Mindcontrol: Your new album, aptly titled "Uno". Let's start there. Tell us about working on it, who you worked with, etc.?
Orikal: The process for that album started in 2008. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, working in Studio City at North Star Media. Found out how much musicians make licensing music, and wanted an album that was as sample-free as possible, all original music. Jay, fka Jayechs (of the SUSPECTS), currently known as Anonimust, has been giving me beats since I was like 14 and we've always worked together since. I approached him and asked him to compose the album. He was down. We recorded about 30 songs for it between 2008 and 2010. Maria Isa and JL Magee are on it. Both are close friends of mine and lyricists I look up to. Anonimust is on it too, singin' and rappin'.
Mindcontrol: Dope… I notice along with many other collaborations on your website you have a good vibe with other artists. Locally I know you did a few shows during the summer… Can you talk about what kind of press, shows, radio shows etc. you've done this past year?
Orikal: This year was mainly focused on writing and recording. All I really did this year was lock myself in my studio and write/record. I performed twice at the MN State Fair with the Maria Isa band, and I performed once at the Varsity Theatre for The Watchmen's show in like January. Monday Lunch in Sioux Falls, SD has been playin' some tracks of mine, and DJ Iko from SUCKA-PROOF DJs (MTV2) put my song Hovercrapht in a mix of hers. Besides that, all my press has been blogs online, no physical press, yet...
Mindcontrol: As far as collabs... What do you have rolling with mixtapes and such… Other side projects.
Orikal: I don't really have any "side" projects. All of the work that I do has some type of meaning/purpose that I plan on putting my center of attention on at some point. My guy Ganzobean and I got an album wrapped up around April of 2010, only guest feature on that album is Sab The Artist. Chris Goodwin and I have an album slated for a 2011 release entitled "It Is What It Is." - No features on that yet. Jaron McDaniel and I have been working on an album, which has a feature from Maria Isa on it. I also got to do a track with Prof this year! Which turned out dope. I basically put my side of the city onto that dude. Basically, whichever next project that finalizes first will be put out. That's what's nice about being independent.
Mindcontrol: I must say dude, I really dig the tracks with you and C. Goody,
Orikal: Thank you.
Mindcontrol: But seriously you and Jaron's stuff is really sick too… I've really been vibing his beats, you two mesh well.
Orikal: Agreed. It's funny, dude is from Saint Paul as well but we haven't officially met yet. We're planning on changing that real quick though. Can't wait to release an album with a dope Saint Paul producer. (Besides Ganzobean!)
Mindcontrol: Yeah, cat's stuff is fresh I'll be on my toes for that stuff… So, how about you tell the good people what Graff Roots is all about.
Orikal: My vision for Graff Roots, is seeing our music and graphic design all over the world. We'd love to be the people responsible for your billboard advertisements, your television commercial AND the music behind it! Basically, bombing the world with our media services. It's a work in progress but I'm determined on making it work. We're currently developing. But we will be deploying when the time is right.
Mindcontrol: So you've been around for a minute, cuz back in the day you popped up here, there, and well everywhere... When did you start rapping and how old are you?
Orikal: I was 13/14 when I first started doing open mics and recording and such. I was actually a lot more active when I was younger, attending all the shows and meeting who I could at the time. I reminisce on when Toki Wright and YO! The Movement would put me on shows. I'm 21 now, going on 22, and during all that time just grindin'. I got to connect with basically everyone in the Twin Cities scene somehow some way. I'm a firm believer in the 10,000 hour philosophy.
Mindcontrol: So as you know, I like to dig into some of the current issues of the day with my own music, so I'd like to ask you about your own philosophy… An Uno worldview, if you will.
Orikal: I'm gonna think the poles are gonna shift in 2012 until they don't and the world proves me wrong. I feel like the world will always be in a state of disarray. Our country can't seem to get shit together. Other countries as well as ours are all hostile and shit. I feel like the Obama presidency was nothing but false hopes. Marketing. I got a lot of philosophies about this world and life… I guess that's a whole other interview!
Mindcontrol: Yeah I know… Speaking of those false hopes I saw Shephard Fairey on The Colbert Report the other day...
the question for him was how he feels about the Hope campaign now...
Orikal: I love Colbert.
Mindcontrol: Yeah. Shephard just blushed… Said he was proud of the image as a grassroots effort, "but let's just leave it at that". You know the guy got great advertising. Getting up with the presidents's probably the biggest any street artist can get...
Mindcontrol: What would you say about the Minneapolis scene, who are your influences? And what do you think about the state of it, currently?
Orikal: Who are my influences... Well, Minneapolis scene is only a little bit. And that would be the entire Headshots crew, along with some of the Saint Paul emcees that were killin' it at the time. when Eyedea was a youngin' and Heiruspecs were getting fame at Central High School (I had a sticker on my 7th grade Thematic Journeys notebook). Earlier Rhymesayers material + West Coast gangster rap + East Coast smoothness + Midwest tongue-twisterism + Classic Rock = my ultimate influence. As far as the state of right now, I'm definitely not at as many shows as I was back then, but there's a few extremely talented people here that still provide extremely good entertainment. I dig the diversity of our scene
Mindcontrol: I wanted to definitely cover Eyedea, tell us your words...
Orikal: Sad. Very, very sad. I went to his wake and got black-out drunk to his albums for about 3 days straight the day the news broke all over twitter and such. I got to freestyle with him once, and he signed my blackbook once. One of the first local Saint Paul rappers that made me really believe someone like me could make it when I was younger. Purely unbelievable and hard to accept.
Mindcontrol: Yeah, definitely was a hard one for me as well, I opened for him a few times. I hate that the greatest must depart… But Writers Never Die, we'll always have his thoughts.
Orikal: That's what's amazing about music. You can still exist even after you've died.
Mindcontrol: So I know you just graduated, what's captivated your time? Got any long term plans?
Orikal: Long term plans have been thrown out the window. I learned that life is un-plannable. I'm trying to pay back my debts and make a career out of music and art. And if I don't, I'll die trying. I believe dreams are achievable and this is one I've had for a long time.
Mindcontrol: That's great to hear... I hope to especially see ya doing more shows, I think you have a great presence and are definitely an asset to the scene at large.
Orikal: Thanks. I can't wait to get back into performing live again.
Mindcontrol: Okay so, tell us some of your highlights of 2010, and if you have any words of wisdom to go out to other aspiring artists.
Orikal: Highlights of this past year are working with artists I personally listen to and respect. As far as words of wisdom, dream big and achieve. Anything is possible. Make your mark before it's too late for you to...