16-year-old lo-fi producer jikan. drops off his debut project, The Marlboro Tape. While there seems to be a bit of a track-to-track fluidity provided by the reoccurring cigarette related samples, the project primarily serves as an introduction to jikan.'s sound. Even so, the project features guest verses from Crosby, C∆PRIISUN, Malcolm Quest, Peezy, King Benjo, and Seba Hara. Averaging about a minute and a half each, the tracks are quick which makes the total runtime a very manageable 13 or so minutes. At such a short runtime it's hard to reason against pressing play. I myself did just that and was left wanting to know a bit more. I wrote up a quick interview and hit the youngster up to get some answers. While he was not willing to divulge too much, what he did say offers some insight into the inspirations and aspirations of this fledgling producer. I suggest you press play and let the lo-fi sooth you soul while you read up on what this up-and-coming hip hopper has been working on when he's not doing algebra problem sets or reading To Kill A Mockingbird.
So you’re sixteen, how did you get into this beat making business so young?
I've basically always been inspired by music. It's been a huge influence in my life so I just went on and decided I wanted to start making my own music around the age of 15.
How do you balance your art and your education?
Haha man I been slacking in school. I basically was able to pick up concepts pretty easy in school. So everything came to me easy, but now I'm a senior next year and I know shits gonna get real with this whole balance of work, school, and music.
Are you planning on going to college? Where do you expect to be with your music in four years time?
I plan on it man. Shits really up in the air right now with money being so tight. I plan to continue to grow and develop my music so I can start messing around with major artists. That's my main goal. One guy on my hit list in the next couple of years is Rejjie Snow. He’s on the come up right now. His flow and lyrics won me over instantly. So I want to work with some smaller artists like him before I aim for the big fish.
From where do you draw your inspirations?
I'm inspired by a lot of artists. Some of the biggest ones that had the most effect on me are Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller, Flying Lotus, Tyler the creator, and Dilla to name a few. Those are the producers I look up to.
Describe your process for finding samples to use.
I just try to find anything that clicks to my ear, I won't go into too much depth but I'm not where I want to be. I want to go to a record store with $50 and come out with gems. But, for now, I'm subject to scavenging the internet.
How did you like collaborating with the various rappers on this tape?
It's something I love doing and something I'm gonna continue to do. I've got some rappers I can always rely on to cook up some heat.
What are you top five albums of all time?
Ahah that's an awesome question. Top 5 in no order are probably:
Goblin - Tyler The Creator
Wolf - Tyler The Creator
Doris - Earl Sweatshirt
Faces - Mac Miller
Acid Rap - Chance The Rapper
I like Okami Tapes, tell me more about the group and how you got involved with them.
It's actually a pretty good story. I linked up with Gene Fisher back when he went by jakk mojo. I created the name Okami Tapes and we just started recruiting artists. I would say Gene and I are co-founders of Okami. But I'm lazy so Gene handles all the technical stuff. I just focus on making music.
Do you see lo-fi as a stepping stone or a final destination?
I see it as a stepping stone but something I always want to create. I'm into jazz, soul, and neo-soul so it'd be a dream to make some shit like Tyler or like The Internet.