Interview: Skyway’s Rufat

Photo Credit: Kyle Wyss

“Everyone wants to act like they’re so concerned about hip hop by saying oh his pants are too tight and things like that. I don’t care what he’s wearing. He could be wearing a dress, let that man wear what he wants. And as for people picking on what rappers rap about, you can’t do that. When did we become so content crazy?”


A few weeks back, I was searching the net  to find out who people thought were some of the best underground rappers and upcoming artists, and after seeing the name Rufat appear several times, I knew I had to listen to his music. Since then, I’ve become a fan and been lucky enough to interview Rufat of Skyway, and I believe it’s safe to say, he and his group member Kyle Wyss bring more to the table than that of your average rapper. I found myself constantly telling him how impressed I was with his responses to my bizarre questions. He never gave me an answer that didn’t surprise me.

Rufat is a graduate of  Florida State University and is originally from Azerbaijan, but he was raised in America and has lived in both Pennsylvania and St. Petersburg, FL. Though Skyway began in St. Petersburg where Rufat and Kyle Wyss met in 2009, through the encouragement of Rufat’s manager Daniel, he now lives in New York.

Q: How did you decide to become a rapper and when did you start rapping?

A: I decided to become a rapper when I was 12 years old. I’d always been watching hip hop since I was 7 years old. I lived in an urban community and my friend would always switch our reading tapes with Tupac, so while all the other kids were listening to their reading, I was listening to Tupac. I was just always a big fan of hip hop. I remember I would stay up late at night listening to this College Radio station because it was the only station that played hip hop music, and I’d record the music and be in my fourth grade class asleep the next day. And I was a big Master P fan, I had every No Limit CD.

Q: Who is your biggest influence in music?

A: Thelonius Monk. He was so transparent and wasn’t afraid to grow and evolve in the public spotlight.

Q: Who in your life is your biggest supporter?

A: I would say my grandmother overall. I mean, she would support me even if I killed someone. But as far as music, my manager Daniel. He really puts his neck on the line for me. He’s given me many opportunities and he’s who encouraged me to move to New York. I ‘m even close with his family, I actually spent Christmas Dinner with his family. The people I work with really are my best friends, it’s a great situation.

Q: What’s been the most challenging thing in your career?

A: Leaving everything I did as a solo artists and pursuing things with Skyway. It’s paid off but I lost friends, relocated my whole life, but it’s paying off in little ways. Going back to my answer to my biggest influence in music, I don’t mind growing and admitting to wrongs. I’m not scared to change and flip what I’m doing with my music on people.

Q: Who’s your favorite new mainstream artist?

A: I wanna say Gucci Mane, but my favorite is Kendrick Lamar because skill wise he is amazing . I see a lot of potential in him.

Q: Is he really that great? I’m always hearing his name but I’ve been so reluctant to actually go listen to his music.

A: Yea, you should definitely check him out. Listen to Section 80, it’s amazing.

Q: If you could only listen to one rap album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Flockaveli by Waka Flocka Flame.

Q: REALLY?! I never thought that’s what you were going to say. I was expecting The Blueprint or something like that.

A: I could definitely see why people would choose the classics, like I really like Black on Both Sides by Mos Def, but they would get old after you keep listening to them. I could keep listening to Flockaveli because it would energize me. It’s the crunkest album.

Q: Of the rap albums to come out in the last 2 years, which album do you think will be considered a classic in the future?

A: There are so many, Kanye’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kendrick Lamar’s Section 80, A$AP Rocky’s LiveLoveA$AP, Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon. Several of those I named are mixtapes but anything can be classic, it doesn’t have to be “official”. But definitely Kanye’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. 808 & Heartbreak was great too.

Q: Wait, so how do you feel about Kanye? I love him but I know people always hate him because they think he’s an asshole, even though he hasn’t done a whole lot for people to hate him the way they do.

A: Kanye inspired all of this. He was one of the first rappers that I was like “I wanna be like that guy”. He was the first rapper that I would have to shut everything down and just reflect after I listened to his music. I would just be amazed. So yea, I like Kanye.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: We’re one song into our second album. We’re promoting our video and old music and playing around with what we’re going to do next.

Q: What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written?

A: Never released it and it probably won’t ever be released. It’s called “Perfect Attendance” and it’s basically about that story I told you earlier about when I was a kid and I’d stay up late listening to and recording music and how I basically was never able to break that cycle. It’s also about my family and how I wasn’t there with them when I was living in Florida.

(For everyone interested, he really isn’t releasing the song. 😦 I tried my hardest, but we won’t be getting a copy.)

Q: On a scale of 1-10 rate your music. This is a hard one huh? You want to give yourself a good rating but you also don’t want to be arrogant, you’re at a crossroad.

A: 6, which was actually my PitchFork review. But  yea, a 6 because we’re always trying to get better. If we were at a 10, I’d stop. But we’ll never be at a 10.

Q: What’s your least favorite thing about the rap game?

A: I don’t even consider myself being in the rap game. We [Skyway] get posted on hip hop sites and things, but people make stupid generalizations about our music, they don’t get everything we’re about, but that’s good, I want the hip hop blog community to stay in the darkness. But I’d say my least favorite thing is that everybody wants to be hard.

(He also told me that he hates inspirational rap and I didn’t think there was any way I could leave that out of this article, it was great.)

Q: What inspires your music the most?

A: My obsession with trying to make something really good. Once I get started on a project I just become obsessed with making it good.

Q: Give a shoutout…

A: My beautiful group member Kyle Wyss. He is the cutest producer I’ve ever done anything with.

That’s the end of my interview with Rufat, but let me drop some knowledge about Hip Hop that he dropped on me. “Hip Hop is transparent. It’s not scared to be it. It deals with so many things, it deals with all the social sciences.”


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