Rap artist interviewer found guidance with ACCEL

Picture of Adulis Chedo Mokanan with Minnesota rapper Lizzo

Versatility is a key attribute of entrepreneurs, especially when responding to an ever-changing media landscape. Adulis "Chedo" Mokanan is a prime example.

A veteran of Centennial's ACCEL (Accelerator for Centennial Community Entrepreneurs and Leaders), a business advisory and mentorship service that helps youth aged 18 to 29 start or grow their own business, Chedo cut his teeth on broadcast radio, then YouTube, and now a weekly podcast – The Come Up Show – doing in-depth interviews with a who's who of rap superstars from Kendrick Lamar, to J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa and more.

Podcasting is an accessible, impactful and low-cost way to do content marketing and Chedo's tapping into it with enthusiasm. He's mastered it as successfully as he did his YouTube channel (his chats with Kendrick Lamar and producer T-Minus have amassed 200,000 views). Chedo was profiled in Toronto's NOW Magazine in December, so we reached out to learn a bit more about him.

How did you hear about ACCEL?

I found out about ACCEL at a conference and inquired about how they can help me. I needed mentors, guidance, resources – and that's what ACCEL offers.

What did you gain from working with mentors here?

Guidance, direction. The most important thing is having someone to bounce your ideas off. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely path and you can live in your own head unless you have mentors to help you out. I've gained confidence and validation about what I'm doing.

How do you approach an interview?

I definitely do a ton of research. I check out the artist's social media (Instagram/Twitter) specifically to see where their headspace is. Twitter is a great place because they have only 140 characters to get their thoughts out, and usually I can find something great on there. I also like reading other interviews they've recently done because if I find an interesting answer I get them to further expand on it. I can't forget listening to their music, because sometimes artists are able to be vulnerable in music better than talking to people.

What happened to your YouTube presence? Why did you switch to podcasting?

I switched to podcasting simply because I find it a much more intimate medium compared to videos. I started The Come Up Show in radio and I did seven years of hosting, interviewing and developing myself in audio. I also love that with podcasting you can multitask – whether it's driving, cleaning, exercising – people can listen to your interviews. There's a lot of aesthetics you have to worry about with videos and, honestly, it's so much more time- and energy-consuming compared to audio. With my podcast I can record it anywhere, edit it on my computer and upload it the next day. It's almost impossible to do that with our videos, especially the production that was involved. I do plan on using video to promote The Come Up Show podcast in the near future.

What's your favourite media platform and why?

My favourite media platform is podcasting. For the reasons I mentioned above, also it's on demand. I feel that it's the present and the future. People want to do consume media on their own time and space. I love that my audience has that option with podcasts.

What's your favourite rhyme?

Favourite rhyme and song is from Jay Z: "Regrets." I feel that regrets can be poison when we ruminate over actions not taken. I don't want to live with regrets so that's why it's my favourite song:

"This is the number one rule for your set
In order to survive got to learn to live with regrets
On the rise to the top many drop, don't forget
In order to survive got to learn to live with regrets…"

Who was your favourite interview and why?

Kendrick Lamar. The honesty, the authenticity, I always call it my Oprah Interview! At that time he was just 'coming up' and I love that he shares with us what he stands for, and honestly he could have easily been dead or in jail if it wasn't for the guidance of his father. Growing up in Compton, he was lucky to have a pops to look after him and he shares an intimate story on how much he made a difference.

Check out Chedo's interviews on The Come Up Show and learn more about Centennial's ACCEL program.

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