"Tupac is honest, Jay-Z is witty, Nas is intelligent, Biggie is smooth, Eminem is technical, Big pun is descriptive, Big L is entertaining."
Brandon Perry (born January 12, 1991), better known as K.A.A.N. (an acronym for Knowledge Above All Nonsense), is a lyricist from Maryland. He is best known for his tongue-twisting flows, intricate lyricism and fast-rhyming Chopper style, a vast vocabulary, and cynical lyrics based on mental health issues, abuse, politics, and religion. He makes it look easy with a very calm delivery, and his various styles make him one of the most underrated lyricists in hip hop today.
K.A.A.N. connected with Hyperblinks for an exclusive interview where he discusses the release of his latest project with Big Ghost Ltd., All Praise Is Due, the music industry, and his upcoming projects for 2020 and beyond.
1) You've said, "For all intents and purpose, intensely flood 'em with content." All Praise is Due is your fourth album release in 2020, and we at Hyperblinks now call you the hardest working rapper this year. What inspires and motivates you to produce so much great music?
What motivates me is the craft itself. I'm driven by the lifestyle of being a working artist, not moments, or accolades. I like constantly improving in areas I felt I was weak in musically, and evolving my sound into something different. I feel like that is what keeps my attention with music. There's always room for improvement. It's hard to not be motivated when you're pushing yourself to come up with something more creative and different than your last effort.
2) What's the most important lesson you've learned about the music industry since you dropped your video "KAANCEPTS" back in 2014?
Since I dropped that first video, a lot has changed for me. I've learned many things from my experiences in the music industry. I think the most important thing I've learned is that at least for me, my happiness with my efforts comes from being process-driven, not results-driven. Really falling in love with the process of creation. When you start to make money off your art and work with different people, it's easy to get lost in others' opinions. Once I stopped worrying about things that were never important to me like being the biggest rapper ever or selling x amount of records first week, I was more at peace. When I'm focusing on just being creative and pushing myself to create something I like, I feel like it reflects in the music. I've learned you can't put too much stock into what others feel you should do, or want you to do because, in the end, people will tap in because they felt the music not because it's this big grandiose over the top thing.
"KAANCEPTS" music video:
3) You once stated, "When I was ten or so, I bought every Tupac CD. I bought all his music." What is your top Tupac track, and why?
My favorite song by Tupac is "Old School" off his Me Against The World album. For me, it was the one I always went to as a kid out of his whole discography. I liked how he was paying homage to all the artists in rap that inspired him. I loved the production on it. His verses have a crazy nostalgia feel to them, the way he's rapping about his favorite rappers and songs. The whole song he's describing what it was like being in New York as rap was starting to become a thing. That whole album is the soundtrack to my adolescence. Outside of the Eazy- E's "5150: Home 4 Tha Sick", Me Against The World was one of the first albums to plant the seed of rapping into my mind.
Tupac "Old School" unofficial music video:
4) You've said, "My parents played [Tupac], Nas and Biggie in the car and stuff. I listened to other guys, like Eminem, Jay-Z, Big Pun, O.C., and Big L a lot when I was younger too." Can you describe each of these rappers in one word?
Tupac is honest, Jay-z is witty, Nas is intelligent, Biggie is smooth, Eminem is technical, Big pun is descriptive, Big L is entertaining.
Big L "98 Freestyle" lyric video:
5) In the hook for the track "Rosinha" from Lost In Translation, one of your albums released earlier this year, you said, "I ain't a rapper, I'm a entrepreneur. These rhymes hand-written, woven like it's silk or velour." In what ways do you see yourself more of an entrepreneur than a rapper?
I see myself as an entrepreneur because I sell my music, I sell merch. I have an income from my music, likeness, and image. When I first started, it was all about just rapping to rap and figuring out a way to get my music out there, but when you start to make money, you start to make decisions based on money. Never compromising the music itself, but being more strategic with the way the music is released, or just the approach in general. I believe Eddie Vedder said, "Once you start to make money off art, then it becomes a business," I think that's true. To deny or ignore that doesn't make sense to me at 29. I think you can enjoy making art freely with nothing holding back your creativity and be into the business side of things and making money off your art. That's something I grew to understand in time. I used to think money and art couldn't coexist and be authentic, but that's not true. To go from working a job, or even two, and then transition into music full time is a good thing. To be able to provide a stable financial future for yourself and your loved ones is a blessing and a privilege because people work for years and never get the results they want, so if you are able to live off your art and have some stability, you should be thankful for that.
"Rosinha" from Lost In Translation music video:
6) We've seen you support many great artists on social media, including one of our favorites, Uno Hype. What do you like about Uno Hype, and what other artists do you believe your fans should check out right now?
I like all of Uno's stuff. He's got a really dope voice. The tones he chooses on his records are always fire. He's got a very unique sound. It's refreshing to hear an artist from the DMV doing what he's doing sonically because a lot of other acts from the area just adopting the sound that's popular in mainstream rap. Uno's music feels like it has a soul, like he has something to say. There's a good amount of successful artists out the DMV, but not many with as much soul and feeling in their songs or albums as Uno. The only artist I am stuck on right now is Dominic Fike. He's pretty well known now, but I just really enjoy his music, and his newest album is really inspiring. There are a lot of dope musical elements on it.
Uno Hype "Untitled" music video:
7) What's one thing your fans might be surprised to know about you?
I love to cook, and I'm into gardening.
8) Your new album, All Praise Is Due, is produced by Big Ghost Ltd., and features instrumentation and music by Hector Puente Colon, Jr. and The Santiago Men's Basketball Philharmonic Orchestra. How did this project come about, and what stood out about this album from all others?
All Praise Is Due happened because Ghost reached out. When he hit me, I was familiar with his work. He's a very established producer. To be honest, I was shocked he heard my music. He sent me a DM and said he wanted to work on some music. He sent some beats. I think it was like 13 beats he sent, and I liked them all. I would write and record to them then send them to him to see what he thought. After a while, we had enough for an album, and he went to work on the post-production and mixing. I think this one is different because of the amount of time we spent crafting and perfecting it. Ghost reached out in 2017, I believe. This album is a real labor of love. A lot of attention to detail. I think it's evident when you play the album. It sounds like quality. Definitely one of my favorite albums I've been a part of so far on my musical journey.
9) When describing your previous album Blissful Awareness, you stated, "This an album about understanding that accolades, money, and social status are just perceived successes and not the real thing." We couldn't agree more. How would you describe your new album, All Praise Is Due?
All Praise Is Due is a testament to quality hip hop. It wasn't rushed. It wasn't one person trying to do everything. We took our time and paid close attention to what we were trying to do. Everything is fast-paced and quick nowadays. I think I enjoyed that we took a slower, more well thought out approach to creating a cohesive.
All Praise Is Due on Spotify:
10) We're sure the hardest working rapper in hip hop in 2020 is still cooking up more dope content to flood our eardrums. What are some future K.A.A.N. projects we should look out for in the second half of 2020 and beyond?
I have a bunch of stuff in the works, but I have a project with Dem Jointz. We are going to release it later this year. I have projects with my boys Bleverly Hills, and ORBT that are going to drop this year, and I'm in the process of finishing an album I produced—just trying to stay consistent, driven, and passionate about what I do.
K.A.A.N., Bleverly Hills, and Dem Jointz "Honest" 2019 music video:
"Show'd Up" from Blissful Awareness music video:
"Reaper" from Blissful Awareness music video:
"The Espace" from Blissful Awareness music video:
Listen to K.A.A.N.'s top tracks on Spotify: