Some have already spent years in the shadows, waiting for the right moment - others have barely left their bedroom studios. Some aim for headlining festival stages, others aim for nothing in particular – but all of them have developed a sound with the potential to turn a lot of heads. With this feature we shine a light on some of the most interesting emerging new talents our tiny country has to offer.
For those of you who have never heard about Rare Akuma before, imagine the music of this young Antwerp-based producer as what would happen when you put Slipknot, Kanye West and Lunice in the same studio. Labelling his own beats as ‘ragecore’, his beats – mostly including brutal basslines and screaming rappers - are not for the faint-hearted. But Akuma is on to something; one just needs to take a quick look at his Soundcloud profile to notice the millions of listens this young man has racked up already. That, plus a collab with $uicideboy$, and you have what we call a new kid on the block that’s worth keeping an eye on. Friendly as he is, he provided us with an exclusive new track, which you can stream below. Trapping out has never felt so much like moshing. Let’s see who this Rare Akuma fellow really is.
Let’s start with a small introduction: describe your music in 3 keywords.
"Hmmm: brutal, hype and catchy!"
When did you first start to make music? And how did it go from there?
"I originally started making dubstep, drum ‘n' bass and EDM stuff when I was 14-15 years old. I tried to make hip hop too, but it didn’t really work for me just yet. It’s when one of my friends got me on that Yung Lean / Sad Boys thing in 2014 I dove in that trappy and wavey vibe. It’s when I got onto producing that heavier, metal-influenced side of hip hop around 2015 that Rare Akuma was born – and it’s been going great so far!"
What’s the moment in your career so far you’re most proud of?
"To be honest, I’m quite proud of the track I made with Kamiyada, ‘Raging Fists’, for doing so well. Another favourite is ‘Slipknot’, which I believe truly has some mainstream potential. Finally, my two collaborations with $uicideboy$ were pretty dope too. But I have to be honest, I won’t have done anything big until the day I’m in the studio with Desiigner, Childish Gambino or Kanye West, making HEAT!"
You work with a lot of rappers; how do you usually get in touch with them?
"Usually through Soundcloud. It’s pretty straightforward: one contacts the other and if it works out, we collab."
Your music clearly fits in this new evolution of trap music. What’s your take on the critique this music receives from within the larger hip hop community - mostly about nonsensical lyrics, mumble rap, over-saturation of similar trap beats, etc.?
"Honestly, the f*cks I give are non-existent. It’s a form of art. You hate it or love it. Nobody is forcing you to listen to us, so if you don’t like it and you’re nagging about that you’re just being annoying. I’m sure you can find the more lyrical, deep and poetic hip hop you like if that’s what you’re into – it’s all out there."
What’s your take on the current trap scene in Belgium? Where do we need to go out if we want to go all out?
"Definitely check out events where OD Yami, Roshima and Felonious are playing. But when it comes to nights with the music I make, that dark and brutal stuff? That’s really rare in Belgium. Apart from my friend Vanitas567 there’s not many people on that same vibe. That said, if you do want to go all out and pull up to a good event, check out the KORK nights, organized by the homies from the Daily Collectiv. You’ll hear a perfect mix of all the trap genres – and you might even spot me on the lineup sometimes."
Who are your current favourite artists?
"My all-time favourite artists are just the people who inspire me the most, but if I had to make a top 3, just see the artists I’ve mentioned before: Kanye West, Desiigner and Childish Gambino. But I also really, like, REALLY love Bones, Xavier Wulf, Pharrell Williams, ECCO2K, $uicideboy$, SmokePurrp, Lil Pump, whoever made the soundtrack of the Dark Souls video games, Skrillex, Gorillaz, Gentlemen’s Dub Club and last but definitely not least, Lil Uzi Vert. There’s so much more but that’s all I can come up with right now."
Thank's for hooking us up with exclusive première of your new track. Can you tell us a little bit about how this one came about?
"This Akuma x BBNO$ track has been long overdue to be honest. I’ve known him for little over a year now. Just recently, I was up making beats until 8am and at one point I blew myself away with this ‘Season’ beat. It’s definitely one of my favourite beats so far. Originally, I was going to have OD Yami on it, but we couldn’t really come up with a good hook, so it didn’t really work out in the end. Fast forward to one week later and I’m scrolling through my Soundcloud feed and I notice an old collab this rapper BBNO$ and a producer called FVDE did. I knew immediately I needed that acapella for a track, so I hit him up got permission to use the vocals. At this point I’m still a little iffy, but as soon as I threw his rhymes on the beat it sounded soooo dope. I knew this was it."
Anything in the pipeline we need to know about?
"My project ‘Akuma Season’ will be dropping really soon with loads of big features, so keep an eye out for that! Plus, make sure you’re not sleeping on The Midnight Society, that’s my gang – and we’re going to destroy 2018!"