Featured Shirley's Temple

From Omaha, Nebraska To Los Angeles, Meet Rising Alternative Rockstar SK8

July 15, 2021

Read the full interview on AllHipHop.com!

SK8 is the definition of a music-lover, here to bless the music industry with his undeniable talents as a recording artist while displaying his vibrant, out-of-this-world personality for the world to see.

Blending the worlds of hip-hop, alternative and punk rock, the Omaha, Nebraska native has been writing his own lyrics since he was a teenager, wearing his heart on his sleeve with each release.

In 2015, SK8 exploded onto the scene with his collaborative single “Like That” alongside social media stars Jack & Jack.

With his boy-next-door charm and down-to-earth persona, SK8 began to build his own fanbase and following, exuding nothing short of positive and good energy.

Fast forward to today, SK8 has relocated to sunny Los Angeles and joins the revered Taylor Gang family lead by Wiz Khalifa.

Boasting his own imprint titled Alignment and teaming up with Atlantic Records, SK8 continues to put in the work to become one of the greats.

His most recent releases include “Girl Next Door,” “Famous” featuring Tyla Yaweh and “Caught In The Middle,” holding fans over until the release of his forthcoming project.

On the 14th episode, I sat with SK8 at Matrix Studios in Los Angeles to discuss how he met Wiz Khalifa, starting his own label, his social media presence, relationship with Jack & Jack, collaborating with Tyla Yaweh on “Famous,” collaborating with Diablo & Lil Xan, having to write a cypher in less than 24 hours, opening for Lil Wayne, and more!

AllHipHop: How is it smoking with Wiz Khalifa?

SK8: His weed gets you high, that KK s### is different. It really is different bro. It keeps you up too, you can work off that s### all night. To be honest, I really like smoking Wonderbrett’s Pink Picasso. I like any type of OG. What’s my other favorite? Mochis, s### like that.

AllHipHop: How did you end up linking with Wiz in the first place?

SK8: The Wiz link up is crazy. You know Ricky P, he’s a producer for Taylor Gang. We were in the studio, he said “Wiz is finna pull up.” It was 4am, we’ve been working since 8pm. Yo, Wiz is about to pull up at 4am? S### alright, I guess we gotta keep going. Ricky said “yeah, he just woke up.” Boom, we get in the studio. He’s listening to the s###, he said “this is dope. You want to make some s###?” Hell yeah I want to make some s###! It clicked. After that, I was trying to find a manager because I already had my label in place.

AllHipHop: What’s your label?

SK8: I started my own label, that’s one of my goals. I started that with my partner James McMillan. I started my label with him called Alignment Records, we did the JV underneath Atlantic. That’s how I got tapped in there, but I was looking for a manager at the time. Will was coming into sessions, I was still recording with Wiz. I was talking to some other people, but I felt they understood how I move, what I want to do and my goals. We had a lot of conversations, that’s how I became part of Taylor Gang. I’m not technically signed to the label, but I’m signed to management.

AllHipHop: Shout out to Will!

SK8: Shout out Will, that’s the man. Shoutout Wiz, shoutout Chevy really for real. Chevy introduced me first too. I did a song with Chevy in 2016 on my mixtape called Skaterade, before I did a headlining tour. This was when I was independent. He came out on stage in Pittsburgh at Mr. Smalls with me, which is crazy. It’s always been a linkup. It’s crazy man.

AllHipHop: Is that when you were poppin’ on Vine?

SK8: That’s when I was really poppin’ on social media. The people I was around were mad poppin’ on Vine. They were stupid poppin’, but I was always known for my music. Opening up for people, I was always doing music. Boom, social media really helped me stay independent, deadass tour and sell tickets. I didn’t really need a label at the time.

I didn’t feel like I needed them. I’d been spending a lot of my own money on my own videos and a lot of s###. To be honest, I see it like this. If we look at it from a basketball standpoint, I didn’t put all this work and time in the gym to not go to the NBA. I’m trying to be with the big dawgs and all the big dawgs are signed. There’s some independent people, but I’m here to win. Independently if that’s what you want to do — that’s the thing, you can do whatever you want. However you want to live your life, you can live it that way. If you want to live independently and tour, do 500 to 1000 or 1500 shows, you can live and be good and great. Curren$y does 5,000 seaters, he’s indie and cool. But I always seen myself in arenas.

AllHipHop: Do you miss performing?

SK8: Hell yeah, a lot.

AllHipHop: I actually interviewed JVCK J, was that the poppin’ Vine stars you were talking about?

SK8: Yeah, JACK & JACK. He’s awesome, great soul. They got mad poppin’ on Vine when that s### was hella cracking, it was like TikTok. They were in the top 10 Viners. We weren’t really friends at the time because I transferred my senior year to a different school, but I went to the school before. They knew me because my sophomore year, I was always passing out CDs. Always doing music. When they got cracking, they wanted to do music. They said “yo, let’s make a song.” We made one song. We buy the beat, cheap as f###. We go Gold and that’s before streaming, all real downloads. That was my first “oh s###, this is crazy independent.” We really had some power.

AllHipHop: Jack & Jack split up, right?

SK8: They split up, but they still do s### together. They wanted to do a little solo career, you know how everybody wants to do their thing. It’d be tough being in a group. That s### must be hard, that’s why you see rock bands always breaking up. A lot of rock bands be breaking up, at least they’ll lose a drummer or a lead guitar. There’s a lot of politics going on with the business.

AllHipHop: How do you navigate that?

SK8: I try to stay up out of it, that’s why I got my best friend Will. He f###### runs the sticks behind-the-scenes, he’s really tapped in.

AllHipHop: Are you spiritual?

SK8: I’m spiritual for sure, definitely spiritual. I believe in God. It’s more I believe in a higher power that created us. Obviously you know the book has been changed a lot so you can’t really believe everything that’s in the textbook. Something definitely way greater than human form created us. We didn’t create us. Something that’s bigger than us created us.

AllHipHop: “Caught In The Middle” out now, how are you feeling?

SK8: It feels good. We’ve been working on this project for so long, really 8 months to a year. I dropped sk8sounds my last project last January on my birthday, so it’s definitely been a year and some change working on this. It’s cool. It was cool to get the first single out: “Famous” with Tyla Yaweh. He’s one of my good friends. He’s a rockstar, we killed a whole bottle to ourselves that day. We took the whole 42 to the head.

AllHipHop: Ya’ll were hanging off cars in the video!

SK8: We were so f###### drunk. Daniel [Kelly] directed that s###, shout out Daniel. Daniel’s going crazy on my videos. He’s in the studio with me all the time, he’s seeing how I make my music. What’s the vibes? What’s the energy of it? Sometimes we might even talk about some s### like “oh s### bro! If I said this, we could shoot some da-da-da.” There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be directing the videos. He’s already a huge part of it and he’s dope in the camera.

AllHipHop: Is there a deeper meaning behind “Famous”?

SK8: The meaning is easy: girls trying to be famous.

AllHipHop: How are those DMs?

SK8: My DMs are good. I’m good, I’m solid. My DMs are a poppin’, but I got a new a…

AllHipHop: You got a bae?

SK8: Nah, hell nah. I got a few baes, but not like that. I can’t, I was in a relationship for 3 years. That was a long time for me. It was good, I was in love. That s### was fun, I was having a great time.

AllHipHop: This is why you don’t have your dog anymore!

SK8: We were just talking about that, my ex got my dog. That means she still wants a piece of me. She wants to keep a little SK8 not gonna lie.

AllHipHop: So what happened?

SK8: Really, it was nothing. We really didn’t go out with no b#######, we still sometimes talk. It’s tough in the business. We’re both in the same scene so there’s certain things that come our way. We gotta do things that might upset each other and I didn’t want that to affect both of us, she didn’t want it to either. Respectfully, we gotta take care of ourselves first and be our highest form, then we can do what we need to do. That’s what it was.

AllHipHop: What’s your highest form?

SK8: I want to take care of my family, I want to put my older brother in charge. I want to really build something that’s real, then I can say “okay, now I have time to give you my time.” Time’s so valuable, especially right now. S### gets real!

AllHipHop: How was collaborating with Diablo and Lil Xan?

SK8: Yes, that s###’s crazy. We made a song, it’s hot. It’s a hard ass song. I can’t really say if it’s going to be on the album or not, but it’s fire. Rook played the drums on it. Rook played the drums on most of my album. Also a guy named Colin Britain, he’s cold.

AllHipHop: How’d you link with Rook?

SK8: I linked with Rook through a mutual friend, my boy Taylor introduced me cause he was real tight with Machine Gun Kelly and the whole crew. I started kicking it with Rook. Rook was trying to get in the studio man, he’s a studio rat like me. He loves playing them drums. I don’t know if you seen he got in an accident, a couple days ago he already said “yo SK8, can I pull up to the studio?” Because I was in the studio still, he said “I gotta pull up.” He’s playing with his left foot because he can’t play with this foot, and he had a little fractured bone. He was going nuts! He’s a studio rat like me so we cliqued up and started making this crazy music.

AllHipHop: That’s a gamechanger to have real drums.

SK8: We got really dope guitar players that were able to play some dope s###. Shout out my dude Dom, he did all the bass. He’s from Kansas City, we linked up in my hometown Omaha. The album’s crazy. The first two are a little drive, then the rest of the project is really really dope. It’s my best work for sure.

AllHipHop: What is it about SK8 that fans love?

SK8: They can relate to my music and relate to who I am. I’m not trying to be nothing I’m not, that’s the most important. I’m here to really inspire people to do what I do, so people can feel that. Yeah it’s cool to get money and have money, but once you find something bigger than that and can inspire people, that’s what I’m here to do. Because I was inspired to do this by certain people: Wiz, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne. A lot of people that inspired me so I gotta do that same thing.

AllHipHop: What’s your favorite Wiz song? I’m obsessed with Kush & OJ.

SK8: Really it’s gotta be Kush & Orange Juice, that whole thing. That s### was legendary, one of the hardest mixtapes ever. We got a cypher we did: me, Wiz, Chevy, Rapsody, Problem (he snapped), Fedd Da God, then Alchemist was DJing. Legendary s###, it was so old. The illest s### I’ve ever been a part of. Berner was there too, Berner rapped too. It was with Weedmaps, we shot it at Diamond the skatepark. They had the skaters skating by us as we spit bars.

Funny story, we all got the beat. Some of us think we can do s### like the day before. We’re supposed to be shooting in an hour, we’re all in the dressing room listening back to the beat. Spitting to this beat, trying to memorize this s###. We said “yo, we gotta get the teleprompter bro.” The teleprompter saved us. Imagine, I wrote that s### 24 hours prior. I had a 24, Wiz wrote a 40. He wrote his way later than I wrote mine, so he had less time. We’re trying to memorize this s###. I maybe could’ve, but I would’ve f##### it up a little bit. That s### was really cool, we had a good time.

AllHipHop: Do you forget your lyrics ever?

SK8: Not my songs, but if I just wrote a cypher to a beat where it’s straight rapping, my brain hurt at the end of the day. It was 24 hours of straight memorization.

AllHipHop: Did you have advance notice to work on it?

SK8: I ain’t gon’ say, but I definitely procrastinated. Killed that s###, two takes! Two take Jake, two take SK8.

AllHipHop: How did “OMME” with Wiz Khalifa come about?

SK8: OMME is “on me,” s### let me just create a word. That was on sk8sounds, me and Wiz got so much music so it’d be so hard to choose. For mixtapes, we’re working on certain s###. He’s always working on his Taylor Gang stuff, we’re all involved in that. When it comes to our own projects, we usually take our own s### serious, get into our zones. I can go to Wiz, I went to him and said “yo, I need you on this one.” I’ve been looking through all my songs, this is the one!” He says “alright gotchu, boom.” Usually that’s how it works when we work. We definitely have a lot of s### that needs to go out.

AllHipHop: Enough for a project?

SK8: We have so many projects, the gang in general. Me, Chevy, Wiz, Dejy, 24HRS, Ty$, a lot of people under Taylor Gang like Fedd Da God. Narissa, she’s a cool artist. The gang’s good.

AllHipHop: I had Chanel West Coast on Shirley’s Temple earlier, she had opened for Lil Wayne. How was your experience opening for Weezy?

SK8: I opened up for Wayne on 2 shows. I opened up for Wayne on his only show he’s ever done in LSU, in his hometown at Louisiana State. That s### was f###### crazy, it was me, him, and Rich Homie Quan. It was up. It was that show, then we did Florida State University. We did both colleges, both arenas sold out. At least 10 thousand people.

AllHipHop: Were you nervous?

SK8: Yeah, you get nervous if you care about s###. Once you get in it, it’s more getting the nerves calmed down. Damn near gotta meditate. Sometimes weed gets you going a little bit too much. You gotta calm down, you gotta drink something. Weed really takes your heartrate up.

AllHipHop: How hard does SK8 party?

SK8: Oh I get down. I party like s### we can’t talk about s###. I just Wu-Tanged a blunt for the first time today, on some stupid s### for the video. I put it on TikTok, that’ll probably get taken off.

AllHipHop: What are you most excited for with the release of “Girl Next Door”?

SK8: To be able to release music to the masses is already a blessing in disguise. The best part is the feeling of not knowing what type of impact your song will have on the world.

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