Interview – K-Beta (2011)
I recently had the opportunity to ask some questions to an artist from the DMV who I think released one of the best album thus far in 2011. K-Beta has been paying dues in hip hop and in life. His album, Inglorious Beta, is a must listen for any hip hop fan. As an emcee, his skill knows no bounds. As a man, he resides in the same struggles and successes that we do. I encourage you to check out the album and also check out what the man has to say about music, the DMV, and life in general.
HHD: How did you make the transition from being a fan of hip hop music to actually making the music yourself?
K-Beta: I started rapping when I was 9. Back then, I used to emulate all of my favorite rappers, and eventually, my original styles began to develop and blossom.
HHD: Describe your evolution as an artist. I noticed that you had a few releases prior to Inglorious Beta. How do those albums differ from your current release?
K-Beta: Every album..mixtape..EP..whatever is a period piece. The difference between them is the shit we are into at the time of making it.
HHD: I may be partial because I spent a lot of time in the DMV previously but the hip hop scene seems to be red hot right now. So many dope hip hop records are coming out of the area. Can we get your take on what’s been happening in regards to the hip hop community in the DMV within the last two or three years?
K-Beta: There are a lot of great MCs in DC MD and VA. The potential for taking the reins of this rap shit is enormous. The problem is, we have a tendency to fuck things up, and it’s already happening. There are a lot of “Gangsta Rappers” around the way, and you can’t really do that where I’m from, unless you’re ready to live those lyrics. It’s not new, though. Many of the so-called Gangsta Rappers are the absolute least “gangsta” people you know. I guess niggas got a pass in other parts of the country, but that doesn’t go down around here. Therefore, a lot of things that could potentially be great for us all wind up bringing us under more scrutiny by the powers that be. I swear, a lot of these rappers are borderline snitches. We all do what we do, but a fake street dude rapping about shit that he has no knowledge of will bring heat to a nigga like me..who isn’t even giving that energy off. They just aren’t playing the tape all the way through, and are thus never prepared for the ending.
HHD: I always like to put an artist on the spot and have them talk about one of their contemporaries. So tell me about this guy J-$crilla who put in some work on this album. What makes him somebody people want to work with?
K-Beta: J-$crilla is my favorite producer..hands down. He earned that a long time ago, and the rest of the world will dig what I’m saying real soon.
HHD: What’s the thought process behind releasing Inglorious Beta in a clean/edited version in 2010 and then in 2011 release the full bonus version (unedited)?
K-Beta: Honestly, that whole process was really a mess. The release of the clean version as a free download was a good move. I wasn’t really sweating the whole iTunes thing, because I sell these hard copies in the streets, and I see that money immediately. I haven’t gotten any money from iTunes or Amazon or whatever, so its just there ya know. Get that…or get that. I went ahead and put it out with the bonus tracks, because I wanted to give my folks some new shit to bang while I prep this new album.
HHD: How has the album been received so far in your estimation? How would you describe Inglorious Beta to hip hop fans who have yet to hear it?
K-Beta: Everybody loves Inglorious Beta. I don’t describe my music..just give it a listen, y’all.
HHD: I am going to ask you to break down a track for us from the album. Life Of Crhyme bangs hard from start to finish with no hook. It’s just straight bar after bar for nearly eight minutes. I don’t want you to speak on every aspect of the rhyme but can you give us a synopsis of where you have been and where you are now in life?
K-Beta: I’ve been thru some things. Who hasn’t? I’m grateful for the ability to express it this way. Right now, life is hectic. I’m 33 years old, and I’ve spent more than half of my life in some sort of institution. I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict. I was clean for three years, amd I started drinking again last year. Soon, I will be in rehab, because this past year has seen all of the Y.E.T. (You’re Eligible Too) become reality. Part of me doesn’t want to go, but that’s lower self, ya know. Hard lesson after hard lesson. Still and all, I’m immensely blessed, and no circumstance can change that.
HHD: What has been the proudest moment of in life so far as an artist and then as a man?
K-Beta: As an artist: My album release party. As a man: Becoming a father.
HHD: How will you ultimately define success as a hip hop artist?
K-Beta: I have no idea, Funk.
HHD: Artists have a lot of different takes on blogs in terms of what they contribute and what they take away, so finish this sentence and elaborate. Blogs are______________.
K-Beta: Blogs are there.
HHD: Tell folks what you are up to now. Do you have any other projects or collaborations in the works?
K-Beta: Yeah. I’m working on a lot of stuff. I take my time, man. The new K-Beta shit will be out late 2012.
HHD: Do you have any other thoughts for the average hip hop fan out there?
K-Beta: Do the knowledge. Study the art, and keep an open mind. Peace.