The hip-hop and rap world may be concentrated in a few large cities, but Fort Wayne can claim its own hip hop scene, with a number of acts that donāt necessarily attract a lot of attention in mainstream media.Epidimic is one such act. A one-man rap crew consisting of local emcee Crac Kajak, Epidimic originally formed as a duo in 1999 with fellow MC Droopy Jeezus (who is still a member in spirit, according to Crac Kajak). The pair honed their technique and their music for years before releasing any material or playing more than the occasional show.
Once their initial albums, Epidimic (2004) and Wicked Realms (2007), dropped, however, Epidimic started making a name for themselves through the albums, playing shows, and touring out of state.
While the pair met with some initial success, Crac Kajak eventually ceased performing as Epidimic around the time of the birth of his daughter in 2006. He moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, and even though he continued to write and record in his spare time, he took a break from performing until 2010. Once he returned to the stage, however, he met again with success, landing opening spots for the likes of Hed(PE), Mushroomhead and Twiztid, among others. He started once again playing the occasional show here in Fort Wayne, and eventually moved back in 2013.
Since then heās been busy, performing shows and entering into collaborations like Cracodyne, a joint project with fellow rapper Anodyne. A prolific writer and recorder, Crac Kajak plans to release a new, as-yet-untitled album this year. Heās currently trying to whittle down the plethora of material heās generated (roughly 120 songs and over seven hours of music) into a single album.
Epidimicās style can range widely, but what pulls it all together is that itās all a product of Crac Kajakās sometimes manic mind, meaning thereās still a consistent quality to it. When describing his music, he says, āItās got a dark root to it. Itās knowledge-based ... itās always based in real-world knowledge, kind of like knowledge of society around you, how things are... a lot of government, religion, science, that type of thing. I donāt like to label myself or pigeonhole myself because I could do anything/ It can be nonfiction, fiction. It can be a story; it doesnāt matter. But overall, even if Iām goofing off or just being cool, I like to say real music, real thoughts.ā
As far as the new album goes, Crac Kajak says it will have a wide range of content, which continues with one of Epidimicās defining characteristics, a sense of unpredictability.
āThis album thatās gonna come out, itās a lot of dissonant type stuff. Itās some stuff I like to label ācoffee shop tapes,ā which is like youāre going to a coffee shop and itād fit in and everybody would love it. Itās real mellow real calm, and [includes] some things you might laugh [at] a little bit,ā he says. āItās all real rhythmic, so it doesnāt seem out of place, but itās real different from itself. It stays in the rap family and it fits with all the work that I do because itās very different. I donāt like to bore myself. I just do what the music says most of the time, so if I can get a crazy beat, I can get a crazy song and just go from there.ā
To be able to produce that amount of material, Crac Kajak maintains a disciplined work ethic, writing and recording every day.
āGenerally Iāll just write down a line so I donāt forget it, and Iāll just keep going, half-hour or an hour. It can be 10 minutes or three hours,ā he says. āWhen I just started out we used to sit down and have writing sessions, and I just donāt really operate that way anymore. But Iām always writing and recording. I love to be in a studio. I love all that.ā
The Epidimic experience can differ significantly whether youāre listening to a recording or seeing a live show. On record, the songs can tackle a range of topics and styles, amounting to something like a free-range experimentalism not unlike the Anticon crew. Live, however, Crac Kajak performs to simpler beats, with fewer bells and whistles, and heāll often change things up or ad lib in order to keep things interesting.
While Crac Kajakās discipline with a pen and paper and in the studio is apparent, and while heās also a veteran performer, just as important at shows is the opportunity to meet and interact with new people.
āI love live shows. Itās my favorite. I do it all the time. Itās almost like politicking. I like to go out [and] kiss babies and shake hands and meet people, interact. Let āem have a good night; let them know what youāre about,ā he says.
āIām always on some type of show high. Itās a natural high, itās an energy, but number one, just meeting people, man, just being out, doing it live, let people hear it live and meeting people, thatās my favorite. I would be happy just doing that.ā
Crac Kajak can hold his own as Epidimic or with collaborations like Cracodyne. But just as important to him is that heās part of that larger music scene that often flies under the radar as far as mainstream attention goes.
āThereās a huge scene out here and. people need to be interested in whatās going on,ā he says. āOnce thereās new faces, Iāll do the rest. Iāll keep āem there.ā
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