You’re from Omaha, NE but your flow and your style appear to be a fusion of both east and west coast influences. How did that come about?
In Omaha, NE and other midwestern cities we are influenced by both coasts when it comes to music, style, and art. I use to listen to my friends brother’s albums and watch skateboard videos and take down names of artists and song titles in order to search for certain sounds. Now, with technology, making music, hearing music, obtaining music, a lot has changed It wasn’t until middle school when you could use Napster, then a decade later til ITUNES.
What makes your upcoming album, La Maga, different from any body of work that you have produced?
I wrote it at a very dark time of my life. It’s more personal then my last records. It might be possible to say that finishing this record helped me from not dying. Other aspects contributed to my present existence like my girlfriend, my dog, and skateboarding as well but this record brought me back in to reality.
You spent two years traveling to and from Mexico to record La Maga with Sm-Grims aka Oscar Carillo—how did recording in Mexico impact the album versus recording in album in Nebraska?
The record was recorded here in Omaha, NE actually. When I made my trips to stay with Sm Grims (Oscar Carrilllo*) we wrote together. He would be working on a beat and I would be writing verses to another one. Then I would kick him the verses I had and we’d fine tone the mechanics of the beats to fit the verses better. We wrote, ate, slept, wrote, ate, slept, smoked, drank, smoked, ate, wrote, and slept. Writing in Mexico with Oscar really helped shape the content. We lived together for a week at a time, walking the dogs, going to the beach, buying pastries, eating tacos, eating beans, eggs, and tortillas. It brought the project to life. Without the experience of being in Mexico the words never would of came out the same way as if he would of sent me the beat in an email or dropbox. Every time I stayed with him I would go on to Mexico City for another week and stay with a group of homies down there as well. It’s all the experience and perspective that built this project.
When you’re not rapping, you’re skating. Do these two worlds intersect pretty often?
These worlds intersect everyday. The streets are where the tales come to life. While in the streets you consistently developing perspective and at the same times characters of your next song, chapter, or book. Many people live on my block and believe they know what Park Ave is about but at times they have no idea because they’re never in the streets with the people. It’s not until you push through or walk through your neighborhood daily til you really notice how it operates and who the people are and what they’re going through. Skateboarding keeps me on the streets and keeps the material fermenting in a rotisserie chicken bag on the corner next to another dead bird’s feet.
If you weren’t rapping, or skating, can you imagine yourself doing anything else?
Well, I am actually a student as well at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. I major in International Studies with my area studies in Business Administration and also Latin American Studies. I graduate in December! I am currently looking into master programs. I really want to start a physical publication and write a book. We will see what I can do…
Given the option to travel anywhere in the world, what would be your dream destination? Any particular reason?
I would really like to visit Ibiza, Spain, Marsille, France, or Lisbon, Portugal. Next summer I am planning on moving to Italy or France or Chile for a bit. Maybe that’s when I can finally start my book that I’ve been trying to write.
Imagine this: A 15 year old kid at home listening to La Maga, what’s one message you hope he/she can take away from your record?
I would hope the kid would gain perspective. I’d want them to know that they just heard a project from a chicano manchild named Conny Franko from Omaha, Nebraska and it was produced by Sm Grims a current resident of Juarez, Mexico. I want the message to be that any kid can make music and if they do it they should keep integrity to their art and to themselves. La Maga is personal collage of things I love, enjoy, observe, hate, dislike, and lust for. Maybe they might want to read more too, read Julio Cortazar’s book Hopscotch. Dig deeper to find out what La Maga means to them.
If you had the option to record a couple verses with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
Nas, Big Pun, Sean Price, Qwel, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Aesop Rock, Rakim, Mc Lyte, Camp lo and Mos def.
What’s one song that you think someone would benefit from by hearing it and why?
It would depend on how someone’s day was going but I think everyone should hear is Luchini by Camp Lo, Channel Zero (or Rene) by Lost Boyz, Ghostface killah’s verse on Impossible, Silent Murder by Nas, Corcavado by Gilberto and Stan Getz, and Young Boy Blues by Ben E. King… Sorry there’s never just one song you should listen to.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I do. – AH