Earlier this month, Atak released his much-anticipated studio album, This Is Me, on all streaming platforms. The project, largely produced by Atlanta’s DJ Plugg, features the first single, “Juhh Do Et” which is now well over 12K plays on Spotify. Hustle Man, Kwony Ca$h, Lyssa, Felisa Latin Soul, and Dillon Duggan spice a few songs with their unique styles. However, each feature is subtle enough that listeners can still focus on the trill vibe Atak brings to each rhyme.
Confident and focused, Atak is finally making music the way he wants it to sound. He’s one of the last OG rappers of the 90s era from Westside Denver. This was during a time when gang and drug violence ripped through local neighborhoods, inspiring countless newspaper headlines. By the early 2000s, much of the inner-city turbulence in Denver quieted.
Though the city changed immensely over the decade, Atak lost his best friend Rich in 2006 to medical complications after a shooting that occurred around Thanksgiving 2005, in which Atak was also shot twice, once in the face. Denver Westword published a story about the incident in Lower Downtown Denver (LoDo) in January of 2006.
Atak Loses His Best Friend, Rich
At the time that the story was published, Rich Rich’s injuries paralyzed him and doctors warned that he would never walk again. Only a week after being shot, Atak still got on the stage of a battle-of-the-bands contest at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom and performed through clenched teeth, as his jaw was wired shut while he healed from facial reconstructive surgery and the metal module inserted into his leg. The rapper lost over 35 pounds in a little over the course of 30 days as a result, complicating his recovery even further.
In May of 2006, Rich died of complications related to the bullet that was lodged in his body. “I was with Rich the night everything happened,” Atak told Westword. “I carry so much weight with me because of it. I’m a rider, and I did the best I could that night. I tried to save everybody.” He remembers his friend every day and focuses on the pain he feels as a survivor of that fateful night into music.
Aside from a few features, Atak wrote the album to give his fans an opportunity to get personal and up-close to the man he is today. With the release of the album, Atak believes that opportunity and success is now within his reach. He’s a little older, a little wiser, and a lot more focused. Now as a proud father of 3, Atak put all the negativity behind him and is completely focused on his future in music—the one thing that helped him survive the struggles he endured all his life.
On the title track and “Mista Peppa” he reflects on the struggles he experienced growing up and how they affect him as an adult. The music is what truly saved him. “I love the creative part the most,” he said. “I get this feeling in the studio and I can’t explain it, but I feel free and no pressure…”
He’s shared the stage with big names such as Lil Skrappy, Chingo Bling, Young Buck, Baby Bash, Lil Rob, Gorilla Zoe, Slim of 112, and has an extensive catalog of mixtapes available all over the internet. He’s one of the last OGs representing Latinos of the Westside culture in Denver.
He’s owned multiple barbershops and other businesses and has wild stories of life in Denver before the gentrification of his old neighborhoods. In the early 2010s, he relocated to Atlanta and made a significant impact on the city’s music scene. After coming back to the Mile High City, he zoomed in on his craft and started recording.