(AllHipHop Features) Celebrated visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was quoted saying, “Since I was seventeen I thought I might be a star. I'd think about all my heroes, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix... I had a romantic feeling about how these people became famous.”
Basquiat and his creations have become a source of influence for many well-known Hip Hop performers. The late one-time graffiti artist has also served as a motivational force for a rising rhymer out of Kansas City, Kansas.
Not long ago, Aaron Alexander released the Basquiat-inspired Radiant Child, produced entirely by fellow Kansas Citian Bwill. However, the duo felt the audio fidelity of Radiant Child did not properly represent the sound they wanted to share with the world.
As a result, the two high school friends remixed 8 tracks from the project and repackaged it as rAdiAnt Redone. Musician Eric Christopher assisted with the development of the EP as well.
Alexander was able to set forth on a path to grabbed the attention of listeners thanks to his parents and others helping him to avoid the pitfalls of Kansas City. Now, he and Bwill are part of a growing Kansas/Missouri Hip Hop scene which includes other up-and-comers such as Zarin Micheal, Gee Watts, and Rory Fresco.
“People are starting to carve their own lanes and not box themselves into ‘what KC is supposed to sound like,’” says Alexander. “It's a beautiful thing, I foresee a run like Chicago had in 2013 sooner rather than later.”
As Aaron Alexander helps direct more eyes and ears toward the movement emerging from his home region, AllHipHop.com readers can get a better understanding of the 21-year-old independent emcee via the “Three Questions” interview series.
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What are your five favorite Hip Hop albums from Midwest artists?
I am going to throw my own caveat on this one. I can only use one album from each artist. No particular order: Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Lupe Fiasco - The Cool, Chief Keef - Finally Rich, Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap, and Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon II.
If you had to live the life of any anime character who would it be and why?
If I could live in any anime world it would have to be in the Pokémon world. Nobody has to go to college. They make like 3-4 racks every battle. It's lit.
Basquiat was very interested in the idea of fame. Are there any limits to what you're willing to do to be listed among the greats?
I will do everything that I can do to be seen as great, not just a great rapper but a great artist. The only thing I worry about is losing myself in that process. I've watched people get swept away in trying to live a life that they weren't cut out for. It's a terrible thing. I will always take a step back and ask myself if what I am doing is making me happy, because I am not going to put my happiness in jeopardy over a job. Music is my self-expression. If I ever get in a situation where I can monetize it, I'd hope that situation would allow me to express myself like I've been doing.
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Stream Aaron Alexander’s rAdiAnt Redone below.