Interviews

Aktual Talks New Album Tape 6, Hip Hop In 2020, Nas And More!

Aktual who has been featured on over 400 plus songs and collaborated with over 80 major artists is now focusing on his own project titled Tape 6. With three singles already out as of this writing, Aktual is dropping another single later this week titled ‘Im The Coach’.

We caught up with the Atlanta native and multi-talented artist to see how he plans to change the game, the state of Hip Hop, working with new artists, keeping it real in 2020, and much more

Tell us about your new album Tape 6 and how it differs from your previous albums.

Tape 6 is my 6th studio project. This project will most likely have no features. I want to show my fans how much I’ve grown musically and also bringing a new style of flow to Hip Hop & R&B.

The title “Tape 6” is also inspired by my hood in Atlanta which is called Zone 6 (East Atlanta).

Giving that you have also produced songs for various artist, did you also produce songs for Tape 6 and does it make it that much harder to have others produce for you?

I mainly wanted to focus on the lyrics and flow for this project so I did mainly did a lot of mixing, editing & arranging for each song.

It honestly makes it easier when I have my team on production because it allows me to spend more time creating new flows and vocal melodies.

Speaking of team, you have production from Boss DeVito on two singles off Tape 6. This is not something foreign as the two of you have worked together. Tell us about working with Boss DeVito and how you guys first linked up.

Most definitely! Boss DeVito (@iambossdevito) produced the 3rd single off the project called “Way Back”. He also produced the 4th single called “I’m the Coach”. Me and Boss have been working together ever since we were introduced to each other by the Outlawz around 2014. We’ve probably cut over 10 records since then but not all the songs have been release yet.

Aktual’s fourth single off Tape 6 produced by Boss Devito

Boss is from Detroit so he’s got a very fresh new sound that seems to be getting popular along with the new Hip Hop wave that’s been poppin off in the D and I needed that in order for this album to have a universal sound that’s different from most Atlanta artists.

What other producers have contributed to Tape 6?

I also have The Mekanix who produced for several major Bay Area artists (E-40, Mozzy etc.)… Most High, King Mezzy, Kontraband Beatz, Sam Conturo and possibly more before the album is complete.

You talk about growing up musically. What are some things you have learned along the way that you can share with artists coming up now?

I grew up as a young dj in high school so I’ve learned to be more creative and not to follow trends. Also as an artist we have to stop being afraid to say what we wanna say just to please others. Honesty goes along way in music nowadays because people are going through a lot especially in these crazy times! Plus The most iconic songs are usually made because of the different sounding beats and vocals that go against the norm. So at the end of the day I’m always aiming to make every project completely different and way better than the previous one.

What were some DJ’s or artist from an genre that influenced you early on?

DJ Premiere was always a heavy influence on me when I was younger because he was a producer as well. Listening to a lot of Radio DJ’s in Philly do mix shows helped me learn about tempos as well. When I moved to Atlanta and grew, up in high school we listened to a lot of Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz too.

Way Back off Aktual’s Tape 6 album

Hearing all these DJ/Producers/Artists do it all at once let me know that there was no limit to how far I could take my talent as long as I took the time to learn. Some of the best artists started off as producers (Travis Scott, Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, The Dream etc.) So now I feel like I’m kind of in that same lane. Who knows what the next phase will be, but I’m focused on creating a lot more timeless music whether it’s through songwriting, production or anything else.

Do you agree that artists censoring themselves through their music, goes beyond the art form and was caused by social media?

I think it’s a clout thing nowadays. Most of these other artists will do anything for fame & clout. Even if it means faking who they really are through social media and rapping about lifestyles that they really don’t live. I think if artists go back to looking at things as simple as freestyling, writing poetry or even jotting down song concept ideas in a journal it would be less of this nonsense going on and more raw emotion and lyrics.

Is it the artist responsibility to take a stance on issues going on in the world through their music or their communities, especially for a Hip Hop artist?

No. I don’t think we need to mix entertainment and social or world crisis issues and I don’t think we should hold any of us entertainers responsible to take a stance, but I do think it does help whenever a artist decides to spread a positive message through their music instead of staying silent about it or ignoring these issues.

Aktual rocking CAMERAGod apparel brand (@cameragodllc)

Who are some artists you listen to now and/or would like to work with?

Currently I’ve been listening o mostly new artists. Lil Durk, Sada Baby, Money Man Griselda Lil Gotit and Lil Baby is on my playlists heavy. Even though I was raised listening to early hip hop I have a strong appreciation for what my new generation has brought to the culture and what the newer generation is bringing to the culture.

I would love to collaborate with any of them, but I also still love working with the OG’s. I would love to do a song with Nas. That’s a personal goal of mine so I’m gonna speak it in to existence now! It will happen sooner or later!

How would you compare Nas latest album King’s Disease with his other projects and which is your favorite song off the new album?

I would say it is definitely the closest he’s gotten to his older work in a long time. I love the song “Til the War is Won” featuring Lil Durk.

Any last words for the fans? What’s next and what can they expect?

What’s next for me is the new album “Tape 6”. I want my fans to expect this to be my best work ever! Also I have a lot more new visuals and new projects that on the way with other dope artists coming out in the near future.

Shout out to everyone that’s been supporting me from day 1 and big shout out to O4L Online!

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