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Local Rapper Ephniko Releases Music Video About Conscious Eating, “KUNG FOOD” | Interview

Miami based Columbian rapper Ephiniko just released the video for his single “Kung Food,” which features a lot of his funky, beautiful and colorful pals hanging out at a beach-side park, eating even more colorful and delicious plant-based food.  Like many others, he woke to the reality of the modern day food machine, one that has innocent victims at its core.  The victims are just not the sentient beings getting butchered at astounding rates.  People are also suffering. The standard way of eating for most Americans is an unhealthy diet full of cholesterol filled animal parts and products as well as artificial ingredients.  And it’s leading to many diseases and ailments like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few.

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Veganism has grown 500% since 2014. And, it’s more than a trend.  It is a movement, one that is particularly pertinent to those in Miami because of the destruction that animal agriculture is causing to the environment. Environmental degradation is leading to global warming, which is causing sea level rise, and in Miami the signs are already apparent.

More and more young local artists are infusing their passion for a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle, their love of animals and desire for a world without unnecessary cruelty, and their vision for a better future into their art. Ephniko has chosen to help spread seeds of consciousness and peace. He’s  one of the local visionaries leading the vegan revolution. He is using his voice, the most powerful weapon, to stand up for what is right.  And for this we  from the conscious community commend him.  Big ups bro!

Check out the video for “Kung Food”:

KUNG FOOD 

Written and performed by Ephniko

Directed by Jonathan Decamps & Ephniko

Track Produced by Bobby Bob & End2End

Recorded mixed and mastered by Edgardo Matta at Songo Sounds Studios

This single and his prior video release Agradecido are part of his upcoming album “El Ocaso de la Doctrina Intoxicada” available on all digital platforms later in 2018.

Limited Free downloads available at:

https://soundcloud.com/ephniko-1/kung-food

I got the chance to converse with  the rapper about the new video, his career and his path to veganism.

Monica Torres: How did you first get into the art form of rapping and what led you to the point where you are now, successful in your community, releasing the awesome video with so many of your friends?

Ephniko: I started writing poetry and rhymes when I was in my early teenage years. It sparked out of a combination of Hiphop music fanaticism and the discovery of authors like Langston Hughes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It naturally became my go to form of expression but I didn’t “rap” in public. I came into music life b-boying and djing from my late teen years, then started doing spoken word open mics and slams, but the most fun I had was at random street cyphers spitting to beats so it evolved into emceeing. Music was always the closest passion to my life and writing was my found calling so it was a natural progression. I have been making records and performing with bands ever since for the last 13 Years.

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MT: You’ve collaborated with a few artists such as Elastic Bond on their 2017 album Honey Bun, in which you busted out some positive lyrics about eating plant-based in “Un Lugar,”  and with Butcher Knives on their 2014 album Misery, in which you speak out against victims of the system in “Butcher Knives.”  How did you feel about collaborating with other artists? 

E: I like to do collaborations out of mutual respect and appreciation for other bands/artists, friendship, and similar or compatible artistic missions. The current music industry tells artists to see collaboration as a stepping stone for exposure and sales, but I have never seen it as that. In some songs or projects you might need a certain voice, or a certain style of melodic singing to achieve the vision, or get inspired by a beat or the feel of a melody. Those are reasons to collaborate for me more than exposure or trying to use someone else’s fame as a trampoline.

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MT: How long have you been vegan? What led to your “awakening?” How has your music ideology changed since your album Escribo Lo Que Vivo (I Write What I Live) in 2008?

E: I have been vegetarian for the last 8 years and Vegan for the last 5. The seed for the “awakening” so to speak came reasoning with a wise Rasta in a conversation smoking in the Caribbean jungle in Costa Rica. He said “I man soul is trying to meditate on the energy of the universe, but I man cannot align to the energy of the universe if I man consumes death.” It was something that resonated deep with me but it didn’t spark an immediate change. I carried on with a lifestyle of heavy alcohol consumption, cigarettes, beef, chicken and junk food for 2 or so years after that. I weighed close to 240 pounds and reached a point where I saw myself constantly around people I didn’t want to be around, losing my breath in the middle of shows, basically unhappy and in dislike of myself. At that point I decided to detox my life from alcohol cigarettes and beyond. At that point also, the jewel the Rasta Man dropped on me came to the forefront and I knew that to kick all the toxicity the will power would come out of abstaining from the most deeply engrained habit of eating cooked animal flesh.  I also did my first juice fast and it was enlightening, so that shaped how I live currently. The more I learned, the more stuff I left out until eventually I became not only vegan, but more importantly I stopped consuming processed package food filled with corn syrup, maltodextrin, yellow # 5 and a plethora of toxic ingredients that are killing a large percentage of the world’s population. I have never felt as good as I have since.

MT: Do you think as an artist it’s necessary to spread the word about any injustice? Any thoughts on those who are vegan but do not mention it at all in their music so as to not be political and alienate anyone? What led you to write this song “Kung Food?” 

E: Lyrically my goal is very different to that of advertising or pop music because it’s not concerned with selling the “ideal” life that “few” have and “most” covet. I see lyrics as a chance to illustrate the human condition I see, as opposed to the ideal most chase to not feel like failures. So yes I feel it is necessary to talk about injustice, indoctrination, and social issues because they are real and we cannot take the luxury to make songs about butterflies and champagne if the majority or our people’s reality is not reflective of that. But I do feel it is equally important to talk about love, friendship and happiness as well because in the midst of all the trouble there is a lot of positive things about the human condition one cannot ignore if the goal is true artistry. If the main goal is to be validated by awards, sales, and ego glorification then that is a different story.

I think it is a personal choice and a path what you chose to express through art so I don’t have any judgement about vegan artists not making that a topic in their music.
I personally created Kung Food as a voice for people that think alike and to inform and inspire some of the heads that never reasoned about what they eat or the food industry in this way. I wrote it in 2013 but wanted to wait long enough to know that the lifestyle was not temporary and that it’s a discipline and not a trend much like my music is.  The intention is not to debate with people who have their heart set on eating pork chops daily, but rather to inspire those who would like to try a different way for themselves, as well as to inform someone who never thought: “hey these cows and chickens are in large prison concentration camps fed corn not greens as nature intended, stressed as hell which is hormonal in addition to being injected with rapid growth hormones and those hormones are what I eat for dinner.” Knowledge is powerful and once you process some things in your brain it might make sense to apply changes to lifestyles embedded by society and culture.

MT: Where did you grow up? How does your country of origin– Columbia– your roots influence? How about your adopted country and the city of Miami, which you describe “la cuidad del vicio” in the song “Miami”?  

E: I was born in Barranquilla and raised between Barranquilla/Bogota and grew older in New York City and Jersey, but have been in and out of Miami for over a decade. Musically my first influence is Caribbean. I grew up with salsa brava, cumbia, merengue and vallenato and that feeds my DJ/live band side which is the musical side that is all about being light hearted, happy, and fun. That is the therapeutic side of Music I embrace. It also carries oral tradition, dances, frases and more of the culture that I do not want to assimilate out of. As soon as I hit the east coast though, gravitation to Hiphop was automatic.  It became everything to me so that influences my sonic technology, the love for repetitive beat trance, and the moment of transcendence when you go off. That side feeds my desire to use music as a weapon for change, and develop as the best possible story teller, street journalist, and lyricist I can become weather the masses love it or not.  All of that is what influences me as an artist  and I like to collaborate and experiment and make new fusions and powerful music blending the influences as much as keeping them raw and classic. However the desire to fuse sound and culture is never to be confused with chasing the tendency or glorifying stupidity, materialism, and the over-sexualization that reggaeton, trap, and other genres popularize for trendiness and profits.

Ephniko will be performing at Words and Wine on Valentine’s Day Wednesday February 14, 2018.

EPHNIKOColombia/Mia
Miami based Colombian artist, producer, and track selector whose music is rooted in the mechanics of 90s hiphop while expanding into unpredictably eclectic compositions. His intricately visual lyricism style has been compared to the likes of Guru, and Ruben Blades. Ephniko has toured actively in NYC, San Fran, LA, Miami, 8 countries in Latin America, 10 European cities, Thailand, Philippines and South Africa.  He has performed in many big concerts and festivals in and out of the US including HipHop Al Parque, Okeechobee fest, Miami Reggae Fest, and more sharing the stage with Kendrick Lamar, Cultura Profetica, Dub FX, Grupo Niche, Immortal Technique, Talib KweliDead Prez, Vico C, EPMD, AL2, Midnite, and many more.
Facebook Artist Page:
 
Youtube- produced Music Videos (MTV3, Music channels and web play):
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