Q. What made you want to pick up a pen and paper and start writing lyrics, was there a particular person, event or turning point in your life?
I think it was the fact I was immersed in rap music from a young age, I come from the era where Hip Hop and r’n’b music was huge, platinum albums was a common thing. So I used to watch videos all day long on The Box, BET and MTV, record em on VHS tapes, that was our thing, u know me and my elder siblings. Then at school came the garage culture, it really took over, I just used to MC for a hobby, did some pirate radio shows and under 18 raves. But as I grew older I found rap more interesting, the storytelling aspect especially grabbed me, and all my idols were rap artists, so as garage evolved to grime and everyone went right, I turned left and took a different route. I was around 17 at the time.
Q. Who were your biggest influences?
The greats, so Biggie/Tupac, Nas and Jay Z, Michael Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, R Kelly, Whitney Houston, Mary J Blige, Puff, Wu Tang, Talib, man so many to mention!
Q. Hip Hop is an extremely powerful means of expression. If there is one thing you could change through Hip Hop, what would it be?
I’d probably try and change the judgemental attitude we all have, that knee-jerk reaction that makes us shoot people down and write people off so quickly, when they’re just on their pursuit of happiness. So much can be done together, so I’d like to bring unity, especially amongst our own. They say love starts at home, I think the black community needs more love from within, so I’d attempt to change that.
Q. Tell us about the music you have made? Do they all have a similar style or theme to them? Any favourites?
The style of my music usually depends on which producer(s) I’m working with at the time. I try not to work with too many, I understand that when it comes down to it my sound is my brand so I try to keep it consistent and prominent at all times, I want people to hear a record and say “that sounds like an Ikes record” that’s impact to me. One thing I can say is that it’s usually very musical and inventive, I always try to visualise how i’d play it at a live show with my band, that face to face experience is of most importance.. I think for an artist your favourites change every time you go to the studio (laughs), but I got a record called ‘Believe’ that’s always gonna be a special record to me. It’s like 3 years old now.
Q. Your latest single ‘Let It Go’ has been receiving a lot of good feedback, and remixes too! Tell us a bit about the track?
Yeah ‘Let It Go’ is about giving life your all, not worrying or looking back, or having regrets, living in the moment. Seeing what you want and going for it. It’s meant to be quite uplifting (laughs) even though there’s a gunshot reference, that just symbolises that split second of energy when a trigger is pulled, that moment if defined is exactly what I mean.. I feel like I still got a lot to prove and the verses address a few things.
Q. With the lack of positivity in young people in London today, how do you feel collectively we can make a difference, and bring some hope to the future?
I think everything is deemed impossible, till it is done, word to the great Nelson Mandela. So I just think we need more people doing the unthinkable, going that extra mile to grab success against all odds. We need success stories across the board, the next generation need to understand that you don’t need to be a music artist or in sport to make it. I’ve been through school and came out with a Math’s degree, music was my choice, my passion, my true love. I think more meaningful things need to make the news, at the moment it’s all showbiz and scandal, which sends the wrong message to the youth.
Q. What can we look out for from Ikes in the near future?
Just more great music, more live shows and more creative visuals. Really wanna take it all to the next level. Port Mayfair, that’s what we’re about.
Find out more about Ikes by visiting http://www.lifeofikes.com/