When people often describe artist like Kendrick Lamar or J Cole they usually say “they are in a league of their own” and that’s exactly how I would describe rising rapper Ray Kincaid. When he first sent me his music I knew that I was listening to a masterpiece. His sound is old school, thought-provoking and passionate to say the least. Although I do love a little trap music here and there the 25-year-old raps about things I can more relate to like being a college graduate and social injustices.
Q: What inspired your to name your work Artistic Depression?
R: When I was growing up I didn’t fit in and I wanted to so badly. I used to make up ways to try to force myself to fit in during middle school and it never worked. I think that’s when I developed my depression and I’ve been dealing with it ever since then. I don’t believe in taking pills for stuff like that. Art helps me cope with it. I think you should get help for it, but for me I want to do things that make me happy and that’s art. Hopefully people can relate to it. Depression isn’t taken seriously when it comes to the African-American community, but we have good reasons to be depressed. It’s like this place (America) is built to make us go the extra mile and still we aren’t good enough. We need help. If you go to your family and say you’re depressed it’ll be like “pshhh you’ll be alright; just pray about it.” You can’t control it and turn it on and off but hopefully it will get better for everybody that has it.Maybe with me trying to figure out how to get out of my depression I can help them get out of theirs and have a depressed free world.
Q: What has your musical journey been like?
R: I’ve been rapping since middle school, but I started taking it seriously these past 2-3 years. I’ve been a fan of Hip Hop since Kanye West’s first single Through the Wire. To hear that old sample and him talking about he wasn’t a thug he was just himself ; I knew this was what I wanted to do. I had a great job after I graduated from college in 2015. I studied graphic design, but my job wasn’t in my field. I could make a living off of it, but I was so miserable and depressed waking up. It was no art there. I quit and people were like “why did you quit it a good job” but I was lucky to have my family to support me and get paid doing shows. I would never think people would pay to see me rap. I didn’t think my songs were good at first, but now people tell me that they like it. It’s one thing to hear your friends say it, but when strangers who don’t owe you anything say it, it’s a good feeling.
Q: What advice do you have for any recent graduates?
R: My advice would be not to settle; that’s almost worst than death. Waking up going to a job that you hate just to make money is miserable. What I realized is that most people who told me not to quit my job are people who don’t like their jobs; the people who told me to follow my dreams are the people who love their jobs. The people who looks beyond society are going to push you to do better. The average people, especially in the black community are just concerned about you making money, but you have a dream. You’re going to have to work 10 times harder than a person in a person who graduates and get’s a regular job. If you’re a creative person it seems like the world looks at you like you’re crazy. They are like what, no get a real job so you can buy a house and get kids and that’s not for everyone.
Q: What is your favorite song you’ve created thus far?
R: It is The Rope and Radio Theory, because of the meaning of the song and symbolizes. I tried to break down the connection between depression and music that is played on the radio today. The rope is depression and thoughts of suicide. The radio is the music that comes on the radio. Back in the day you had people like Marvin Gaye who sung What’s Going On and Michael Jackson had everything that’s amazing. You could turn on the radio and feel better. Now the stuff on the radio makes you depressed. My friend asked me if you’re in a bad mood what is listening to someone talk about flipping bricks going to do for you. Most rap makes you feel like if you don’t have this or that you’re not good enough to be in this world.
Q: Do you always feel the need to put deeper messages into your music?
R: I have two theories on that. I was reading an interview by Marvin Gaye and he said in order to make music that touches people’s souls you have to give up my own desires to touch the world. That’s how he came up with What’s Going On. If you focus on trying to save the world with your art it might kill some of the creativity. I make whatever feels good and sounds good. I speak on what I know. I try to leave some messages for the most part, but not all the time. You are putting barriers on your creativity. I don’t want to feel like I can’t do a song because it’s not saving the world. Superman can’t break the law because he’s super man. Batman does whatever to get the job done. I’d rather be batman.
Q: What do you have in mind for you future?
R: My dream is to create art and get paid for it. I want to be like Pharrell or the humble version of Kanye. I want to be able to help people in general with my art. Mostly importantly I want to be happy. People want me to create a sequel to my first mixtape which was called Bizzare Caid. I’m working right now but I don’t know what it is I’m just creating. I have so many new projects right now.
Kincaid has definitely made me a huge fan of his work. I love to do my homework and listen to his singles 1995, and Handshake. His soundcloud is full of gems to be sure to check it out. I told him that I can see him making it big and very soon so I am honored that he allowed me to interview him. Hip-Hop needs more lyrist especially with all of the craziness going on in the world today.