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If you’re from Antwerp and have wandered into the hip-hop and trap scene, you’ve probably heard of Rare Akuma. Locals will just cut to the chase, skip ‘Rare’ and call him ‘Akuma’. A rising star within his own scene and with strong ambitions, Akuma started out when he was 13 editing old-school songs. Years later, Kum-kum is still busy producing and is now about to complete his latest effort, called Akuma Season, a mix celebrating all kinds of weird genres that aren’t just trap or hip hop.
Though he enjoys his alone time to pull music gems out of his cave, Akuma is a member of the international Midnight Society Collective, and also teams up with his brother hrmns to form Renegades. These crews certainly help him expand his horizons, but Akuma is a lone wolf who is careful of the influence of others. To him, letting anyone get in the way of one’s instincts is the worst thing one can do. Listen, and trust yourself.
I’m a loner, I don’t care what other people say. I’ve gone against the masses multiple times and come out on top a lot
What’s your specialty?
I started out at 13 or 14 years old, editing existing songs because I’ve always had a vision of how things should be in my head. After that I turned to producing and did that for six years or so. Musically, when I have a vision I don’t want to stray from that path and I don’t like telling others what to write or what flows to use. So I started doing my own vocals. I’m still finding my voice but it’s going well, honestly. I create a lot of good stuff.
How do people know you?
I’m Rare Akuma, but the ‘Rare’ part isn’t mandatory; people just call me Akuma.
What are you working on?
I’ve been working on Akuma Season for nearly a year now. So many demos, so many scrapped songs, I need this to be perfect. This isn’t just going to be trap. I want rock, country, hip hop and whatever weird genre I can come up with. But I’m going to make it flow well. I’d like to have it drop on my birthday, 1 October, but with how my mind works I’m not sure if I’ll make it. It could even be done earlier, but who knows.
Do you have a concert soon?
Yes, a big one on 9 June. Finally meeting up with my homies Kamiyada and Bambi from the US, we’re doing a show together, it’s going to be crazy.
What will the second part of 2018 bring you?
I’m really hoping to finish the <I>Akuma Season<$> album, to be honest. But other than that, I’d like to work with a lot of artists I f*** with and just let Belgium know I’m here. Put myself and the city on the map. That would be a big milestone. But if it’ll happen this year… I don’t know, but I’ll try my damn best.
Are you part of a crew?
Yes, I’m with Midnight Society, they my homies but none of them live in Belgium unfortunately, we spread out all over the world, but most of them are from the US. But me and my brother hrmns started a ‘crew’ called Renegades, but it’s just the two of us at the moment. We’re always looking for talent. We know talent isn’t the only thing that makes a good artist/person.
Do you think it’s important to have a good social entourage?
Not really, actually. If you’re comfortable with it, sure – but I really like my alone time and usually don’t like being the centre of attention in social situations. Usually it’s just me and hrmns and my manager, if they can make it. I haven’t done international shows yet unfortunately, but I will soon.
How did peers influence your life?
I’m a loner, I don’t care what other people say. I’ve gone against the masses multiple times and came out on top a lot, so I know what my gut tells me is what’s best for me. It’s annoying hearing people tell you what they think you should do. I don’t need help if I don’t ask for it.
If so, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned from it?
Who has most influenced you in life?
My mom, I think. I mean, she’s the only person that took care of me 24/7, other than my grandma. So obviously you listen when they have something to say, but it don’t mean I’m going to listen to how they think it should be. Shoutout to my mom and grandma though, I love you. But not a lot of other people helped me be the way I am, I think. I get influenced by a lot though, it doesn’t even have to be people. If I see or hear something that peaks my interest I’ll incorporate it into my own creativity or being.
Do you experience peers more like a positive or a negative phenomenon?It depends on the situation, I guess. I feel like if I listened more I wouldn’t have been where I wanted to be now. I’m not saying anyone who tries to influence you is a bad influence, you might need the knowledge they have to offer. But if you’re self-aware, then you know what’s right.
Do you feel the need to conform to those around you?
Listen, all I can say is: even if they’re worried about you, think you’re going to hit the fall, fail, if you feel like it’s right, then just do it. You’re doing this for you, right? Not for anybody else, people need to stop kissing ass and trying to please everybody but themselves.
Do you regret any time you gave in to peer pressure?
Most definitely. I wasn’t listening to myself, and that’s wrong. Even if I make a mistake, I’ll learn from it. I’ve missed out on a lot of big opportunities because I procrastinated, but that’s my loss to take, I don’t really care. I’ve helped myself more than I’ve fucked myself over.
Is there anyone in your scene who needs more attention?
Most definitely! Check out my brother: hrmns. He’s my best friend and he’s a fire ass producer. If you’re looking for good music, he’s the one. But Imma keep it in my city, though… There’s a lot of interesting producers and rappers in Antwerp. Be sure to check them out: there’s Shaka Shams (who’s my actual cousin), Felonious, Shlundee, Baby Savage, OD Yami, Aragxann, Asaph Sampa, Super Izzy, VNT, Vanitas567, Fisher Ice & Roshima. There’s a lot more if I ain’t mention you it ain’t personal, but know there’s definitely more. If you’re looking for slept on rappers/producers, just look these names up, you won’t be disappointed.