A couple years back, hip-hop powerhouse LNS Crew looked like ATX hip-hop’s next big thing. Then rapper Cory Kendrix moved to Denver and Kydd Jones decamped to Atlanta. At the end of the 2015, producer Haris Qureshi told us the crew had largely restructured as a record label. LNS crew as a whole will be back in town for South by Southwest, but rapper Tank Washington is still holding down the fort for Austin full time.
“My sons Trae and True live here so I’m probably not moving unless it’s very lucrative for me,” he said this week.
That’s good news for Austin hip-hop. His latest album “Pain,” released at the beginning of January, is a fully realized platter, loaded with thoughtful, mid-tempo meditations on the struggles of a young artist ready to break out. He recently smoked a Free Week performance at the Mohawk and he’ll be at the Weird City Hip-hop Festival on Saturday.
Austin360: You open this album with a very moving memorial for your father. What was your relationship with him like?
Tank Washington: My dad was one of my best friends. Our bond was very strong. Our birthday is on the same day!! He taught me so much about life and pretty much everything I know, I got from him. I miss him a lot.
Did losing him drive you to finish this album?
Of course it did. I lost him in the process of completing this album. That’s why the “RIP POP” track is first. His death is still fresh on my brain since it’s only been 4 months since he passed away from cancer.
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the Austin hip-hop scene?
Our strength is in variety. There’s so many different sounds in Austin hip-hop that if people actually paid more attention and listened, they would have their mind blown. The weakness is consistency. I think a lot of artists get fed up with not getting anywhere. At times, they give up. I feel like we need to keep pushing and putting our music in people faces!
Sonically, this album covers a lot of ground, from soulful Southern stuff to a kind of chilly OVO vibe. Who did the production and what sounds inspire you?
Pretty much everything on the album was produced by my crew. Kydd, Cory, and Scott Pace helped me a lot with the beats. Also, DJ Anna Love blessed me with some heaters when I went up to Denver to rock a show with Cory earlier this year. Chamothy The Great let me use the song “MT4Ts” for my album and J Money from San Antonio produced the track “Never” which is one of my favorites on the album. As far as inspiration, I’m inspired by whatever sounds good. I went in a lot of directions and sounds with this album. I don’t just have one sound and my life is like that: it’s up and down and I expressed a lot of my personal life on this album.
What is the one thing everyone should know about you as an artist?
I’m real and I’m something people should pay attention to.
What’s your signature breakfast taco?
Bacon, egg, potato, sausage and cheese with red sauce! In case you were wondering, Kydd gets potato with either bacon or sausage tacos (no egg) with green sauce. I don’t know what’s up with that but that’s what he likes.
Follow Tank Washington on Twitter @pacboitank.