Meet AJRadico, the hip-hop artist whose music takes inspiration from the sights and sounds of New York City

AJRadico (@ajradico) is a hip-hop artist who makes timeless music that defies trends. Drawing on the diverse sights and sounds of New York City, AJRadico makes music that is inspired by a wide array of genres, while being uniquely his own. 

From a young age, AJRadico knew he loved music. Growing up, he would make mixtapes with his father, and loved exploring different genres of music. “I grew up in a musical household. My dad used to DJ at parties and things, so growing up we always had a bunch of musical equipment in the house like turntables and like cassette machines, and I used to make cassette mixtapes with my dad growing up,” he says on “Making It,” a co-production between In The Know and Complex. “And so I was always exposed to music, and from an early age I always had a very strong relationship with sound.”

AJRadico believes his exposure to different music genres helped him develop as an artist. “I started listening to a lot of alternative rock and I got into metal and like thrash and things like that. That was when my mom was like, ‘What the hell are you listening to?’” he recalls. “But you know, I think that it’s only done good for my musical experience, because I started to realize that there’s beauty in distortion.”

Growing up in New York City also shaped AJRadico’s understanding of music. He recalls walking through his neighborhood, listening to the different kinds of music playing at different shops and restaurants. “The radio here is very important,” he explains. “Just going down the block and hearing bachata at the bodega or hearing reggae at the soul food spot or the Jamaican spot. That’s something that you can only really get from being in such a diverse city as New York.”

While AJRadico draws inspiration from fast-changing music trends, his latest album has him striving to make songs that will stand the test of time. “With my project ‘Transit’ I wanted to focus less on those trends and more on making something that completely derails that whole idea,” he explains. “It’s about making timeless art to me.”

For AJRadico, success isn’t about money. It’s about making art that inspires people. “I want to inspire young people, especially young people like myself, young people of color, to make art,” he explains. “I think another part of the equation is giving back to those people, you know?”

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