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5 Ways to Establish Your Brand with Tokyo Cigar

First and foremost, who is Tokyo Cigar and how long have you been making beats?

Tokyo Cigar is 70% water. 23% music and 7% Ninja Turtle ooze. I've been making beats for too damn long. About 13 candles right now on and off.

I love the creativity in regards to your name, what made you decide on Tokyo Cigar?

Divine blunted inspiration. It popped in my head and it just had a dope ring to it. I asked my crew about it and they signed off on the name. The funny thing is my rap name used to be Akira Parker (half anime and half Spiderman) and my alias was Tokyo Cigar and i decided to flip the names.

I always respected Japan as a country even though I've never been there. It's wildly interesting the way they maintain tradition that they had for centuries but at the same time they are the standard for technological advancement. It's a wild dope thing when life has dynamic opposites like that. Looking at some of the cities there feels like watching splices of Blade Runner.

Recently you released The Black Faith Mixtape which is a tribute to Depeche Mode. What inspired The Black Faith Mixtape?

It was really something out the blue. I was knee deep in making the new Plexiglass Fountain album and I ended up listening to Depeche Mode randomly then the idea hit me. Plus I change my style so much and always get caught up in the "do the next thing" mentality that I rarely take the time to revisit ideas I had before just for fun. Cause I flipped Depeche Mode before for a mixtape a few years back so it came together quick and ended up becoming a lot of peoples favorite joint. People come up to me all the time about songs off the joint (especially the songs "Sometimes" and "No Homo") and all my people say that I hit a new plateau with the rhyming. Plus Depeche Mode music is just dope as fuck haha.

In 2010, you released Felt 3.0 (A Tribute to Nancy Sinatra). It seems that you have an eclectic taste in music. Who are your favorite artists?

Too many to name. Wu, Mobb Deep, Portishead, Sade etc. I moved a lot as a kid so my head is all over the place and so is my taste in music. Hell someone with a guitar playing some fly Mariachi shit is dope as hell just as long as the music is honest and from the heart.

I also found that you dabble with a lot of things such as emceeing, drawing, directing, and more. Explain the importance of being more than just a beatmaker or emcee and how your life represents a brand.

I started off emceeing but the beats took over but I still get busy just for the love of the art and craft of rhyming. The visual thing just comes from me being a kid obsessed with comics. Shit I still rock with comics now matter fact. I focus a lot of my time on making/promoting music so it's always healthy to have other outlets. Plus it is a great side hustle too. I did some artwork for some books and been rocking photography recently too (so I guess part of my alias name being Parker was a good choice).

I just have a love for creativity and I always had the itch to find out how things work so I always liked to explore new ways of expression. The idea of creating something out of nothing and have it hit someone emotionally is dope. Like an artist can paint something that can make someone they never met see it and shed tears or catch the chills. Shit like that is deep.

What projects are you currently working on?

Finishing up the Heavenly Cartel album with Heaven Razah from Sunz of Man. The response to "Boombox saints" was crazy. Razah has kept it mad interesting during the whole process. When I think it can't get flyer he hits me with some next shit. It was very nerve racking though cause I'm a huge fan so I had to make sure the production was extra ignorant. But listening to it all at this point it is a great album to me cause its something that will help people get through some rough times. I really went for the jugular with the beats and the atmosphere it has is very thick.

The Plexiglass Fountain album is also ready to drop. I swear this is the craziest album making experience I ever had. It has gone through so many mutations its ridiculous. Cyclops must hate me as a person right now cause I keep on telling him "Yo I'm bout to finish it and turn it in this week" haha. It is actually done but for the life of me I am still nervous to turn it in. I don't know why but it just never feels like the right time to turn it in and when I hold it back everything from the music to the artwork ends up becoming redone and ends up way better.

Plus when I get ready to turn it in something in life always keeps me from doing it. But it will no doubt be out in no later than July (the number 7 has a lot of meaning for me lets just leave it at that). The album is a MONSTER though. On all levels the concept is crazy and the music is a more emotionally powerful force on it. This completes a trilogy of albums for us. The new leak is out though. It's a song called "Bloody Idiotz", It's one of the fly shit talking joints on the album.

I also got some joints on the new "On the Verge" mixtape hosted by legendary Dj J Love. I heard the advanced copy and it blew me away to hear J Love going in talk over some of my beats. Kinda surreal cause I been a fan of his forever as well so to achieve something like this was monumental to me. Plus there are so many incredible cats on the mixtape that its an honor to have joints on there with em.

Plus I got some more special stuff with a lot of dope artist that I'm gonna keep on the low for right now.

How can the masses get in contact with you?

Tokyocigar7@gmail.com, Twitter, tokyo cigar facebook. Smoke signals and bat signals also work.

Any final remarks?

Love music. Respect the magic. Work hard and maintain. Some people you meet on the music path will be jealous snakes that see you as competition but there will also be real people that see your hard work and respect it and help you along the way. You need em both to feed the music and nurture the grind.

Mad love for checking out this interview. If you would like to check out/support my music you can find the albums HERE.

Plus Art and T-Shirt fans should rock with The Dice Academy for some fly gear as well as artwork for albums, movie posters, books and other visual related stuff.

Peace to everyone out there.

Can you detail five tips that an artist can use to establish his or her brand?

Sure, here for five tips that help me progress as a businessman:

1. Work hard and keep good karma. Cause anyone you fuck over will haunt you eventually.

2. Be consistent but take breaks.

3. Keep studying the business to learn more ways to promote your brand.

4. Keep it 100% you. That way you never run out of ideas cause you would be living them.

5. Learn how to do as much as you can by yourself and then get help from those that know more than you.

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