So, I’ve been wanting to interview Ade Hakim fka sixpress for a good minute. Even since I first heard Untitled, Vol.2. I love that album. The way he flips the samples he uses, his flow, the features also kill it. Finally, after an interesting live Ade added me, and I got to ask him and Alphonse some questions.
Deshaun: How does it feel being a black musician, navigating through an industry that’s ran by white people?
Alphonse: I don’t think i’m running in the same industry as those white people. I don’t feel like I’m in the same demographic.
Ade Hakim: Same here, I’ve been blacklisted nigga! I’ve been blacklisted like, if I was in the industry you’d see me sponsored by Red Bull doing shows in Central Park.
A: I feel like I understand the question that you’re saying though.
AH: I know what you’re saying though, like i’m definitely around people that aspire to be industry artists. So people confuse me as an industry artist, but that’s not who I am. I’m just an artist. I put my shit on soundcloud or I’ll put my shit on Apple Music–
A: Bruh! Who the fuck is outside bruh? [Laughs]
AH: You know it’s the Bronx man. Niggas is just blasting music outside that’s it. It’s nothing that serious it’s just the Bronx. That’s just the Bronx. How’d you feel about that answer? Good answer?
D: Yeah, pretty much. I feel what y’all saying.
AH: Yeah it’s like: We’re not sponsored by nobody. Nobody is helping us get shows. Everything we do we gotta get on our own.
A: Aye aye bro, aye look this bout as real as can get bruv. I’m tryna tell you, and I speak for Ade too. Like, we really doing this shit off the strength that we wanted to do this shit. There nobody out here that’s like giving us some type of profit, well not profit– some type of budget you know what i’m saying? To go out there and you know, “We want you to do what you do.” No, we really are making this shit happen because we want this shit to happen.
AH: Like, I think it’s troubling being from New York City but like not playing any shows since March. And the show that I did in March, the only show I did in March was free! You know, I wasn’t getting paid for that. That was strictly for people that wanted to come see it and like for me to release that energy out. But I wasn’t getting paid for it so that’s not an industry that’s just like–it just happened. Industry has to do with business and that wasn’t–had nothing to do with industry. There’s mad people that are doing shows–That’s why I don’t pull up to shows because like, niggas don’t think of me to play on the shows with them.
A: Niggas be on some real opportunist shit.
AH: Real opportunist shit and real clique shit!
AH: Yeah, you don’t see me on that shit. I’m not an industry artist, I just be sticking with niggas who make real music.
At this point the loud music comes back. Ade and Alphonse begin to sing along, but quickly stop.
AH: But nah, cause like I been trying to do a show for a minute. I got mad new songs that I been trying to preform, but I haven’t been applying myself into curating shows. I feel like that’s the next show ill be able to do: A curated show by myself. And of course ill put on homies like Alphonse and all the other people that i’ve been fucking with. Because I know mad talent and i know mad people with talent to showcase. But until that day, no one’s trying to put me on. I’m not in the industry. i’m supported by y’all.
At this point Alphonse acknowledges that the comments are still clowning the kid from earlier. It’s pretty sad, we all laugh at it.
D: Do you feel a more genuine connection to the people that support your music because you’re not in the industry?
AH: Now let me put it like this. Cops, they do not have a connection to the community because they are apart of the blue code. Like, i talk to cops sometimes not on some snitchin’ shit. Just like, “How you doing officer?” And they be afraid to look at me in the eye. You know what i mean? Like they don’t have a connection to the community. Sometimes I ask questions to the cops, like if they have black partners. I’ll be like: “Hey, do you guys feel safe patrolling these streets?” And they be bullshitting but they don’t have a connection to the community. Because they’re apart of a flawed system. So, if I was an industry artist I’d have to make it seem like it’s all about me and it’s all about just me and my platform and whoever is putting money in my pockets. That’s just the game. Just like how cops play the same game. So, being connected to the community is strictly being out of that flawed system. The music business is flawed, super flawed. And everybody tryna exploit other artists, underground artists. Like niggas who have no ideas swoop under niggas who have been innovative and they just take their talent and run with it. So, I feel like: Just knowing yourself you’ll have a connection with people.
D: So how do y’all feel about streaming and streaming farms? Do y’all believe in the streaming farms? They say they have warehouses full of phones playing albums on repeat.
AH: For the music to run up for the money?
AH: Damn, I’ve never heard of that. Shit man, I guess that’s just how they finesse the system. It’s like robotic yeah you right. I never heard of that that’s some weird shit.
D: Yeah damn, I’m shook that i’m on here.
AH: You’re shook? [Laughs]
D: Yeah, a little bit. Okay, cliche question. Alphonse too, who really inspired y’all to really get into this if anybody?
A: What inspired me?
D: To be who you are right now? If anybody.
A: Not kissing ass. Not catering to another nigga’s agenda other than mine. I feel like people gotta know theyselves. you gotta know what the fuck you want to do with your life in order to move on in life. If you don’t know yourself–
AH: People will take advantage of you.
A: Yeah, people will take advantage of you you’re not gonna be strong enough–
AH: To hold your own.
A: Yeah, exactly. I feel like–
AH: The industry goes for the weak-minded, people that don’t really know themselves. The people that are in a crisis with themselves. Its like a strategic scientific thing, they got it down to a science. They get people who don’t know themselves so when they offer them these sweet deals they think its sweet. But people that know themselves know that they’re more valuable than the deals that are offered.
AH: So to go for the weak minded, they control these people with the dreams that they sell. These superficial lifestyles that people like to flaunt. All you get is bragging rights but really you don’t get much else. You get money and all this stuff but the people who know themselves know that material wealth is nothing. Like, what are you gonna get with that? You just seem to be wealthy, but in reality you gave the exterior wealth more value than what came from within. And the people who have power within realize that they don’t need record deals, they don’t need all this ice. They don’t need bragging rights. I’m not the best rapper in the world, i’m not the best producer in the world i’ve never made the list. And even if i did it wouldn’t be true. The best lyricists and best producers don’t care about the lists. Their ego is not driving them to be on the list. That comes from internal wealth they know inside that they’re good. People who are equal driven want to be on lists.
D: So you’re saying being more motivated by your actual wanting to do the craft instead of wanting to be recognized.
The conversation takes a sharp turn into a different topic. We start talking about people who are a single digit percent black yet still claim, the sphinx, & Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato. Afterwards, I pivot back.
D: Can I say real quick, the way you started your verse on That’s How That’s Why is so fire to me.
AH: For real? Thank you bruh.
D: Yeah, you said: “That’s how we came through with the stealth, that’s how we stay true to ourselves.” That is so fire to me.
AH: Okay, thank you bruh.
D: What is he saying in the beat? Is it hey or bass?
AH: Oh, that’s Dave Chappelle. “In yo motherfuckin’ face!” This was I time I was sampling him a lot. It was the For What It’s Worth stand-up, he said black people celebrated too much when OJ got acquitted. He said: “In yo face!” So I sampled that part.
D: Yeah, cause you started off the album with the Black Bush skit.
D: Literally, I found out about you through this dude named Favi. He always tweets about y’all music. So I was like: “Oh, what is this?” Then I heard I think something off Untitled 1, then Untitled 2. Then, That’s How That’s Why is like track two on there right?
AH: Which one?
D: That’s How That’s Why.
AH: Yeah that’s like the second track.
D: I was like: “This is one of the most fire songs I’ve ever heard in my life.”
AH: Damn bruh I appreciate it honestly. I really like that beat.
D: I’m guessing that’s a guitar sample? Where’d you get that from?
AH: Oh, I guess it was gospel. It was like: [sings sample]. And I just sampled it.
D: So, do you get a genuine joy out of finding an amazing sample or being able to flip something perfectly?
AH: Perfectly? I don’t know if my flips are even perfect. I’m kinda lazy to be honest. I just make a loop and go with it if it’s nice.
Alphonse then takes the phone and says that he has the best loops in the game before handing the phone back to Ade.
D: If you want to add Jay [Versace], i’m out of questions. Thanks for letting me be in this for real.
AH: I appreciate you bro, thanks for the questions and the support.
D: Yeah, of course. If you ever find yourself in Nashville, on tour or whatever I will be front row.
AH: Yessir bro we will. I’ll find myself in Nashville for sure. I appreciate the energy.
D: Ight man stay up.
AH: Stay up, you too bro I love you. Peace.
D: Love you too brother.
Deshaun is @deshaunstar everywhere