H.A.K is a man of many talents. Before he ever laid down a song the California born emcee was knocking down quarterbacks on the gridiron. Karim earned academic and athletic all-conference honors from the Atlantic-10 (University of New Hampshire) as a linebacker. Though he received several looks from NFL Scouts he decided to follow his heart and turn all his energy to his true love — music.
Raised among six siblings by his strong single-parent mom, H.A.K learned at an early age that nothing comes easy. He moved a lot as a kid, and has called California, New York, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts home at different points in his life. It was in Virginia that the music bug bit him and he started singing and rapping at local venues.
His passion for music did not dissipate as he moved around and eventually landed in the Northeast. Residing in Durham, NH—not exactly a hip-hop hotbed—was a detriment for H.A.K, but it did not deter him from trying. He says he exhausted every possible recording option on UNH’s campus before he met his current producer Francisco Santos of Superior Media Group in nearby Somersworth. Their musical relationship blossomed from that point on, providing Karim with an outlet to grow as an artist.
In 2010 H.A.K took his passion to the next level with the founding of Beast Grind Records and in 2011 the self-proclaimed Mission Man’s dream has come to fruition in the form of his first solo album titled The Mission. Fully aware of the power of the internet Beast Grind Records leaked four videos supporting the project including clips for the iced out anthem “Global Warming,” Checkmate,” the title track “The Mission” and the intensely personal “Follow the Signs.”
Unlike most rap records that the general public hears, The Mission is a well rounded album that serves as a compilation of H.A.K’s life. There are club records, motivational records and swag records but what truly sets the album apart are the moments when he lets his guard down and shares his life story through song. On the aforementioned “Follow the Signs” H.A.K raps about things he rarely discusses with his closest friends like growing up without a father and the loss of his beloved sister. “My younger sister passed away when I was very young and to this day I still talk about her. I feel that she is my guardian angel,” explains H.A.K “The song is really about me making sure she’s never forgotten.” He also bares an angel tattoo in her memory.
It is very rare for an individual to take the path less traveled and realize their dream but that is exactly what H.A.K is doing and it is paying off. “I could have been pretty good at a number of things in life but if I’m more passionate about music than anything else why wouldn’t I do it 100%", he says? “At first people acted like I was crazy when I began this, but now its seems everybody is paying attention.”
How do you describe your music to people?
I'd describe my music as fun, real life, motivational hip hop music!
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I've always loved music, and a wise man told me that what ever you decide to do in life you must be passion about it, because if its truly what you love to do then it won't matter what type of obstacles come or how long it takes to get there because you'll enjoy the process of becoming you passion.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
To get better at things! If I'm making progress, then i'm happy.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Being fairly new... I know there's a lot of things I need to learn and I will. Growing pains are always an issue whenever you start a company, its about how you learn and progress.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
A professional athlete...and I came close!
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I've lived a number of different places, and all of them have had some influence on my music and the ways I express myself through songs.
What other artists out there do you love?
T.I, Bone Thugz & Harmony, Dr. Dre
What does your future hold?
Music, Music, Music!!! I'm just going to keep trying to prefect what I feel is good, creative music.