Aklesso Talks Collabs with GAWVI, New Album, & Old vs New Gen
2018 was a wild year for Aklesso Agama. After releasing the Dead God EP in the year before, all he did was guest on a couple of features. His musical prowess, well-arranged performances, and humble attitude got him noticed by GAWVI. Fast-forward and the young rapper found himself on the “Panorama Tour” and album. He was also named a Rapzilla Freshmen. 2019 is continuing the trend, albeit, a bit more quietly…for now.
“This year is just about growing and working with people I’ve wanted to meet and grow with,” he said. “More opportunities to write for people too.”
Most of these writing opportunities he can’t speak on yet. One of the biggest spots he can name is helping GAWVI write “Hope You Say.”
Aklesso got to where he’s at with a good bit of wise hustle. He learned how to put a set together by studying big artists. He very much feels music is a collaboration even if you do it by yourself.
“Music is better when it’s a shared experience.”
He linked up with a promoter in the Virginia area where he was attending Liberty University. The plan was to perform locally for one year for free. He basically wanted to own the market on Virginia. During that time he perfected his live performances and music. Aklesso built a buzz and got his team of Enzo Gran (dancer) and Rhomar Jessy (background vocals) together. Gran is now a DJ and producer and Jessy is an upcoming artist who was also named a Freshmen.
Toward the end of that year, the promoter was running a show that had B.O.B. as a headliner and GAWVI on the bill. At the time, the Reach Records artist was not really doing his own music. He was DJing live sets in addition to producing banger after banger.
Aklesso said he “killed” his set and GAWVI took notice. “You guys are crazy,” said GAWVI. “I want to work.”
GAWVI & Opportunities
He sees GAWVI is doing the Air1 tour and is going to be in LA. So he DM’s him and says, “You’re in my neck of the woods.”
GAWVI got him tickets, they chopped it up, and he told Aklesso he wanted to have him on his next album.
A couple of months later, they record “Get Em” and “Guys Night Out.” Eventually, Aklesso had a song that GAWVI himself wanted for his album, so they did that one too. To even further solidify this musical relationship, the producer grabbed Aklesso, Gran, and Jessy for his “Panorama Tour.” As of right now, the four of them are still in the studio creating a new batch of songs.
Continuing on his “music is better when shared” statement, Aklesso was grateful to be named a Rapzilla Freshmen alongside some friends. Jessy and TROSS were mentioned, but he also is friends and was part of a rap collective with Czar Josh at Liberty. He even gets together with Jon Keith whenever they are in the same cities.
Now, the 25-year-old is ready to make a musical return with his own project. He revealed that the project is basically done and hopes to drop it in the late summer or early fall. Until then, he is probably going to go “the singles route.”
“I want to share what I’ve been going through the last couple of years. I do music, one for myself and to spread this message of hope that God has given me but also to help others who have gone through things. There is hope!”
He continued, “I feel like the songs are HARD. Everyone I play the songs for tells me ‘You need to put this out’.”
The Next Generation
Aklesso wants his music to be a step above the rest. He looks at Christian rap of the past, then to Christian rap of the present, the mainstream rap of the present, and tries to create hip-hop for the future.
He feels that the new generation might get some unfair flack about some of their music or topical choices on their songs. Does that make the new generation misunderstood?
“The older generation understand it, they just don’t like it,” he said with a laugh. “If you look at music, it tends to repeat itself. ‘We don’t like the lyrics, the music, and we are going to make it this’.”
He adds, “[The pioneers] made it their own and made it Christian. The new generation takes that and wants to use some of that and rap how main people are rapping – through the lens of being a believer. The entire book of Ester doesn’t mention God or his plan, but you can see him working through her life regardless. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Aklesso, extremely, self-aware, appreciates the older generation for laying the groundwork. With not one ounce of disrespect in his tone, he feels the evolution from the old guard to the new guard is necessary. He entered Liberty University with a call to do missions and this is his field.
“People need to be okay with change. When we get older, we’ll be those same people not willing to accept it too.”
Stay tuned for part two with Aklesso next week. We’ll dig a bit into his upbringing and his goals for listeners of his music.