Monicker - Interview
1. Tell us your rap name and where are you from?
I go by Monicker, and I’m from College Park in the heart of Atlanta, GA.
2. What made you start making music?
Both sides of my family are very deeply musical people, and they both have roots in Motown and other classic eras of music that I draw seminal influence from. To add to that, my dad and uncles are all longtime producers and golden-era style rappers. It was inevitable.
3. Who are your influences in rap?
I feel like there’s a key difference between influences in rap, and rap influences. my rap influences heavily draw on the callous delivery of Earl Sweatshirt, MF DOOM’s witty assonance (may he rest in peace), and Ghostface Killah’s grisly world building/storytelling. my influences in rap have nothing to do with rap at all, and span many genres: Irish ballad monolith Mary O’ Hara, Armenian singer Adiss Harmandian, Thom Yorke, and the Cotton Club’s finest. My production influences are a little more contemporary and fluctuating: Ye, Wondagurl, Knxwledge, Dakim, Flying Lotus, Tsuruda, Bink! and more.
4. What is your take on the underground rap scene right now?
I feel like its teeming with life and originality at every corner, but also suffers from a lot of the pitfalls that mainstream music does. Once a sound catches on, it gets hopped on like a Japanese bus. Idolatry is just as poisonous - if not more - due to the sheer proximity of heralded artists to their masses in comparison to mainstream artists. But the inverse is also true. There is a real sense of community due to that same proximity. Mainstream acts pull influence from lost relics of the genre and we see less popular names inspiring bigger names, credited or not. it’s vital.
5. As an artist who has to compete with thousands of others for streams/plays, what makes your music worth people clicking on?
I don’t feel like at this stage I’m competing to be heard. I’d rather be a found, well kept secret. I feel like I reside within a unique perspective on an untouched market of kids with seemingly great lives but unspoken internal struggle and trauma. No one believes them. People often assume that because you aren’t struggling in the foremost/obvious senses that you don’t have your own set of hardships. I don’t believe in commodifying the classic images of Black poverty and struggle, but I recognize its effect that it has had on me, my family and the families of those close to me, and it informs my life experience heavily and it shows in my music. I feel like my outside-looking-in perspective is an important middle point; A missing link. Plus, I feel like my music absolutely slaps but thats just me.
6. You have 1 person to thank, who would it be?
Gotta be my ex. Even at our faultiest she still believed in me when I didn’t. Even before I had the most remote of ideas of what my life in music would look like. I wouldn’t be pushing as hard without that initial kick in the ass from her. I will never forget that.
7. What is your process for recording music ?
On the personal side of things, I crank out 10 VERY slow pushups… on my fingertips. Gets the blood flowing and clears my very terrible sinuses. I take a swig of water from this canteen that tastes like straight metal (probably should get rid of it) and I get straight to it. I have hella performance anxiety so I close my eyes kinda tight before I record, even when I’m alone, and I forget about my self-imposed standards. I try to appreciate the stages of my growth as they come instead of chasing this elusive concept of perfection.
On the technical side, I just start yelling into the mic and hope it sounds like words after I’m done mixing.
8. Any upcoming projects or singles fans should be getting ready for this year?
I have a single dropping on Feb. 15th called FOOLSLOVE in collaboration with my homie Afro0osaynt (IG: afrosaynt), a very gifted producer. My debut album, YEBA, is a long-running, damn near mythical unicorn thats been promised and delayed over the course of almost 3 years. My friends hate me by now, but it’s confirmed to be dropping in late spring of 2022. It’s only my 3rd day out here so I don’t have any official releases as of writing this, but the way my unreleased work has spread by word-of-mouth is actually pretty startling and cool. So that’s a good telltale sign I’m doing something right.
9. What keeps you motivated and on path towards your goals for music?
I consider myself to be a naturally goal-driven person. However, music is a special and very personal part of my identity and I wanna work towards completing my goals in it not only for the sake of the product, but to fulfill my personal life and expand my capabilities for expression.
10. What impact do you want to have on the world?
I want to change minds and hearts and poke holes in false and/or negative narratives surrounding Black men. I wanna have fun doing it, too.
11. What's your best collaboration experience with another artist or producer?
Gotta be anytime I tap in with my bro Rey Morado (IG: reymorado). I feel like we bring the best out of each other’s voices and deliveries. He pushes my envelope and I push his, or at least I feel like I do.
12. Who does all of your cover art or do you make your own?
I’ve been doing commission work as a freelance artist since I was like thirteen, and by God do I love a sexy, well-thought-out album art. Doing my own covers was a no-brainer. Unless its an artist I trust with my vision or an artist I very deeply resonate with, that likely won’t change too much. The only other person I’ve worked with on album art in a finished stage is my friend Lordēa (IG: _lordea_), a surrealist multi-hyphenate genius.
13. Who makes most of your beats or production?
my current catalog is 90/10 produced by me. I love producing, arranging and sound designing and pushing the boundaries of what rap-able beats sound like. Another friend whose beats I STAY rapping on is my bro Svnthltr (IG: svnthltr & svnthltr.jpg) . He’s a damn visionary with the pieces.
14. What can we expect next from you in 2022?
An album, a scandal, a few singles, a bunch of weird music videos and a strangely artistic sex tape featuring me fully clothed with the real, decayed corpse of Elvis. Or something. Probably. Stay tuned.
15. Link the fans to your Twitter & Instagram @ Below so they can follow you!