Hip hop with a jazzy flow, biting lyricism meets rock edginess, politics and soul – Akoko’s eclectic sound traverses styles and genres track by track. The duo comprised of Sugg Savage and Sloane Amelia met in high school and collaborated regularly in various music collectives before linking their strengths as progressive artists and officially forming Akoko.
Q: Does the name Akoko have a significant meaning or does it just sound really good?
Irie: Glad to hear that you think its sounds pretty appealing [laughs]. It actually means “little noise maker” in West African Luo.
Q: How did you two become what we now know as Akoko? (How did you meet and when did you decide to form the duo?).
Irie: We met in our high school chorus class in 2006 and became very good friends. We traveled and worked on a few songs together over time, and [we] decided to make it an official conquest in 2010.
Q: How does this collaboration work? What does Sloane Amelia (Irie X) bring to Akoko? And what does Sugg Savage bring?
Sugg: I feel like we bring forth different, yet super correlating, traits with the same ultimate goal of positivity, strength and change.
Irie definitely brings the punch with her delivery and with lyricism that bites. I bring forth a more gentle flowery approach with harmonies and melodic flows but we both induce thought. Our music comes out just like our personalities do. We always say she kicks down the front door, and I’m strolling in through the back door [that was] left unlocked but we still arrive at the same destination.
Q: What or who are some of the major influences for the band?
Sugg: We both have several musical influences — too many to name, honestly. Being raised in Caribbean households definitely contributed to the music we make. Overall, I think our life circumstances, our love for freedom of the mind and our desire to be positive additions to the world and music — as children of God –influence us heavily as well.
Q: You describe the album “Cataraps” as one that “serves to extend the range of not only female rap, but hip hop music as a whole.” Can you explain why this was important to you?
Irie: The ‘CAT’ represents feminine strength, the ‘RAP’ represents “rhythm and poetry.” We like to think that we are really doing our thing for the betterment of both womankind and for hip hop culture, hence our album title.
Q: Aesthetically and sound wise, Akoko has something really unique going on? What do you both feel you’re bringing to music and hip hop that’s not currently out there?
Sugg: Honestly, we are just bringing ourselves in the rawest and most genuine way that we can. The fact that it’s complicated for people to compare us to other artists says a lot to me. No one can ever truly pinpoint it and that’s the biggest compliment to me.
Irie: We are just authentic artists, trying to make an art out of life and make art for art’s sake.
Q: What kind of party vibe will you be bringing to NXNE 2014?
SNATCH RAP SUPREME VIBES
ULTRA JIGGY VIBES
IRIE VIBES AND FULL METAL FEMININITY