender.”I can’t forget to mention that I was able to record the first hook with DJ Pain 1 who actually made the beat for the song.

Last, but not least, I gotta go with “Go Down”, because of the intensity of the recording process. I felt like I put my all into the spitting that song in the booth.

With all the access to many independent artists on various music platforms like Spotify, ITunes, SoundCloud, and ReverBNation, I see a transition within the music industry in itself. Do you see or feel a change with the music industry changing or reconstructing?

KS: With social media and a wave of independence it seems like music is in the hands of the people. There is no telling what’s to come. Hopefully major labels don’t get to control what we listen to in the future. Hopefully that power is transferred to the hands of the people.

Do you feel the polarization of modern politics has an influence with the transitions of the music industry? Why or why not?

KS: Not really. I think the music industry changes are because of social media, technology, and massive access to information. However, I think these same factors have shifted modern politics too.

Where do you see the music industry in five years from now? Where do you see yourself?

KS: Nothing new is under the sun. I think the music industry will still reflect a variety of perspectives and thought. However, I do think as we evolve as a society drawing nearer knowledge, purpose our music will reflect that growth. Hopefully we elevate the musical leaders in such a society. I hope to be one of those leaders.

Majority of artists out there, whether it be actors, musicians, painters, singers, or whatever, always has that one role model or influence with their pathway in life and/or artistic missions. Who has been the most significant role model in your life?

KS: My older brother Eric. He was the first in my family to go to college. He was amazing. He lived a life of service and integrity. He was also a rap artist.

If you could write a letter to your younger self in one sentence, what would it say?

KS: Don’t let anyone try to define you and always stay tight with God.

This is simply a challenge, rather than a question. Give us a random playlist with the first ten songs that come to your mind.

  1.     Jay Rock: Win
  2.     Michael Jackson: Human Nature
  3.     Outkast: Ms. Jackson
  4.     Ice Cube: Today was a Good Day
  5.     Kendrick Lamar: Mortal Man
  6.     Tupac: Changes
  7.     Lauryn Hill: Ex-Factor
  8.     Cardi B: I like it
  9.     Beyonce: Halo
  10.     Bob Marley: Get Up Stand Up

Oh, there is plenty more coming from this young individual. Currently on a light tour, just to increase his presence in the scene. K. Sankofa also has a new album in the works! Stay tuned for how the founder of #RebelGang turns up!

For now, enjoy the new single, “State of Emergency.” Make sure to just hit play right down below and check it out.

It’s. That. Simple.

Just. Push. Play.

 

Eclectic (Poetry)

My attention-span redirects. 
What’s on my mind to reflect?  

Awaken with controversial words,
Reminisce with various artists’   

Comprehension of power and the world;  

A troubled and disturbed kid in my day, 
Favored of Eminem’s song lyrics.  

Therapeutic & reflective in the mirror.  

Choices of music, of variations 
Opens the mind of wonderment;  

Artistic abilities & opportunities.   

Present day joys and sorrows,  
Music empowers;  

Turn off the mainstream radio, 
Turn on the vinyl records.  

Expansion of messages in tune, not auto tune.   

Go back in time, Blue Grass and Jazz. 
Feel the lyrics through the instruments.  

Grow the belief system beyond the addressed. 
Expand the brain until it reaches capacity;  

Beyond the unknown of subjectivism.  

2014©H.M. Gautsch

Combine Companies Interacting in One University: Biography


Combine Companies Interacting in One University (CCIU) is an advanced idea founded by Chicago’s hip-hop artist, Scandalous, to combine specific talents to create one university for independent entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry from social media, recording label, film productions, magazines, modeling, etc. CCIU runs under the motto, “Each 1, Teach 1.” CCIU was created to influence other entrepreneurs to start their businesses, chase their dreams, and live their lives.


CCIU’s first company is the independent record label, ChiCityInc that was founded by Scandalous and her business partner, Shaun Prude, in 2008. ChiCityInc has signed independent artists and producers include Scandalous, Yung Capo, JR Ramone, Kayo McMoney, AR Piff, Exclussv, Trap Hustle Beats, & King Beatz.


 If you want a taste of the ChiCityInc music, make sure to download the free mix tape featuring ChiCityInc members, Scandalous, Young Naughdy, Jr Ramone, Capo, Kayo & more, follow the link. –> Chi City Inc’s The Compilation Vol. 1 Mixtape.



Another branch off of the CCIU team is the company of E!GO Magazine that was founded and owned by Lea Royster since 2006. E!GO Magazine (online publication) features up and coming music artists, current affairs, motivational topics, and brings you the hottest and the latest in entertainment, social living, business, and community involvement.


With the expansion of CCIU, includes film productions, Law Films, which is found and owned by Lawrence Williams since 2013. Law Films has done over 30 and plus music videos for CCIU artists and other independent artists in Chicago, as well as created a YouTube comedy mini-series called, Englewood Bounty Hunters. Law Films is currently filming his current project called, The Wood. A drama TV/web series based on the south side of Englewood featuring many cameos from the artists of CCIU. Law Films also has a photography branch in the company.


A fourth company that is involved in the CCIU movement is Stylez Creations, LLC. Stylez Creations, LLC’s company is focused on numerous writing projects from poetry, graphic novels, and blogging about current entertainment topics, philosophy, life coaching, art, and sneak peeks of Marie’s current projects. Stylez Creations, LLC also focuses on photography with her theme of unifying nature and humanity with an urban taste. Owner and founder, Marie, has independently published her first poetry book and is in the editing phase of her sophomore book.


The fifth company to join in the CCIU team is the clothing line, 1st Semester, founded and owned by Duce Baily since 2012. 1st Semester is just one of a few branches off of his Guilty as Hell campaign. 1st Semester is an urban clothing line that promotes and focuses on the college kids and more up scaled society for those who want to strive for a college life and a brighter future off the streets. Currently, 1st Semester has expanded its clothing line from an all-male clothing line to a co-ed clothing line.


A sixth company that is in the works for lift off, is ChiCityInc founder, Shaun Prude’s, new company Digital Electronic Performing Arts Marketing (D.E.P.A.M. Solutions). D.E.P.A.M. Solutions focuses on a whole new spectrum in the entertainment industry. Shaun is focused on the IT technician aspect for IT repair radio and television broadcasting equipment, closed circuit cable television equipment, studio equipment, light communications equipment, transmitters, receivers, cellular radio telephones, communication antennas, transceivers, power amplifiers, fixed and mobile radio systems. D.E.P.A.M. Solutions also constructs state of the art recording studios, home and major theater video/audio, Road sound crew for performances and plays, and IT specialists for PC/MAC.

 The newest and most recent company to join the CCIU crew is MPACT Public Relations. It was started by owner Mialyssia Hodges. MPact PR is a full service Public Relations firm that offers a wide range of services that include but are not limited to media relations, events coordinating, and even incident management. Knowing that good publicity does not just happen on its’ own MPact Public Relations’ mission is to provide their diverse set of clients with exemplary PR services. MPACT PR is another great example of business that is progressed behind closed doors, even for artists of all types. 


Other independent members of CCIU includes models, actors, musicians, & businessmen and women who are working on their own goals and dreams in their individual lane. Each individual that is part of the university brings a skill or talent to help with the future goal of bringing the university as a whole platform. Other members include Bro Ken, Young Naughdy, Sheida Haughton, Jan Newson, Jay Gotti, Paris Franchesca, Devonte LeSean Ragsdale. We also include a promotions team headed by Devon “Off The Wall Von” Brumfield, and includes Timothy Ogden, Ronald “Big Ride” Henderson, Franklin Johnson, Kevin Williams, & Briana Johnson.


What makes the CCIU artists and entrepreneurs unique, is their ability to expand their artistic talent whether it’s music, film, or writing, to acting, producing, and modeling. Majority of the artists’ missions for society and their involvement in the entertainment industry revolves around another one of the CCIU team’s motto, “Cold World: High Hopes.”  Which focuses on becoming role models, humanitarians, and activists, not just for Chicago, but for the rest of the world and to give the younger generations the belief that no matter the circumstance, that dreams do become reality. This is just the beginning…





































Song of the Week Segment #2 – "Proof of Life" by Scott Stapp

This week’s song of the week segment goes out to Scott Stapp with a single from his sophomore solo album, “Proof of Life.” I have an edgier side of me and love alternative rock, although I don’t express it enough like I do with the Hip Hop & Country genres in music. I grew up with Creed being my all-time favorite rock band, thanks to my oldest brother introducing me to the band with their, “My Own Prison” album. Since then, I have been sunken into their music whether the band performs as Creed, Alter Bridge, or Scott Stapp, himself. Scott Stapp still provides good quality messages in his music, even if he isn’t on the top 40 as often as Creed was back in the late 90s, early 2000s. The lyrics in this song also reminds me of the ancient quote from philosopher, Socrates, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

 Make sure to buy Scott’s sophomore album on ITunes, on his website, or at a store near you and catch him soon on his upcoming tour!

http://www.scottstapp.com/

Since You Said Goodbye (Poetry)


There’s been an emptiness,
Inside of me.

It’s hard to explain it.
I should be over you by now.
It’s been over two years,
But my heart continues to disavow.
Loved ones come and go.
Because I can’t seem to find,
What I’m searching for.
Discovering you with a new lover.
I’ve tried,
But I can’t shed a new exposure,
From this old pain, this torture.
This treasure keeps digging deeper,
In some sand, off an island.
I’d go and hunt for my own gem,
But I seem to have lost the map.
Since you said goodbye,
I seem to have lost my pride.
I’m still waiting for,
You to come through the door.
My heart is too young to die,
But it hasn’t been able to revive,
I’ve force myself to mingle, 
But I haven’t been able, 
To take a bite,
Instead I only nibble.
Since you said goodbye.
If only you knew of the heart,
You borrowed.
How it’s become this morbid art,
From all the storms it’s weathered,
The blind love it wallowed,
And all the thorns it’s severed.
Lost love, not long ago,
I thought I found the one.
Was I a fool to fall for your status quo?
Very few know me through and through,
The few I’ve let in.
Construe of the scars,
Buried skin deep like tattoos.
Not meant to be removed,
But to shape my heart that’s allude,
To the heavens’, all the while, subdued.
Until then, it remains black and blue.
All because of me not getting over you.
Since you said goodbye,
I seem to have lost my pride.
I’m still waiting for,
You to come through the door.
My heart is too young to die,
But it hasn’t been able to revive,
I’ve force myself to mingle,
But I haven’t been able, 
To take a bite,
Instead I only nibble. 
Since you said goodbye.

Why I don’t want to get involved,
My heart still aches,
Screaming, “It’s only your fault,
when the relationships fall.”
I need to quit trying so hard,
Stop hiding behind this charred heart.
Focus on the nurture of things,
And not the nature it brings.

©H.M. Gautsch