EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: 645AR speaks about his newfound infamy, how he came up with the squeaky voice delivery, and his surprising next moves.
645AR burst onto the scene out of nowhere and, almost instantly, hip-hop took notice of him. Born in New York and raised in Atlanta, the young recording artist has been around two completely different ends of the table as far as rap's approach goes. In New York, a focus is placed predominantly on bars and lyricism while, in Atlanta, trap beats and vibes are the top priority. Acknowledging that he would need to stand out from the pack if ever he wanted to live out his dream, 645AR developed a voice that we all know too well now.
The brain behind "4 Da Trap" and "Yoga," and possibly Tik Tok's biggest rap star of the year so far, 645AR is ready to tell his story.
After struggling to gain attention with his music, 645AR decided that he needed to find something that would separate him from anybody else, officially giving birth to his squeaky-voiced delivery last year.
Whether you love it or hate it, you've got to accept that 645AR is one of, if not the most unique rappers in the game right now. He has already left his mark on the industry and, with so much more to contribute, it's time for us to take notice.
We hopped on a video call with the rising star to speak about everything that's happening in his career right now, including "Yoga", his future collaborations, and why he's so much more than just a meme.
Read our interview below, edited for clarity and length.
Image via Publicist
HotNewHipHop: Hey, what’s up!? How's it going?
645AR: Hey everybody. Whew, I just woke up.
It really be like that. You’re loving this quarantine, huh?
Yeah. I was just tryna find weed yesterday and I couldn’t find any so I was just like up and I ended up falling asleep like really late.
You got the snacks on deck though so you good.
Yeah man, I was tryna pull some sour yesterday, I was hurt man. I got spoiled to the exotics.
I just wanted to start off by saying congratulations cause you’re blowing the fuck up, it’s crazy. What do you want the people to know about 645AR?
I’m not playing around. That’s my one. They just swear I’m playing around but I’m just not playing. I’m so serious.
There are a lot of people that write you off right off the bat because they hear the voice and they’re like, is he a meme rapper, does he have substance to him? What would you say to those people?
I would just tell people to stay tuned 'cause you know I already have so much in this project like, that’s what I do every single time. Every time I drop they just like, they just confused like they don’t fully understand it.
Where’d you grow up?
I grew up in Atlanta for real. That’s really where I spent my teen years but I was born out here in New York. I had moved to Florida in ‘05 so after like ‘06 I spent most of my time in Atlanta and I basically grew up there, in a really small area.
What was your childhood like? Moving around can be tough sometimes.
Yeah, I started moving around when I was a young boy so it was just hard for me to adapt to things. I was like 10 years old when I first moved so it's like, you know, I picked up so much stuff being out here and stuff, then I moved to Atlanta and it's like completely different so I gotta adjust.
What do your parents do?
My mom is a nurse and my pops is a truck driver.
Image via Publicist
Speaking about you as an artist, I would honestly go out and say you’re the most unique artist that’s out there right now, especially in rap. How would you describe your artistry?
I would describe myself the same, most unique thing out right now. People gon’ take it how they wanna take it but I feel I’m the most unique person out.
How’d you come up with the squeaky voice delivery?
With delivery, I was just playing one time. I was just trying to find a new sound, I just felt like the current sound that I had wouldn’t take me as far as I wanted to go. The first time I did it, it was on a song called "Crack." I said no cuss words and when I just did it, I was just trying something new. At that moment I knew I could do something with it, experiment with something. So I ended up doing that. And I just do a lot of thinking, I do a lot of analyzing so I just knew it was going to draw too much attention and stuff. I did it but like I tried perfecting my sound so like there are different frequencies. I tried perfecting my whole squeak 'cause there are levels, like I came in rapping then I came in with the "4 Da Trap" shit, so I perfected that sound.
It’s emotional too. I feel like a lot of people don’t realize. Like, they’re not listening to the lyrics, they’re not looking deep into that. They’re just hearing the squeak and they’re just like, shit, that’s crazy, they’re not reading into it. And a lot of what you’re saying is deep shit.
That’s another thing too. When I first started, I had said some real shit so like, I don’t know. I just knew people would think I was a gimmick if I was just saying a whole bunch of bullshit, like just a whole bunch of unimportant shit. I actually try to talk about deep shit, like shit that’s really going on. I don’t want people to be like ‘yo this n***a tweakin’, you just toyin’” cus like some people is hip to it, like they know what is going on.
What were peoples’ reactions to it the first time you did it? What did the engineers say, what did your manager say? Did people believe in it in the beginning?
No [laughing], hell no. Uh, when I first did it, there was a day we shot this video and we was just like recording, I had did it, there was two people, it was my boy Tony Shhnow and my boy Bag Ty and instantly Bag Ty was like ‘boy you a genius’ and he was like crazy. Tony Shhnow, on the other hand, was like ‘you trippin’ I’m not gettin’ on this [laughing]. You know, they knew I was with the song, like I knew what I was doing, they just follow my lead.
When did you realize that you had come up with something that was gonna be big?
It was before I had dropped "4 Da Trap." It was the month of December, I don’t know, I just felt like my presence on the internet was just like, strong, so. Actually, I’ll say with the first record, 'cause with the first record when I tried the squeaky like it started getting recognition in the city but like, people were just like, ‘what is he up to?’ Yeah, people was just like ‘what is he up to?’ I mean actually, cus when I started off, I started off at like, the lowest-highest frequency so I was going back to my regular voice then doing the squeak shit. So that was like the first record I ever did and then we had ended up shooting the music video to it six months later. So the song came out and people was like, okay, this is something they don’t really know. And then the video came out and they was like ‘okay, okay.’ They was just confused, they were just super confused. That was like the first video that came out. Lil Tecca is a person I really gotta give a shoutout to because he really got the ball rolling, he had posted that video and then that video just started taking off.
Tecca did that? That’s dope.
Yeah, so that got me the meeting and then once I got the meeting they was telling me like, what they had in mind for me and what they had planned out and I was just like, okay this is how I gotta push straight to the stuff that I do so people could grasp more into it. So I did "Crack" and then after the meeting I did "Bible and a K" and that was like the first whole sound 'cause the first song I did I was going back and forth, I was switching my cadences but when I did "Bible and a K," I had high frequency the whole track, I just went in, so, yeah.
I read somewhere that you were hanging around Lil Yachty when he started blowing up? Did you learn anything from him?
I would probably say not being a follower for real, like he was tryna do his own thing. So not like following the trends and doing your own thing. There was an era of rap in like 2016, when Boat was coming up and he had took over 'cause he was so fresh, what he was doing was so fresh to people.
You used to play basketball too, right?
Did you ever think you could go pro? I read somewhere that you're 6'5"?
I really did, I thought I was gonna go pro but it just didn’t work out and then I let it work itself out, and it ended up working. Yeah, I’m 6’5" man, 230 man. You know, I don’t know why people be talking to me crazy 'cause like I’m really big. I don’t know, I think people be thinking I’m like 5’5" or something.
You hear the voice and you’re like 'this guy’s small' but no, you a big dude.
Bro, they see me and they like, I’m not gon’ say what I say on the internet to him 'cause he big.
A lot of people are comparing you to Playboi Carti and rappers like that because of your voice. Are you influenced at all by him? Are you a fan?
I’m a fan, I wouldn’t say I’m influenced by him, though. I’m a fan though.
Image via Publicist
You just dropped the video for "Yoga." What do you aim to get out of that release?
You know what I aim for, I just want people to be like ‘Man, this dude’s not playing around,’ and you know we shot the whole video too. Shout out to BRTHR too 'cause they went too crazy.
So, you’re in the process of blowing up and there are gonna be tons of people reaching out to you. Has anybody big hit you up to collaborate yet?
Yeah, T-Raw, my boy Tyga. Yeah, I don’t know if I was supposed to tell you that but yeah, we got a record in the cut. Next record I’m dropping is the FKA twigs joint.
That's a crazy collaboration!
People still think I’m playing though.
I just gotta let ‘em see what’s in store.
You’re working on a mixtape right now, what’s the plan for that? Do you have a timetable for the release or anybody in particular that you want on it?
Umm nah, not necessarily, you know. I’d say it’s probably like 95% done and it’s sounding like literally the most perfect project to me. Just putting some finishing touches on it.
Every time I log onto Tik Tok, I’m seeing people making their own videos to "Yoga" and "4 Da Trap". What do you think about the virality of those songs?
Yeah, I seen what people been doing with "Yoga" on Tik Tok, I see what’s going on, you know. It really don’t bother me 'cause it’s just like the kind of stuff I dealt with growing up, you know I’m already used to it, I just don’t pay stuff like that any mind.
I wanted to ask you about your Sink or Swim crew because there's not a lot of information about everybody else in the crew out there. Can you talk a little bit about them?
So with the Sink or Swim crew it’s just like, if you could name a group other than Migos coming out the South, what group would you say? Who could you say is really coming out of Atlanta? Like you really gotta think about it, so I’m just tryna do that, and everybody’s going crazy. There was a point where everybody had their own single and we was just like, going crazy in the city so we just tryna take over the whole city. The whole gang is gonna go crazy like, we just put structure in everything that we do like, right now, we just getting all kinds of ready, we just reloading right now, we finna go crazy.
You’ve got an R&B side too that I feel like we haven’t really heard yet. Is that gonna be coming out on the next album?
Yeah, that’s what’s coming next. This is what people don’t know, "Yoga" came out last year so I dropped "4 Da Trap" and then nobody heard no new shit that I been working on. And then "In Love With a Stripper," that’s one of the first songs I made on the autotune shit, I made that song like October. Nobody’s heard nothing new yet so that’s why I’m just like, you know. But I know what I got, I got some real art sitting in the cut.
What’s the plan for when quarantine ends? You gonna be touring, doing performances? What does a 645AR performance look like?
It looks wild, like shoot, I’m not even gon’ lie to you. The last shows I did were in Spain and they had both sold out. I’m out the country and the shows sold out. It was two shows: one was in Madrid, one in Barcelona. They both sold out. People be raging for real, like people be squeaking for real. I love my fanbase, man. I think I got one of the best fanbases in the game right now, they go crazy. Those are the last two shows I had and those are the only shows I did this year. The last show I did before that -- I’d probably say like the beginning of December -- I was doing underground shows. People was going crazy, like there’s a snippet on Twitter and like, he’s okay now, but somebody had a seizure. It really be that turnt, like no exaggeration.
Yeah, we don’t want nobody to have a seizure.
You see some crazy shit at a 645AR show.
Speaking of the music that’s coming out, what do you want to tell the people about the album?
When I drop this album, I’m just stamping everything I’m doing, you know. I feel like, after the "Yoga" video, there’s still gon’ be some people, they just not hip, they just can’t get hip. I don’t know, they probably just can’t process the high frequency. But after I drop this project, I feel like there’s not gon’ be anymore slander. It’s always gon’ be people hating but I feel like it'll be to the very minimum after I drop my project.
People don’t realize that you have substance to you so I feel like, once they get into it, they'll realize that 645AR is more than just an artist.
That’s true, I’m more than an artist. I’m ahead, people are gonna start feeling the vibes.
Do you wanna add anything?
Yeah, you know I just wanna add that I’m going too crazy right now, there are too many people hating on me. It’s too many people that got something negative to say, I just feel like there are more people saying negative things than positive things but you know, I’m just tryna say like my next drop, I think my next drop it’s gon’ touch a lot of people more than "4 Da Trap" did, so. I’m just saying my next drop, I’m not playing around.
When’s that coming?
We saying like next month. We gonna make a lot of noise. I’m doing something original. There’s no gimmicks. I’m excited for the future. I can’t wait ‘til they hear my new single.
I'm really excited about that, man. It's been a pleasure talking to you.
I appreciate that, I appreciate y'all for having me too. I used to grow up in like middle school and high school watching y'all shit for real. It’s love.