Pablo Speaks, an Akron-born rapper, has something to say

by Mariah Hicks

His name is Pablo Aquart, but many know him as Pablo Speaks, Akron-native rapper. The city’s creative community inspires a lot of artists to explore their crafts, and for the last four years, Pablo has used his platform to spread inspiring messages. In one particular song, Libre, he spits these words over a super electric beat, “Whatcha even hatin’ for? You don’t even really know, go and get ya self some dough, go and set ya self some goals.”

He makes it clear that there’s no reason to hate. He’s just trying to live his life and believes everyone else should be doing the same. He’s not afraid to voice it either.

Pablo describes his mother as the type of woman who encouraged him to express himself since he was a child. That’s why he attended Miller-South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, and that’s what introduced him to a career in the entertainment industry. He started off doing comedy and acting, but he later realized he wanted to become a rapper, despite the challenges he may face.

With the rap scene, Pablo doesn’t think it’s necessarily easy getting people to understand the messages he intertwines with his songs. “It’s not the most positive,” he says about the style of his music, which sometimes includes curse words or what some may think of as obscene lyrics.

He works hard anyway to make music that reaches everyone by creating songs that people can vibe to and be inspired by. No matter how hard the beat, he doesn’t want listeners to lose sight of the message.

Pablo has songs streaming on Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music. His Instagram also holds multiple minute clips of other music he’s released, such as “Stoop Kid,” “Dark” and “Low Key.”

“I’ve only really put out about six songs, so I’m very lucky that people still mess with me because I overthink my work a lot,” he says.

But this year, that will change. Pablo is getting more serious about his music career and plans on putting out his most music to date this year.

I wanted to find out more about Pablo, to learn about what drives him, what inspires him as an artist, what gives him fuel to create.

MH: What motivated you to get started on the music scene?

PA: I grew up around a lot of music but didn’t really start taking it serious and making my own til about four years ago. I’ve always done some type of artistic expression since I was young, which has helped me out a lot. I feel like I had something to say musically wise. I feel like a lot of influencers and people we look up to don’t really care about the impression they have on the youth.

MH: Who do you feel like you are as a creative?

PA: As a creator, I just try to be someone that can connect with people and allow them to express themselves, whether it’s any emotion like vulnerability or anger or happiness. I try to make my work something people can connect to or at least feel something. As with anybody, your work is a reflection of your mind and how you see things, so I try to be as open-minded as I can, and I try to be very versatile because ideally, I’d like to make a different song for everyone, something everyone could like.

MH: As a creative, what’s one message you work to get across to your audience?

PA: I feel like I’m always trying to drop hidden gems, even if the song is about kicking it and having fun. I feel like I’m always trying to give that message of being yourself, number one. And number two I’d say just being free, letting go of all that isn’t you and isn’t being helpful to who you are. In many public situations, you might be scared of what other people think or you’re concerned about what other people think, so I try to make the message of the music to not worry about that and be yourself.

MH: What are some challenges or insecurities that you face as an artist and how do you overcome them?

PA: With any art, anything you make public, I feel like the challenge is your mind, what you think people will think, but also just anything you’re dealing with because art can express that. My main challenge is just to not overthink things. A lot of overthinking can slow you down. My message would be to get out of your own way and don’t let trying to make something that’s perfect stop you from putting out something that’s still good.

MH: What are you currently working on that we can look forward to?

PS: I am working on a project right now. I don’t know what I’m gonna call it, might be called Free at Last, but I’ve got about 9 or 10 songs done. I’m hoping to put them out by June at the latest. I’m hoping to put a lot of music out this summer, and I’ll be moving to L.A. at the end of the month to work on some more music.

MH: How do you feel like moving to L.A. will further your music career?

PA: I feel like it will put more pressure on me in a way, getting more done and having to put more out. I also have some good opportunities there. My sister lives out there, my producers live out there, so it’s not only going to help me with the mental push, it’s going to help me physically put out a lot of work too because I’ll be in the studio.

MH: How do you feel like Akron contributed to your growth as an artist?

PA: Akron’s crazy because it really does have a balanced creative scene, and the welcoming community of being an artist has helped me here, going to Miller South helped a lot, being young and seeing that helped. There’s a lot of artists here, a lot of creativity, so it’s a really good place to grow up and a really good place to come back to. I’ve never moved away from Akron so it’s kind of scary, nervous and excitement mixed together.

Pablo continues to work on his craft, hoping his messages will reach and influence people around the world. Follow him on Instagram @pablospeaks to get more updates on what he’s working on and tune into his music.

Mariah Hicks is a senior at Kent State University. She studies journalism and has a minor in creative writing. 

Photos used with permission from Pablo Aquart.