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Hip-hop artist Rakeem Miles talks musical upbringing, ‘Dante’s Toys’

Rakeem Miles is one of those guys who can do it all, though, he may be reluctant to admit it. Joining us from his home in Hollywood, California, Miles spoke with DT Daily host Greg Nibler on Monday regarding two of his biggest passions: Music and animation.

Miles, a solo artist and one of the creators of hip-hop collective Organic Geniuses, was drawn to music from a young age. His uncle was a gospel rapper, who frequently traveled with Rakeem, then 11 years old, exposing him to different beats and showing him what a life on the road could look like. It wasn’t until he discovered Clipse and their music video for Grindin’however, that he really began to pursue music.

“I was too young to understand why Pharrell [Williams] was jumping around in the video,” says Miles. “But just seeing that aesthetic, that lifestyle, is what impacted me.”

Now, nearly two decades later, Miles is on the cusp of releasing Action Figure Miles, his follow-up to Depression. He made the mixtape using a variety of techniques and recording equipment, though, Logic and Roli’s soft-touch keyboard were two of the tools he utilized most often. The well-known recording software and Roli’s keyboard, like many newer instruments in today’s market, provided Miles a way to harness new sounds, which only furthered fueled his creativity.

While the Clipse may have initially influenced Miles to jump into music, the prominent hip-hop duo had little to do with his love for adult-oriented cartoons. For that, inspiration came in the form of The Boondocks, an animated sitcom that ran for four seasons as part of Cartoon Network’s late-night programming. To capitalize on his love for cartoons, Miles recently partnered with a cartoonist to create Dante’s Toys, a forthcoming show that will bring the character he first formulated on his Depression mixtape to a whole new medium.

“I’ve always wanted to bring that character to life,” Miles continued. “I thought about Toy Story and all of the things that have inspired me, and it made me want to create a cartoon, but more of a raunchy cartoon inspired by The Boondocks, Rick and Morty, and other various cartoons.”

That vision is now a reality — or close to it, anyway. Miles recently finished the pilot episode Dante’s Toys, and is currently in the process of finding additional writers and a distribution platform. He’s also been discussing his show with some of the folk behind Adult Swim, the same late-night programming block where The Boondocks initially aired.

“I just want to help it expand and to make sure the writing and everything else is done in more a professional way.”

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