If you’re a young artist and you find your music twisting the ears of the rich and famous –there’s no doubt that you must be doing something right. And this was very much the case for Atlanta disruptor and rising rap star UnoTheActivst, who has found his energetic spit gracing the ears of the likes of Drake and Kylie Jenner. No small feat, indeed.
The artist has swiftly built a cult fanbase due to his bouncy flows, signature vibrato as well as his mesmerising penchant for emotive storytelling, capturing airtime with hit such as “Parkin’ Lot Pimping” and “Guiseppe Swag”.
Trippie Redd, Thouxanbanfauni, Maxo Kream, Lucki, Ty Dolla $ign, Calboy, and 2gramcam are just some of the impressive roster of collabs UnoTheActivst has entwined his name with – and 2020 is set to be a big year for him.
We caught up with the rapper and talked dream collabs, his song-writing process and how BLM is changing the landscape of Atlanta.
8 is your latest record; tell us what you hoped fans would experience from this album?
I wanted them to take a look inside my life I wanted to experience. I never been this open and vulnerable, I felt like the fans deserved that.
What have you been doing to stay sane in these turbulent times?
I’ve been locked away in the studio going to hoop and parks. Trying to keep my head clear I’ve been playing a lot of 2k [Games] too.
Have you found you learned something new about how to heal the past during the civil movement’s momentum happening now? Has Atlanta embraced the changes we seek to see?
I’ve learned that we have to come together as people and stop the madness. It’s like The Purge in some places of Atlanta right now.
You took a brief hiatus from the music industry, saying you didn’t like what was happening in the industry, can you share more? What advice do you have for other artists?
I had to figure out my sound, I felt like the sound I had was played out so I had to go in the lab and create a new one. I would have to say to all new artist, own your masters and save your money
Lil Wayne, Outkast, 8Ball & MJG are inspirations for your generation, what did you learn from them most? Why do you find them so inspiring?
Lil Wayne and Outkast were influences in my parents generation and that’s why it impacts me, because I grew up listening to what they did. Lil Wayne and Outkast taught me how to think outside the box, but Future and Thug are the real influences of my generation though.
How did being expelled from high school change you? What advice do you have for other teens struggling in school?
It’s crazy because it didn’t change me at all I was in 9th grade when it happened so I thought it was cool. For the kids who find themselves having a hard time just remember it’s only temporary.
Your mother was supportive of you when you decided to pursued music full time, how did that happen? Do you feel if she hadn’t that you’d still be where you are now?
One day she found out I wasn’t really going to school she kind of knew what was up. I was in the studio everyday. I was going to school for the same thing I was doing everyday. We just ain’t see the point so she told me to pursue my career. Her saying that gave me a confidence boost but regardless I would have pursued my dream.
The songs “Parkin’ Lot Pimping” and “Guiseppe Swag” gained traction as you had support from the likes of Drake and Kylie Jenner, what was that like having that kind of feedback? How did that happen?
It was cool I guess. It was dope realising my music could reach that far at with such a young career. I found out about the Kylie thing because fans were sharing her Snapchat and one day I was checking the OVO sound radio playlist and “Guiseppe Swag” was on there I was so lit.
You’ve collaborated with Trippie Redd, Thouxanbanfauni, Maxo Kream, Lucki, Ty Dolla $ign, Calboy, and 2gramcam – Who else would you like to work with?
I would like to work with so many artists: Swae Lee, Future, Thug, Roddy Rich, Drake, NBA YoungBoy, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Jack Harlow.
Fashion and music go hand in hand, what designers do you admire most? Are there any we don’t know of that we should? Someone you’d like to partner with?
I love Raf Simons and Rick Owens – I love how they fit on me. I really love YSL jeans too, they fit the best. I’ve been working with these upcoming designers called the 2067. They’re up next!
What is your process for writing songs? Who has helped you most in this area?
When it comes to writing song I don’t write at all I punch in. I feel like writing takes away from the creative process when you can record it and take out anything you want and replace it instantly. With writing you can’t hear yourself on the mic. Surprisingly nobody ever helped me when I came down to writing.
Any advice you have for people struggling to get their music out?
My advice to those who feel like there career isn’t moving as fast as they want, never give up.
Can you share something with us you’d like fans to know that you’ve never shared before?
Eddie Kendricks from The Temptations is my cousin.