Los Angeles has always left their mark on the music scene, home to some of the greatest musicians across all genres.
And while most will think of rap or hip-hop when they hear South Los Angeles, August08 is here to bring a breath of fresh air, boasting a euphonious voice that translates into his unique sound and lane.
A rare find overall, August08 was adopted into the 88Rising family, a story which blows his mind to this day. During a session with Pharrell and Rich Brian, August08 found himself playing music for 88Rising founder Sean Miyashiro, who immediately signed him on the spot after hearing his music.
The tradeoff? Being able to be his own recording artist while songwriting for all the greats on the label.
Fast forward to today, August08 is excited as ever to be releasing his new project titled Towards The Sun, with the second installment Towards The Moon arriving shortly after via Def Jam. The former features an all-star guest appearance from TDE’s own ScHoolboy Q.
AllHipHop caught up with August08 in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his roots, selling Kendrick beats back in the day, the moment he fell in love with hip-hop, finding his voice, his new projects, studio essentials, goals, and more!
AllHipHop: Being from South LA, could you paint that picture of the household growing up?
August08: The household growing up was my mom, my two sisters and my dad when I was super super young. We lived in Compton with my grandmother for a while before my dad started getting some bread. It was a normal black family, in the hood.
AllHipHop: You mentioned Compton, how does it see someone like Kendrick get mainstream attention?
August08: I always say I’m from LA because it makes it hard for people to understand. I don’t want to keep having to break it down. But seeing Kendrick, I used to make beats for Kendrick when I was 15 or 16 years old. He used to buy beats from me back in the day.
AllHipHop: So you started as a producer?
August08: I started as a producer. That happened because of this kid named Get It, I don’t know how he was connected to Kendrick at the time. But Kendrick wasn’t hot yet, so that s### don’t count.
It’s because I was a jerk producer. I used to make jerk beats.
AllHipHop: That s### was poppin’!
August08: Yes it was. I never worked with Kedrick in the studio, we literally used to send beats and he used to give us $50. [laughs]
AllHipHop: When did you fall in love with hip-hop? Do you remember that moment?
August08: I fell in love with hip hop because of Kid Cudi. Kid Cudi is still one of my favorite rappers of all time, one of my favorite introverts of all time. The first song I fell in love with is “Open Your Eyes,” by Dwele and Common. That was my first song that I actually looked up on my own as a person. As a kid, that was the first song I ever looked up. Channel Tres is my best friend growing up, that’s my family. He sent that to me on MySpace. That was my favorite song, the first artist I ever looked up and looked into.
AllHipHop: When did you decide you wanted to start producing?
August08: That happened a little after that. My cousins and them had a studio at the crib. They were making beats, so I started making beats with them. Reako who I still work with to this day, he was making beats at the crib. I said “f### it, I’ma do it too.” I stayed the summer with him because my mom thought I wasn’t tough enough, so she sent me over there. Even though he was from the hood. I don’t understand the double down of being from the hood and sending me to even more hooder than the hood. It’s the hood! [laughs]
AllHipHop: Were you getting in trouble as a kid? Were you in the streets at all?
August08: My street activity didn’t start until I was 17, but I didn’t even care about the streets.
AllHipHop: Do you like sports? Video games?
August08: I like football and baseball. I never was a video game fan, but I be playing video games as of late. I’d be playing this farming game that’s on Xbox Game Pass. I got an Xbox X now because I’m bougie. A n*gga got some money now, so I’ll be playing the most childish game we could find on that m###########. Farming.
AllHipHop: I was just interviewing someone about growing up in the hood, they said sports was the only way you think you can make it out.
August08: Hell yeah. Yes! Then I realized I wasn’t that tall like I thought I was. I’ve always been somebody who had confidence. I’ve always been a confident person naturally, so I always thought I was the one of the biggest n*ggas in the room all my life.
So playing sports, I was out there killing. I was on the defensive line getting two sacks a game. But then when we play the better schools, I realized “oh s###, n*gga you small.” I’m 5’11”, I’m not that tall. I’m not that big of a guy. I quit 11th grade, because I wanted to make music. That’s the reason I quit. I told my coach, he saw me from across the campus like “n*gga where you been at?!” Because our coach, Coach Mark, was a known gang member. He was a reformed OG kind of guy. Coach Mark used to beat our ass. “You better come to f###### practice!” And I didn’t come to practice. I never went back. [laughs]
AllHipHop: When did you start recording yourself? Finding your voice, your tune?
August08: I think we started recording at 16, with this songwriter named Watr. He writes a lot with Eric Bellinger. We went to high school together. He heard that I could sing. Well, it’s because I went to continuation school. I got kicked out of regular high school, got sent to continuation school and I met him there.
AllHipHop: What’d you get kicked out for?
August08: Bad grads, I had all F’s, and fighting. I went to continuation school, Channel was there. Aloe (Watr) was there. Somebody else that’s poppin’ was there, it was a skateboarder. He went to school with us. We all went to this continuation school and it was f###### turnt. Fun as hell. The whole hood was there, it was turnt. Aloe found out I could sing, so I went to his grandmother’s house and started recording. He had a studio, the first song I ever recorded was Drake’s “Houstantlantavegas.” On everything.
AllHipHop: No way, you did a cover?
August08: Me and him did a cover. I sung the chorus and he rapped. Straight up, I wish I could find that s###.
AllHipHop: Was there a moment that you felt like you got a buzz? You got your first little success?
August08: Back then, I had this song called “Ready To Love.” It was poppin’. It was a jerk beat with me singing over it, it was in all the parties back then. You remember what songs used to buzz and it just be in the hood or one little area? My song was going up in the hood. I used to go around this group called Scale Ten? I used to sing the songs I have on them and I used to sing my song “Ready To Love.”
It was $50. They used to have these things called Quickie and Club Splash, little things that YG and them homies used to throw. Pusharod used to throw these big events, we’re performing at them for like $50.
AllHipHop: $50? That was a lot back then!
August08: $25, $50, $75.
AllHipHop: I was listening to Towards The Sun, you get deep on this project!
August08: I touched my soul a little bit. I named it Towards The Sun because it’s a part of a 3-project series: Towards The Sun, Towards The Moon, and Seasick as a whole is about basically taking that leap of faith and jumpin — I’m scared of boats, so going on to that boat and attacking all those fears. Towards The Sun is the looking up moment and the introduction to those emotions. It’s me opening up myself. Towards The Moon gets a little darker. I’m loving how Towards The Sun is being received for real.
AllHipHop: I was listening to the intro track, you say “all this drama in my life, I’m falling towards the sun.” What were you going through recording this record?
August08: The pandemic. [laughs] F###### with girls I didn’t like. I was doing things I shouldn’t have been doing during the pandemic, honestly. Being in the house for real. Being single at the time and being alone, the pandemic hit very different. That’s a whole different beast when you’re by yourself. I was just in the house making s###. I produced that record and some of my homies produced it afterwards. I created that whole Nirvana sound myself. It came out sad as hell and I love it. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Do you usually produce your own music or not?
August08: I do a lot of startup, I start a lot of my own ideas.
AllHipHop: How’d you end up linking with ScHoolboy Q on “Cutlass”?
August08: That happened because of Keem and Moosa at TDE. Shout out to both of them, they’re my dawgs. Keem’s a good dude. They had me writing for them. I met with — there’s this guy from the Bay, I cannot think of his name right now. But he introduced me to Moosa. When I met Moosa, Moosa said “yo, come around. Come tap in with us, see what’s poppin’.” I was working out at the Universal studio, this is before I even signed to Def Jam.
Just catching vibes, they said “I want you to pull up on Q.” Pulled up on Q, we made a whole bunch of ideas. We made 6 ideas in one night. We built a cool relationship, so I kept going back over there. Kept going back over there. Once I got signed, me and Terrace Martin had done a record.
AllHipHop: Love Terrace!
August08: Terrace is a legend. I asked Q, he said “hell yeah.” Did it on the spot, for the love. I think I built a good rapport with those guys.
AllHipHop: You made it specifically for him?
August08: I didn’t make it for him, but he was the perfect person to put on it. And Terrace strongly said “n*gga, we gotta get Q on this for sure.” S### was hard as a m###########. Q hard though, Q hard as a m###########.
AllHipHop: And he’s funny as f###. How are those sessions with him?
August08: The sessions with Q is literally him just catching a vibe, with a f###### golf club in his hand. He has this vintage microphone that he freestyles on. Every time I’ve worked with him, I see him in real time creating s###. Hearing him create it to hearing the final product is like h########. Q is f###### tight.
AllHipHop: I also love “500 Days.” The video’s almost at 2 million views on YouTube, did you anticipate that?
August08: I didn’t. I didn’t anticipate that, but I’m happy people f###### with it. That’s a blessing.
AllHipHop: How’d it feel to hit that M?
August08: That was my first video to hit a million. Honestly, I didn’t even think about it until right now, so it feels good. [laughs] It feels good, honestly. I’m seeing every day, more and more people learn who I am and start to see my music. F### it, I’m just accepting it. Until a n*gga can’t walk on the streets no more, I’m on these streets.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your next project, Towards The Moon?
August08: Some fire s###, some sad s###.
AllHipHop: If the Towards The Sun is sad, what is Towards The Moon?
August08: Sadder. [laughs] But it’s some pretty records on there, honestly. I got a great record called “What We Used to Be” With Joji. And I got a record with Jhene Aiko, “Water Sign” that’s dropping the day of the project. It’s the single.
AllHipHop: That’s epic! How did that come about?
August08: What happened is, Brian from Fisticuffs, the production team, played my video for Jhene. And Jhene reached out to me.
AllHipHop: What video was it?
August08: “Keep Me Around.” So when it happened, I hit Def Jam like “oh s###, did you connect the Jhene thing?” He said “I told her about you.” But when I talked to Jhene, she said “I reached out because of Brian,” which is fire. It’s history from there. We got in the studio a few times, we get in the studio all the time. Working on her stuff, she’s giving me advice on my stuff.
AllHipHop: What about Joji? Because he’s got a crazy fanbase.
August08: Joji’s my brother. I’m happy to be a part of his career, and we’ve been building for years now. I saw him through many phases, that’s my brother for real. That’s just natural.
AllHipHop: How was Coachella? What is it like being able to perform with the 88rising family?
August08: Coachella was great. It was good to be back with those guys, really tap in and see all the new people who are part of 88Rising now. I feel like an 88rising old head now. I’m part of the legacy group. It was great, and to play Coachella is a dream. I’m thankful to 88.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
August08: Water. I’m so f###### low maintenance. When it comes to the studio, for sure. I’ve never requested anything. Maybe some food.
AllHipHop: What kind of food do you like?
August08: Mediterranean, kanefa is my s###. It’s a little sweet dessert, that s### is f###### fire. Some licorice. I like licorice.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself at this point of your career?
August08: To play a stadium, to play an arena show. To buy some land and build a f###### farm, and to not live in California as soon as my s### pop off.
AllHipHop: Where are you going to go?
August08: North Carolina, somewhere that ain’t this m###########. And that’s positive. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Anything else you want fans to know about August08?
August08: I want them to do their homework. Go listen to the old stuff. I’m seeing a lot of fans talk about new stuff, but I’m curious. I got some good projects that’s out. I want them to go. I want them to listen to the old stuff, to be a part of that journey.