K-OS took the Hip-Hop scene by storm with his video for Super Star Part Zero. A vivid but simple look at the post-modern B-Boy even made its way to the top. Not since Choclairs debut, had so many Stateside eyes been on talent in Canada. But the album sales didnt quite match the strength of the single.
With the release of his new album, Joyful Rebellion, he once again brings a new level of stamina to Hip-Hop. The Trinidad born MC is calm and focused in demeanor with AllHipHop.com. Just as his music, he has a concentrated creativeness, even hours before traveling across the world.
As 2005 continues to link listeners with K-OS, it certainly wouldve been tragic had he kept his promise to release only one album. Get to know one of the pure-thinkers of the mainstream, and travel the depths of K-OS mind.
AllHipHop.com: I have to ask this, howd you come up with the spelling for your name?
K-OS: It was a gradual thing. I didnt want to have the same spelling [chaos] as in the dictionary, Noun. A state of utter confusion. Im didnt want to embody that kind of energy. I messed with different spellings and meanings. Its a reminder of what Im on a mission to do.
AllHipHop.com: I heard that Exit was supposed to be your first and last album. What made you change your mind?
K-OS: Music made me change my mind. When you have a good day, you smile and laugh. You realize that things arent really as bad as you originally thought. I was inspired by different areas of music. I finished a lot in a short span of time.
AllHipHop.com: Do you consider yourself a conscious rapper?
K-OS: Im a self-conscious rapper. I am aware of myself. I believe in self-investigation and examination.
AllHipHop.com: What makes this album different from the previous?
K-OS: Perfectionism. The next thing is always better than the previous.
AllHipHop.com: On your album, I really dug B-boy Stance What inspired you on that track?
K-OS: Chuck D., Mos Def, Sticky Fingaz
AllHipHop.com: Really, Sticky Fingaz? I cant say I see that connection.
K-OS: Slam made me envision someone in a B-boy stance. Sticky even said it, Im a B-boy in my B-boy stance. Hurry up and give me the microphone before I bust in my pants.
AllHipHop.com: Who and what inspired you when you were growing up?
K-OS: My father inspired me. He showed me that that intelligence was more important than anything. He was also a big Jazz fan. I got all of my samples for the first album, from his collection.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your favorite Jazz album?
K-OS: Anything by Miles Davis. I enjoy his music for his teachings. I learn from them.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about the Canadian Hip-Hop scene lately.
K-OS: Its really positive. Its still small though. There are never more than one or two MCs in the spot light at a time. Theres too much main-stream culture. Its harder to have a broader spectrum in Canada.
AllHipHop.com: Who should we be on the look out for?
K-OS: Im not even sure. In the Toronto are theres the Rascalz, Saukrates, Shelly Stone.
AllHipHop.com: Is there really distinction from your Hip-Hop to United States Hip-Hop?
K-OS: Were young, so were still trying to find a voice. Most of us are first and second generation Canadians. Our parents came here. Were trying to rap, but were trying to express ourselves on a conscious level.
AllHipHop.com: Explain the particular style you created for yourself.
K-OS: I dont have a style. Im just expressing myself. I try to observe from the outside. Im inspired by so many rappers that it makes me different. Rakim, Mos Def, Talib, Q-Tip all had big influences on me. Canada doesnt have any older brothers to look up to, so the lyrics become diverse. I never listen to someone to copy their style. Style is self-conscious. I believe that self-inner light is my inspiration. Im about self-knowledge.
AllHipHop.com: Your music is very diverse and youre also originally from Trinidad, tell me how that affects you music?
K-OS: You can make music out of anything. When I was a kid, you could sit and watch someone carve out a drum all day. I used to watch them for hours. I began to do it also. You can make music out of anything around you.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned Canadian Hip-Hop, but what do you think about the current state of Hip-Hop?
K-OS: Im more concerned wit the current state of the world. Hip-hop is part of that. As children of the world, were growing.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel that your album got a larger response than Kweli and Mos Def?
K-OS: In Canada, my album went Platinum. But thats where Im from. Mos Def and Talib are experimental. Later on, people will go back and realize how amazing it was. It will be new to them. MCs get tired of doing the same thing. They try to express themselves in different ways. Good artists will trust in themselves. Nas does that. He expresses himself in different ways. It makes us go from the left to the right.
AllHipHop.com: Whats next for you?
K-OS: Im doing ten dates with Handsome Boy Modeling School.
AllHipHop.com: I noticed that after Superstar getting crazy play two years ago, I havent seen that many of you videos on TV?
K-OS: They first come out in Canada. I have a few of them. They dont get as much, or any airplay anymore in the U.S. on stations like MTV or BET, but theyre there.