Iakopo is an international recording artist who brings his good energy and vibrations anywhere he goes. Born in California but growing up in Upolu, Samoa, Iakopo deems himself a mix between a Cali boy and an island boy. Speaking fluent Samoan and Japanese, he also boasts a heavy Japanese influence in both his personal and professional life.
In fact, Iakopo’s wife Sakura da Patra works directly with him on his visuals, choreographing and producing his new single and visual titled “Roll It.” The song is dedicated to both the art of rolling weed, as well as rolling your hips on the dance floor.
When it comes to his sound, Iakopo prides himself in his tropical, reggae music. He also blends the genres of reggae, dancehall, and Hip-Hop, creating his own melting pot that distinguishes him from the others.
Iakopo has standout features with 2 Chainz, Ne-Yo, and an unreleased record with the legendary Snoop Dogg. “Roll It” arrives in perfect timing for his forthcoming album, slated to release in November.
The Source caught up with Iakopo in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his recent releases, working with 2 Chainz, new single with Ne-Yo, unreleased Snoop Dogg collab, the independent grind, and more!
You’re shooting a music video in LA?
We’re shooting a music video on Monday. For my new single that just dropped called “Roll It.” It’s a reggaeton, upbeat party song. We shot half of the video in the desert, in Lancaster area. We’re shooting the rest of it in LA.
What inspired “Roll It”?
To be honest with you, the song came out as a freestyle. This record label called No Genre invited me to the studio. They’re mostly reggaeton, it’s what they specialize in. They’re based in LA, I really love them. They invited me to do a couple of tracks with them. When I got the studio, they said “Oh, we have some producers we think would be perfect for you.” They brought some people in. The first track they played was that one. I lit up a joint and I freestyled the song. It was one of about five or six songs that we did. I basically smoked the joint. It was reggae vibes, so it was really easy for me. I just got in the pocket. “Roll It,” it‘s a double meeting too. Because I’m telling the girl roll your hips. So roll your joint or roll your hips, both.
Hip-Hop celebrates 50 years this year, what was the moment you fell in love with Hip-Hop?
I remember listening to Jay Z’s first big album, The Blueprint. And Tupac’s album was there. When I heard the Tupac song “Changes,” that definitely touched my heart and touched my soul.
Favorite artists of all time?
I’d definitely put Bob Marley in there, John Lennon in there. There’s an artist named Vaughn Benjamin, he’s a singer for Midnite. Definitely not a very well-known group, but that guy was the most prolific songwriter/artist I’ve ever met in my life. His lyrical approach and the information that’s coated in his music, I never came across another artist that did it so well like he did.
What was the highlight from working with 2 Chainz?
I really got to know 2 Chainz more than I did previously. I was very impressed with his creativity and the vibe that he comes with, because he’s very intelligent. He’s very eclectic. I was very
honored to work with him. The more that I got to know him and his music, the more I cherish and value our songs together for sure. The song itself, it’s been doing amazing. “Top of the Hill.”
How did you end up connecting with Ne-Yo on “Feels”?
We connected through my manager. We did the song about a year and a half ago. I had the song and I was waiting for the right time to release it. We recorded the song in Dallas, Texas. We got in the studio two or three times before we completely finalized it, then we mixed it out here in LA.
How does it feel for it to chart?
Today, that song for the Spotify charts is #21 in Dallas. That’s funny, because we recorded there in Dallas. Also today, it hit #9 in Chicago. It’s done more than that. But today, that’s where it’s at.
Talk about “Sparrows” going viral.
“Sparrows” was really my lucky — I’ve been having a lot of great success with the music after I came here to the States. But “Sparrows” was definitely one of the big songs. For me, especially was one that I did by myself. It hasn’t stopped. It’s been viral for a year, thousands of dancers and clubs doing videos today. That was cool too because at that time, I just left my label. I didn’t have any marketing, I didn’t have budget. I didn’t have nothing behind it. I got lucky with that one. Everybody loves “Sparrows.”
How’s the independent grind?
It’s great. It’s really busy, I have to wear a lot of different hats. Doing two, three songs a minute kind of thing. But I do have a team now in a way. I’m operating somewhat independently in that I’m calling all of my own shots. I’m making all of my own moves and choices, according to my own preference. But I do have a team, shout out Music2DNA. My manager Lake Davis. I love you bro, he’s really awesome.
Whatever happened to the song with Snoop Dogg?
That’s one that I have in the vault. We’re looking at releasing the top of the year, because I have an album also titled Feels dropping in November. A lot of stuff going on.
Talk about doing events with your wife.
Tomorrow, we are hosting the Ttt Time event. It’s an event, dance company. Every two or three months, we do a tour in Japan with hundreds of different dancers. Maybe incorporate dance battles and choreography with the live show. We’re doing our first one tomorrow in Torrance
at View, Music Bar & Lounge. That’s going to be our first one. We have about 20 or 30 girls fly out from Japan to join us.
What’s one thing fans may not know about you?
Anything else you want people to know about you?
I love y’all. To my fans, I really do appreciate all the love and support and energy you guys bring. I’m here to give you guys good music and hope y’all continue to enjoy it. Keep rocking with me.
We got a lot of stuff coming in. We got a new album. We got a new song with Snoop Dogg coming as well. It’s going to be an eventful year for sure. Stay tuned, keep watching, and keep it love.