Hip-hop, anime, and rap. I bet you didn’t think you’d see those things in the same sentence. Neither did I until I stumbled upon TekForce at Classic Game Fest, rapping about video games and anime. The familiar Super Mario-like beat caught my ear and it was so unique and geeky! In a world where hip-hop has become more about fame, antics, and money, TekForce is a breath of fresh air and just downright cool!
Interview questions by Catherine Gonzales
When did your hip-hop history begin?
TekForce: My hip-hop history began when I was about seven or eight. My older brother had a lot of old school cassette tapes like LL Cool J, The Fat Boys, and Slick Rick. That was really my first entrance into what hip-hop was. He would beatbox along with the tracks, and it gave me a feel of this new artform I never heard of. It was all downhill from there, lol.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up that have influenced your style today?
TekForce: I was influenced by so many artists, like the ones I mentioned. I listened to Nas, Biggie, Black Moon, Souls Of Mischief, Snoop, Ice Cube … I listened to everybody! The one group that impacted me the most has to be A Tribe Called Quest. When I was 17, I listened to Midnight Marauders, and that was the album that me want to do hip-hop. I think if you grew up in that era of hip-hop, where there were so many classics, you can’t help but to have a piece of that history resonate in you.
Do you feel like hip-hop has gone away from its roots and what do you hope to say with your music?
TekForce: I feel like some of the core values aren’t there anymore. I grew up in a time where we really respected the art form and the emcee. Nowadays, many artists are in it for the fame and the check. That’s cool, if that’s what you want to be after, but I feel I have a responsibility to teach the younger generation how a true emcee is supposed to be. Most importantly to be yourself over all other things.
Your music involving anime and video games is a unique experience. When did you decide to rap about things not normally talked about in this genre?
TekForce: I think I’ve always wanted to talk about video games, anime, and classic 80’s movies, I actually tried in the early 00’s, but it wasn’t really the time for it. There’s actually a genre called “Nerdcore,” that focuses on these subjects and several emcees came out and that showed me the way before I did it. Those things were a part of me growing up and I felt by talking about it, I could reach other people that grew up like I did. Plus it’s just HELLA FUN, lol.
What is your favorite anime?
TekForce: My current favorite right now is “Food Wars Shokugeki No Soma.” There traditionally haven’t been enough cooking anime, and it’s just a compelling, fun series! I encourage anyone that reads cooking manga to pick it up. Of course I’m a “One Piece” man, dig “One Punch Man” … now that I think about it, I like anime with “ONE” in it. But, my fav of all time has to be “Ah My Goddess.” It was one of the first manga I read damn near completely through.
What is your favorite video game or games you’re looking forward to?
TekForce: Favorite game past-wise would have to be either “Chrono Trigger.” It doesn’t matter how many years I come to revisit it, it’s still just as dope as when I left it. Plus, so many games incorporated that triple team tactic that just sets it apart from others. Right now, I’m actually playing a TON of “No Man’s Sky.” It’s just to me the first REALLY open world space exploration/survival game. It gives you complete freedom to explore your galaxy, meet different aliens … I think it’s heavily influenced by “Ready, Player One” by Ernest Cline, which is one of my favorite current books, too. The game I’m most looking forward to is “Horizon Zero Dawn” on PS4. It looks like a futuristic version of the new “Tomb Raider series,” which isn’t a bad thing.
What projects do you have lined up?
TekForce: I have a new album coming out next month called “Server Crash pt.1.” I’m excited about this project because it’s a shift musically for me. My first album “Tek Support” had different concepts, mostly gamer-related. This one is more personal, a little darker, but talks more about my everyday struggles. Being a father, boyfriend, and troubles in the workplace, but there still will be some gamer in there … don’t worry, lol. The album comes out September 29th!
Where can we find you next?
TekForce: I’m in the process of setting up an album release party, and inviting friends to help celebrate it. I should be at Retropalooza in October as well. You can get any updates on my website. Be sure to look out for a track I have coming out based on “Stranger Things”!