After years of encouragement and prodding throughout his high school years, Ike's writing transitioned from clever, fictional accounts to real tried-and-true experiences that he brought to life with words and rhymes. The fundamentals of hustling and street life often exaggerated by many on wax are not mere glorifications in the life of Innerstate Ike. For him, rapping was a hobby secondary to the hustling that helped provide for his family.

"I was just rapping because I liked to do it," he says. "I was doing that to put food on the table, because I didn't come from too much. I had to get a lot for myself, and hustling was the way to do it."

Flipping his experience as a hustler into an album titled The Young Bank Teller — a throw to how much cash was passing through the seventeen-year-old's hands in the late '90s — the blossoming MC recorded and mixed all eighteen songs on the album, and the streets loved it. By 2005, when he was shot and Cac was killed, the two were already well on their way to becoming legends on the streets.

Innerstate Ike's rhymes are steeped in reality.
Adam V
Innerstate Ike's rhymes are steeped in reality.

"We had a double disc already recorded and ready to come out," Ike points out. "It affected the community and the families, too. They were rooting for us before we got shot, so after it happened, people were on our side, and we were really like underdogs. They were paying attention and wanted to see what was next. The whole 'hood knew Cac, so when he died, everybody was rooting for the music to continue."

As he continued to recover, with a tracheal tube freshly removed from his neck, Ike recorded his first song. But he wasn't satisfied with the way he sounded, because his voice wasn't the same. Encouraged by his friends, who said the new gravel and grit made him sound "more beastly," Ike released his first project after the shooting, a mixtape with DJ Ktone titled Bricks, Super Bads and Duffle Bags.

With the ongoing support of his family and encouragement of friends like Ktone ("He just kept telling me, we gotta keep pushing and keep going. He believed in me, and that really motivated me to keep on"), Ike has gone on to release more than thirty mixtapes and albums. They include Faith Moves Mountains, a testament to his relationship with God since the shooting — and different from everything else he put out, as it contains no cursing — and Apple Sauce to a Boss, Bananas to a Gorilla. With the music acting as therapy and an outlet for expression while he was on the mend, Ike became rejuvenated, and his voice returned in full force.

Ike's latest effort, Moolah Music, is his best work to date. Ike says it's the culmination of all his hard work over the years, the struggle, the tragedy and the triumph. Co-hosted by Ktone with DJ Top Shelf, Moolah Music is indeed the sum of all the parts in Ike's career.

"Now that I'm using rap instead of hustling, the streets embrace me for the music and for what I've been through," he says. "People know my story, and they know I'm a concrete guy. Everything I say is real because I lived it.

"I just feel like when they see you and they hear what you're saying and they know that you're just a solid guy — when the people see that and they can feel that — they'll vouch for you," Ike concludes. "They've seen my struggle from when I was in the streets, and they know my family's been on dope, and my best friend died, and that I got shot up, and that I still came out of the hospital six months later and put out so many projects. People respect that."

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My Voice Nation Help

ike I remember mnld n bumping the cd in the car...I appreciate u n CAC n the whole crew much love...preserverence


I see you bro! Keep pushin! One Luv


Keep up the good/hard work my guy!MUCH LUV! CAP1Ent. by 1600 inc.


Keep up the good and hard work my guy!MUCH LUV!!CAPONE


Good work Ike I hope 2 c u blow up my dude God bless Julius aka Ju-Ju aka Sho.Nuff


That's what's up Bro. This is ya boy Whiskey aka Yella aka Mikey. The movement continues and so do we!!!

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