On The Rise: Kweku Collins Talks Musical Upbringing, Recent Releases, and Chicago

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Kweku Collins is an emerging artist from Evanston, Illinois, who signed with Chicago label Closed Sessions earlier this year. Collins caught the attention of more than a few music heads this year with his standout EP ‘Say It Here, While It’s Safe’, along with other releases that highlighted his melodic raps, eclectic sound, and raw lyrics. Collins excellently blends together different genres across his music and it seems to come naturally for the young rapper. He also produces more than half of his own music which is essentially rare. We highly suggest you get to know Kweku Collins before 2016 in our feature interview below.

Kweku Collins

How did you become interested in music/writing? 
Kweku: My dad is a musician and my mom is a teacher. I’ve been surrounded by music and books my whole life, so it all came together quite naturally. I been doin this shit since I was a little one.

What music/artists did you grow up listening to?
Kweku:  I grew up listening to a lot of African and Latin Music. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Kanye, Lil Wayne, pretty much anything good.

Closed Sessions is a staple for emerging artists in the Chicago network. How did you guys end up linking?
Kweku: I sent them an email. I really didn’t think they’d reply, but a few days later, Alex hit me back. We went back on forth like that for a bit until they invited me through the CS office to meet them. After a few sessions, they put down the offer.

 

Can you explain the concepts/meanings behind your recent songs “Hoopdi” and “Corner Store”?
Kweku: Hoopdi is more or less just me talkin my shit, trying to expand on a darker side of my production. Corner Store is about money. About desire and necessity.

What was the thought process/concept behind ‘Spicy Caliente’?
Kweku:  We (myself, Odd Couple, and Boathouse) wanted to collaborate on a project. Once we figured out the concept, putting it together was easy. We not done either.

What was the underlying meaning behind the title of your summer EP “Say It Here, While It’s Safe EP”?
Kweku: I made “Say It Here, While It’s Safe” at a point where I was enjoying all the positivity around me and internally, but also knew that it was temporary. For me, the past summer was a vacation from all my shit. I knew then that things were gonna change, so I put out SIHWIS as a way of preparing.

How do you feel about Chicago’s booming art & music renaissance right now? Is it getting a bit harder to standout?
Kweku:  I think it’s incredible. Yeah, it’s hard to stand out, but that’s just motivation to keep it pushin. Chicago is rich with culture, which makes it hard to run out of inspiration.

What non-musical things end up inspiring your music?
Kweku: Most everything. People, places, thoughts, events. Anything.

You’ve dropped a nice amount of music in 2015 via solo tracks and collabs. What can we expect from Kweku Collins in 2016?
Kweku:  You can expect me to grow. I don’t know what’s next, but I do know I won’t be where I’m at now.

Soundcloud

Twitter | @KwekuCollins

Closed Sessions

REHAB Staff

Rehab Online Magazine is the alternative millennial guide to emerging music and culture.