Karras – Rattlin Away [Interview]

  • Please Introduce yourself

My name’s Karras and I’m an alternative rapper from the Midwestern US. Growing up I was in a slew of heavy metal and punk bands playing mostly basement and bar shows until my late twenties when I finally returned to my first musical love of hip-hop. My name is a reference to Father Karras from The Exorcist. I see his character as an allegory for overcoming uncertainty and fear which is one of the running themes to my writing.

  • Describe your sound in 3 words

Dreamlike, off-kilter, cinematic

  • Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer

My favorite rappers tend to be my favorite lyricists so I would put Mac Miller and Earl Sweatshirt as tied for both. They both had/have a calm, collected and confident flow with words steeped in metaphysical metaphors and strikingly unique word play and had/have evolved their styles enormously over the years. You can hear their entire demeanor and worldview shift from album to album. It’s inspiring to experience their talent progress as their writing became/becomes more and more enlightened with each release. El-P is my favorite producer but is also a strong contender for favorite lyricist and rapper as well. His angular cadence work and dystopian sci-fi lyricism resonate quite a lot with me and his production is nothing short of visionary. 

  • Best Hip Hop album ever

I feel as though Ready To Die could easily be the best hip-hop album ever. It’s solid from beginning to end. So much charisma and talent jam packed onto one perfect record. While I love that album I would have to say that my personal favorite would be a tie between “Watching Movies With The Sound Off” by Mac Miller and “The Score” by the Fugees. “Watching Movies With The Sound Off” offers everything I love about rap in one mesmerizing album. It’s starkly honest, ominously existential, witty as all hell, contemplative and deeply personal, conceptually well rounded and there is no filler anywhere to be found. “The Score” is one of the most innovative and stylistically unprecedented hip-hop classics of its time and that entire album still holds up as some of the most creative and unique songwriting in hip-hop. Lauren Hill does not get enough mention in lists of best all time rappers. I’d be remiss not to throw in a mention of “The Cold Vein” By Cannibal Ox as well. That album. Damn.

  • Top Hidden Gem Artist

I’ll be honest, I tend to hear of artists once they’ve made enough of a name that they’ve found their way into my suggestions but I expect Wiki, clipping. and Mavi will continue to do great things and evolve their talents. My long-time friends Stony D, Sad Max, Bice and Diamond Soul all make some incredible music that I would recommend you check out. Stony D and Sad Max produce the majority of my music but have plenty of jams that stand on their own. Stony D crafts dusty, deeply soulful instrumental hip-hop informed by decades of dedication to and love for the culture. Sad Max who produced this track, “Rattlin Away”, is one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He makes the weirdest, coolest beats for me and then will go and play everything from experimental jazz to banjo tunes. Bice churns out lo-fi beats that you cannot stop your head from nodding to if you tried and he does it on the daily. Diamond Soul’s sounds are not of this place and time. Must’ve been a quantum shift when this dude’s music was written. They’re all on Spotify with exception of Stony D who you can find on Soundcloud.

  • Future plans

My first full-length release “Karrasmatic” will be out either end of 2020 or beginning of 2021. I’m excited to start working on music videos for the new singles I’ve been writing and I’m pumped to get a side project with Bice and Sad Max off the ground in which I will be rapping and they’ll both be producing. I’d also really like to get working with other rappers on some features.

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