BORN IN THE 90'S, BRONX NATIVE KONY BROOKS HONED HIS EMCEE SKILLS OVER A 10 YEAR PERIOD. ASIDE FROM THE RHYMES, KONY'S HUNGRY FOR THE CULTURE COMES FROM STUDYING THE HISTORY OF HIP-HOP. HIS LYRICAL ABILITY LANDED HIM IN XXL MAGAZINE AND MOST RECENTLY ON DJ KAY SLAY'S SHADE 45. KONY RUNS HIS OWN INDEPENDENT LABEL, ICMG2DEEP, FEATURING R&b AND HIP-HOP ARTIST. VALIDATED RECENTLY SPOKE WITH KONY BROOKS REGARDING HIS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS IN HIP-HOP, EARLY INFLUENCES, LATEST PROJECTS AND MORE.
VALIDATED: what's the story behind your rap name?
KONY BROOKS: My name is an acronym for "King Of New York". I actually got it as a rebuttal during a freestyle battle in my neighborhood growing up. It was a 2 on 2 and my partner called himself PONY for "Prince of New York". During one of my lines I said, "If they calling him Prince then I'm the King". Right there people called me Kony and it just stuck.
VALIDATED: Growing up, what kind of music was played in your household and how has it influenced the music you create?
KONY BROOKS: My parents and my older brother played a lot of hip hop, r&b, and soul music. It influenced my own sound by laying the foundation brick by brick for me to truly embrace story telling and creating music with feeling.
VALIDATED: Tell us about your neighborhood growing up and how it influence you?
KONY BROOKS: It was harder for me to develop my own name musically in my neighborhood. My older brother was one of the most popular dj's and producers in the area so for a long time I was just referred to as his little brother. That forced me to step out of my comfort zone and push my pen to create my own reputation with the music.
VALIDATED: Name the hip-hop artists that have influenced your flow and what, if anything did you borrow from them?
KONY BROOKS: As far as inspiration and influence goes I'd have to say I look a lot towards Notorious BIG, Cassidy, and Lloyd Banks. All 3 artists have shaped how I view cadence on a record, how I create imagery, and my view on the importance of a balanced project.
VALIDATED: What are your thoughts on the New York hip-hop scene currently?
KONY BROOKS: I appreciate that bars matter so much to people again. We still have a ways to go but we've definitely come far.
VALIDATED: What sacrifices have you made to invest in your artistry?
KONY BROOKS: One of the biggest sacrifices for me has been time with my family. I'm always performing, making an appearance, in a meeting or a studio session. I prioritize that because I believe in my journey and that the work I put in here will allow me to put all of them as well as myself in a better position to live comfortably down the line.
VALIDATED: What's your earliest memory of hip-hop, the culture?
KONY BROOKS: My earliest memory would have to be the block parties in my neighborhood. My brother would sample my voice for drops and beats that he would play during the block parties. He introduced me to turntables and a microphone and I haven't looked back since.
VALIDATED: As a hip-hop artist, what do you feel your responsibility is to the hip-hop culture?
KONY BROOKS: My responsibility to the culture is to keep the foundation of it alive. I'm here to have my fun with Hip Hop but I'm also here to teach where it came from. I'm here to live and breathe it.
VALIDATED: Hip-hop has grown in popularity over the years. What are your thoughts on hip-hop becoming the most popular music genre?KONY BROOKS: I think it's a beautiful thing. It's an honor truthfully, but with that popularity comes a price. We have to preserve that foundation and make it relevant to people just now buying into our culture.
VALIDATED: What can fans expect from your latest project, "All Hail The King"?
KONY BROOKS: On this new project fans can expect a vibe. It's a mix of emotion and lyrical ability. I focused heavily on creating content that will hit home for people. I wanted to give the listener a journey through my mind so they can experience the glory, heartbreak, love, and everything else associated with being King.
VALIDATED: Which producers and artist did you work with on this project?
KONY BROOKS: I got production from Teddy Grahams, Dizzy Banko, and Jacob Lethal to name a few. The features on the album include Teddy Grahams, JR (JustReal), 1st, and Mickey Factz.
VALIDATED: Tell us about other ventures you're currently working on.
KONY BROOKS: Currently I'm curating my own concert and filming a documentary series with TrizEyeView to go along with it.
VALIDATED: Where can the reader support you and your music online and social media?
KONY BROOKS: The people can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat @KonyBrooks. On Facebook just search for Kony Brooks. My album "All Hail The King" is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Deezer, and all other Online Retailers.