Having worked with Jack from J*Davey, 1-O.A.K is a Hip-Hop Soul musician, producer and vocalist from Oakland. The name 1-O.A.K is an acronym for one of a kind. He’s recent debut album ‘Special Request’ is filled with just that, one of a kind classic, sexy, 90’s soulful sounds. We decided to catch up with him to discuss his album, how he intends on bringing soul back into popular music, and the new project he is working on with his crew ‘The Honor Role’ group.
1-O.A.K. stands for one of a kind, could you please tell us how your journey into the music world started?
I grew up in a one of a kind church where music was second nature. I played different instruments and sang, I starting at around three years old. That birthed the love for music in me. The passion for making beats and recording came when I joined this organisation called ‘Youth Radio’. Over there I learned the technique of producing and recording. I also met ‘The Honor Roll’ there.
One of your goals is to bring soul and musicianship back into popular music, how do you intend on doing this?
I never wanted to make pop music; I just wanted to make the music I felt. I think I can achieve this by making the best music I can possibly make.
For those who don't know who you are, could you please describe your style?
I make hip-hop soul. It’s a term that hasn’t really been used since the early 90’s but I really make that. Have you ever gone to the club, and they throw a cut on like SWV's "Right Here"? Not the original, but the one that sampled “Human Nature,” then they throw on “Let’s Ride” by Q-Tip. That’s the feeling I live for.
Tell us about your debut album "Special Request" and The Honor Roll (HNRL)
‘Special Request’ is in my debut album. Sonically I’m giving you the raw material I made while I was in the process of finding my style behind the microphone, and perfecting my sound as a producer. Lyrically, it’s all the things I was going through and thinking about outside the studio. I produced, wrote, and arranged the entire album with some help from my crew, ‘The Honor Roll’.
The HNRL is made up of 5 MC’s; Josie Singray, MoxMore, Mike Baker, Spank Pops and Trackademicks. Track (Trackademicks) and I produce the majority of HNRL material, and I’m the only singer. Everyone in the crew is working on solo albums that I’m co-producing along side Track. As a unit I feel we can’t be stopped because we have music for damn near everybody!
Trackademicks' Champagne Room is the next project out. It features me and a few other guest vocalists. It’s real sexy and lush.
You've worked with Jack from J*Davey, are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with?
I only like collaborating when it feels natural. Brook and Jack those are my ‘homies’. It’s funny because I produce and sing, so collaboration can happen so many ways. On the rap side I really like what Dom Kennedy is doing. I co-wrote a song with my n***a Beeda Weeda on Too $hort’s new album, that features Dom but it was more of an email thing. So I’d really like to get in the studio with him. On the singer tip, I would want to hear KING lace one of my beats. Jake One and I go back, because I was in the Red Bull Beat Battle in ‘07. I’d love to lace one of his productions.
How do you rate the Hip Hop, R&B music industry today?
Music in general is more experimental and wild than ever. There is still an “industry” but I see it more like pockets of people trying new s*** and it’s sounding tight. If you are driven and smart, you can make your own lane. I’m eager to work--you feel me? Lay a little paint where it ain't.