DKTM Series Episode 4: 95
Welcome to the DKTM Series. The DKTM Collective, short for “DON’T. KILL. THE. MOVEMENT.”, is a collective of artists, producers, and overall creatives that have come together in order to pursue their artistic endeavors. They have bolstered an impressive fanbase within the DMV area and are reaching for even further heights with every project they release.
Every episode, we will focus on one of the collective’s artists, until we reach the end of the roster.
Below, we get into our fourth member, 95.
Nice to meet you man, my name is Sheku. Lets get this interview started!
So, how would you describe your music to somebody?
Oh man my music, so we started in I wanna say 2016, and about then is when we started recording. We had like play around tracks never really released anything, but there was one it was called “Murder Music”.
So the first time I recorded it wasn't initially going to be for that song but I had showed them the verse and the group was like “bro you gotta use this” so i used it. Outside of that I haven't really put out a whole lot yet, but I do have in mind what I want my first tape to be.
So do you produce?
Nah, Nah, I rap
Oh okay you rap, so you haven’t put out anything as of yet.
Yeah I haven't put out a whole lot of stuff, right now, I have an unreleased track called “Gas”, we recorded it, I wanna say, last month, but I do have some on my phone.
<He plays us some unreleased music from the DKTM vault which was heat.>
Oh shit bro, that’s nice!!
Thank You! So, its me and Lex on that record.
Oh okay, so did he produce it or is he featured on the track as well?
Yeah he’s rapping on it, but Mouse is the one that produced the track.
Bro, Mouse has been on some amazing time man!
Yeah for production with us its either really Mouse or Baat Choy that does it.
And what about Aghori, what does he do?
Yeah, so he really does grungy beats and sounds he's the best for that and if you want something that sounds raw he's the go to guy. But the way I do stuff is i can come up with verses like really easy, especially if the beat is hitting.
Once I hear it I just get to typing.
Sometimes I might not like it or it just comes so naturally that I have to save it. Other times I’ll have some stuff in pocket, and if I feel like its good I’ll save it for when I feel like the time is right.
Like there some lyrics I have from 2017 for when I feel like its ready or even if I come up with something better.
Wow that’s crazy, do you feel like a lot of rappers do that?
Oh yeah a lot of people have some stuff written for when they feel like they’re ready to put it out or they continue to work on it more and more. At the same time though saving lyrics and continuously working on them can be counter intuitive.
I say this because each year you grow as a person, the verse that you wrote then may not be the person you are now. Like the space and mind you had then can definitely changes to where you are now.
The content that you create may evolve and get better then what you had created before.
Yeah, that definitely makes a lot of sense. As you grow as a person and as an artist, so does the music you create.
So my next question is where are you representing?
Ah man PG County all day everyday. The area is extremely important to me, because a lot of people come from the area, but the DMV as a whole is just where its at.
Like I was born in DC, but I was raised in PG so the area has always been my home, that's where I was raised. As a whole, one thing I do want to see, is the DMV becoming more unified because you’ll have people from DC, PG, or Virginia not really get along and I don’t really understand that.
This area is nothing but talent, we’re all from the same area so let's get along and get together and create. The DMV should not be divided even though there are so many different styles and genres there's no reason for us not come together and collaborate and test these new sounds as a whole.
Yeah man I definitely see where you’re coming from. We gotta stop being divided, its definitely bad for the overall culture.
Yeah exactly, and of course the ones that made it like Wale, Rico Nasty, and whatnot. They can collab and make music easy, but in terms of a local standpoint, a lot of people feel like if you are getting more shine than me I don’t really want to fuck with you.
To me that does not make any sense, why not mix both sound bases that you have and and get bigger together.
Yeah definitely, in terms of our sound we don’t really have one, so the best thing to do is come together, create, and just put more music out there for the world to listen to.
But talking about creating, who inspires you on a regular basis?
Ah man, that’s a hard question because it always rotates. For me, my number one has always been Cole. Cole is one of the reasons I started writing music, I have been writing music since I was 12, and it started with poetry, but then hip hop came in and I started listening to Big, Pac, Cole Nas.
Oh okay, yeah man, the song you showed us, I was getting Nas and Cozz vibes, and that's the feeling you kind of give me bro, with a mix of a little J.Rock.
And not to say that I’m comparing you to them but I can definitely hear the influence they have had on your music.
Yeah exactly, but Cole is honestly one of my biggest influences.
Like you guys know how like people have comparisons between Kendrick and Cole and I don’t even know why. I really like both honestly but for me Cole is more relatable because of the stuff he talks about.
“4 Your Eyez Only”, on the last track, that is song is so relatable.
Like Cole says stuff and you can picture what he says. Same thing with with Big and Nas. When Nas blessed us with Illmatic of course none of us were born but listening to it you can hear and feel New York. Like their music tells stories that we can relate to.
Aside from Cole another really big influence for me is my mom because she used to write to.
She was really big on writing and freestyling and one day I wrote something for her. I don’t really remember what exactly it was but she told keep doing what I’m doing. And from then on music started to evolve for me, it just started to feel natural after a while it started to become second nature.
Like put a beat up if I like it I can just start writing, then after I finish I might not be feeling it but I’ll save it.
Wow man, that makes sense. That’s really the power of practicing and getting better.
What do you believe is your singularity within the group, like what attributes allow you to stand out within DKTM Collective?
That’s a good question, so musically, the way I sound is completely unique, so even my group mates can say when I rap while I do take influence from Cole, I sound like myself, and I didn’t really understand it until I played myself back and then it started to make sense.
So how would you describe your sound to someone who just now hearing it in three words?
So laid back, chill, and like Nipsey (RIP) prolific.
Wow man, I ain't gonna like the first time I heard Nipsey was Victory Lap, but after I went back and listen to some of his old music did it really start to click with me.
Yeah man one of the greats, I first heard him on “Mailbox Money”, his death still shocks me.
The impact he had on the community was not talked about until after he passed.
Yeah man. As they say, they don’t love you till you’re gone. One of the best and most respected artists to enter the industry. Rest In Peace, Nipsey.
So moving forward what aspects of your character, and your music blends with and empowers DKTM?
Honestly just being able to be versatile, and my story telling ability.
My music has to have a story in it, and it doesn't even have to be anything about me but as long as i can structure something together I feel great about the final product.
Yeah I’ve noticed that each of you have your own individual talents that you guys bring to the group. Aghori is like the mad scientist so he's not as uniform, Mouse is more psychedelic and grungy with his sound, Morgan is more like SZA with her sound.
It’s really awesome that so many different sounds can exist within a group of artists and you guys are somewhat all independent, but you guys fit together like puzzle pieces.
Yeah exactly that why I like that we have as many members that we do in our collective, because even though everything is set under the DKTM brand like for example, when Lex and Mouse dropped, that sound came from the group as a whole.
Yeah exactly, and that's what I think really sets you guys apart, so many different sounds that are able to mesh together. So my last question to you is where do you think at this very moment if you weren’t pursuing a career in music.
If music wasn’t something that I wanted to do and wasn’t something I loved, but I feel like I would just be working. Like work come home and just do what a regular person does. But honestly I would’ve somehow gotten involved in music regardless.
Like I gave DKTM the name, like it first it was “Don’t Kill The Messenger”, but then what was our message, but as we started to grow i realized this music thing is bigger than us, what we’re doing is a movement.
What we’re doing can’t be killed, can't be touched, and it brings everybody together.
So simple, Don’t Kill The Movement.
That, right there, shows that you really stand by your collective and your brand.
Yeah, I say this cause at first it was just five of us, Me, Mouse, Lucy, Lex, and Pope and we didn’t really have a name at first but as we recorded more and more I told them if we're gonna be doing this we gotta have a name so that people know who we are.
I told them from the very beginning what were doing is going to be big, and we haven’t really been doing this that long but we’ve made some really big moves as a collective.
Honestly yeah man I get it, I can feel the impact you guys are going to have on the music community within the DMV, and as a collective what you guys are bringing to the table is honestly legendary.
It was nice meeting you bro, and I look forward to see what you guys bring to the table in the future.
If you enjoyed this interview and want to stay up to date with 95 you can find his SoundCloud above, and you can also follow him on Instagram. While you there you can also check out DKTM on Instagram and check out our previous interviews with Baat Choy, Morgan Marsh, and Pope Loud.
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