Mexican Rapper C-Kan Talks 'Compadres' Soundtrack & Working With Tidal

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With a strong and supportive fanbase on social media and YouTube, C-Kan is becoming one of the most coveted artists not only in his native Mexico, but on an international level.

Making his debut as a soundtrack composer for Pantelion Films' newest movie Compadres, C-Kan -- whose "Live From Urbano F3st" show during a music festival in Mexico last October was streamed live internationally by Jay Z's Tidal -- talks to Billboard about fulfilling his dream working in the film industry, his aspirations to become a global star and his future projects with Tidal.

Meet Mexican Rapper C-Kan

Was writing a soundtrack for a movie something you had dreamed about?

Definitely, I had really been wanting to work on something that had to do with films, so the producers of Compadres reached out to me and my team at the perfect moment. The song "María," which is the official song for the movie, is one that I composed as if I was also a character in the movie. It was tough at first because I basically told the whole story of the movie in that song, and I had to rewrite some of the lyrics so they wouldn't give the plot away. 

While growing up in Guadalajara, were you ever exposed to this type of genre? Or how did your interest for rap come about? 

Well, when I began making music 12 years ago, I was only exposed to the music I heard on the local radio stations. And then I watched MTV and that's where I heard American rappers like Eminem but it was hard to understand what they were saying. But then I heard rappers Vico-C and Big Boy with their song "Sin Tu Amor," and when I saw that they were singing in Spanish, I knew I could also do this and it wasn't only for English-speaking singers.

Tell us more about your partnership with Tidal and how this deal has helped your career on an international level.

Actually, I think I'm the second Mexican to work with Tidal. I believe Julión Álvarez was the first one. I'm very thankful for this opportunity that came up. This is a big step in my career. Although we're still finalizing what the distribution deal will be with Tidal, they streamed live one of my concerts on an international level. That was something that I had never done before. We're also in talks of making a documentary with them. I can't speak a lot about that, but there are more things I'll be working on with Tidal.

From making music when you were 17 years old to now, how have you and your music evolved?

I'd say the most important change that has changed the way I see music is when I became a dad. I have to think that my son and other kids his age are listening to what I sing. I've always said that rap was the best education I've ever gotten. It helped me express myself and at first I was kind of embarrassed when people would listen to my songs in public because I was singing immature lyrics. But I've matured and realized that I can't be singing about women, drugs or money anymore. And if I want to rap about a social or political issue that is going on in my country, I have to get educated.

There aren't a lot of Mexican rappers in this industry. How do you hope to inspire a younger generation that, like you, doesn't have a lot of access to this type of music?

I take very seriously the fact that I have a microphone, so I make sure I have something to say. That's the commitment that every rapper should have. That's what rap is all about: to question, to have freedom of expression and to help your community. That's always been the fundamentals of rap. I want to get a message across and leave a mark in this industry.

Compadres hits theaters April 22.