Hip-hop artist AK’s single “Good Thing” serves as a hopeful reminder for listeners to stay motivated. The artist said that the track is the “perfect pre-game song to listen to.”
Due to his brilliant wordplay and agile rhymes, AK has garnered massive respect in the hip-hop community — accumulating 156M YouTube views, 1.63M subscribers and 587,550 monthly Spotify listeners. The rapper landed spots on the iTunes Hip-Hop Charts in the United States (#20) and four other countries (#25).
AK’s single “Now I’m Forever” became his first #1 single, and his single “Top of the World” was featured on ESPN’s First Take and E Sports League Poland. He’s been featured on BET, Sway’s Universe and Travis Mills on Beats 1.
The 21-year-old rapper was born in South Brunswick, New Jersey and had always loved listening to music as a kid. Though he never paid attention to the production or the words of songs, he focused on how they made him feel.
“I listened to whatever my mom had on in the car driving. When I was in seventh or eighth grade, my brother played me ‘Ill Mind of Hopsin 5.’ It no longer was a song, moreso a story. When I had the connection I did, it completely changed my perspective of all music I heard afterward,” AK said.
On a good day, the rapper wakes up around 8 or 9 a.m. and gets ready for a run. After a solid workout, he grabs coffee and heads back to his house. AK doesn’t listen to music when he showers. “If I did, I’d sing ‘The Shoe-Tying Song’ from Spongebob. That song goes hard.”
He said, “If I’m booked for a session with someone on a calendar, I’ll lock in and make music from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.”
After his busy schedule, AK hangs out with his friends or goes for drives. If he has a day-off, he’ll skate, fish or play basketball with friends — hobbies that keep him active.
AK generally begins with the hook, which is followed by the verses when he writes his music. The artist records when he is finished writing. Other times, he will write as he records too. “It’s not always the same; I like changing things up a little bit.”
The hip-hop star was at the studio with his producer Goldmvn when the idea for “Good Thing” emerged. He said that the most important line in the track is “I’m a monster / something about it puts me at peace.”
“I feel like my love for this line is from the fact that I understand I’m different, and a lot of people don’t understand me. I know what I’m capable of, and I know what I need to do in order to get what I want,” AK said. “The assurance of having that mindset brings me peace when there’s people teling me I’m wrong or stupid for doing things a certain way.”
When AK was finding a title for the track, he was conflicted between “Good Thing” and “Hustler.” He later felt like the former was a great fit because it gave less away about the song and was not generic.
“The message of the song is to stay motivated, to embrace your inner beast and to get after whatever it is you want to get,” AK said.
In five years, the rapper envisions himself with two albums, a #1 song on Billboard and a Grammy nomination. Despite his great ambitions, he wants to be well-off financially.
AK mentioned, “That will come as the product of what my goals are … I try not to be too worried about that part. I know it will come.”
The rapper’s most unforgettable gig was his very first show in Jersey. He had never performed before this event and found it very exciting that his first performance was his own headlining show in his home state, which was also sold out.
“The show went so well, and I had an absolute blast. I was so happy and proud in that moment, especially with all of my family and friends being there. Nothing was better than that moment for me,” the artist said.
AK advised aspiring singers to not hold back and to create music that they want. “Do it your way. You are the one making the music. You are the one bringing eyeballs. Your power is in your gift.”
Contact Ron Rocky Coloma at rcoloma ‘at’ stanford.edu.