Artist Is Set To Challenge Listeners
Its 4:30 p.m., the cold weather broke and temperatures are rising on a spring Thursday afternoon. A large congregation of students gathers outside Howard University’s Armour J. Blackburn Center. The crowd shares collective “oohs’s and aws”, nodding their heads while listening for the next clever punch line. This is where Arkane stands, patiently waiting for his chance to push and challenge the listener.
The anticipation of the Ft. Lauderdale, Fl artist quickly turns to disappointment when the flock prematurely disbands. Arkane, whose name derives from the word arcane, meaning mysterious and understood by a select few, missed the opportunity for a large audience to absorb his keen wordplay. Nevertheless, he confidently assures that “you guys are really in for it.”
Producers Dr. Dre, Kanye West, and Timberland have made notable transitions from behind the boards to the microphone, so what makes Arkane so different? Contrasting much of the music industry, Arkane does not accept the “rapper” or “producer-turned-rapper” titles, because he’s an artist, a creator, and proudly asserts the difference.
“Not to be short – but, I’m not them. I am very much me,” Arkane explained. “Stories may have things in common but because this is my story that I’m writing I do not foresee living out my dream the way another man did,” Arkane continued. “I bring my own creativity, my own sword that I’m sharpening and bringing to battlefield.”
Arkane, who has worked along the Washington D.C. based Heavy Syndication record label, first seized ears for his production work on Broadway Miller’s well received debut album Gets It All Day.
“A lot of people didn’t know that I was into music,” Arkane notes. “When Miller’s record came out, the public began to connect my name with the face as well as connect me with other previous works that they enjoyed, but never knew who produced it.”
The Arkane orchestrated hits “Windows Halfway Down” and “What It’s Hittin’ Fo Part II” helped lead Miller to opening shows for well known acts Rick Ross, Ludacris, and Trey Songz. Arkane ensures for his introduction, “there is plenty more where that came from.”
“Everybody is trying to be extra aggressive but he’s mellow,” notes Broadway Miller. “His style is melodic, he’s versatile, and I must say it’s refreshing.” “Steady”, included on the upcoming debut, picks up Arkane offering personal insight over a beat with an undeniable 90’s feel. “I’m now forced to revert back to the place where I didn’t want to go/ not to the belly of the beast but to the trenches in my heart, I journey to find my soul.”
The demand of a listener’s ear is evident, but Arkane explains it’s “not on purpose, but the way I cook really calls for the patron to use their entire palate to get the full flavor of the meal.”
Arkane, a senior double major in philosophy and political science at Howard University, acknowledges the university serves as a great resource, and opening.
“It’s a very social place, so you’ll know very quickly if folks are diggin’ your records,” said Arkane. “It’s an opportunity to work with good talent, connect and vibe with other people who are into music and has been a good proving ground as far as having an audience to give you feedback.”
With attention to lyricism, it’s clear the Florida artist does not fit into the Southern pocket that critics have attributed to “killing” Hip-Hop with “dumbed down” lyrics. Mainstream music channels feature countless Southern “club” and “snap” records, but the South has more to offer, and Arkane is not afraid to debate that.
“It’s pretty damn idiotic,” Arkane declares, referring to the unwarranted finger pointed at Southern Hip-Hop. “It’s a generalization that definitely does not reflect the entire landscape of the south,” Arkane continues. “To the listener-If you get focused on that nonsense about southern rap is “this and that” you’re going to sell your self short and miss out on some really dope artists.”
Debates to the side, Arkane currently spends hours in the studio pacing for a contradiction of his stage name. As the mystery surrounding the man behind the boards can no longer remain veiled, but rather appreciated by the masses.