We were intrigued with the story of Bronx based rapper, SK No Edit, following our review of his latest single, ‘Head Case‘. The artist has had a roller coaster journey to get to where he is today, and so we asked him some questions to find out just what he’s been up to, and to get a better understanding of how.
First of all, how did you come up with your stage name?
When I first started, I felt like I needed a “cool” artist name—which ended up proving elusive. I came to find that what I ended up settling on—SK No Edit—was actually pretty sick in being both unique and authentic. SK has long been a nickname my family uses for me. No Edit comes into play because much of my experience up to this point in life was of people taking issue with how identified, dressed, spoke, my body language, etc. It gave me the desire to be absolutely candid with the world; I’m not editing myself for people—it’s a take it or leave it mindset. I’m gonna continue to learn and evolve, but at my core, this is who I am and that’s going to have to be respected.
Your new single, ‘Head Case’, is incredibly dramatic and powerful. How did you come up with it, what was the inspiration?
I’m always so amped to get this kind of feedback about my music. I started Head Case with the hook, and, to me, the intensity of “Look at my face. I’m a head case” really set the tone. I’m passionate, incredibly competitive, and at times, guarded and invulnerable. That’s what the hook speaks to. The irony is that most people who act invulnerable have been through things that have molded them into that. In that sense, the song is also about mental health. I draw from my from my own experiences. The second verse touches off with “They tryna put me in a box; I been tryna break the locks; they could’ve outlined me in chalk but asphyxiation’s not a plank that I was meant to walk” — these bars express things that have both literally and figuratively shaped my experience.
You’ve had a bit of a journey to get to where you are as a musical artist; you could have followed many different paths, athletics, academics and so on – what was it about music that made you decide that this was going to be your career?
Yeesh. Yeah man, it was a journey. My main outlets growing up were athletics and school. I ran track & field and cross country in college and was both All-American and Academic All-American. The problem was that I got a chronic injury my freshman year, had two unsuccessful surgeries, and ran through it until midway through my junior year when I ended up with another injury that essentially ended my competitive athletic career. Losing running really shook me. I turned to music as I had with other tough things in my life. I threw every ounce of passion I had for athletics into creating music.
If you could do over your life, and start all over again, what, if anything, would you do differently, and why?
I would def advocate for myself more. It’s something I really regret—that I didn’t draw the boundaries earlier in my life or do as much to assert who I am. It’s so refreshing and anxiety-lessening to be in a place where I can convey exactly who i am in any scenario I walk into.
What advice do you have for anyone who’s wanting to get into the music business?
Surround yourself with an epic team, a group of people who will keep it a buck with you at every turn. The only way to grow as an artist is to be able to learn from the hard truth and create something even better. I’ve had to re-write and re-record verses so many times at the behest of my team, and while it was a pain in the moment, the song always came out better for it.
What is the songwriting process like for you? Do you start out with an idea, lyrics, or the melody? Or is it something completely different?
I always start with the instrumentation. I play guitar and enough piano to produce and also work with some pretty amazing producers. The music really sets the tone. You know when you hear the instrumentation if the song is going to upbeat, sad, angry, or intense. Then I get going on the hook. Hooks are often the most memorable parts on songs so you’ll never catch me half stepping on it. I always write to something that is currently happening in my life. The lyrics come so much more easily that way and they’re felt because they’re authentic.
What’s next for SK No Edit? What can fans expect?
I have two singles and an album on the way. I always have music in the stash so stay tuned! I can’t explain how much I appreciate the feedback and the love from the fans. Music has been the singular aspect of my life where I share my story in all its ups and downs. My hope is that it resonates with listeners the way Linkin Park or 50 Cent or any number of artists have done for me.
Finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? What’s the answer to that question?
Not gonna lie, open-ended questions are always tough for me.
How about “what’s one of the most impactful things someone recently said to me?”
One of my mentors said to me “if you love someone, you necessarily love everything that shaped the attributes that you love about that person. If you love their compassion, you love the pain that brought that compassion to life. If you love their hustle, you love the hardship that fostered that hustle.