Ash Shakur creates with purpose and unstoppable drive. Not your everyday Hip Hop artist, the South London based talent writes children’s books and comics, designs his own clothes, and finds time to exhibit his art.
Ash started sharing his music properly at the end of 2015, making a very noticeable introduction with his doppelgänger style music video entitled “Who Is It”. In it, we see Ash sporting a very vibrant coat from an old Jeremy Scott x Adidas collaboration, casually delivering an uplifting message with his smooth and effortless flow. While on set for shooting the video, his energy attracted the attention of the neighbourhood children, all excited and lined up to get their scooters and football trainers signed by the inspirational Mr Shakur.
The young lyrical therapist has started how he means to go on. Gearing up to the release of his full length musical debut – his EP Hare This - he’s already given us a taste of what to expect from the project with the lead track “Nokia”.
We caught up with Ash Shakur just in time for Ash Wednesday.
COZY MAG: You express yourself in a variety of ways. Why is creativity important to you?
ASH SHAKUR: It's important to me because this is something I've been doing from an early age. First of all it's fun. I’ve grown up knowing how powerful my thoughts and ideas are, that they can be sonically or visually translated to people, and that’s amazing to me. The fact that you can see what I'm showing you or you're listening to what I'm saying, just creating a whole new space for folks - that’s great. If I didn’t create it, it wouldn’t exist and we would have nothing to talk about haha. The best thing about creativity for me is the feeling and I can express that in my work, and others can feel that too or feel something else within it.
CM: What’s your favourite creative outlet?
AS: Good old pencil and paper; that’s where most of my ideas get recorded on but the outlet would be visual art for sure.
CM: We love the clothes you design, especially the baseball caps – are they for sale?
AS: Thank you, I appreciate that. I'm not too sure; I get asked that question a lot. I made them for myself and a few other people but I would like to think so. The demand for them has been really good so hopefully soon.
CM: You dropped a massive project on Christmas Day called Fridays With Ash, what is it about Fridays that appeals to you?
AS: Everyone loves Fridays. It's that day for you to do what you want in the evenings, to step out and go somewhere nice. It was cool to drop it on Christmas, which fell on a Friday last year, so people got to chill with me sonically over the holidays, and vibe. It so happens that New Years Eve fell on a Friday, as well as my birthday, and if you haven't spent Fridays with Ash I suggest you do so this Friday!
CM: “When Birds Call’ (one of the tracks from Fridays With Ash) is an absolute jam. We noticed that in one of the lines you mention not liking Twitter. Why’s that?
AS: Thank you. When Twitter first came out I wasn't really feeling it. Folks are talking about random stuff on there and you’re limited to about 140 characters I believe. Folks having fights on there, I'm thinking I'm not really going to speak on it so why get one. I don’t have time for that haha. It doesn't appeal to me. A new platform will come out and it will be on to the next. I can't keep up with them. I'm an old soul at heart; I still use AOL.
CM: How did Hare This come about as a project?
AS: Basically I had some studio equipment at home. I knew how to use it a little. I made a demo project of Hare This in the summer of 2014. I made the artwork for it but I was like “No, I do not feel the mixing of this”, and it was a shame because the songs were cool too. I wanted to do it right so I planned out what Hare This was going to be about. I knew I wanted it to be conceptual and something that would give people a healthy balance of nostalgia and something that can reflect the times we are in now. I'm very big on storytelling, I love to tell a narrative and Hare This turned into the project of emotion, humour and what people would talk about. I took it to my studio, got it engineered and mixed the right way for my ears to digest it the way I needed it to. Shout out to Jim making Hare This sound smooth (he’s my sound engineer). I would call Hare This a conversational piece so lets talk about it and vibes on the 29th of February. I'm happy this EP is done, and I can’t wait for the world to HARE this!
CM: Do you still own a Nokia?
AS: I actually do; it's probably in a trainer box somewhere. Those phones can stand the test of time. I wish iPhones had the strength of a Nokia 7600 or 3310.
CM: What’s the name of your children’s book?
AS: The book is called Relay. It should be out on iBooks and Google Play soon. I’m just working on that - hopefully physicals will be made and sold. I’m just testing the waters before I dive deep, you know.
CM: Can we expect a live show or art exhibition this year?
AS: I would like to think so, yeah. That would be fun!
Hare This will be available to download on Monday 29th of February.
Play your favourite old-school games on Ash Shakur's website: www.ashketch.com