We had the good fortune of connecting with OAK and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi OAK, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
When it comes to making music, I often find myself explaining to people that rapping is not just one skill. You must master writing, recording, and performing to become an elite artist. Since a young age I’ve been a pretty good writer. So when I started making music at age 11, my lyrics were what separated me from other aspiring artists. So for the next several years I took time perfecting that element of my music. I didn’t attempt to record a song until I was 16 and didn’t perform at a show until I was 18. I realized I had a lot more work to do. I wasn’t truly satisfied with what I was making/performing until I turned 21. Around that time I could see my progress demonstrated a bit more. So really it took me about 10 years to get decent at making music, in terms of the standards I hold myself to. But each year I find myself growing in all three of those categories. The music speaks for itself. That’s probably something a lot people don’t think about when they hear rap music, whether it be live or through the speakers.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I try to set myself apart from others with my versatility. Whenever I drop new music, I want people to have no idea what it’s going to sound like. Even if I sacrifice statistics to try new angles, that’s okay with me because my goal at the end of the day is to create the best possible discography of music that I can. I got to were I am today by networking, hustling, and bringing positive energy wherever I go. Sometimes networking or selling tickets for shows can be tough, but everything is a learning experience. The biggest thing you can do is just put yourself in position for doors to open. Go to the local shows, talk to the artists, vendors, venue staff. Meeting new people is very important if you’re looking to expand. And of course put the long hours in to perfect your craft. One lesson I’ve learned are that a lot of people in the art world are not trustworthy. I’ve gotten scammed multiple times. Whether it be for cover arts or promotion, it definitely helps to do your research and make sure your money is going to reputable source. At the end of the day, I want the world to know Squadrant 4 is more than just a music collective. Our vision is so crazy that it’s gonna take a lot of time to execute, but we’ve built the foundation to create something truly special. We hope you join us for the journey.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Favorite spots to eat: Silkies Chicken & Champagne Bar Dockside Seafood Potters Soul Food Bistro Texas Roadhouse Hawkers Asian Street Food Metro Diner If we’re going drinking I would suggest Riverside or Downtown. Keg n Coin is probably the coolest spot, they have a bunch of old arcade games in the bar that make it a unique experience. De Real Ting Café is also a very dope spot. They have better music than most places and amazing food options. If we’re going to the beach then we definitely gotta hit Lemon Bar.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Squadrant 4 deserves all the love & thanks for my success. They not only inspire my work but have also helped me take steps towards evolving as an artist. I would be nothing without SELF, he’s my engineer/producer who helps bring my sound to life. CircleBoyReed is my favorite artist. When I was younger I saw a tweet that said something along the lines of ‘find the people who inspire you and go link up with them’. That’s essentially what I did with Reed. We met each other in the studio a while back, then not long after we started Squadrant 4 in 2016. SELF (also known as Deetor) was the first addition to the Squadrant. He’s the key to everything we do. Another member we have is Big Yami, one of the hardest working creatives you’ll ever meet. Even though he was considered a part of the squad, we had no clue he could make music until a couple years ago. He randomly started putting out songs and we were blown away with the natural talent he has. He’s currently making a splash in the art world for his custom rugs. You can find him on instagram: @yami.236 to see his works. We also have CuhLilWoe, a talented producer who has a versatile skillset and is always looking to help us progress. So shouts out to all these guys. They have helped me become the artist that I am today.
Other: Our website Squadrant4.com is coming soon!
Xavier Luggage Kwari England Ryan Federiso JG Directed