AO – An Exclusive Interview by Dal Kaur



AO is a Hip-Hop artist who was born and raised in California and recently released the ‘We So Major’ remix to follow on from the original single of the same name. “After releasing ‘We So Major’ my brother and producer Shay thought it would be a good idea to really portray what the title of the song really means. We brought together a lot of local hip hop talent and decided to remix this song. It was a great experience. All of us brought different styles and thought processes for this project. This track definitely exemplifies how dynamic hip hop can be. So many different sounds and approaches to the game. Big shout out to my little brother Shay for really creating the vision for this project. He laced the beat and spent a lot of time figuring out how to make this a cohesive project without jeopardizing the individuality from each rapper.”

We are still in the early stages of 2013 and for AO the New Year is all about getting closer to his dreams, “My New Year has been great but a grind so far. I’ve just spent the early part of this year recording new music and mapping out my goals for 2013. I think there’s a lot of potential but it’s all about execution. We have a lot to accomplish still. Nowhere near where I’d like my team to be.”

aoThe Californian native says he was a late bloomer when it comes to making music as he started when he was 17 and in his senior year of high school, “It started off just being a way to creatively do school projects. One day my friends and I were working on a project and one of them told me to take what we do for these projects and maybe write a real song. We cut it on our elementary studio set up. The track was called ‘Haterz Just Trouble. Looking back now that single was terrible,” he laughs, “but we showed it to my peeps around school and surprisingly received support. I kept it going from there and am now just trying to continually refine my craft and soak up as much knowledge as possible about the business. Back then I never would have guessed that music would end up being such a huge priority in my life.”

Being from an Asian background, I had to ask AO whether he faced opposition from his parents when he told them he wanted to pursue a career in music, “My dad has been a huge supporter actually from the get go. He’s a true believer in following your passion and dreams as long as you stay grounded. He actually helped us purchase our studio set up and gave us the green light to convert a bedroom in our house into a studio (my mom wasn’t too happy about that!). It took a while for my mom to understand what we exactly did. At first it was viewed as a waste of time but when she saw how passionate my brother and I were and actually listened to our music she started to come around. You can catch her busting a little move once in awhile while we bump our music,” he smiles. But I’m blessed to have parents with such an open mind because I know how it is for other Desi families that are more traditional. My motive is to represent our people in an acceptable light and really demonstrate that there are no barriers or boundaries for us. Stereotypes are simply misconceptions. We need to let go of the mindsets that Desis are supposed to be a certain a way. I went to school, got my B.A. and work full time. I understand the importance of an education. But once you handle what you need to, why can’t we step out of the box and shake things up a bit? I may not be the best rapper out but if I can give another Desi kid the courage to express themselves in a different light whether it be music, sports, or something else it makes what I’m doing worth it.”

I can’t imagine there are many things to dislike about California but I ask AO what he loves and hates about it, “The women, the weather, it doesn’t get any better in California. I love everything about it. I’m from southern California but big shout out to my people up in the bay and northern California. I love it up there its def got its own culture. I think the hip hop in Cali is emerging to the forefront once again with all of the upcoming talent. I think the only thing I can say I slightly dislike is the traffic down here in LA it can get ridiculous sometimes,” he laughs.

aoooooThe rapper has big plans for 2013 including his next single ‘Off Top’ which he will be shooting the video for in March. “We are really trying to up the level of substance and visuals in the videos to come and get creative with the process. My team is really focusing on outreach this year and getting our music in front of more people. On the entrepreneurial side my brother and I are making moves to expand and further develop our 3MG Apparel clothing line. Check us out at!”

Being a Desi artist, I wonder what kind of music AO like to listen to when he’s not making it, “Always enjoy listening to Punjabi music whenever it comes my way. As for hip hop it’s been really hard for me to keep up with what’s out right now. I try to listen to my XM radio whenever I can just so I can hear what’s relevant. Lately cats like Kendrick Lamar, Tyga and Big Sean have really emerged on my radar. Tupac and Biggie have been influences. I feel like that’s a given for the majority of the MCs out there! Jay Z, Nas, Snoop, T.I, Game, Ludacris just to name a few are all dope! There’s a whole new wave of talented rappers coming up on the scene. I’m working hard so that one day I’m a part of that group.”

As he listens to and is influenced by so many different artists, which of them would AO love to work with in the future? “There are so many artists that I’d love to have the honor to work with. But I think at this point in time there are two on my radar. The first artist would be Kendrick Lamar. He came out with a bang this past year. I really admire his approach to hip hop because he definitely thinks outside the box. His ‘Good Kid, M.A.D.D City’ album was ridiculous! I would relish an opportunity to have a conversation with Kendrick in the studio. The other artist is another West Coast MC by the name of Nipsey Hussle. I’ve been following him from the get go. Our images and backgrounds are polar opposites but I think we could create a classic. You can hear the passion in his voice on any record he gets on. He’s probably the only rapper I really stay updated on. Nipsey, if you reading this “We forever on some fly shit!””

A big basketball fan and being from California, his team is of course, the Lakers, “It’s been a rocky year so far but we’ll see what happens.” There’s a whole plethora of Hip-Hop artists out there but AO truly believes he has his own sound that we should listen to, “I feel like my music is versatile and can appeal to different crowds without spreading myself too thin. I try to keep my music relevant, creative and easy on the ears so that people can connect with me. I try to find a medium between deep profound hip hop and mainstream. It all depends on what tip I’m on. More than anything I feel like artists have to really make an effort to convey their lifestyle for people to really engage with them. People will follow you if you stand for something they can relate too which is why along with my music I enjoy spreading positivity and ambition. My 3MG movement is for anyone with a dream and the willingness to put in the effort to manifest their goals in whatever capacity. I’m just doing what I love to do despite the odds.”

For his fans and critics, he has a message, “To my fans, I appreciate you all tremendously. I can’t ever show enough gratitude. An artist is absolutely nothing without the support of their fans. There’s no greater feeling than connecting with other people through your art. The support keeps my team and me motivated and humbled. I’m always striving to put out high quality music and visuals for you to enjoy. We’re on our way up! To my critics, I appreciate you all too. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; I am not going to argue against that. Critics add fuel to the fire. All I can say is that before you judge or make any comments throw out your preconceived perceptions and have an open mind. There’s one thing to give constructive feedback but most of the time I feel like people speak just for the sake of speaking or in other words HATE. In that case it’s just in one ear and out the other. I got work to do!”

AO leaves me with the motto he lives his life by, one that comes from Abraham Lincoln, “‘Things may come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle.’ MAJOR MOVES. If you’re trying to make moves why not make them MAJOR?”

By Dal Maya Kaur