HeadKrack Dishes on ‘Canal Street’ Film & Who Won’t Freestyle Live on Radio
Rapper and radio personality HeadKrack spoke to Rapzilla about his upcoming projects, “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” and his role in the movie “Canal Street.”
HeadKrack isn’t a total stranger to film, his IMDB page features a few roles. In his latest role, he gets to pretty much play himself and adds a nice bit of depth to this 2018 upcoming drama.
The director of “Canal Street,” Rhyan LaMarr, is close friends with HeadKrack’s music manager Jonavon Stephens. The emcee was talking about doing some different projects and Stevens got him connected with “Canal Street.”
“I told my cast mates (radio show) that an opportunity came up where they needed to shoot more content for the film,” HeadKrack explained. “Everyone was with it, and we added a different dimension to the movie. The overtone of the movie is a little bit serious at times so we are the little bit of paprika to add some spice to it.”
He said working on this film “definitely feels like a level up.” He mentioned that the talent, for example, actors Bryshere Gray and Mekhi Phifer being a cause of that.
“[The role] opens up the door for conversation and prejudice, I think a lot of people often cast the guilty verdict on sight alone, and this movie portrays it as some things are not always what they seem. Sometimes the answer isn’t always there and you have to get to the root of it,” said HeadKrack.
The radio personality says that although it seems the U.S. has come a long way with race relations, there are always forces trying to “hold it down into a 60s mentality.”
In addition to its strong social messages, “Canal Street” is a movie that some may consider faith-based.
“I think sometimes when people put labels on things it kind of takes away from the element of surprise. It doesn’t matter that it’s a faith-based film, it’s a good film,” he said. “If you want to get technical, the movie ‘Ghost’ is a faith-based film. No one threw that label on it. If people go into it with an open mind as well as the cast and soundtrack, I don’t think you’re going to see a faith-based movie, you’re going to see a good movie that is faith-based.”
Speaking of soundtracks, the cast of this film has a diverse background in music as well. A couple of members of the cast have tracks on the official soundtrack and HeadKrack may be one of them. As of right now, nothing is confirmed, but it may be in the works.
“It remains to be seen, I submitted a track and we’ll see what gets picked. I’m excited to just be in the mix of so many dope people.”
HeadKrack’s biggest claim to fame is as a key member of “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.”
“‘The Rickey Smiley Morning Show’ is like the Wu-Tang Clan of radio, a lot of personalities and different people from all walks of life,” said HeadKrack. “Rickey Smiley is a comedian, also a legendary prank call phone maker, civil rights activist – people relate to him. I come from a New York point of view while Rickey is the down south point of view.”
The show also features one of the first female emcees to go platinum, Da Brat. She brings an industry perspective and represents Chicago. Gary with da Tea does the gossip. Miss Juicy is a little person from “Little Women: Atlanta.”
DJ Jah Lion Sound is from the Virgin Islands. Special K is a comedian and Rock T does sports.
“We’re like the Justice League.”
He said one of his best experiences on the show was an interview with Kanye West.
“We had Kanye West on the show and he doesn’t do a lot of interviews. I feel like we connected on some weird level because during the interview he was only really looking at me, we had a connection,” HeadKrack shared. “It’s dope to interact with people. Every interview is an experience unless it’s a bad one and those are far few in between.”
A key part of the show is the “Flow and Go” segment. HeadKrack and Da Brat freestyle about current events every Friday. It’s been happening for two years already.
“No one has ever challenged me and I’m looking forward to it. We ask people and they’ll be like, ‘Nah it’s too early’ or ‘Nah, I didn’t prepare’,” he revealed. “Kendrick Lamar is the only guy I can get to freestyle no problem. He’s like Evil Knievel, sometimes it’s ultra on point and sometimes it’s a little rickety but better than most. But at the end of the day at least you know he’s freestyling. That makes you respect him even more.”
HeadKrack said it’s not as cool when the artist kicks a written or prepares something. He at least wants them to be upfront about it.
“There was an artist whose career I saved. If I would have aired the unedited version of the freestyle out, he would be done,” he said. “I salute him because at least he was willing to rap.”
He continued, “I remember one time Lil Dickey came through and he had just murdered Sway so I was excited. He said had he known we would ask him to rap he would have prepared something. I somewhat respect that because he admitted that freestyling was something he was not strong in.”
“I remember coming up in the ranks, I’d be excited to rap. It’s amazing the people who will do it for you and the ones that won’t. Like Ja Rule will freestyle no problem. Nelly told me he would and then I got a text from his manager that said he won’t. C’mon bro, that’s weird.”
HeadKrack’s break in radio came when he was in High School. He used to do freestyle battles on 100.3 Jams in Dallas. He’d win all the time and built relationships there. He soon took an internship.
Fast forward a few years and he was in a rap group called the Bodega Brovas. A new radio station came to town and he and his friend wanted to work there.
“We went down, made a tape and then got a callback. We were expecting weekends or overnights but they gave us a 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. show and we rocked out,” he shared. “What made us stand out is we weren’t polished, we didn’t go to radio school, we represented the streets. Radio back then had a lot more freedom. We had a lot of power. As the radio stations got smaller and smaller and became more corporate, they took away some of that power. We had to play certain stuff. I feel like night shows should be able to play whatever music.”
These humble beginnings helped propel HeadKrack to be on this huge platform. He and his castmates feel the responsibility to educate their listeners and steer them in the right direction.
“On the radio, we are people’s source of news in some situations. You definitely have to be on top of what people talk about. You need to be an authority,” HeadKrack said. “I think as far as perspectives, I don’t think everyone always says what the popular answer is. Everybody brings their own opinion. The only time it really gets sticky is when it happens to people we know. You try not to beat up a lot of people. I never want to do a story to berate anyone. I give my commentary and I keep it pushing. I bring facts and never attack.”
He continued, “Da Brat catches it the worst because she knows all these people…sometimes it messes with her relationships and friendships. At the end of the day, we are just doing our job.”
Lastly, HeadKrack has music coming. At the root of everything he does lies the heart of an emcee.
“I’ve been working on my solo album for a minute. I’m in a group called the Bodega Brovas, but my solo album is going to come out next,” he explained. “I just inked a deal with Empire Distribution, they are going to put out my project Called The Rainmaker. I’ve been reluctant to throw things out there because of the way the Internet moves.”
He continued, “I made an album that’s me but it appeals to a lot of people. Everyone has a varying opinion of what their favorite songs are. Method Man is on the album, reggae artist Serani, and there’s another guest under wraps.”
As a DJ and rapper, HeadKrack has had the unique view of being a participant and observer in hip-hop. He provided his top five list of rappers which are:
LL Cool J
Look out for HeadKrack’s traveling comedy show, “The Live Comedy Mixtape” featuring HeadKrack, 4 – Ize and U – George, where they take hip-hop and merge it with comedy and do live rhyme sketches and make stories up on the spot.