Little Rock’s own 607 recently released his 44th record entitled “New Wave Arkansas,” and is celebrating with a Fayetteville release show on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Stage Eighteen. 607 has appeared in Fayetteville many times as a solo artist, and his earliest shows at JR’s Lightbulb Club as a member of Trauma Team date back to the early 2000s. 607 has performed at shows sponsored by KXUA and Art Amiss, and at many Fayetteville venues that no longer exist.
607’s writing and production output is unparalleled, not only for an Arkansas-based rapper, but as a worldwide artist. For years, he released a full-length album every three months, although now his pace is one record each year. His songs do not mirror the trends in rap, and often create their own unexpected lanes. An album from 607 is all over the map, full of left field samples, politics, irreverence, emotion, lyrical complexity, and boundless imagination. Simply put, 607’s storytelling ability rivals rap’s greats, and he is undoubtedly Arkansas’ most gifted and consistently vital rapper.
“New Wave Arkansas” is available at iam607.com, and is streaming now on all the usual sites. Pick up a copy in Fayetteville this weekend.
I talked to 607 before a string of Arkansas shows, and here it goes…
You recently released your 44th record entitled “New Wave Arkansas.” How have you maintained your creativity?
I’ve always been deeply rooted in the community. Always been a thinker. I just write how I feel about what I see.
Who: 607 / Bazi OwenZ / Quarterpiece Q.P. / $ME
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30
Where: Stage Eighteen, 18 E Center St, Fayetteville
Cost: $8 in advance / $10 at the door
Info: All-ages show
Your Bandcamp bio reads “Tupac + Fiona Apple = 607.” Can you pinpoint how they affected your music and writing?
2pac was able to invoke emotions like no one before. He used those emotions to lead. Fiona Apple is a wordsmith whose works are timeless. 607 is the square root of my barcode. I’m a product of my environment. I studied them so much that they’re baked into my algorithm.
With 44 records out, have you ever considered releasing a Greatest Hits, or Best Of record?
Not really. Got plans to make my full catalog available in the future with an app that doesn’t exist yet. We’re working on it.
Besides music, what keeps you inspired to write?
It’s my responsibility to communicate with people who think like me. Our biggest fear is finding out we’re alone out here.
You’ve done a lot of international touring. What’s it like to do shows overseas? What’s the biggest difference between international shows and shows in the U.S.?
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s blah. I don’t really like when I go to places and they cheer on cue every four bars. I like to earn the respect of the crowd. However, I don’t like when they make me work too hard. Some places I go are so influenced by the way black men are portrayed in the media that they have a hard time accepting my style and content.
What have you been working on and writing about lately?
I wrote a 10-episode web series called “Higher” that I’m currently shooting and editing. Being older helps me embrace the things about me that people refer to as weird even more. I’m having fun decorating the dark corners of my brand.
What’s the last record you heard that made you want to get back in the studio?
Young Nudy ft. 21 Savage – East Atlanta. Pierre Bourne’s beat is awe inspiring by itself. Young Nudy found what I call a god pattern for the hook. 21 Savage drops the hardest verse I’ve ever heard from him. That song sounds the way I feel when it’s time to handle business.
You’re playing Fayetteville on Sept. 30. What can we expect at the show?
Expect me to pour my energy into all those that will have it. Expect some people who are there to not understand it. Expect us to have a good time anyway.
You’ve played Fayetteville a lot. Any old show stories that you can tell? What do you look forward to doing when you’re in town?
I’m ashamed to share the goods. Fayetteville can be a magical place.