Virginia's Finest: Intalek Interview

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While Moco, PG, and DC continue to pull acclaim after the rise of Wale, Southern Virginia is building a style all its own. One rapper at the center of the 757 movement is Intalek, RapGenius Editor and rising star. Intalek’s style combines simple, yet engaging production and a poetic flow. What arises is a powerful attack of the mind, sharing frustrations, love, and passion in artful tracks. Intalek’s recent release and star of a long line of tapes, Lives and Vibes, gain international acclaim, with fans reaching as far as Germany. I had the chance to speak with Intalek, my fellow Virginian, about his progress in the scene and a recent mock of the BET Cypher.

[RapGenius] What is the state of Virginia rap?

[Intalek] VA music, in general, is actually in a good place in my opinion. I pretty much try to keep myself involved and out as much as possible, checking out and participating in the local shows in the area. I think it’s definitely making a turn for the better and the support that we all have for one another is something I haven’t seen in quite some time.

[RG]Lives and Vibes was a mixtape that gained international accolades. What did you learn from the tape?

[I] I learned that anything is possible and you never know who is actually listening. I’ve had fans from as young as 9, 10 years of age to even over 40 years old telling me how much they enjoyed the project. To reach international fans was definitely something producer Ritchcraft and I didn’t think would happen. It was fun and we both learned that being yourself and original is always the better way to go. Music from the heart!

[RG] Do you have any crazy fans?

[I] [Laughs] Naw not at all! My fans are just as avid about hip hop as I am. I think I’m more crazy about them than they are me!

[RG] Where do you find your biggest influence?

[I] My biggest influence is the world around me. Whether it be news, friends, family, school, society, religion, everything. I’m a big documentary fan…like that’s all I really care to watch is documentaries! It’s sickening! But you learn so much by doing so…I just try to stay socially aware and soak up the stories I hear, experience and see and put it in music.

[RG] Where is your favorite place to bust a freestyle?

[I] Home! Alone! [Laughs] Might not seem as such but I’m shy about things like that.

[RG] Many of your raps are stories, similar to those of Lupe Fiasco or Aesop Rock. Where did you get this style?

[I] Honestly, I always wrote stories, but they were always in the form of a poem. I was heavy on poetry back in elementary and middle school. Still to this day I do it but not as much as before. My original musical influences of storytelling really stem from Slick Rick then later on listening to 2Pac, R. Kelly and Eminem. I love the way they were able to translate a story into a rhyming pattern, even changing their voices and putting emotion into. Geniuses in my opinion.

[RG] With whom do you want to work?

[I] Everybody. There really isn’t a person I wouldn’t want to work with.

[RG] Your raps feature expert production and control. Why did you choose to focus on this alongside the raps?

[I] I think for me it all has to be about artistic integrity. It’s easy to put anybody on a feature, but to bring the best out of each other really takes genuine approach. I seem to be a bit complex when I approach my music so my features do seem a bit less. It’s just harder for me to translate my music without actually doing it, but then by that time the song is done! [Laughs] But there are times where I listen to beats and I just hear others on it. Not me, but them. So I suggest it to them or reference it for them without being a collaborative feature on it. That, to me, is being an artist and not just a rapper.

[RG] You made a Virginia BET Cypher. Do you think that you can take on the main stage?

[I] [Laughs] There’s a bit of a misunderstanding with that whole cypher thing. My homie (Jetnoise Cardi, featured in the video) hit me up one night about recording a cypher similar to the BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher. All publicity is somewhat good publicity in my opinion so I agreed. We went in and did our thing. BET has no affiliation to what we did. We just pushed it as a BET-style cypher. Just to clear the air!

As far as being on the main stage, I’ve been ready for that opportunity since the first BET Hip Hop Awards cypher! I’m just waiting for the stars to align the right way for me to earn my place there.

[RG] What’s next?

[I] 2 EPs on the way: one with Beautiful Noise again and another with my man Icarus. We’re wrapping up the Intalek/Icarus EP now which is going to be dope as hell! So stay tuned for that. Videos are definitely on the way. The musicians in my team, Aspire To Inspire Music Group, all have their solo mixtapes coming out. We’re all working over here!

[RG] Any message to fans and the hiphop community?

[I] Hip hop is love. Support.

Grab the newest tape, HelloSpaceWorld2, and the classic and Lives and Vibes Intalek here. See the lyrics for yourself! Follow Intalek on Twitter!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFeRz7SFKJQ&feature=share