Words with Friends: An Interview with Fly Anakin

Fly Anakin is my friend.

We met one ridiculously cold February night in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I remember that getting inside of the building was a task, because apparently Faith Evans was filming a video downstairs. Gathering in the names of waxx.fm and The Push, a team of weedy, wisecracking creatives banded together for a radio show all about Fly, koncept jack$on, and bstfrnd‘s latest ventures. It was a great night that ended with me and some homies watching someone vomit on the G train.

I saw Fly again at another kickback where he performed on a bill with ewonee., Foisey,  surprise guest House Shoes, among others. I was enchanted by his carefully done, frizz-free cornrows and vocal tone/lyrics that reminded me of why I got into hip hop in the first place.

From there, we developed a chill lil alliance. We kept in touch and talked about everything from music video ideas and shitty jobs, to Southern living and parenthood. I know that not every artist is going to be someone I can talk to beyond work because some relationships require certain boundaries. But, I can say that I’ve benefited from communicating with the Virginia native and he’s a solid person, as well as a great rapper.

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I asked him for the chance to speak with him in interview form and he graciously agreed. Get into our chat below.

Brooklyn White (BW): Give me the basics. How old are you, what’s your long-term goal with music, and what pushes you to continue creating?
Fly Anakin (FA): I’m 24 in July, Black Mamba type shit.. you know.
My long-term goal is to support myself and my family solely off rap. I’ll be happy then. Everyday life keeps me going creatively. I’m in a humble time period of my life right now so I’m writing my come up into existence.
BW: Do you notice some people treating you differently now that you’ve reached a certain level of success? If so, what are your thoughts?
FA: Definitely.. We never know which love is real or fake, but it’s all love at the end of the day. It’s at the point now where we can visibly see people hating on us. They be bugging out on the forums (which is a good thing) lol. More people notice me in public and shit. I’m at a interesting time of my life right now. But it’s cool, i’m levelheaded enough to handle it.
BW: I’ve seen you rap live a couple of times and you have such a passion for performing – like I can see it in your body language and feel it in your inflection. Not everyone has that, some people can’t translate their love into a performance. Does that come naturally to you or did you have to work on it over time? 
FA: It took time yo. All my early shows were with Henny L.O., we would perform at these weird ass venues when we first started. He always threw me on his sets and I did the same for him.
One summer my G ended up making the decision to move to Northern Virginia with his oldest brother Mirtaw. I was just starting to break out my shell and get comfortable with performing, but I still didn’t think I was ready to perform alone. That whole year I got show offers and knocked shit out. I kinda trained myself in the meantime and got way more into my music. I’m still learning now, but I got some experience, so I don’t get as nervous.
BW: Who are some of your favorite artists to come out of Virginia? 
FA: Mutant Academy, Neptunes, AGM, Ohbliv, Young Flexico, Mirtaw, GRT SCTT!, Monday Night, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, I can go on for mad long, we got talent for days.
BW: Tell me the backstory of ‘Backyard Boogie’. 
FA: Backyard Boogie was me challenging myself for the greater good. For years I released EP’s and built a..fan base. I was apart of plenty albums, but I never did a solo [record]. I needed one this year because I’m gonna be collaborating a lot.
Bliv and I link up pretty often to smoke and vibe out to the new shit he got on the SP. I had a folder full of beats, so I started recording in November. [But], I couldn’t get inspired to save my life. I was working at Holiday Inn at the time and we were super short staffed. I would have to pull a 10 hour shift almost everyday for weeks at a time, the shit was sucking the life outta me. I found time to hit Bliv’s crib and stocked up on beats, about 4 hours worth.
So, with this bogus ass job and all this cool [music] shit happening. I got fed up one morning and quit. On the way home, my car started stalling out. I wanted to give up on everything that day. Once the smoke cleared, I was stuck in the crib. I got my shit together and started listening to the beats I collected. Wrote & recorded a good 75% of the album in about 2 weeks and it was wrapped up a month later, after waiting for features, artwork and last minute mixes.
BW: What do you want people to learn from your life and your music? Do you feel like you have a message? 
FA: I want people to recognize you can do whatever you put your mind to. As cliché as it sounds, it’s serious. The trick is believing in it… Making something outta nothing. But when you got nothing, it’s hard to see past that shit. I don’t know one soul that made it out of Hillside Court projects doing what I’m doing at this level and that’s my motivation. Anything is possible when you believe in self. Dig?

Keep up with Fly Anakin by following him on Twitter.

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