Interview: Rapper 401K

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Rapper 401K has shown he’s here to make a big impact with his first full length project, “Tax Free”. Born in  Rhode Island, 401K has now made Queens his home, which has undoubtedly influenced his music. With a beat selection reminiscent of Curren$y, and storytelling (on his track Fishbowl) comparable to Black Rob’s acclaimed “I Love You Baby”. Lawry Hudson recently got a chance to politic with 401K and get a better insight on his goals and aspirations.

 

Lawry Hudson (LH)- When you were in school, what made you decide to take rap seriously?

401K- I didn’t take it real serious until about a year-year and a half ago. Right around the same time I graduated. See I came to NYC to go to school, but really more than anything else , get away from all the trouble I was dealing with as a teenager back at home. I had my mind set on school & graduating & getting a job. I honestly thought that was going to be my escape route. Unfortunately I ran into some issues back home in Rhode Island which could have potentially jeopardized my chance to finish college. I have to believe there’s someone looking out for me because I was still able to secure some loans and finish school. Given the opportunity I felt like I had to take advantage of it. Music was always my outlet. I was always a writer, rap came natural to me. But during my early years from high school to basically up to my senior year of college I never really had the resources around me to make quality music. I watched a lot of people around me pursue music and I was disappointed a majority of the time with the way they went about it. Not to mention during college I was kind of living a double life.  I didn’t want to really broadcast my life  and exploit myself, but i refused to make music that wasn’t honest. Plus I had more important things to worry about other than rapping, such as paying for tuition. So I quietly sat back and made my own blueprint. One thing my turmoils have taught me is patience. Eventually the time came and I’ve been rocking ever since. I really have to thank the people around me though. I used to just freestyle at house parties, outside bars, anywhere someone would listen and the response was always “ Do you make music?” and I was just always like nah. It was easy for me to freestyle because i was spending 6-10 hours some days and nights listening to beats and writing. Songs I really didn’t share with anybody. The people around me pushed for me to hone my skills on a microphone once I started sharing my little raps. Ever since, doors have been opening.

 

LH- Which artists inspire you?

 

401- Depends, guys like Diddy and 50 [Cent] from a business standpoint to spitters from Big L to Cassidy. Andre 3000 and Kanye with their creativity. Even guys like Lupe and Nas who didn’t allow the industry to take creative control over them. Then there’s guys like Wayne and Drake who just have non stop hits. It really ranges. And I listen to so much music. Amy Winehouse to Bob Marley. A lot of time the music that inspires me is outside of the rap/ hip-hop genre.

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LH- How important is having control of the beat when it comes to your flow?

 

401- Ah man. The flow is everything. If you’re not flowing, what are you doing?

 

LH- How is the Hip Hop scene in Rhode Island  and how would you want to change it with your music?

 

401- The Hip-Hop scene in Rhode Island has a lot of talent from rappers to producers, but it needs a lifeline. I think my music will help push us forward. Give us a platform to create and be original and evolve.

LH- What producers would you love to work with in the near future?

 

401- Ah man. so many dope producers. I would love to work with Harry Fraud, drewbyrd, Metro Boomin, Boi-1da just to name a few high profile names.

 

LH- Quick , off the top of your head name your top 5 albums in any genre .

 

401- Sheesh. Thats tough. In no order. The Carter 2 . It’s Dark & Hell is Hott, I am.. , Puff Daddy and the Family – No Way Out and I would probably have to throw Stankonia in there.

 

LH- Your music seems to be heavily influenced by that sound the early 2000s made mainstream with 50, State Property and the Lox. How has that time period in Hip Hop influenced you?

 

401- It was important to be true to yourself and real with others. Tell your story. Be credible and don’t forget what and where you come from. They were real people with real stories before they were celebrity artist. And then even after they came up they remained true. I respect that.

 

LH- What is your 5 year plan in terms of where you want your music to take you ?

 

401- I want to be on tour. Internationally would be dope but even if it’s nationally or even regionally that’s something I’m focused on.

 

LH- Lastly, explain the title of your recent project Tax Free, and what you want it to represent.

 

401- Tax Free is get it how you live. It’s not even a matter of illegal or legal. The hustlers to the person who’s working a 2nd or 3rd job off the books. From the bouncers to the dancers. Even to those ‘Tax Exempt’ (HAHA). Everyone can relate. Do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do.

 

You can listen and download 401K’s recent project  ‘Tax Free’ here: http://www.audiomack.com/album/401k/tax-free

 

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The fearless leader of TheTakeovah.com, Robin J. got her start in radio in 2010, creating a platform for under represented musicians and other artists to share their talent. Taking it to the web, she's set out to change the way the world looks at Indie/ re-emerging artists and bring back the appreciation for the new music. When she's not combing through TakeOvah music submissions, she's fake harmonizing at R&B shows, hosting local events and flirting with Starbucks baristas for free espresso shots. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram @itsrobinj