IKESLondon rapper Ikes is back with his new single ‘Clarity’ featuring Hayley Cassidy, a solidly charming and soulful “conscious rap” number, lifted from EP ‘OutsideIn’, produced by OneBlackRussian and with mix and mastering by Edward Nixon.

The accompanying Ashleigh Jadee-directed video, which carries the message of the song in which Ikes talks about seeking clarity in a turbulent relationship… “I think everyone can relate to this song on some level. We’ve all been in that place where you start seeing someone and then a little down the line you’re wondering where you both stand. The guy may want to avoid putting a title on things, but that leaves the woman really lost. Where’s the clarity?” explains Ikes.

How are you today Ikes?

I’m awesome today thank you! Still buzzin over last night’s studio session..

Thats cool…How did you start and when?  

It’s all a long story but I was actually a Garage MC waaaaay back, used to go under the name of IQ haha, and as I grew through college, I think I was around 17, I made the transition to rap as the hiphop culture just resonated with me more. That was around 2003/4.

Tell us everything we should know about ‘Clarity’ featuring Hayley Cassidy…

Well it’s produced by OneBlackRussian, very talented guy with Edward Nixon who added some final touches late on during the mix and mastering process. I think everyone can relate to this song on some level. We’ve all been in that place where you start seeing someone and then a little down the line when things develop you’re wondering where you both stand. The guy might wanna avoid putting a title on things and just doesn’t want the pressure, but that leaves the woman really lost. Exploring those emotions are what we do during this record.IkesAnd about the Ashleigh Jadee-directed video…(above)

She’s amazing, isn’t she? We’ve worked together in the past on videoshoots and photoshoots also, however I’ve always wanted to work with her on a bigger production. The experience was great, women are just so organized haha, shooting was a breeze. Really stress-free, which I really liked.

Can you talk about your EP ‘OutsideIn’…What were your influences whilst writing it?

The main influence was my position in the music industry, where I thought I stood in terms of progress and impact. Like a self-evaluation project. I spent a good 2 years travelling, visiting music conferences in different territories, with the aim of building an international network, and some buzz overseas. In my experience when I’ve gone to the states or Europe I felt the audience were just a little more receptive to my art. So I guess I felt isolated, somewhat rejected, a little frustrated, yet quite content with my progress. Still on the outside, looking in.

Is there anything you would do differently in your career?

Well I think that this is my story, and any bad decisions or mistakes I’ve made are just pages in my book. Makes me the individual I am, and the artist I am today which I’m grateful for. I can only be myself, and as long as I stay true to myself, I’ll be good.

What has been the hardest part of being in the music industry for you?

The hardest part is creating and believing in a sound that may be seem as quite niche; it’s very easy to do what everyone else is doing you know? And follow the crowd, make what’s popular right now. But I believe in doing my own thing. Makes things a little hard at times as I tend not to get the exposure or same opportunities as others. I still continue on and try to be better at what I do.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

Probably Nas, he’s the reason why I started rapping in the first place, and still till this day I favourite rapper. Listening to him takes me back to my childhood, the Hackney council estate I grew up on, just to grace the same record as him would be a real milestone for me.. One day..

Tell us about your next live show and why we should be there.

Well you should all be there by default coz I’m totally amazing!!! Haha!!! Ok, what I mean is I put on a live show where I give my all to whoever comes to see me whether that’s 15 or 1500 people. I leave it all on that stage, high energy right through. I mainly perform with a 4 piece live band; I just love live music and really bringing my sound to life. The stage is the place I feel most alive. So stay tuned to my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram upcoming next live dates!

What do you have planned next?

Right now I’m locked away in the studio just working on some new records with new producers that I’m really excited about, that’s all I can really say for now but 2016 is shaping up to be quite the year for me…Touch wood ☺

To follow Ikes’ journey, you can find him on…


By Fabrizio Belluschi ©FM