Today on our Hot Seat we have a talented and passionate artist Daraja Hakizimana with us. He recently released an Album titled “Checkmate…Tha Shutdown”. So our main focus will be on his work particularity the recent one.
Twist Online : First of all tell us about the start of your music career?.
Daraja Hakizimana : In 2000 I joined the shrine of The Black Madonna, started an 4 year successful run open-Mic show called My Block Speaks every 1st & 3rd Friday of the month. From there I started My Block Recordz in conjunction to My Block Speaks (open-mic) show. There I got a chance to really work on my show performances and release ALL my music through My Block Recordz (#MBR). In 2003 or 04 I met Devin The Dude at Sharpstown Mall and invited him to one of the open-mics shows. And from there he told me about his Coughee Brothaz Group, all that he was trying to do with the movement, and offered me & That Boy Cayse a spot within the crew. And its been poppin ever since.
Twist Online : Tell us about your recent release ”Checkmate…Tha Shutdown”?
Daraja Hakizimana : ‘Checkmate…Tha Shutdown” is a very personal project. Originally after “Back against Tha Wall” was dropped i said i wouldn’t make another project like that again. But after constant Bullshit reality shows, “What can you do for me?” type of songs on the radio, & Gold-Diggin women cleverly trying to get in a playas pockets. Someone had to go there, or at least i felt i had to. The mental state on relationships these days is really Fucked up!! You are what u eat, watch, listen to or consume. And I blame Reality TV & these bullshit songs being played on the radio these days. Theres nothing promoting Unity or patience in these songs nowadays. Everything that was on HBO a few years ago is on regular TV now, and those Gold Diggin Women or Men yo MOMMA or family warned you about is the main mental state of everybody these days. That’s a whole other conversation….lol.
Twist Online : What’s the main inspiration behind the Album?
Daraja Hakizimana : Fucked up relationships that go sour or should have ended years or months ago. Yea, I know lol. But when ur constantly working on you’re craft, you can miss some obvious signs God was trying to show you. And its those situations that hinder us from going to the next spiritual or financial level of our lives. So i just decided to express it through this project. I’m pretty sure everybody can relate to betrayal and disloyal motha$%K@#.
Twist Online : What kind of response has it has received so far?
Daraja Hakizimana : A bunch of inbox “Thank You’s” & screen shots of fans jamming it on their i-phones or in their rides when we dropped it a month ago. So the response has been GREAT!
Twist Online : What’s your most favorite track from the Album?
Daraja Hakizimana : My most favorite tracks on the project, I would have to say “Persian Rugs feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR” & “I Can’t Luv You” feat. Coughee Brothaz 3BN & Tony Mack. Both those tracks you can roll up, pour up, and just mentally cruise to the music. And I’m not going in on any particular situation, so its just real chill to vibe to.
Twist Online : Are you inspired by someone in the music industry?
Daraja Hakizimana : Anybody that knows me knows Devin The Dude & Curren$y All Day.
Even though me and Devin are real good friends I still check for my homies latest work. And when i went up to New York back in 2012, Curren$y was one of the new upcoming Underground MC’s emerging, and I’ve been on the JetLife train ever since. Plus his point of view & work ethic is very similar to mine. I don’t drop as many rap projects as he do, but I’m definitely close if you’ counting the other genres of music i drop in. Miles Davis, Sade, & Andre 3000. And of course 2pac & Devante Swing who originated my whole Bossplayaz Ideology & Movement.
Twist Online : What do you enjoy more performing on stage or working in studios?
Daraja Hakizimana :I perform usually when i have to, meaning when i drop a project or single we’re trying to push and of course if the Price is right. But as of right now I rather stay creating at the Lab/Playa Lounge Studios.
Twist Online : Are you working on any new projects?
Daraja Hakizimana :Yea, I got 3 major projects dropping in the next 3 months. We just dropped “Ladies Night Only” on Valentines Day. In March “Tha Package” & in April “AntiSocial”. Just gotta complete the Artwork for “AntiSocial” & I’ll be officially ready and can sit back & chill again.