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— by Jocelyn A. Vena, with additional reporting by Matt Paco

Los Angeles MC Ak'Sent is ready to entertain the masses.

Her training as a dancer and her stints in several girl bands have given her the legs to stand on her own. Signed to Capitol Records at 16, the now-18-year-old hopes to bring some spice to the male-dominated world of hip-hop.

"[My producer] was like, 'You know, the seasonal accent brings out the flavor in the food; you're gonna bring out the flavor in hip-hop. You are that extra seasoning and flavor that they are missing,' " she said.

Watch Los Angeles newbie Ak'Sent explain her flavorful plot to rep the ladies and why rap's in her blood in this video interview.


Ak'Sent, whose real name is Krystle Johnson, has always wanted to be famous. Since childhood, the self-proclaimed diva says she wasn't sure how fame would come her way but always had the hunger for it. Now with the single "Zingy" off her debut album, International, getting radio play, it seems she chose the right path.

"For me to be in this position right now, it feels awesome, it feels surreal, it feels like it's not happening," she said. "I've been wanting this since I was 16 years old, and now that I'm 18, I'm at the prime of being a woman and I'm a young adult. It's busy, but it's something I could definitely get used to, and it's something I've been wanting."

But the glitz and glamour of impending fame is a new treat for Ak'Sent. Growing up on the streets of South Central L.A., her dad was killed in a gang shooting when she was 4. After moving in with her grandparents, she decided to get involved in dancing to better herself.

"Growing up in South Central was definitely hard, especially being a minority, because I'm Mexican and black," she said. "It was a struggle at times, but I overcame it by being part of these dance squads and being part of dance schools and dance companies."

Dance may have pulled her up, but rap is in her blood. Before her father's death, he, too, had been an aspiring rapper. Her vision is to make rap that inspires women.

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"I felt I was gonna be the new representative for the ladies," she said. "I'm all about speaking for the ladies. I've been around a little bit, and I kinda know my way around my 'hood. So being that there are lots of young ladies who have grown up in their 'hoods all around the world, I know there is at least one song that every lady can say, 'I went through that' or 'I experienced that.' "

Ak'Sent wants to gain respect for writing music with a strong message that girls and boys can relate to. She also hopes her fame proves that anyone can make it big.

"I want to be remembered as a dream come true," she said. "I want to be remembered as starting from the bottom and working my way up and accomplishing everything that I could accomplish and even beyond that. If you keep at what you do and believe in yourself — no matter who is negative around you, no matter who doesn't believe in you — if you believe in yourself, that's all you need to go to the next level."


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 "Zingy"
International
(Capitol)
   Photo: Capitol


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