BestFan blogger Jonathan Joseph had the chance to chat with Los Angeles rapper Kid Ink before releasing his high anticipated album Full Speed, which is set to hit stores on February 3. The L.A. native is best known for his hit singles “Show Me”, “Main Chick,” and “Hotel,” which all feature Chris Brown; and his collaboration with Usher and Tinashe called, “Body Language”.
Jonathan chats with him about his upcoming album, his collaboration with Dej Loaf, signing to a label, his RC Car collection, his favourite weed strain and much more. Read the full interview here.
Jonathan Joseph: Hey! Thanks for taking the time to chat on the phone with me. Hope everything’s going well on your promo run!
Kid Ink: Yeah, everything’s been going well, man!
Jonathan : So just to start things off, for someone who hasn’t listened to your music, how would you describe your sound?
Kid Ink: I would describe my style for those who haven’t listened to my music as definitely..up-tempo, you know what I’m sayin? I try to have something nice, something people could dance to. It’s kind of hard though to describe my sound in one record because I think when I approach music I try to do something different every day. Do a different vibe. Something that doesn’t speak to one person in this one situation, but they kind of give them a whole listening pleasure. Like, if I feel like this, I’m going to turn to song ‘two’ and song ‘five’; if I feel like this, I’m going to listen to song ‘six’ and ‘eight’, it’s about vibes and I think as a fan you got to check everything out as a whole.
Jonathan: Awesome! So your new single “Hotel” with Chris Brown has been stirring quite the buzz. What has the response from the fans been like?
Kid Ink: I think they enjoy me and Chris on the record. I feel like it’s the same response from “Show Me” and “Main Chick”. It’s not anything too overwhelming. I think from there, it’s one of those ones I’m giving the fans something else that they’ve wanted.
Jonathan: Cool, so I had the opportunity to listen to an advanced copy of the album before our interview, it’s really good, especially your track with Dej Loaf called “Be Real”. Damn, it’s catchy as hell! How did the whole concept come together and how’s working with the rising Detroit star?
Kid Ink: You know that’s definitely going to be one of the top records from the album, it’s just been doing a lot of noise in the past couple days. From there, you know it’s just one of the records – Mustard sent me a couple beats – I always try to choose different sounding DJ Mustard beats and this beat he presented had this hook idea on it that he had worked on with his writers and you know I kinda moved some stuff around and put my own little taste and flavour on it and wanted to send it to a female to re-sing it. I had a couple different ideas that I was going through and you know I had just seen Dej Loaf at a show recently. She came through the dressing room and showed love and everything. I just remember the response I got from that photo. All my friends around me vibin’ and really like pushing her on me, so I was like I’ll try some stuff out and see how it works. So I sent her this record, to just let her vibe out and do her own thing. Sometimes when I get in the studio with people in the beginning, especially like “little” artists, they got a lot of pressure and don’t get me. With this record, I just sent it to her and let her vibe out and she really took control of the song and kinda of did her own thing. It’s dope to see a brand new artist like that just…you know, I was always curious to see what she would sound like on different songs. If she can do different melodies. You could see she’s really into the music.
Jonathan: Yeah, it’s a great track! So after listening to both “My Own Lane” and “Full Speed,” your growth as an artist is very impressive! But overall, what do you want fans to take away from this album?
Kid Ink: From this album I want fans to take away, you know, just more of the creative side of things. I feel like when you’re an artist and you first come out – people don’t want you to be as creative as you could possibly be as a musician. More so they really want you to stick to something. So I think with this record, I feel like it’s just helping me just show a little bit more, you know, different sounds and stuff I can try, but I still didn’t go too far from it. I tried to take some of the same records that were important to me on my last album that my fans really vibed with content-wise and just made sure that the production and actual sound was put together differently and wasn’t rushed as much. Because I feel like with the first album, it was a lot of stress with just proving who I was as an artist, but with this one I was a little bit more fun and having just..putting it together, like I used putting together mixtapes, instead of you know, albums where you were stressing on a concept and making sure everything is kinda like leading into the same thought.
Jonathan: So one thing I’ve always been curious about is when you started, you began producing tracks and then you moved into rapping…do you think that you would be stepping back into producing some time in the future?
Kid Ink: Um, I think…yeah! It’s natural for me to step into the beat-making side of things next in the future. Kind of got back into it with the “Body Language” record. I went back in the studio after we finished it, I added a lot of drum elements and moved some stuff around and that’s something I commonly do, on every record on my album. It’s not like I just take the beat, rap on it and take it for what it is, I always have the producer send it to me, loop the track out, move some stuff around. I get in the studio with (DJ) Mustard, re-produce with him. I get in the studio, you what I’m saying tell people this is what I need, send it back to me, if you don’t want me to touch the beat because you know some people get offended when you start moving stuff around. I just try to do it for the betterment of the song, and not just take credit or publishing.
Jonathan: Just to take us in a different direction – It’s funny, but I heard you’re in electric RC cars? Is that true?
Kid Ink: *Laughs* Oh man! I’m big on my electric race cars right now. I’ve been getting into it with my cars right now, I’m probably the fastest outta my crew, everybody is in racing cars. It’s like when the bus stops, man…there’s not much to do sometimes, especially when it’s part we don’t know, so we go to hobby shops…
Jonathan: Oh, so that’s how it started! Just you being on tour? *laughs* So with that, what’s your prized race car?
Kid Ink: *laughs*…hmm what’s the one I have right now, I have, I think it’s the 67′ Camaro, it’s pretty fast, it’s like my ‘Fast and Furious 5’ car, that one’s more like…it’s very street with the donuts and it’s like live. That’s the one I take the skate park and just like let it off the ramps and half-pipes and you really have fun with that one. AND then I have this…uh..Ferrari race car, that’s one’s more for the track, that one I take indoors on the venue, cause that one’s tires are very drifty and slippery so.. (you know).
Jonathan: Wicked! So just looking back on your career so far, what would you say is your proudest moment?
Kid Ink: Looking back on my career so far at my proudest moment…um, is definitely getting a major label album out. It’s something that definitely a moment, when especially you’re first signed and you see so many people (first) signed and they have a big single and they never get the album out. But you know harder than that is getting a second album out in a year.
Jonathan: Wow, yeah…
Kid Ink: For me to actually go to the studio this last year and to not think about it and not stress on it and be like oh I’m going to make a couple songs, send them to the label and see what they think, for me to do that and they pick a single and then go immediately be ready to do another album so fast. It was a proud moment in giving me the confidence, you know, that I was ‘stamped’ in the offices as much, you know, as I would get from the streets. To where it’s like I’m getting the love from the streets and from the people in the building – and that’s kinda dope.
Jonathan: So speaking about a label – you moved from an independent label to signing with RCA, what do you think the biggest misconception is about signing to a label?
Kid Ink: The biggest misconception is that the work is done. Maybe that you know it turns into a different game as far as like… I feel like I still put in the same street footwork as I did as an independent artist. Just as far as you know, the work I’m doing with my peers, you know like it’s not when you sign to a label, the label is giving you features. I think that’s what it is. I think people think that labels can get you features more than you can get your own. I just doesn’t work like that, man! I’ve seen people who don’t have deals get features from people that labels can’t even get features from, because you gotta show face and be in-tune with these guys who still have that independent mind set as far how you hustle yourself. Because they only really care at the end of the day about the dollas.
Jonathan: So you’ve been travelling across the globe performing at various shows and interacting with many different fans, what has been your most memorable fan moment?
Kid Ink: My memorable fan moment? OH, my memorable fan moment! Recently in..actually overseas..I can’t remember exactly which city, I just remember seeing a mall and it was a mall I went to before, so from there I was like, I remember being in this mall, I remember seeing a lot of fans in here and this was when I was really kinda like ‘nobody’, but I had out-door shows, but like I didn’t feel like I couldn’t walk through the mall. Like I wondered, I wonder how it could change..with the successes, and I went in the mall, I think we made it through for like three minutes and then it was word after word, so as soon as I got into Foot Locker, I remember shopping for like fifteen minutes and turning around and I couldn’t see outside the mall, like outside the door.
Kid Ink: Like all the way from where I was, like all the way to the exit, it was crazy! *laughs* Man, you know, like from there they were like “Hey, you wanna exit through the backdoor?” and I was like “Nahhh”. I rather exit through the front. I was about making it a moment, like when like everybody turned their cameras on, and you kind of just raced through all these fans and just ran through the mall, with *laughs* like sixty people running behind me, like we’re just running through stores like through department stores…
Jonathan: Was with you and your crew?
Kid Ink: Yeah, it was probably like seven of us and like sixty-five of them.
Jonathan: Holy that’s crazy!
It always seems like artists and celebrities break up, but you’ve had your relationship with your girlfriend for over six years, is there something celebrities and fans can learn from you about holding a relationship together?
Kid Ink: In my position, I think the best thing I do is just keep her involved, you what I’m sayin’? You know what it is I just think a lot of people try to separate so much and when you separate it, it leaves the mind open for thoughts, but I’d be taking her on these experiences and be like you wanna see what I’ve been doing all day? You could see how not fun it is, and know that I’m not always on some bullshit because there’s not much fun shit going on.
Jonathan: That’s good advice! So BestFan is based out in Toronto, what I’d like to know if you have any plans to come out to Canada, maybe a North American tour?
Kid Ink: Yeah man! It’s definitely the next step. I always gotta have at least throw three Canadian dates in the tour. Hopefully this time, I could try to do it bigger. Hopefully I could do a nice Canadian run, at least a week because I think last tour we started more of kinda like that, so it will only be right that we hit up some spots, gotta show lotta love, man. It’s been a minute. I felt like I’ve been going out there and really be hitting in small clubs and it’s been growing, growing and growing. And then I hit the stuff recently, you know. Just like been overseas, far out like I’m in like Europe, where in the sense where you’re never gonna see me again. I also don’t feel like I’m so far away from home, where you don’t understand, you know what I’m saying – It’s still the same, you know! Good food, English, good smoke, so it’s not too far from home. When I’m out there, it’s not a shock and stuff…like Edmonton, like I had to do New Years Eve in Edmonton.
To me, Toronto is a good party city, I think Vancouver has the best smoke, you know. And then, Montreal has the best..uh..Chinese food?
Jonathan: So since you’re such an avid smoker, what’s your favourite strain?
Kid Ink: Uh, OG Kush, you know what I’m saying. It varies so much now, but coming from L.A., it’s not really about just one particular strain, but it’s just the most potent OG Kush, but something to knock me down or a body high, I don’t head highs, I don’t like to think too much or my head hurting. I like to hash out.
Jonathan: Besides the release of your forthcoming album, what can fans anticipate from you?
Kid Ink: Fans can anticipate… before I go on tour, I definitely want to be into the things I watch – TV shows, award shows, X-Games, I want show face and show people what I’m interested in, like just outside of the studio, where everybody normally seeing me and really just get more involved in like charity events, just be part of more things. I think that I need to so I’m more cultured.
Jonathan: Thanks for taking the time with me, it was awesome chatting with you. Hopefully I’ll see you at your next show in Toronto, best of luck with the album release and hope everything goes well!
Thanks, man! I definitely appreciate it. I hope you get invited to the next show!
Kid Ink is gearing up to release his third studio album Full Speed on February 3rd. The album contains collaborations with Dej Loaf, Usher, Trey Songz, Young Thug, R. Kelly, Chris Brown and much more. Select tracks are produced by DJ Mustard, Nic Nac, Cashmere Cat, Ned Cameron, Metro Boomin’ and much more. You can pre-order you copy at iTunes or purchase a hard copy at your local store.