Rkade is thirty-two year old Barbados born rap artist Tony Brathwaite
(Formally known as Raven). Growing up in Barbados, Rkade had privileged childhood until unforeseen circumstances brought upon his family.
He endured upon mixing with the wrong crowd and experienced things many of us could not begin to comprehend, shaping him into the artist he is today.
He discovered his love for music when he was thirteen years old after hearing tracks by artists LL Cool J and Nas, influencing himself that.
When he was twenty he decided to move to the United States of America in pursuit of his dream.On arriving in the States he lived in Brooklyn, New York when he decided to call upon numerous record labels in the hope that one would listen to his demos.
Well, that’s exactly what happened! Rkade (using the stage name Raven at the time) signed to Universal imprint label Statra Recording, which was one of many that took an interest in him, including the likes of Def Jam! Whilst signed to the label he released singles
‘Bentleez and Kadilaks’ and ‘Survive’, which received radio play on Hot 97 (formally WQHT) by Wendy Williams and performed live sets in venues such as Sugar Shack and The Hard Rock Cafe.
His life was a crazy whirlwind of limos, parties and rubbing shoulders with the music industry’s big players, where he was lucky enough to get guidance from the artists Shaka Khan and P Diddy (known as Puffy at the time).However, whilst openly admitting that he was young, naive and bowled-over by the lavish lifestyle they offered, let’s face it – how many of us at the age of twenty would turn down the opportunity?
Rkade decided to take the highroad and quit the label after one year in the hopes of pursuing what he was really trying to achieve. Puffy (P Diddy) tried to help, putting him in contact with ‘his people’, but having signed the contract that tied him for six years.
He decided to wait out his contract and went to study for an Accounting degree and setting up his business.Feeling defeated, he let his music dream take a back seat and got on with his life, thinking how he could write about his life experiences over the years being out of the music industry.
Little did he know that he would end up rapping to a stranger who’s frustration that talent was being squandered. (Inspired Rkade to begin writing again).
He began to build up a repertoire of material and made the decision to go back into the studio after a seven year break to create a new album in the hopes of signing to another label.
His new material is a far cry from the tracks he released under his previous record label, (which are still commercially available).His new material is all about storytelling, taking situations from his past, such as involvement in gangs that almost had his life literally!
Rkade rapping style and lyrics are showing people what can happen when a wrong decision is made and touching on topics that are relevant to real life.