FTK stands “For The Kulture” and that is exactly what ApeBaby a.k.a. JungleBoy, Deemo, and Kold Ka2e all are developing. Coming from their respective neighborhoods of New York City, they each bring their own sound and vibe to the table. A Different Path EP dropped on February 22nd of this year and shortly after, the trio sat down with Colossus Music’s Heff to discuss their influences, creativity, and future dreams for themselves and the label.
Colossus Music: How did you guys all get into music? Where did it start for each of you?
Deemo: When I was in elementary school I played the trumpet. I also sang in the choir at church and at school so it really started there for me. I really liked playing trumpet but when we got to middle school they discontinued the program so I started playing basketball. I really didn’t care about music much until I got to college. I always liked listening to it but never really cared to make any of my own. The beginning of my sophomore year, I was like “I feel like making music.” Being here, there really isn’t much to do but there is a studio up the hill so I started talking to JungleBoy who also wanted to make music and that’s how it started. We went to high school together and have known each other since we were thirteen.
ApeBaby: I was just in the hood and was always around people who were either playing ball or rapping. When balling didn’t work out, I was always making rhymes and stuff and when Deemo told me he wanted to make music I was like “oh what’s up!” I was already in tune with little flows and stuff. Plus girls were always telling me too, why don’t I take it seriously? I would do little flows here and there, especially driving around in the car and they would always say to me, “Nah you got to stop playing you could be good.” That’s when we started going to the studio, putting up bread, and making music.
Kold Ka2e: I wasn’t rapping at first, I was kind of just the manager. I already knew some people so I could network and stuff. Then, December 6th they had a studio session and told me to pull up. I went in and we tried some things and it came out good so we posted it on Instagram. It had 1000 plus views on it and from there I just started rapping and we made songs.
CM: So when you guys were growing up were you listening to a lot of music? What was being played around you?
KK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, all I do is dance!
AB: My mother always had the radio on with the old tunes. I know all the old stuff as well as all the new songs too. Music was just always around.
CM: What was she playing for you when you were a kid?
AB: Sam Cooke, The Temptations, everything like that. Then now I know all the new stuff too, just always around music. I never thought I’d be making it because it really started out as a joke.
D: Well my parents are from Barbados and they were playing a lot of records when I was young. I was listening to a lot of their kind of music growing up but personally, I always loved rap. I was always into music that when it came to making my own, I was like “I don’t see why not.”
CM: Bouncing over to the new EP, Deemo and Kold Ka2e, you seem to be the main rappers on the project while ApeBaby is providing more melodic hooks and flows. Where are you pulling your musical inspirations from for this? Do you listen to other genres to find new flows or styles?
KK: I listen to R&B a lot. I don’t make music for males, I make music for females honestly. I don’t really care what dudes think I do what I do regardless.
D: I listen to a lot of music honestly. If I hear a rock song that I like I will listen to it. I really am open to anything but I mainly listen to rap music. When I was younger though I was really into Green Day and that kind of rock.
AB: For me, it’s just if it sounds good.
CM: What artist are you listening to a lot right now? Who is it that you guys really like?
AB: I look up to Cardi B. That’s one of my favorite rappers of all time.
KK: I got a couple. Young Thug and Lil Baby are really my top two. I could play Lil Baby all day, don’t matter the song or whatever. These guys get pissed off about it.
D: I listen to a lot of Lil Uzi and Young Thug too.
CM: Where did you guys come up with your artist names. Deemo, you mentioned that it’s based on your actual name Kadeem, but where did the names Kold Ka2e and ApeBaby come from?
KK: I’m in a Greek Fraternity and that’s my line name. It was given to me and kind of stuck. I couldn’t find a rap name or whatever so I thought I would go with whatever my Instagram name and all my other social media to make it easy.
AB: We only been doing this for a year now. I was ApeBaby first, there wasn’t no Jungle Boy yet. I got ApeBaby from the hood ’cause I was always on some apeshit. The Jungle Boy came from the fact that I had a lot of animals when I was younger. Always around them and stuff. I also look at the hood like the “Concrete Jungle” so like Jungle Boy straight from the Jungle.
CM: Speaking of animals, I know you have a German Sheppard that you talk a lot about in your songs.
AB: Yeah, he’s gonna be in music videos. In each of them, there will be new animals popping up. All that!
CM: Let’s talk a bit about FTK The Label. How did you guys create it? What do you want out of it and are you looking to bring in more artists?
AB: FTK stands for “For The Kulture”. We really wanted to build our own label because we were really not interested in signing with any other. We know the industry pretty well and know how to get what we need. We wanted to have our own structure and move up together. Later on, we will start signing people and all that stuff that comes with it.
KK: FTK started a couple summers ago. It was just me and my bro that DJs. There was a lot of crazy things going on. We couldn’t even go anywhere without something happening so I decided to throw parties. I’m a neutral person and I know everybody from each hood so they would come and there’d be no problems. I don’t know what went down after the parties but everyone would come and have a good time. So we kept doing that and we had 1,000 people in the backyard for the first party. I did three or four parties and was making so much money over the summer. Then I had a clothing line I was going to start but I never really launched it. But during that time, everybody was like “FTK! FTK!” so I ran with that. When I started music, all my other bros was rapping with their own shit so we combined FTK with their group. It’s us, my bro Marquise who takes pictures from PACE, and my friend who DJs. There ain’t a lot of people who are FTK. You have to be bringing something to the table. If you ain’t got drip it’s not happening.
CM: Is there a producer as well with the group or are you producing your own beats?
KK: We working on that! We working on it. We are trying to do it all.
CM: Where did those beats come from for the EP?
AB: A lot of them come from the internet. It be hard finding them though because we don’t always vibe with them. We could go through fifty beats and still not find anything that we like. But then we find that one that works and we know it. I don’t like to spend that much time trying to search for beats. If it hits it hits. Once you hear a beat you know.
D: That’s a fact!
KK: We are all very selective. If I like a beat but Kadeem is iffy about it and Sam hates it, then I will know to keep it for myself. Sometimes you just have to hear it on the speaker too.
AB: Producers will be getting mad us too like “How don’t you like this beat?” It won’t be that the beat is whack, it’s just that that’s not my swag. That’s why I really like picking them myself.
KK: Now, I’m starting to get beats sent to me. It’s weird to me honestly cause people will hit me up out of the blue to show me their beats. I don’t try to be disrespectful cause really their beats are whack but I will still respond just cause. A couple beats made my own EP though. My friend Cam Racks made “Neck Froze” and my boy Bobby Zeppelin made “Cannot” on Unexpected Hail.
CM: How much time did you end up spending in the studio making A Different Path?
D: A couple months I think.
AB: There was a lot of hold-ups too. Sometimes there were breaks involved where we didn’t get to see each other that much. And then of course money and school too. The EP came out on accident honestly because we were originally aiming for just a single but we had a new producer who was really pushing for the EP to drop.
KK: We just wanted to make one song but the world was like”nuh-uh you gotta do it this way.”
CM: And what are you guys doing to promote it? Are you trying to set up any shows soon? Any other projects on the way?
KK: Definitely have a few shows lined up. We promote heavy too through social media. Word of mouth too.
CM: Wrapping things up we have to do the standard Colossus Sit Down series question. If you could have dinner, drinks, smoke, whatever with three artists, dead or alive, who would they be?
AB: R. Kelly…nah I’m playing. It would have to be Michael. I like Michael Jackson and a lot of his older stuff. I really think Biggie could be up there too. I need to have someone big from my hood at the table. I ain’t gonna lie, right now I’m jacking Blueface too so add him. I like how he has the off-beat flows. A lot of people be like “oh its too off-beat” but really it’s just old school West Coast style. I think doing a feature with him could be cool too but we will see where we end up with that.
KK: Michael Jackson for sure. If you call my aunt she will tell you I used to do all the dance moves, the whole routines to every song. Besides that, definitely Young Thug. He got the keys. This man said he recorded over 15,000 songs since he started his career. That’s just ridiculous. And then also Lil Baby. He wasn’t rapping at first either. He low key was just around. We sort of got the same story but not the same story. I wasn’t rapping but I was around them and they told me just try it and now look where we are.
D: Also Michael Jackson for me definitely. Then I would also say Jay Z and Young Thug. His harmonies…that man is something different with it.
CM: Last big question. What do you want 2019 to be for FTK and you guys specifically? Where do you want to be by the end of the year?
AB: I want to have pool parties with lots of girls.
KK: I want to have a lot of money. I want everybody who doubted me to see that you can’t just doubt people. This ain’t even about me. The music stuff is cool but I’m about to graduate college so I need to get a real job soon. When this pops off, I want everybody to see you just can’t doubt people. The person you see everybody going against you can’t just jump on the bandwagon. If they doing something right everybody got to dislike them.
AB: I also want to be somebody from the hood. I want to show little kids that you don’t always have to be a gangbanger, don’t have to just play ball, but instead can use your talents in other aspects. In my hood, there is a lot of violence and senseless killings and all that stuff. I just want to do something so kids can see me and be like “nah he made it out though.” They don’t have that right now, they hear about it but don’t really see it.