Collaborating with big names such as Chris Brown and Usher, Kid Ink has worked at great lengths to get to where he is now. His infectious tracks, “Show Me” and “Body Language”, have both gained mainstream success around the world. Having experience in production as well as being an artist, it’s clear that he isn’t afraid to be one step ahead of himself and take up any opportunity that becomes available to him.
With the release of his fourth studio album, Full Speed, he openly expresses himself on his creativity as an artist, the direction of the record and acknowledges the importance of being committed as a musician.
SR. Since the release of My Own Lane, you’ve garnered a lot of success in the rap/hip-hop genre. What approach did you take when it came to the production of Full Speed?
KI. When it came to the production of Full Speed in general, I tried to approach this album with just a little bit more freedom with my creative side. With the first album, I felt a little more pressure with the new fans that were gonna hear me for the first time. With this album, I think it was a little more fun with the music and then going back and making sure everything was right. At the end of the day, just having fun and letting more natural sounds come out in this. I remember in the past, I wasn’t focused and oriented enough. Now, I’m trying to be massively creative.
SR. Awesome. So I know you’ve collaborated with artists such as Chris Brown and Usher. What’s your favourite aspect when it comes to working with different artists?
KI. My favourite aspect when it comes to working with different artists is really just being able to feed off their energy and maybe hopefully learn some things and take things in. I never approach a session and be completely holding on to my ideas and not be open. I see what other people are doing especially when we’re all winning at doing different things. I feel like it’s something I can learn, something I can take from, you know, from your sound, from your process and include it with mine and see if it works. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll move on. But for me, working with features, it kind of opens your heart to try new things.
SR. Nice. So if you could collaborate with any artist, who would they be and why?
KI. A person I haven’t talked to before and really gotten in the studio with. I would like to work with females with really big voices. I like to write a lot of records not thinking about the anthems and music. For example, like the Eminem and Rihanna record. Like I wouldn’t mind being on an Eminem and Rihanna record just for that vibe, you know what I’m saying? More so, you know, I’d take that vibe and probably put Rihanna on a song and really make a big hit like “Love The Way You Lie”. I wanna make something like that.
“As far as being an artist, it is about really having a voice and being creative and really being in charge of the record and making your own direction.”
SR. Haha, nice one. So I know as a kid you had a strong interest in record production. What made you realise down the track that you wanted to be a rapper?
KI. I think for me, it wasn’t necessarily me realising that I wanted to be a rapper. I mean, I grew a love for writing in general and got into that craft. Just wanted to make my production sound bigger and separate from just other producers who were only writing some ideas, beats and melodies and helping an artist write more and grow. From there, I think people around me kind of just recognised the talent and kind of just went “Yo, you should keep at it. Why not try both?” You know, I’m not gonna leave one aside just because I succeeded in other aspects. I still produce as much thought-process wise. I’m just not physically making as many beats.
SR. Ah, okay. So would you say that you’d rather be a rapper because in terms of creativity, you’re able to make your own songs? Because if you’re the record producer, you sort of direct the musicians.
KI. I think both have their ups and downs. As far as being an artist, it is about really having a voice and being creative and really being in charge of the record and making your own direction. At the same time, a lot of pressure with that is knowing that you have to speak for you and other people. Being a producer is a little bit more behind-the scenes, you know, you can kinda do whatever you want, say whatever you want and you don’t have to be as political because you’re just making the sounds at the end of the day. People are judging the artist more than they’re judging you. Sometimes being a producer seems a lot easier and less stressful but also there’s a lack of acknowledgement at some points. It just depends, which is how I feel.
SR. Did you reckon that having credit was important to you as a record producer as well? Did you feel like you weren’t getting the attention that you deserved as a producer?
KI. Yeah, I think to an extent. I think at first, you know, it didn’t matter to me as much. I would go and produce and co-produce with other people and not care about taking credit and being part of records. Until you start seeing a lot of different songs come out or you see another producer who is striving for success, more than you, you kind of sit back and go, “Dang, I want this.”
SR. Fair enough. I know with My Own Lane you did an Australian tour. Will there be one to support Full Speed?
KI. Course. I think you know, especially when I go to places where there’s growth, I always can’t wait to go back and see the growth. When I went to Australia for the first time, I felt like the shows were very, very dead and then I went again three months later with a new single and new album, it was a completely different story for the three shows. For me, I can’t wait to come back and see if we can do it even bigger next time and that’s what I’m hoping.
“I think everyone needs to be a little more hungry but at the same time be a little more humble. Sometimes when things happen too fast, people can’t really grow.”
SR. That’s great, man. How would you describe the live audience when you were doing the tour last year?
KI. Oh, the live audience was amazing. I think, you know, it reminds me of just always talking about when I’m outside of the States and just overseeing these audiences and places where people feel like they’re not gonna see me tomorrow. Like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Compared to when you’re in the States, and people are like, “Oh, I’m gonna see them next week or I might be able to just drive three hours out here and see them again.”
SR. Yeah, I think it’s great as musician because you’re able to travel to different places and experience all these things doing what you love. So yeah, it’s good to hear that you saw Australia.
KI. It’s definitely a beautiful country.
SR. As a rap artist, what quality do you think is the most important thing to have in order to be successful in the industry?
KI. I think, you know, you just have to have a hunger for it. I feel like, you know, what happens to a lot of people is that when they come into the position of power as an artist, some of them didn’t even expect it [fame] to happen so fast that they kind of lose the hunger. I think everyone needs to be a little more hungry but at the same time be a little more humble. Sometimes when things happen too fast, people can’t really grow. They don’t have ups and downs; it’s kind of like everything is up from here and you can’t really appreciate everything as much. Our job is all about testing yourself. I heard Jay-Z say in an interview, it’s all about just finding out what you can do next. It’s about reliving moments and doing new things in your own career.
SR. So in a sense, it’s really important to take things differently and just be more committed to music.
KI. Yeah. I think in my career I think it all falls down to music at the end of the day. You’ll see that the top artists will go through the most struggles, whether it’d be Michael Jackson to R. Kelly to Chris Brown, as long as the music takes over, it takes over.
‘FULL SPEED’ – Available from February 6, 2015