If the first thing you think of when you hear “Atlanta rap” is strip club anthems and auto-tuned thugs then you’re missing out on an entire city worth of creative, fresh talent. One of those young rhymers providing a different Hip Hop angle from the capital of the Dirty South is Matt “PRDKT” Citron.
PRDKT (formerly spelled Product) began building his buzz on ATL’s underground scene by performing at local showcases and clubs. Earlier this year the 20-year-old emcee released his debut mixtape Lucid Dreams and then followed that up with the 5-track Daylight EP. He’s still not ready to slow down yet. The ATLien hints he’s already making moves for more work in the near future.
DZI: The Voice caught up with PRDKT to chat about his projects, influences, favorite Atlanta rap albums, and more.
Yohance Kyles: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
PRDKT: My whole life I never really knew I had an artistic passion, and for a while I almost shut myself off from the arts unknowingly without any real outlet for expression. I started writing some poetry when I was roughly 14, and I fell in love with the art form.
I loved the ability to be able to express myself fully without any real rules, and it helped me get through a lot of really dark and also incredible times in my life. I started realizing I had something important that I wanted to say, so I started reading my poetry aloud. From there it kind of just caught fire for me.
YK: What led you to make the transition from poetry to rapping?
P: Well like I said, I started really getting into spoken word poetry towards the end of high school. But what I really think transformed the art form for me was freestyling.
My good friend Nate Schultz and I would spend hours and hours just rapping in the car, our houses, at parties, and really anywhere, and I just became obsessed with the whole idea of it. He really inspired me honestly to start writing raps, and once I started writing raps without a beat I actually started to surprise myself. At first I would just incorporate the rhythms and rhyme schemes into my poetry, but then I just started writing more and more to beats, and the rest just slowly came along after I kept at it.
YK: Who are some of the artists that have influenced you musically?
P: My favorite artists are OutKast, Pink Floyd, and The Grateful Dead. Those three groups have pushed the limit in music far beyond their years, and I definitely study what they have done.
However, I want to say really the people who have influenced me the most are artists around where I’m from and who I’ve watched grow. Guys like San Williams, Shawn Lobel, Nate Schultz, Matt Martin, a good friend of mine Rich Townsend, and other poets and musicians I have met along the way. I enjoy the grind at the bottom, where music is very pure and untampered with. I try to never look at music as a competition, but more as a huge collaboration.
YK: You were born and raised in Atlanta. The city has become mostly known for its trap music style over the last few years. How have you managed to break through that prevalent sound with your brand of Hip Hop?
P: Honestly just by being me. I respect any artist who is being genuine to themselves. I have a lot of respect for a lot of dudes in that lane. There is something to be said about the reckless and untamed nature of a lot of that music that I really appreciate.
YK: How would you compare/contrast the ATL music scene with NYC music scene at the moment?
P: Ahhh man, that’s interesting. I think they are both pushing the limits in their own way. There is a very raw appeal on both sides. New York has this swagger that at times seems bigger than the music, but Atlanta is, like I said, very reckless and loose and we very much know who we are.
In terms of the lyrical dudes coming out of both areas. I think it’s not that far off. But I see that more Andre  type style coming out of Atlanta and more Nas oriented lyricism coming out of New York. It’s been a beautiful experience to let both cultures sink in. I am very fascinated in the Minneapolis, Minnesota Hip Hop culture specifically Slug of Atmosphere, and I would love to get to go out to L.A. for a while and get a feel for what those guys are doing.
YK: You recently released your Daylight EP. How did that project come together?
P: The project was a growth of about 6 months past Lucid Dreams, but there were also aspects of it that came together in a short period of time. These past two years of my life from 18 to 20, I’ve changed dramatically, and that has reflected in my music for sure.
So, I really wanted to let people know where I’m at in my life, and I also wanted to let people know that I had something bigger to say this time around. I was incredibly selective about the production, and I wanted to make sure my lyrics could hang with the big full powerful beats I selected for the project.
YK: On the EP’s title track, you talk about wanting a platinum plaque. Ultimately, how would you measure success for your music?
P: That whole line where I say “I think I want to get a platinum plaque up on the wall. Should I grab for that, or should I grab for you. I need one, but I grab for two” is really one of the major focus points in my music and in my life really. It’s that constant struggle between wanting to be world famous, and also wanting to stay grounded and pure. Do I want to drive a Bugatti down Sunset Boulevard? Or write poems from a broken down shack in the woods?
Obviously, those are the extremes, but as a society we have put this god and goddess status on our celebrities. And even though many celebrities will tell you that the road to fame is paved with more pain and suffering than before, we still crave that.
Honestly, when I am most humbled, and I feel like I have succeeded is when someone tells me my music has made a difference in their life. I want to be able to change people’s’ perspectives on life through what I have to say, and if I have done that on any level than I have succeeded. Also just knowing I pursued my dreams and really went for it, is success in itself to me.
YK: How would you say Daylight is different from your previous project Lucid Dreams?
P: Lucid Dreams was me saying, “Alright, here I am. I’ve got something to say, and I can rap.” I love Lucid Dreams as my freshman project, but to me Daylight is bigger and a huge step forward.
I’ve started to understand a lot more about myself. To me, I want my music to always serve as chapters in my life that I can open to and really understand where I was at in that particular point in time. Lucid Dreams was mainly old school Hip Hop beats which is dope, but I knew it was time to prove myself on another level with Daylight.
YK: You went from “dreaming” to seeing “daylight.” Will you next project continue the sleep/morning theme?
P: It’s interesting you say that, because what many people don’t know is that Daylight is not over yet. I won’t divulge into what that means too much, but I’ll let people guess for themselves.
YK: You don’t have many features on your projects. If you could collaborate with any three artists out now, who would you select?
P: I know I could do something crazy with Elton John. I am a huge fan of piano composers, and he is by far my favorite. I would love to get to work with 40 – Drake’s main producer – and Travi$ Scott’s production together on a project. I think they are both musical geniuses in their own right.
And I know you said three, but I’m cheating by throwing 40 and Travi$ together. I would love to be able to work with Kendrick Lamar on something. To me, he is potentially the best Hip Hop lyricist of our generation and may go down as the best of all time before he is finished.
YK: What are your all time favorite albums by Atlanta-based rappers?
P: ATLiens and Aquemini by Outkast and Urban Legend by T.I., but it’s close between T.I. and Luda’s Chicken-N-Beer. Low key though, you got to check out my dude San Williams’s first album T.O.B.E. It’s crazy, and I would say it is definitely one of my favorite projects to come out of Atlanta. Keep an eye on that guy.
YK: You also studied acting. Do you have any plans to explore that profession as well?
P: I definitely do. I have a huge passion for acting, and I hope to be able to pursue both art forms at the same time. Hopefully whichever door gets opened first will give me the opportunity to do both.
YK: What’s next PRDKT?
P: I am constantly working on new music whether I record it or not. Visually, I really want to put together some dope videos for a couple of the songs on Daylight. But I am actually working very hard on something that I hinted at a little earlier, so don’t be surprised if you see something sooner than you might expect.
Check out PRDKT’s Daylight EP: