Zip K. Rapper. College Student. East Atlanta native, Stone Mountain to be exact. I’d describe his music as lyrical, which means you have to listen a little harder to catch some of his wordplay. For most rappers, that means the audience will have to endure a dull listen. For Zip K this isn’t the case, because he still manages to bring fun to any record. I talked with him about the Sky Republic brand, music inspirations, his latest projects, and more.
First things first, Where did you get your rap name from? Why the change from Zip Kennedy to Zip K?
“Zip started on the first basketball team I ever played for. The number they gave me was 00. I hated it. The coaches didn’t know my name so they called a Zip a good while. From that point it stuck with my friends. Kennedy came in college after one of my college professors gave me the nick-name after JFK, one of the class’ topics of discussion. For branding and marketing purposes it is Zip K. That will minimize confusion with other artist with similar occurrences in rap names. Everything generally knows me as Zip Kennedy. And when it boils down to it my close friends just call me Zip.”
What is Sky Republic?
“Sky Republic is just a name that me and my in-house producer agreed on to represent everything we really stand for when it comes to ambition and the pursuit of dreams. A republic is just a group of people who share the same values and sky represents the altitude from which we view life. It also represents the mindset that striving “sky high” in all ur endeavors while remaining grounded. Sky Republic is for the world.”
When did you realize that rap was something that you wanted to take seriously?
“When I realized people actually enjoyed and sought after my music. I also made up my mind I didn’t want to work a 9 to 5 everyday that I didn’t enjoy. I’d rather spend my days chasing my passions.”
What’s your favorite album of all time and how has it inspired you musically?
“My favorite album of all time is Kanye West’s Late Registration. I feel like it changed my perception of music because he wasn’t rapping “at” people but “to” people. And the way he painted pictures and story lines really stuck with me. Sonically it was well produced it really made me care more about content and connecting with people with your art.”
Zip released his latest mixtape, Clouded Judgement, in December. There’s songs for every situation, from real life situations in “Long Days” to “Aisle 4.” There’s feel good songs like “Wavy” and “Show Love.” There’s heartbreak in “Summer End Blues.” But I won’t give the whole tape away, stream and download it via Live Mixtapes Indy site here.
Why’d you chose the name Clouded Judgement for this project?
“I named the project Clouded Judgement because its a story about a time in my life where I was finding my way dealing with right/ wrong, good/bad, sensible/senseless and a few other themes. It was also the perception of which of my peers and I view life.”
Tell me about the first single, “Chevy Hump.”
“Chevy Hump was the last record that I wrote for the project. I think it sounds the most lyrically and sonically mature. A1Jovan told me he had a few beats he wanted to get to me and we were way past due. When I heard how soulful the sample was I wanted to do something people could visualize in story form but be catchy too. It came together pretty quick. The shoot was cool! Connecting with a young up and coming videographer in Goodwin was a dope experience.”
Check out the official video for “Chevy Hump.” Congrats to Zip on it’s MTV Jams premiere.
What’s your favorite track on Clouded Judgement and why? What’s the inspiration behind it?
“My favorite track on the project is “Long Days.” Just because its a story that is as close to verbatim of as situation as you can get. Its so literal to what happened and I really like the production on it and the concepts. Plus it will be the official second single.”
Check out “Long Days,” which is probably the first song on the tape that I played out. Shout out to the “So Anxious” reference.
Zip also has a three part mixtape series with rapper Translee, titled Takers. The latest installment of the series, Takers 3, dropped in August of last year and can be downloaded via Live Mixtapes here.
What made you hook up with Translee for the Takers series? Will there be more to come or is three enough?
“Translee and I just had a mutual respect for each others lyrical ability. We just started off wanting to do a couple songs together and we did so many that we decided to put out a tape. I don’t think we ever thought we would acquire a following like that. There haven’t been any recent talks about a 4th, but who knows what the future holds?”
Check out their “FNPN” single below, which can also be found on Clouded Judgement.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
“I’ve been working a lot on songwriting for other artists. When I get in that zone I take some time away from writing for me. I wanna make sure those worlds are separate. I’m supposed to be recording new personal records very soon. I’m excited because every project people see growth. I think this will be the biggest step people see from me. One of the defining moments.”
“I really just want to connect with people. I love it when people say,” man, he was right on point” or “I could relate to that.” It makes me know that I achieved my goal as a communicator and as an artist!”
Of course we’ll keep you all updated on his latest releases.
To further connect with Zip K, check out iamZipK.com and follow his social media: