Though they have only been rapping together for the past six months, Michael Wilkins and Aaron Hicks formed NATIVES to send a message out that nothing is impossible, and even in the face of racism, inequality, and personal struggles, you can still achieve your goals. Each have a diverse musical background, including playing drums in a metalcore band and listening to pop punk, both Hicks and Wilkins bring something to the table to make them one of the most dynamic rap duos in the area to date, and with the release of their debut single “2EVOLS”, NATIVES have big goals that they aim to achieve. I recently had the opportunity to talk to them about their single and what they have in store for their upcoming mixtape.

Why did you choose to name this project NATIVES?

We really look up to a lot of rappers from New York and LA, and in those areas its pretty easy to come up. Not as many people listen to underground rap here, but we are still gonna make it. The basic message is that you can work through any struggles to achieve what you want.

Who are some of the rappers that you look up to?

We are really big into THE UNDERACHIEVERS and FLATBUSH ZOMBIES. Also, NAS and 2PAC. We have a lot of influences that we combine into one thing.

On your Facebook profile, the only description is “Music for Gods.” Why did you choose that to describe your music?

Even though we have only been rapping together for half a year, lyrically our music is a lot more advanced and we have more experience than most of the other rappers in this area. So we want people to listen to us that appreciate music, but we also want everyone to listen to it and hopefully get something out of it.

What can people expect from your debut mixtape?

We cover a lot of subjects that rappers don’t normally talk about and we bring brand new beats that most people wouldn’t use. Lyrically, we wrote songs that could be on a trap beat, but we don’t want to follow that mainstream sound. With our music we want people to be able to get hype to it and chill on it too.


Where did you draw inspiration from for the lyrics you wrote for these songs?

Its mostly about how we perceive life right now. Its not how some rappers talk about shootings and shit, but its more of a reflection of our true selves and how we want things to be. Its not bullshit though. We put personal stuff in it too, so its a balance of real life vs. imaginary. In a way we want to put the listener in a dream world and make their own experience.

What is the meaning behind your single “2EVOLS”?

When we originally wrote it, we called it “Mobbing” because the lyrics go really hard. Its definitely a song for the hip hop guys, and it has an explosive chorus. What inspired the song is that when we come together, we have the strength of an army, and we want to help push you to do anything that you want to achieve.

How has growing up in Richmond affected your rapping style?

We have seen every aspect of life. I (Wilkins) was born in New Jersey, and my family eventually moved to Colonial Heights, which is where I live now, and Aaron was born in Petersburg and moved to Colonial Heights too. Going from living in a ghetto are to a more redneck area, you see underlying racism all the time. So we take aspects of that and parts of every day life.

Are there any bands or rappers from Virginia that influence your music?

LIL UGLY MANE is from Richmond, and he plays a big part in influencing us because we are from the same area. Also, NICKELUS F of course. But lyrically we are influenced by all genres. Mike used to be into death metal, alternative, pop punk, and hardcore so he knows whats gonna bring people out and make people listen. Its not easy to tell that we are influenced by that stuff, but it is definitely in there.

For more information on their upcoming mixtape, follow them on Twitter and “like” their Facebook page.