How did you get your hip hop name?
My real name is Ali and that's a name rooted to my heritage and background – literally translated as "Noble, Exalted & Elevated". That's something i couldn't change; let alone people have been calling me that my whole life!
"Kulture" came from the movement i started alongside of my closest brothers when we originally got into Hip-Hop and rapping all together. Till this day we are a united movement in the D.M.V area but everyone else that was originally rapping alongside of me took on other roles within the umbrella – from clothing to videos.
Since everyone decided to push me to the forefront and support me as far as the Hip-Hop aspect is concerned, it only made sense to make Kulture my last name.
Where were you raised, did you move around at all?
Being raised in a single-parent household; moving has been a consistent part of my life. I was born in Pakistan and lost my father at age 2, this transpired into my family moving to the Bay Area when I was about 5 years old – San Jose to be exact. I lived there till I was about 15 and still hold everyone I grew up with in that city very near and dear to me – which should shed light to the label I'm currently under [Greenhouse Hunnitproof records].
At age 15 I moved to the D.M.[V] area and moved around almost every 6 months – which in the long run has proven to be a blessing in disguise. It has helped me to establish a wide network, and that at the end of the day, sheds light to the saying "Your network is your net-worth".
I've lived everywhere in this area from Falls Church, VA to Fairfax and I currently reside in Centreville, VA. I hold my faith in Allah to a very high degree and at the end of the day I believe I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.
What are some of your life experiences that pushed you towards making music?
I think the past few questions might answer that already but the concept of loosing my father at a young age – seeing the struggle my mother has had to go through to raise a son and going through that day to day struggle of becoming the man of the house has triggered a creative side for me to express. The avenue i chose to relay my story is Hip-Hop; which has truly become a means of release therapy for me. Most of the time i listen to my music and i can pinpoint exactly what i was going through at that time in my life – and exactly how i felt about it.
I think my music now is more reflective of the man i've become and the responsibilities i've had to take on, i believe in telling your story exactly how it is – i wasn't raised around a circle that allowed me to fabricate stories in my music just to hold some sort of a persona – and i'm thankful for it.
What are some of your music influences, or favorite artists?
The only artist i can truly say has been an "influence" on me is 2pac. My music influences have become highly diversified through the recent years – mostly due to how ignorant hip hop seems these days – i catch myself listening to everything from Jazz, Alternative, Contemporary – even Country. Of course Hip Hop is a daily part of my life but i've grown to appreciate all genres of music.
What age did you start making music?
Man me and my cousin Aftah Sum wrote our first rap when i was 12 years old
What is it like working in both the Bay Area and the DMV?
Its a blessing – networking is key. Having a solid network is the best foundation you can have. I'm blessed to have solid people in both areas standing behind me and pushing me constantly – its really the driving force that keeps me going – seeing how many other people are involved in what i'm doing and how much they really believe in it.
Tell us your best experience in the music industry so far?
Thats a tough one – i've opened for artists like Bone Thugs, Lloyd Banks, Joe Budden, Pusha-T, etc. and meeting them and talking to them about the industry has been very eye-opening for me; but above that i think the best experience ive had has been my growth. I'm thankful for all the connections i've made and i have bonds now that will last me a lifetime.
Whats the newest single you just dropped?
I just dropped "I'm Winning" and i have a video that is set to drop later this month called "Let It All Go". They are all in rotation on DMVLIFEradio.com
Do you have an album in the works?
I absolutely do – it's going to be the epitome of all the hard work i've put in so far and the bridge between the Bay and VA. Its called E.P.I.C [Every Piece I Create] and i'm hoping to drop it in the summertime.
Anybody in the industry who you are interested in working with?
I would love to work with Lupe Fiasco. I think he is one of the few big names in Hip Hop that has held onto the idea of "Artist Integrity".
Besides that it would be dope to work with Styles P, Nipsey Hussle, J.Cole or Maino – they're dope.
Where can people find you? ( Social Media )
Last Project Link: http://www.datpiff.com/
Just youtube or google the name: ALI KULTURE
What separates you from every other up-and-coming rapper?
I think the key aspect that separates me from every other up and coming rapper is content and background. I'm rooted to the struggle – whether you talk about single parent households in America – low income or what its like to be a muslim in the world today.
What separates me is my choices – i never let the situation i was in define me. I was taught to defy every odd because at the end of the day this is the land of opportunity, there are opportunities here that i would never have in my home country of Pakistan. Through it all i did something not many rappers do – i got an education. Then i went back and educated myself more – i have an Undergraduate degree and a Masters degree in Business. Everything i did was on my own two feet, i've never gotten a handout in my life – i'm thankful for it and i am the definition of self-made.
I am the American Dream.