I found out about Washington D.C. based hip hop duo Akoko (an African Luo name meaning “Little Noise Maker”) via Designer Imposter. Lady emcees Sugg Savage & Sloane Amelia combine their love of rock, neo-soul, reggae, and hip hop to make some killer (tofu) tunes.

What do you wear on stage?
Sugg: I love church hats, bright clothes, and anything that sparkles. I have a very loud taste in fashion.
Sloane: I prefer dark colors and laid-back clothing over-all & whatever I put on, I try to make sure is comfortable both physically and emotionally, so I can concentrate on the delivery.

How important is your stage outfit to you?
Sugg: I take the way I present myself to the world when we’re on stage very seriously. At the same time, I make sure whatever I’m wearing is something I’m comfortable in because I like to move around a lot, and something that expresses who I am as an individual.

Sloane: My onstage outfit is fairly important to me, but nothing that I want to stress over. I just want to be comfortable.

Make-up-wise what’s your onstage must?
Sugg: Blush & intense eye makeup. Gets em’ every time!!

Sloane: Dark Lipstick.

What’s your biggest beauty indulgence?
Sugg: I’m starting to love false lashes on stage. They make my eye makeup pop so much more.

Sloane: I’m not entirely sure that I have a beauty indulgence … but if I had to pick it would most likely be hair accessories (ie, scarves, dyes, wigs).

What are your offstage outfits like?
Sugg: Honestly, not too different from my on stage outfits. I’m obsessed with hats, bright colors, and extra-large earrings. I’m a huge fan of oversized pants too.

Sloane: I would say pretty chill. I love dark colors; jeans & t-shirts. I like accessorizing with head scarves & jewelry the most. I also really dig faux leather—save the animals!

Who are your style icons?
Sugg: Drag Queens. I’ve admired them since I was young. They definitely have a heavy influence on my style. The movie “To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” changed my life at the young age of 4 years old.

Sloane: I don’t necessarily have a style icon or fashion inspiration, but with that being said, I think I can most identify with Erykah Badu’s eccentric sense of style. I like a constant change in my style …like a chameleon.

What do you do creatively when you’re not creating/playing music?
Sugg: Honestly, my whole life is creativity, dressing writing and even thinking. I do a lot of really random things that I’d say could be considered as creative work. I like to take side walk chalk and draw on the walls of my bedroom often, I enjoy putting together collages and I also like taking old scraps, buttons, and older jewelry and creating new accessories from them. Putting together short movies/videos on my computer is also something I really love doing. Recently I’ve been collecting pieces of wood from my morning nature jogs for a wood carving project I’m starting soon.

Sloane: I love writing poetry about pretty much everything & anything that I’m passionate about. It’s my favorite way to express myself. I like graphic design & photography & videography, I sketch almost every day. I like painting too. I used to write books & movie treatments a lot when I was younger & had more time. I like “modifying” my body i.e. piercings & ink. & I don’t know if everyone else considers this art, but I do.

What makes your musical style different?
Sugg & Sloane: Our music comes from our different eccentric tastes & an eclectic background in both of our lives… we write it from our souls, & we’ve always been categorized as “different” our entire lives.

Have you ever encountered sexism within the music community?
Sugg: Luckily I haven’t encountered any yet. But I’m 90% positive that I will have to somewhere down the road. I notice that female MC’s normally do not get the same respect as males do and I know there will be a point where I will not be given a fair chance because I am a female. I will be ready when that time comes.

Sloane: I feel like I’ve encountered a small amount. Nothing too major, they just mostly doubt the substance as a rapper because I’m a female, prior to actually hearing some verses.

How do you deal with the haters?
Sugg: I dont. I let them hate. But I’ll still sing to them just the same as I do everyone else, and hope that our message gets through.

Sloane: I don’t either; I hardly give them any play honestly. I just take them as fact of life and keep it moving.

Tell me about your latest projects.
Sugg: We just finished our EP “Killer Tofu” and we’re working on shooting videos for the album. We’re also putting together a few singles we’re releasing in the winter.

Prime Time – Akoko from Akoko on Vimeo.

For more Akoko. Sloane’s blog. Sugg Savage on Twitter.

*Photo credits: 1 + 2 + 3 by Jay Dexter