Hip-Hop Wired: When constructing conceptual bodies of work like Kidnapped and your previous project, The Ill Street Blues, do you craft the story first or make it up as you go along?
Wara From The NBHD: I kind of construct the story first. Illstreet was more of an off-the-top kind of thing. It was only conceptual because the things I talked about were connected, but that wasn’t on purpose.
Kidnapped was more so… I came up with the song “Piano Lessons.” I felt like I needed to build around this character, because I always wanted to get my character sh*t off in an album. I felt like why not do it early on (in my career), because later on I don’t know where I’ll be in my life. It was the perfect time to do it.
I started off with building the story first. Then I think about how I want it to sound. I just go from there for real.
HHW: I read that N.E.R.D and Radiohead’s Kid A were your sonic inspirations for Kidnapped. Did any album help shape yours lyrically?
Wara From The NBHD: I listen to so much music, so it’s hard to pinpoint where it came from, lyrically. I don’t necessarily try to come off as lyrical, but it’s just in me and that’s how it comes off period. I don’t listen to anybody to really see where they’re going with their lyrics or how they rap. I just go with it.
I always felt like, if I’m going to be a rapper, there’s no other way to be besides lyrical. There’s a lot of kids who look up to rappers and listen to rap a lot. I don’t want to be that artist who’s teaching the kids to suck.
HHW: You lived in New York City until you were nine, then you relocated to Atlanta. Is that why the project sonically sounds like a mixture of both cities?
Wara From The NBHD: It really came off naturally. Honestly, I don’t know what drives how things come off for me. But I know growing up in Brooklyn and growing up in Atlanta wasn’t too much of a difference. The atmosphere and how the city looks is different, but I grew up in low-income neighborhoods all my life, so the only difference was the region.
Through coming up in Brooklyn, moving to Atlanta, and constantly going back and forth between both cities my whole life, I realized that everything I seen was the same sh*t but in different places. I don’t know if that took effect on how the music comes off, but it’s really a natural thing.
HHW: There’s a new generation of Atlanta artists brewing, some of whom you have a great relationship with. Where do you fit in this new class of MCs?
Wara From The NBHD: I get that question all the time. I don’t know if I’m trying to fit in. The relationship that I have with the artists in Atlanta is never forced.
When I say that I’m not trying to fit in, I saying that I’m glad to be a part of everything that’s happening in Atlanta, but I have to find my own route within it. People could easily try to group me in with this crowd or that crowd, but I’m not trying to fit in with no crowd. I’m trying to deliver my message in the most powerful way that I can.