A-F-R-O Has A New EP Coming. He Praises R.A. The Rugged Man’s Mentorship
Eighteen year-old Bellflower, California MC A-F-R-O has had quite a 12 months. The artist went from relative obscurity to working with his heroes, touring the world, and even appearing in Vh1 TV movie The Breaks. Cosigned by DJ Premier and GZA, All Flows Reach Out told HipHopDX how it was actually his favorite MC who made it all possible.
“[R.A. The Rugged Man has] been my favorite rapper since I was 13,” revealed the MC who released the Activated Trap Locks mixtape in 2015. “There was Rakim [too], but hearing R.A. made him one of the most incredible emcees to me. When he started this [Definition Of A Rap Flow] contest in 2014, all my homies started posting in his comment section about me. I was 16 at the time. He dropped all the instrumentals to his [Legends Never Die album] and I was still in high school at the time. All he wanted was for people to make songs from it in a contest. Everybody was trying to kill each other in the contest and I just wanted to make a song to one of R.A.’s beats so he could possibly hear it.” The Long Island, New York MC who worked with The Notorious B.I.G., Sadat X, and Mobb Deep did hear. “I put it in the day before my birthday and a week later, he posted my [verse] and shouted me out. He had a game-plan a month before the contest ended.” R.A. took the artist known as James Gutierrez under his wing ever since. “Because of him, I’ve been to Iceland, London, Austria, Norway.” The West Coast teenager says he’s toured Europe twice thanks to the Nature Sounds vet.
Looking at 2016, A-F-R-O hopes to raise the stakes. Next month, A-F-R-O will release an EP. “It’s a joint [project] with my partner Marco Polo. He’s doing the beats and it’ll be eight songs. It’s our brainchild.” Like R.A., Marco is another artist closely associated with the now-defunct Rawkus Records movement of the ’90s and 2000s. He has produced for Rakim, Masta Ace, King T, and done complete projects with Ruste Juxx, Pumpkinhead, and fellow Breaks star Torae.
As a note, A-F-R-O is one of the artists scheduled to perform at this weekend’s second annual J Dilla Weekend in Miami, Florida.