Francis Nosetae Aihe, better known by his stage name, iEKNOWS is an African-American artist and producer out of Orlando,FL. iEKNOWS was recruited in 2008 as a promising young basketball player for Auburn University, before a knee injury cut his basketball career short.  I got to chat with iEKNOWS and find out how he ended up doing music , his influences and what his plans are for 2017.

How are you ?

I’m blessed to see a new year. 

Who were your influences while growing up ?

I grew up on a lot of classic hip hop, R & B and reggae. I remember hearing a lot of Nas, ll cool j, 2Pac, biggie, method man, common, The fugees and Jay-Z growing up as well as Michael Jackson, K-CI and Jo Jo, 112 and Boys II men. My dad loved Bob Marley and Max priest so I definitely can add them to the list. 

How did you end up doing music ? 

I was playing basketball in college and got hurt going into my senior year which set off a sequence of events that led me to my true love….music. During my time of rehab i became obsessed with hip hop and the art of being an emcee.   

Who were your top MC’s of 2016 ? 

Mann this is always a fun question to answer because i would probably say something different every week if you asked me. The first couple of people that come to mind would be chance the rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Noname, Rapsody, J Cole, Isaiah Rashad and Hodgy ( His Fireplace: NotTheotherside album has been in rotation since it dropped) 

What steps do you take to create music ?

 I just live to be honest. I never force the music because I always know in my heart when it’s time to create. I can feel it. I never want music to feel like a job. I’ve always been able to naturally progress in my craft because of my ability to be patient and aware. 

Who is your producer ? 

I handle a lot of my own production but I also like to collaborate with other producers like Poseidon and The Shade out of Atlanta, GA.  Me and The Shade just produced a record called “Otown Reppin” that is making waves around the city of Orlando and the internet right now for an artist named Otown Marco.

As an independent musician , how do you fund your music ? Are your fans generally very supportive ? 

I work a 9 to 5 like most people. I think that’s why my fans relate to me so much. They know i’m not out here faking the funk. I know how it feels to rack up 160 hours on a check and be mentally exhausted.  I was blessed to be able to sell out my first headline show in orlando last year so i would definitely say my fans are supportive. 

Do you believe that hip hop is boring right now or just a reflections of the times ? 

I wouldn’t say hip hop is boring at all. If anything it’s the opposite right now. Some of the biggest album sales in the last couple years have been from hip hop artist like Kendrick and J cole. That will let you know people still enjoy hip hop music with traditional elements incorporated. 

Is lyricism a dead art form ? 

not at all. Who doesn’t like bars ? Most people tune into the BET hiphop awards every year just to hear rappers cypher and display their lyricism.

How will you contribute to the music business globally ? 

My brand is a brand of forwarding thinking and awareness. That’s why i have a brain for my logo. I want people to think for themselves and realize that knowledge is truly the key. 

If you had a choice of artists to work with who would it be ? 

I could see me doing a song with Chance The Rapper. I really respect his movement and his dedication to the art. 

What will you be doing in 2017 ? 

I will be reciting poetry over arranged sounds while doing the necessary things to build the awareness of my brand. 

Is signing to a major record company a goal of yours or you would prefer to stay independent ? 

I think in the beginning of my journey it was. I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to it.  It would just have to make sense on some 2+2 = 4 sh*t. NO funny business but  I am happy being independent right now. 

Where can our readers find you or your music ? They can head over to iEKNOWS.COM for everything iEKNOWS. 

Thank you for speaking to On The Come Up TV , and look forward to hearing more of your music and plans.

Thank you for having me. I’m forever grateful 

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