The KnowMads, a.k.a. Tom “Cheef” Wilson and Tom Pepe, are an independent hip hop duo from Seattle, Washington. Both members of the duo started spitting at a young age, and after meeting in high school, they released their first project So It Goes in 2007.
Since then, The KnowMads have released several albums and mixtapes to both local and global underground audiences. They are a self-proclaimed conscious rap group but occasionally delve into other styles. Their sound essentially depends on “how they feel that day,” as the group cites their personal lives and emotions as driving forces in their music.
The KnowMads have built up a hefty fan-base, coming up with fellow Seattle independent artists like Common Market, Grynch and Macklemore, among others. They have toured with the likes of Andre Nickatina, One Be Lo (of Binary Star), Chance the Rapper, Nipsey Hussle, and several others.
I caught up with them for another True Too Exclusive Interview. We previewed snippets of their upcoming album, freestyled, shot some hoops, and discussed the facets of their hip hop artistry. The duo spoke on themes within their music, where the industry has gone in recent years, their dream collaborations, and their favorite strains of tree…
Hearing them speak, it’s clear Wilson and Pepe are two real dudes. They’re both very sarcastic clowns, yet they also remain extremely grounded and their sharp presence of mind can be disarming. It became clear to me that they make music that truly reflects themselves as people. Humbled by their success and platform for change, The KnowMads veer to the future in hopes of spreading more love to hip hop heads worldwide.
At such young ages, they bring to the table a youthful outlook on life, yet they approach their music with the wisdom of veterans. Their new project, Knew School, contains the common theme of school but with a new twist. Similar to the conceptual approach of OutKast‘s ATLiens, it contains a unifying element from a matured perspective as they continue their life travels. The upcoming album is, in Pepe’s words, about navigating the schoolyard of life and staying true to your childlike self in a world that urges you to conform and lose track of who you are. Look for its release sometime this fall, and peep a promo video for our interview and Knew School below.