Welcome to Unrecorded! For those who haven’t come across Mikano before, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is taking the listener from one extreme to another.
From a song tinged with sweetness, vulnerability and fantasy to something rough and overly confident, aggressive.
Let’s get straight into the AKWA II EP. It’s an impressive output of nine tracks that shows off your innovative approach to hip-hop. Is there a central theme or idea that connects all of these tracks together?
The desire of freedom through honesty. They’re all connected because of this unique intimate cocoon sound that I believe was made possible because of our urge to sound like nobody else but us. Honesty also played a huge part in the intimate approach.
You just dropped the music video for ‘Tell a Lie’ which has a dramatic narrative about honesty and dishonesty, but what we’d like to know is what inspired the direct lyrics of this song?
I wanted to have an honest song that everybody could sing not only because of the melody but also because they could relate to the lyrics. Everybody lies at some point and everybody knows what’s good or bad for them and the person they’re lying to. It’s a balance of honesty and fear at the same time. The purpose of this song was to question the listeners on the outcomes of telling a lie to a loved one.
Tell us what an average songwriting session is for you?
I don’t have songwriting sessions. I just get to the studio and I try to lay at least 6 to 10 different disorganized ideas which are going to ultimately lead me where I really wanted to go in the first place. Most of the time I just go with the flow.
Which artists have influenced your sound the most? And in what ways?
I think Cudi, Frank Ocean and Kanye played a huge part in that because their music is so destructured yet beautifully orchestrated. You never know what to expect in their next song, next album, visual, etc. They’re testing anything and everything out of curiosity.
How does being based in Paris influence your music and interaction with the industry as a whole?
It’s pretty hard as an English speaking rapper because the language barrier is huge here therefore most of the media and labels don’t want to take the risk to invest their time in your craft out of fear of people not understanding what you say. But it kind of convinced me to stick to my form of expression and I grew up even more confident thanks to that. I feel like my sound can go anywhere.
Are there any local musicians who we should be listening to right now?
Yes, The Venice, the whole IXI collective, Dewolph, Manast LL. They’re all English speaking rappers from France and every single one of them has a unique sound. And If I had to drop the name of one rising French rapper, it would be pharoa, a close friend of mine.
Do you have a piece of advice for anyone coming up in the independent rap scene?
Stick to your beliefs when it comes to how you value your product. If you believe you got gold in your hands, act accordingly. Accept only constructive critics but remember accepting is not agreeing. And get ready to put in way more work than the usual. It’s not easy it requires some cardio haha
And lastly, what plans do you have for the New Year?
I’m performing on the NYE. Can’t tell you where for now but it’s in Paris !