Detroit hip-hop artist Supakaine, aka Randall Hammers, aims to be a conduit for unity in divisive times. The 25-year-old rapper has dedicated his upcoming release, Just Like My Neighbors, to breaking down the suburbs-v.s.-city mentality and reflecting on universal themes like self acceptance, loss, and betrayal.
"With the gentrification shit that's happening in Detroit, you might have some people from Birmingham moving smack next door to a family that's been there for three generations," says Supakaine. "What I want to push, instead of being so judgmental, is that we're all alike, more than we think."
Supakaine's single, "Fuck Wordplay," which drops Friday, April 20, was one of the first songs recorded for Neighbors and is a candid introduction to his message of solidarity. He says that the song's brash title is meant to remove all the nuances and undecipherable conversation around issues like gentrification and simply tell it like it is.
"A lot of what I try to do with my music is bridge the gap, especially in Detroit, because it's so vast," he says. "Once you cross the border of Eight Mile, it's completely different... I've seen both sides, so I try to show that contrast in my music and bring people together."
These themes of truth and commonality are an extension of Supakaine's December 2015 mixtape, Ghetto America, where he reflects on growing up between Detroit's west side and Farmington Hills. Many of the songs, including the title track, serve as odes to the city, where he's spent the majority of his adult life.
Although he may seem like a new name on the scene, Supakaine has been rising to the top of Detroit's underground hip-hop scene for the past few years, including nabbing a supporting slot on notorious Detroit hip-hop collective Slum Village's 2016 tour and collaborating with rising stars like Bevlove and Drey Skonie for his 2017 single, "Bridges," which garnered more than 50,000 views on YouTube.
Armed with a brilliant mind for writing and what seems like an endless supply of positivity, Supakaine continues to break through the Detroit hip-hop scene and beyond.
"You have to make the best out of every situation that's happening unless you have the power to change it," he says. "If you want to stay, do what you need to do to stay."