Mexican rapper C-Kan is well on his way to becoming a global superstar. Since releasing his first mixtape Get Money in 2006, the 28-year-old, who was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, has garnered at least 1 billion views on Youtube and over 3.8 million fans on Facebook. After Jay Z’s TIDAL noticed C-Kan’s growing success, the music streaming service decided to help promote his discography. It’s a part of the company’s new effort to expose the U.S. to budding international artists, while also providing an unobstructed view into the artists’ worlds.
On Thursday night (Oct. 29), TIDAL will livestream C-Kan’s “Live from Urbano F3st” show during Mexico’s “Fiestas De Octubre.” C-Kan is set to perform his most popular songs off his recent release, Clasificación C, Vol. 2. The stream will begin at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET and will be available pre-paywall to fans around the world. Check out the stream here.
We got to speak with C-Kan about his new deal with TIDAL, and of course, his music. C-Kan revealed what truly inspires his music, as well as his feelings about the state of the Mexican music industry. He doesn’t leave us without his take on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his radical views on immigration reform.
VIBE Viva: Congrats on your new deal with TIDAL. How have you capitalized on the new move?
C-Kan: I’m just starting out with them. We know the great effect they have in the music industry. We’re willing to work with them, but I guess we need more time to get the best results we can out of it. But it feels great to work with them.
Your music reflects a past life where you were involved with gangs. When did you decide to focus on a career in music?
I started getting into music when I was 17. That’s when I saw that people started liking what I was doing and realized that I can make a career out of what I was doing. It’s been five years since I’ve really seen the results from the fans. After seeing the response from the people, I decided to take things more seriously. I decided to forget the past and leave my life in the hood to take this business seriously.
What influences your music, whose work do you listen to?
Most of my influences have been Mexican music, but I listen to all types of music. I haven’t just been influenced by American hip-hop. It’s hard for us in Mexico to get that type of music. It used to be 10 times harder back in the day. So I have several types of influences, but mainly they’ve been regional music, Mexican music that we have down here.
Your recent single “My Everything” is a seamless mix of English and Spanish. Is this something you’ll continue to do in the future?
I’ve done a few records with Lil Rob and Shadow and others. So it’s normal to do songs like that. There are songs that I’ve done for the people of [Mexico]. They know to say, “There’s a Mexican rapper that [speaks] to us too.” That’s why I’ve always liked to make songs that are for the people, so that a Mexican rapper can inspire them too.
How has your family contributed to your success?
My family has always been my [motivation] and helped me live a better life. But my own family doesn’t see the greatness and how big this music can be. It’s not like they put their hand on my back and say “Yes, yes you can do it.” It’s more like they’re glad for me and all of my success, but it’s not like they tell me I’m going to be a big star. [That’s] my drive to give my family a better lifestyle and way of living.
You once stated that Mexico “needs and deserves a better government.” Is there a political message in your music?
The evolution of the Mexican industry has been slow over the years. With us down here, we’re happy that we’ve taken the right steps like we’ve got people making shirts and people are living off the music. They’re all ideas that are creatively based off hip-hop. We’re really thankful and glad that people dig the music and the emotion. As far as being political goes, I never really rapped to talk about the government or anyone in specific. I just talk about people in el barrio, and what concerns them. Whatever they see in their hood, that’s what I like to talk about. Eventually, that makes me talk about the government, but I never like talk about anyone in particular. I just talk about what [my] people feel and see in the hood. It may take me down that road, but it doesn’t make me want to talk about anybody or take any political stance.
How do you feel about Donald Trump and his views on immigration?
[Laughs] I feel like the U.S. is a little divided in two, between people living at the top and those that feel and think like me. I feel like what I’m saying is real because that’s how some people see, think, and feel. So I think that the other half understands how much immigrants have helped create the nation you guys have today, and not just us, but everyone in Latin America… and Europe too. Everyone was an immigrant in one way or another. So everyone has helped make what the United States is today. It’s funny to see how you want to take a great part out of that. There have been movies on where the U.S. would be without Mexicans, and there are cities that would stop working, you know? So, how can they say they don’t want us here? If you take us out, there would be cities that would literally stop because there are immigrants that do a lot of the work. So, I feel like Donald Trump is being real because that’s the type of person he is and he’s talking to specific people that think like him and feel like him. He thinks what he’s saying is real. But I think it would be a major catastrophe if he were elected.