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Kil Ripkin A journey into the life of... 'It's my message informing the people who Kil Ripkin is': if you're not already familiar with the Ghetto Correspondent, MC/producer from Coney Island, who now resides in North Carolina, he'll let you know. On his upcoming album 'The Balancing Act, to be released through Soulspazm, Kil talks about his journeys through life...

What separates this album from the other rap albums that are released these day?

There are many respectable qualities that I feel shape the 'Balancing Act'. The album is a story. I'm the author giving you an autobiography on my life, from the good to the bad and everywhere between. I'm speaking on my Coney Island days just trying to make it out, but give you word on my travel to North Carolina. The album also touches on my journey going from city to city and all the other real life decisions and actions people decide and evaluate. It's my message informing the public who Kil Ripkin is. On the production side the album has a sound that I as a producer can appreciate. There are not a lot of platinum names but a lot of young upcoming talents.

It's coming out this summer. Is there an exact release date yet?

Not yet, but will be coming when the heat is coming early or late.

How did the deal with Soulspazm come together? It was about to be released on Reform School/Domination though right?

Big up to Reform School/Domination, and what up to Kam Moye-Supastition. Torae and I had already decided Soulspazm before anything. Kam was going to release a few projects to help me with a buzz. I always wanted to do something major with Torae, when his Soulspazm deal opened up it was either Soulspazm or possibly Duck Down. Big up to Torae and Kam Moye, you have helped and inspired me.

Last week Supastition made a statement that he wishes to release no more albums professionally due to the state of the industry...Could you see yourself taking that decision too?

Kam and I had many conversations on some grown man shit, when cats like us who really come from and live for the culture of hip-hop, we put are all in it, we got families to feed and people depending on us to make something happen. I felt bad first when I read it, brothers like Charles Herron and Torae, do not let music shit hold us, we hold music. I feel like my fan base is nice, but when Kam said these comments I wasn't shocked , because I felt like this my whole career, but at the end of the day Kil Ripkin going to put the foot on the grind and do me. I do not officially believe he is done though. Too many people love his music; Kam does shows all over the world. He is too nice and too ill but I agree with him as a family man.

You have been compared to Dead Prez and 'Jay Electronica's lost brother', what comparisons would you say are relevant?

Rakim made me want to do this. I was all about recording but I wanted to have people feel the music and inspire. Now when Dead Prez came out they helped me spit what I wanted to do. One of my goals is to work with them. As far as Jay I feel like I am his lost brother, not only do we have similar birthdays but I feel that everything he spit is from spirit to sovereignty. I love that cat and would love to work with him. Dead Prez and Jay heavy influenced my journey.

What are three key words that would perfectly describe your writing style?

Real, deep, and soulful.

You've been in a few crews. What attracts you in working with a crew, and what have you learned mostly from being in those crews?

Every crew I have ever been a part of has been family, no put together stuff, besides The Coalescence, but I still consider them brothers. Any other crew, I grew up with them or was close to. In music family is crucial, and loyalty is a necessity.

Tell us more about The Coalescence...DJ Premier is a fan apparently...?

Premier is an honourable member of the Coalescence. Premier, I am coming to see you and we will put some work in. He was a judge on a MTV show and rocked our T-shirt. He saw us at a few shows and we met Premier through Skyzoo and Sharlee Jeter. He was working with Vega on a mixtape. The Coalescence is still rocking minus two. The Coalescence is still Torae and Kil Ripkin, the other two brothers doing different things. Vega is doing big things. Torae and I spoke the other day so be on the lookout for some new material.

What made you decide to return to a solo album instead of making a crew album and producing for other artists?

Basically what made me decide was The Coalescence broke up and Torae and I were probably not going to continue, we achieved a lot of things. So when we dissolved I got set back, I had a lot of fans asking what had happen, Torae and I both decided we would not let this be the end and we went from there.

What makes an emcee a good 'ghetto correspondent'?

A good ghetto correspondent is when every word is touching the people. He touching the people at every level whether man, women, or child. You are not stunting growth, or spitting that bullshit then the people going feel you. Life is all about progression and not regression, acceptance and continuation.

You co-wrote and produced songs on '40 Acres', 'Get on The Bus' and 'Crooklyn' soundtracks in the 90s, how did you got involved with those projects and what do you remember from these experiences?

I got involved through my guy Rashid. He use to work with 40 acres, he was working for Spike Lee and he was producing and rapping. It was really his project and he brought me on to assist. That was the time when Brooklyn was on fire (still is today) and Spike Lee was igniting the movie industry with intellectual thought.

You also worked with Kurtis Blow... How was that like?

It was an experience. I produced and wrote for him. I still am missing some money but my manager who was in Long Island was doing a business venture with Kurtis and we went from there.

So how come the name Kil Ripkin doesn't ring a bell with most of the rap fans?

I haven't allowed it go that route. There are numerous reasons: I can't blame the labels or any person, I always saw the game for what it was and it took the fire away from me. I always tried to make sure my family was good. I feel that my name do ring bells. I can go a lot of circles but I believe I haven't allowed for it to happen. I have stunted my own hip-hop growth and for that it is divine.

Could you describe us what the following people meant for your career?

Don Newkirk: Pivotal. He is one of my mentors. To be honest, without Don, I would not be as wise to the business side and production side.
Torae: Torae is a brother. It is hard to find people to trust. He is a comrade.
Supastition: I have only known him for the last three years but he has meant wisdom. I have learned how he moves in the game from country to country. He is another comrade. When you deal with an abundance of people and people families eating together a relationship is great.

Could you explain your commitment with the Uhuru Movement...

The Uhuru movement are brothas and sistas who still really banging for freedom. I won't spend too much time speaking on that, no disrespect at all. My time with that has made me, who I am now, but I am thinking on a very different level now, but I respect all those still banging for freedom.

How's life treating you in Charlotte? Do you grasp more/less/enough inspiration for songs as opposed to when you were living in Coney?

It is not even close, but I love it here. I am able to come down here and relax. Charlotte came when I needed it. I use other means to be inspired. This city is a breath of fresh air all the time. Brooklyn, NY you can go block to block and have six or seven different songs based on those blocks. When I get into Jersey I get that feeling.

On a psychology level, how do you try to keep everything in balance?

I stay in tune with my ancestors, I listen to the highest speak to me, I have too. I keep my guardian angels with me at all times. I listen and I stay in tune with a higher force. Respect is a powerful attribute.

You were a sportsman; were there ever any professional ambitions?

Oh yeah, I was all city quarter back for Lincoln High school. I played for the New York panthers also. I am nice in it, I was not running either I was on my Payton manning, reading defences.

Tiger Woods or OJ Simpson?

OJ Simpson top three of all time, he was incredible.

What (rap) albums are in your iPod right now?

I don't even own an iPod. I'm not playing any rap. I am listening to my crew, Torae, Kam Moye, Charles Herron, Jay Electronica. I don't listen to them often however because I play a lot of R&B and Jazz, I play Kil Ripkin and Tony Roche (The Exceptionalist) all the time because we hot right now.

What more can we expect from you?

More dope music, I am constantly thinking of ways of evolving myself. I also might be doing a lecture circuit and definitely more music and staying positive. For music I got a lot in the pot, I got the Balancing Act, Bullies featuring Tony Roche and I and the Art of Shinku with Raticus. I am also putting the icing on the cake for my mixtape with Deejay Tommy Tom out of Charlotte. Torae and I also cooking it up with The Coalescence. I definitely want to do this with the help of my hungry assistant and management team Phill Roche we are making a lot of progress and many moves, he and Tony are my brothers and we all got something in the mix.

Shout-outs?

Big up to Brooklyn, New York, Torae, Skyzoo, Chaundon, Kam Moye, Charles Herron, Raticus, Eric G, Deejay Tommy Tom, Phill and Tony Roche.

Thanks!

 

POSTED 05|01|2010
conducted by cpf

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