Erko Bandz is a New Jersey based rap artist originally from Jamaica who just released a very DOPE mixtape entitled "Alpha Omega". We connected with Erko to discuss the new project, find out whether he's more influenced by Jamaican or American artists, and much more.
After reading our exclusive Q&A with Erko Bandz, be sure to follow him on social media and most definitely stream/download "Alpha Omega".
How did your unique rhyme style where you mix both Patois and English originate?
My sound was actually originated with the support of my friend(Rollie Ross) who is also Jamaican and my sister who always told me to try something different and push the limits of my creativity. When I first started I actually had a hard time bringing the bigger picture together in my music because I would say certain words funny or heavier. So eventually I took the advice I was given and embraced the combination of the styles and ran with it.
At what age did you move from Jamaica to the United States? Would you say that you have been more influenced by Jamaican artists or US based artists?
I moved to the states when I was 14 years old in 2009. As far as influences go I would say it's 50/50. Growing up I actually hated music until I met my older brother for the first time. He loved music all across the board from Dancehall to Hip Hop and I kinda just adapted to that. After he died in 2011 I actually gained a greater passion for music but at the time I wasn't interested in being a musician. My top 3 Jamaican artist who i would say helped me shape my style includes, Vybz Kartel, Aidonia and Sizzla. My top Hip Hop influences include, Tupac, Kanye West, Young Thug and Lil Wayne.
What are you most proud of with your new mixtape "Alpha Omega"? Do you have a favorite track on the project?
Let me start by saying I love the whole project. However I'm really proud of how the features came out. Everybody was great and did their part and I appreciate it. I love all the tracks on the tape but if I had to listen to one track on repeat I think it would be a tie between the first 5 tracks. I'm not saying I like the other 8 tracks any less, but I came in hot those first 5 and I think anyone who listens to the project should listen to one of those 5 tracks before making a decision on if they like the tape or not.
Download "Alpha Omega" -- http://spnr.la/ewm0tKAf
Does the title of the mixtape "Alpha Omega" have a special significance to you?
It's the beginning and the end. It's everything, what I mean by that is I gave my all on this tape from start to finish. I'm an Alpha by nature and I like to lead so the mixtape was really just an expression of that.
What's next for you with the release of the mixtape? Can we expect a visual or two from the project?
Features, features, features. Featuring Erko Bandz will be a popular theme this summer. Actually Rollie had just dropped a song called "Veteran" feat. Erko and other local artist are also dropping tracks with my name in the title. I also started working with an out of state artist call Cardier Black so look out for that. A lot of new music from me and featuring me is to be expected this summer. As far as visuals are concerned 3-4 tracks off "Alpha Omega" is being considered for a visual release.
When someone listens to "Alpha Omega" for the first time, what do you want the listener to take away from the experience?
Appreciation, and I'm not saying that for me but for music. All I really want to do is make good music. I see myself as more of a musician than just a rapper so I want people to hear the tape, enjoy it and understand that it's okay for music to not sound like the mainstream or norm. I want kids to hear it and get the courage and confidence to make their own music. If I'm doing that, I'm winning.