Back in the mid aughts University of Texas grad, Ike Ramos used to rock the mic as part of local hip-hop groups Mike and Ike and 20/20 and Poise, but over the last decade his focus shifted to education. Ramos currently lives in L.A. where he works for a company called Flocabulary that develops educational hip-hop content for school districts across the country.
But he never forgot his Texas roots. His new album, “Paradise,” is his first solo joint. It reflects the hip-hop sounds that influenced him most: “dirty drum breaks, filtered samples, and emphasis on lyrics.” The album is loaded with features ATX artists including Bavu Blakes, Max Frost, Kydd Jones, Tank Washington and Lowkey and was produced by LNS Crew’s Haris Q.
“I haven’t stopped creating music, but it’s been a crazy journey,” he said over email. “I was teaching and coaching high school basketball in Texas. I literally walked into the office to quit during my second year and left as the principal for the next year. I attribute a lot of my success in education to skills that I developed as an MC: crowd control, stage presence, influence through words, reading an audience, communication skills, etc.”
The lead single “Last Day” includes a haunting hook sung by recent Austin360 Artist of the Month, Mélat. It was born out of his love for concept records and explores the thoughts that might race through his mind if tomorrow was his last day. “The song also ponders what might lead to my last day: payback for bad karma, an attack from the government, etc.,” he says. The song also addresses “the contradiction between worldly/fleshly and spiritual/righteous desires.”
You can watch video for “Last Day” above and check out the whole album on SoundCloud below. It’s also available today on all your favorite streaming services, including Spotify.