K.E.V and RyanNicole of Nu Dekades just put out their first music video One Love. Here's a quick Q & A from K.E.V.
NuDekade "One Love" Music Video
Psykhomantus: Okay, so first question. When did you know you had it in you to grab a microphone and drop jewels?
K.E.V: Well, its interesting, my uncles, older brothers, & older cousins were all into hip hop, late 80's all through the 90's. & my mother & aunts were all into dancehall & R&B & afro beat, some rap, all through the 80's & 90's. So I grew in it, knowing the songs at 5, watching videos after cartoons and because I had so much of an older influence around me I was always trying to act older than my age lol. I was also a loud talkative kid, so it was always in me. However, by 12, 13, 14, definitely, I was a dedicated hardcore hip hop head, fuck everything but the underground, & at that time in between 96-2000 the underground was poplin cause bullshit started to hit rap city & all, tagging on weekend nights, walkman playing all day kind of kid, that & basketball, so naturally with my personality I was rhyming & it just matched naturally with who I was and am, it was like a spark I just did it, heads were shocked & surprised and that was it... Rap also was way for me to communicate my frustration as a youth, at that time, I was a kid, so communicating a point across wasn't that easy for me, but I could easily do it free styling & people would hear, I felt that even in my spirit but I just didn't know what that was so yea..
P: How did you and RyanNicole meet and when did you both form the group Nu Dekades?
K: RyanNicole & I met around 2005 through another mutual friend who was originally the other member of Nu Dekades, at the that we all hung around the same collective of artist & friends, & had the same ideas. Ryan was doing a lot acting as she still does & spoken word, & I was a hype man for T-Kash, running with Guerrilla Funk records ran by Paris, & of course doing hella ciphers & working as a solo artist. So originally a couple artist, including Ryan and I, came up with this collective called outspoken dialect, where we were working on a kind of hip hop theater thing that addressed economic & social issues in the community etc.. However, it didn't work out & I had went on tour with T-Kash & the Coup, & Ryan was doing this play in the bay that took up sometime. So around fall of 06, I wanted to do a mix tape with me, Ryan, & the former member Midnight Sun, we organized, in January of 07 gathered up hella beats from producers we were friends with & we were in the studio like every night till like 2-3am & I would leave sleep for an hour or two then get ready & go to school cause at the time I was at SF State. However, the mix tape was centered around black history, specifically the decades of the 60's, 70's, & 80's, and each section was going have the historical sounds & references of those particular decades, we were gonna have skits from those years, interviews from Bobby Seale, which we did, topics from Malcom, Panthers, Vietnam, James Brown (60s) to hip hop and the horrors of the crack epidemic (70s & 80s). But, eventually people were giving us shows simultaneous while doing the mix tape & we needed a name for our crew so we called ourselves Nu Dekades, which is the new generation, time, sound, & youth of the black diaspora, consciousness, & experience from & influenced by those previous decades, like the show A different World but in 2000 or Boondocks, David Chappelle show, In living Color etc.. lol, especially since its kind of lacking nowadays.
P: Both you and RyanNicole are very political aware of the system in the U.S. Do you both study the News?
K: Ryan & I are very politically aware of the situation & the system because we live it & in it. We've always been aware because growing up, in a way, you have to, brothers is getting locked up in mass numbers, cops killin us, F'd up housing, & F'd up schools & education, violence, & we grew up as kids seeing the crack epidemic & experiencing these problem one way or another. So we knew something's not right, especially when you're effected by it, & that alone made us want to know the truth & our history, which essentially made us political. I think also being in Oakland, California plays a big role in that because of Oakland's black history, home of the black panthers etc. For me, because I'm Nigerian, I looked at everything from a global diaspora perspective, like how is chevron, shell here, or the U.S. foreign policy effecting my people back home, I was thinking that since 13, you know by 12 I was Mr. black panther, Malcom X'd out lol, & hip hop had a lot to do with that too, certain rap songs we listened to raised awareness, like you can't listen to BDP, Melle Mel, Public Enemy, Paris, 2pacalypse, Dead Prez etc.. & not be aware lol. My brother when I was young at 14 was also giving me a lot of books to read from the idea of you'll be a better emcee if you read these books, by 16 I already read, Malcom X autobiography, Wretched of the Earth, Black skin White mask, autobiography of Marcus Garvey, listening to Fela, protesting against prop 21 at the time. So that paved the way for activism, working with youth etc... I stay checkin all forms of news to separate the lies from the truth lol.
P: We met at Jonzi D's Open Art Surgery and I must say, I was relieved to hear an MC that could step up and flow on any beat as I felt here in the UK the MC's are becoming a dying breed. How often do you practice your lyrical fitness?
K: I practice lyrical fitness by ciphering, you know, a lot of emcees nowadays thing is, "get on", "blow up", "make it" it's coo but somewhat irrelevant to me in a way, my thing is more build your skills, my mother always said whatever you do just be the best at. Thus, before I feel I should be "on" I need to be the best or hella dope, cats now say its hella old school but whatever... Studying, reading, battles, ciphers, listening to hella other different music & styles, rhythms, patterns, its like science & math to me, especially when free styling, that's how I do lyrical fitness lol.
P: Is their a performance that you've done and said to yourself that you could of done that better?
K: Oh yes! Many shows where we've performed & we were eh, it could've been better, whether it's on our part or the venues part (sound system), it's good to critique one's self a lot so that you can elevate or improve, if I want an A on the test what do I gotta do within myself to get that A. One thing a lot of people stop doing in Hip Hop is be critical, it's good to be critical of art and so forth so that when bullshit comes out we don't easily accept it. So I've had amazing shows & eh shows... But the crowd usually loves it, but whatever...
P: So tell me 5 artists you feel or look up too?
K: Five artist that I would say influenced me, wow, um, Melle Mel definitely, Krs-1, Bounty Killer, Fela, & Black thought, there's so much more though lol, i'll throw a 6th one in there, (Talib) Kweli
P: After when we did the Open Art Surgery, I was planning to do a Mixtape with another artist but it didn't work out but when I asked you, you was straight to the point. How did you feel listening back to back to your stuff?
K: How do I feel? Man, that mix tape is dope, I like the title, the image you used, the mixing, the sound, & the work ethic behind it, you got it done quickly and efficiently, that I respect.
P: As your no stranger to the UK, where else have you been?
K: Well, I toured pre much all over the U.S. & in Australia with T-Kash, I spend some time in Sydney Australia teaching a freestyle workshop at street Uni in 2010, & just doing music & hanging out with some amazing cool ass friends lol, of course i've been to Nigeria enough. I was in Toronto for a short period, 2 days on accidents, I didn't do shit though, I don't know if that counts lol.
P: What's do you class as the golden era for Rap music. Late 80s or Early 90s?
K: I classify the golden era of rap the late 80's because thats when styles were developing, stuff was always new, cats were really forming they're own styles. There was a consciousness & awareness that was happening regarding the violence in the black community, west coast & east coast. And it was a tough time to be in the hood in 80's, the crack epidemic was no joke, brothas was getting knocked down left & right, in LA, the gang stuff was out of control, cops was crazy brutal, as they still are lol, & Reagan & Bush Sr. was the presidents of the 80's and we already know the stories of Reagan & Bush Sr., so it was definitely a tough time. But, hip hop was really doing its part to keep the communities aware & positive, it was definitely with the people at that time.
P: Last question. What will we be expecting in the future from you?
K: Well, Ryan & I are releasing a mix tape called Nexus stemmed & inspired from the Dela Robert Glasper Beat tape, it's free of course lol. We got some videos coming soon too, everything is spontaneous lol. Hey somebody get me a permanent residency in U.K. cause I'm trying to get up out of the states lmao, hopefully thats in the future. But check for Nu Dekades we always got something new, Nu get it lol.
One Love is on from the Ne Dekades album "ERAgance" and is also on the mixtape "Psykhomantus & Ne Dekades presents Only Built For Revolutionary N***as feat RyanNicole"
Psykhomantus and Nu Dekades presents K.E.V. Only Built For Revolutionary N****'s featuring special g by Psykhomantus Of A Few Good Men on Mixcloud