Rising Hip Hop purveyor, Ashoka has been on our radar for quite some time. From his re-imagination of Drake's "Hype," to "Don't Go Here," "Summer's Over Freestyle," "Liar, Liar," and "Scary Hours," Ashoka has demonstrated his ability to hover over diverse production, encapsulate poignant lyrical content into insightful stories and deliver his message at a star like caliber.
Let's be honest, anyone can rap, but few have the ability to capture the masses for a finite period of time to delve beyond the surface and leave you craving more musical soundwaves that permeate the soul. Ashoka has done it all in a short matter of time, consistently delivering lyrical finesse and reflective narratives coupled with cinematic visuals to compliment his vivid imagination. And today, he is dropping his new track "You Should Know" courtesy of hypefresh.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the Temple University graduate to pick his brain on his latest project, "Hard To Gain, Easy To Lose" surviving college and keys to success. Check it out below!
Please introduce yourself.
A: My name is Ashoka. I’m a rapper from Rockland County, New York. I represent a brand and collective called Kingdom and our main mission statement is to turn anything you want to do in life into your kingdom by believing in it, conquering it, and owning it. This is what I base my lifestyle and career on.
Q: Describe your sound in three words.
A: Energetic, conversational, sentimental
Q: Your debut EP, Hard to Gain, Easy To Lose. What was the concept behind the project?
A: The concept of the EP begins at it’s title. The idea that most things worth having in life such as love, trust, loyalty, etc., are things that may be extremely hard to gain, and can also be lost in a split second. Within this title I am also addressing that I am very conscious of how this thing works. The fact that it is far from easy to gain respect or that “number one” title in this game. So this was me saying that I’m ready put in that leg work and take the steps necessary in order for me to gain that respect from all of you, and here’s this EP that we created to let you know that we mean it. Then the “ Easy To Lose” part is me saying that im also very aware that respect and that “number one” spot can be taken away from anyone at any given moment and I’m ready to put in the work required to keep my name intact as we make our way up.
Q: Has college helped or hindered your craft in any way?
A: When I was in college I was on track to go to grad school for either Pharmacy or Physical therapy after I graduated, I had completed prerequisites for both. A lot of those classes were no joke, I would study vigorously for hours and hours on end and go with little to no sleep and still maybe get only a 70 on an exam if I was lucky. But I would keep going because I had this goal of getting into a decent grad school that kept me driven. Obviously my focus and career path changed drastically. But I think having that ambition and dedication in college taught me how to work hard for something, how to be consistent, and what it means to struggle in order to achieve a goal you believe in. I apply those lessons to my new goals.
Q: Your music deals with a plethora of social issues. How did this become an integral part of your music?
A: I think this is because my number one focus in my music is to tell my story, as well as the story of the people I love. If something has directly affected me or someone I care about, then 9 times out of 10 I will eventually speak on it. I don’t just sit in the studio and say; this is what’s going on in society today now I have to make a song about it. That wouldn’t be real to me. But since these verses all come from my subconscious, the things me and my brothers and sisters have dealt with will come out in one way or another. All I can do is speak on what I go through, and as a young black man going through everyday life I go through a variety of different things, some of which end up being tied to a mix of a social issues.
A: What was the most life changing event to happen in your life to this point?
Making the choice to chase this music itself was the most life changing thing I’ve ever been through. Within this one choice so many things changed. I had a completely different life projected ahead of me. I was either going to go to graduate school or find a 9-5 job in the medical/ pharmaceutical field. Both of which were what I had worked so hard in college for. I dropped all of it. Some people were shocked and you have to imagine how tough it was on me and especially my parents, but I believe everything happens for a reason and all the signs were pointing to where I am right now.
Q: Lastly, any tips for upcoming artists? Students pursuing a dream?
A: Always have faith in your vision and protect it with your life. If you see the signs pointing you in a direction don’t fight them or ignore them, embrace them. People will only take you as seriously as you take yourself so put you and your craft on the highest pedestal possible. Take every single step to the best of your ability and the rest will follow.
Check out the new single "You Should Know" above and stay connected with Ashoka below: