Hi is not the arrogant guy people perceive him to be. And the 24-year-old award-winning rapper AKA, born Kiernan Jordan Forbes, believes that the people who have that perception of him have never sat down with him and can’t claim they know him from social networks.
And, frankly, he doesn’t care what people think about him.
AKA, whose debut album Altar Ego hit the music shelves last year and earned him three Metro FM Music Awards for Best Newcomer, Best Hip Hop and Best Produced Album, has a music career dating back to high school days when he was in a group called Entity.
“We were just high school kids who wanted to rap,” he says about the group that went their separate ways in 2006 and he found himself the only who wanted to continue with music as a career.
He went on to study sound engineering before choosing to perform. “I decided that’s what I needed to do,” says the man dubbed the Prince of Rap.
In 2009, he and two friends decided to form a group, Ivy League, where they produced for big names in the hip-hop scene such as Pro, JR and Teargas.
“We were blessed that regardless of who we were, the guys gave us a chance and believed in us, based on the music we produced,” says AKA.
Since those days AKA, a staunch Kaizer Chiefs and Manchester United fan, has gone on to win prestigious awards.
At the 18th South African Music Awards he won Best Street Urban Music Album and Male Artist of the Year.
“Winning the awards has been a big honour and it is very humbling. The Male Artist of the Year award has made me see myself as a musician across all genres and not just a hip-hop artist,” he says.
He is also the recipient of 2011 Channel O’s Most Gifted Hip-Hop Video for Victory Lap.
AKA was born in Cape Town, but moved to Joburg in 1995.
He would like to collaborate with Simphiwe Dana, whose music he describes as fresh and unique, and believes he could learn a lot from her as she makes great music.
Do you have any regrets in your life?
Not learning how to play the piano.
Describe yourself in three words?
Smart, funny and ambitious.
What is the most memorable time in your music career?
Winning two Samas was cool. Performing at the ANC 100 years celebration in Bloemfontein was really special, because I was the only hip-hop artist.
What music are you currently listening to?
Kanye, HHP’s new album and Jack Parrow.
What was the happiest day of your life?
When the Power Rangers movie came out and my parents took me to see it. I was about 10.
What are your views on SA politics?
Leave it to the politicians.
What car do you drive?
I’d rather not say.
Describe your ideal Sunday?
Making food with my other half, spending it on the couch watching movies and, when she falls asleep, I get to watch soccer.
What are you reading?
The last book I read about a month ago was Confession of Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.
When was the last time you cried?
I went to see the Lion King a while ago and when Mufasa died I cried. That was really sad.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
My birthday party at six.
What irritates you about this country?
People support you until you get big and when you’re big they want to bring you down. That’s very weird.
What makes you nervous?
I don’t get nervous, I get excited.
What is the one thing South Africans don’t know about you?
My general knowledge is really good.
What is the greatest legacy you want to leave behind?
What or who inspires you?
What do you like about living in South Africa?
The weather and the people. We’re very friendly.
What do you do to relax?
Playstation and watching soccer.
When you look at the mirror what do you see?
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
You need to have a plan. You can have the talent but if you don’t set your goals you won’t go anywhere. - Sunday Independent