Meet the Hip-Hop artist AK! He recently released the music video for his song, “Family Tree.” Throughout the video, AK digitally morphs into Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake, Missy Elliot, Snoop Dogg and other Hip-Hop icons by using DeepFake technology.
“Family Tree” pays homage to the Hip Hop legends that have heavily influenced the genre and inspired every Hip Hop artist to follow.
AK ON HIS “FAMILY TREE” MUSIC VIDEO:
“Everyone is here inspiring each other, learning from each other. And as more kids come up with that same dream, they’re next up to gain their knowledge from those before them. So Hip-Hop to me is a big ass Family Tree. We all connect to each other at the end of the day. The newer artists gotta acknowledge the impact of those before them, and the OG’s gotta be open and show love to the new guys coming in trying to make waves and create new lanes in the game. Cause if it wasn’t for those kids taking a chance and doing something different, Hip-Hop wouldn’t be what it is today. Change is inevitable.”
“The music video starts off with me rapping to camera throughout the whole song and as the songs goes my face morphs into the artist who’ve either inspired me directly, or impacted the game in a way that changed it forever. It’s to show how as artists we really are all connected as one. We learn from each other and build our different sounds and styles separately, but at the end of the day we’re all here with the same goal, to make waves, inspire other people and be the best at what we do. We are all connected no matter where or when you start.”
Hailing from the Garden State, AK (Austin Kassabian) has already firmly planted his feet in the music industry with his uncanny lyrical abilities and unique sound. The razor-tongued rapper continues making waves with his latest single “Family Tree” and its’ accompanying music video.
While influenced by the Hip-Hop heroes of the past and present, AK has undoubtedly carved out a space of his own, representing the future of Hip-Hop. The 20-year-old artist from South Brunswick, NJ quickly took the internet by storm after writing and releasing remixed freestyle covers on YouTube, starting with his Desiigner’s “Panda” (40-Million Views). With 1.6-Million subscribers and well over 160-Million views on his own YouTube channel, AK released several original singles and successfully launched his music career.
AK’s music graced top charts both in the U.S. and internationally amongst iTunes, Spotify, YouTube Music and SoundCloud. His single “Now I’m Forever” landed at #1 on the U.S. iTunes Hip Hop Charts. This past year, AK released his much-anticipated EP, “On Me”, accompanied by top quality music videos for each single. His other recent releases have included “Top of the World” (as heard on ESPN’s First Take and E Sports League Poland), the fan favorite “Like I Got It” (with over 4-Million views), and “Broken” which perfectly portrays his masterful vocal ability.
Connect With AK Online Here:
Learn more about AK in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. Given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you? How have you adjusted to these times? What has changed about your life?
I have been able to put a lot more time and energy into perfecting my craft. From writing to recording, even more so with producing and mixing. A typical day for me now consists of going on a walk to start the day, getting coffee, checking my email, and working on my tasks for each day. I’ll spend time with the family and see friends if I can, but Covid’s impact has definitely caused me to have a lot more time to focus on my craft and give my effort towards creating in different ways.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now? What has that been like for you watching that unfold?
The hardest part of quarantine was the initial adjustment to everything. It took me a while to figure out what to do with my extra time. Being in Jersey was pretty insane at first since we’re so close to NYC and even now there’s a lot of things that have had to remain on lockdown. Things are scary, but there’s a lot of people whose lives changed more for the negative because of Covid, so I acknowledge my blessings and hope for everybody to be safe during this whole thing.
How have you been able to use social media during these unprecedented times? Are you finding that you use it even more now to stay connected to fans and other musicians? Have you changed the way that you utilize it these days?
Of course. Social media is one of the key reasons as to why I am in the position I am. I love keeping connected with the people who support me. I generally don’t like social media because I feel like there’s a lot of negatives that come with using certain apps but I try to promote positive things and spread love however I can through it. Social media is the biggest blessing and biggest curse to my generation.
What has it been like having to reschedule all your shows this year? Are there shows getting scheduled for 2021 that you already looking forward to or you waiting to start making future tour plans?
I was sooo bummed when we found out the tour we had been planning for October had to be rescheduled. But I would 100% rather it be that way for the sake of fans’ health. It sucks, but in the long run it’ll be worth it. I view it more as this is just the anticipation up to the shows. I can’t even imagine how insane the shows are gonna be when things open up again.
Since we are all really missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you? What has been a favorite show of yours by another artist?
Seeing J.Cole at the PNC Bank Center in Holmdel, NJ for the 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour. It was the first Cole show I had ever been to first off, so I was already excited, but when I first saw him walk on the stage the energy of the crowd completely flipped. It was a surreal moment for me being a part of that. When he performed Tale of 2 Cities, that’s when the moment of “I need this” hit me. The way he moved the crowd with the way he included them in his performance, it made you feel like it was just as much our show as it was his. People around me were crying and feeling every word of the songs he was performing and when I saw the physical impact he was making on these 17,000 strangers to him, I knew I wanted to have that same impact on people who listened to me. That feeling for him must be next to none.
Where did you come up with your artist name? Why not just go by your own name?
AK is actually a name I got through playing Xbox with my friends. I always have used a gamertag with AK47 in it because 1 my initials are in it and 2 that was my favorite gun to use in Call Of Duty at the time, no one can see me with the M4A1 now. Anyways, the gamertag was too long to say all at once so people I played with online just shortened it to AK when they called on me and the more I played with friends from school the more they got used to calling me it so AK stuck with me after a certain amount of time.
Let’s talk about your newest video for “Family Tree.” What was it like making it and using DeepFake technology? Where did the idea to morph into all the different rappers come from? How did you choose these artists? How creatively involved with the overall process were you?
Shooting the video for Family Tree was quite simple. It was a one take video of me performing to camera and the rest was done in post-production. The idea came from my manager Brian, his assistant, and myself thinking this would be a phenomenal way of expressing the message of the song after seeing deep fakes in… I believe an SNL skit. Myself, Brian and the director of the video King Hollis wrote a list of artists we wanted included in the video. I was pretty hands on throughout the process, as I like to be, and I give all my kudos to Shamok for making the deep fake technology a reality for this video.
How would you say that “Family Tree” compares to your older songs? How does it show your progression as an artist?
Family Tree really proved to me how capable I am of making well rounded music. It started with the beat which I made myself with Logic, and when I wrote the lyrics I knew it was something special. The concept and overall feeling the song had sonically I knew from the jump was unique and stood out.
How do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US has been going through? How exactly is it inspiring you and your music?
I agree 100% that the Black Lives Matter movement is necessary. I think it will influence every artist in the game to speak up and express their perspectives and feelings about it.
If you could get into the studio with any artist today and collaborate on a new song for you, who would it be and why?
J.Cole. I’d love to collab on not only a song together, but the production of that song. Our boundaries are endless and the energy in the studio would be insane. Looking forward to that day
If you could go back in time and tell your younger musician self something about this industry or how your career was going to progress, what would you say?
Trust yourself and keep going how you’re going. So much new knowledge and experience is on the way. You’re on the right path, God’s got you kid.