[THE SIX is a regular interview feature on 206UP.COM with a simple format: One local hip-hop artist and six questions. For past editions click here.]
Avatar Darko (formerly Avatar Young Blaze) has the baby-faced looks of a boy band member and maybe in a different life he could have been. But the Estonia-born, Central District-bred rapper prefers the trap life in this current incarnation, and his relentless brand of “emo grunge trap” has earned him a worldwide underground following. This blog was slow to come around to Av, initially labeling him a pretender, but his cinematic rhymes about street life and around-Town co-signs turned us into believers. We attempted to catch up with Av in his element.
I think a lot of your fans have a certain idea about what a day in the life of Avatar Darko might be like. For example: I imagine you tapping out answers to this set of questions on your iPad, cruising at 35,000 feet, off to somewhere exotic for business and pleasure, like Dubai or Beijing. Set the record straight and tell us about your day so far, or about a typical day-in-the-life of Avatar Darko.
Well right now as I type this on my iPhone with a shattered screen, I’m sitting on a bench outside of the hub at UCSB [University of California Santa Barbara] overlooking this dope little island and water. The homie Araab [Muzik] randomly texted me at six in the morning like, “Yo I land in a couple hours, I gotta show in Santa Barbara.” Duke and him scooped me in a Challenger and told me to drive, so I red-lined that bitch the whole way out here. I love Dodges. I use to have a Charger when I was 17, I mashed that bitch. Anyways, I just ate some bomb-ass wings and tomorrow afternoon I gotta flight to Seattle — oh shit I got court in the morning before that. Anyways, when I’m not doing random cool shit like this I’m in the studio working on projects. Sometimes I can be really emo too, then I just drink lean and listen to Max B to feel better. Yerp.
It took me a while to come around to enjoying your music. Have you found that that’s a typical response by some listeners?
Yeah a lot of people seem to say the same thing. I think I go over a lot of people’s heads.
“Authenticity” is a word that gets thrown around a lot by folks who write about you. Given how the internet can be used as a handy veil of anonymity, how important is authenticity in hip-hop these days?
When you’re authentic, everything comes from the heart; you don’t have to try too hard. In this day and age, a lot of music lacks authenticity and genuine emotion. I’m trying to capture that [and] convey it on a worldwide level. I will soon.
You’ve not once asked people to pay for your music. Why is that your preferred business model thus far in your career?
I got some precious projects on iTunes but lately I’ve just been releasing music to accumulate my buzz. I’m thinking about putting this upcoming EP on iTunes though. We’ll see.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
Art Of War. I need to get back on my book game. My pops use to read a lot of books, I’ve been slackin’ on my book game lately.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to tease for the 206UP.COM readers?
Gonna release an EP entirely produced by Megaman and a mixtape with Nacho this spring/summer.