We had an opportunity to chat with a 29-year-old Boston-based urban artist, rapper and beatmaker The Kid. He is back with new sounds, and outstanding release the LP The Kid and Friends, a collection of eleven tracks featuring many artists such as Mick Jenkins, Kebma, Rome Fortune, ScienZe, Michael Christmas.
Hello The Kid! Congrats on releasing your LP The Kid and Friends. Can you tell us a little bit more about this project?
Thank you so much! I started this project in 2016 when I decided to finally do something serious with my beats instead of them sitting on my computer. I had an idea to reach out to up-and-coming rappers and see if I could grow with them. Eventually, I ended up reaching out to every rapper I’ve ever heard of if I could get their contact info. The main purposes of the album were to grow as a producer, showcase some awesome talent specifically in Boston where I’m from, and hopefully bring attention to my band Pineapple Jam as well. This ended up taking over my life from 2016 to its release date of November 6th, 2020 and still today as I’m working to promote it.
I created the beats with Ableton Live, Native Instruments, a Roland FA-08 keyboard, and a microKorg. I would send my beats to rappers and let them choose which beat they wanted. They would record their verse and send it back to me. At this point, I would place their verse into the beat and rework it to fit the verse and make the overall song sound cohesive. Once all the verses were received, I then exported all the stems of each track and worked with The Bridge Sound and Stage studio to mix and master. I worked with an engineer Mertz who mixed all the tracks and helped add some key input and things like drops and effects to really make the album come alive. It was then mastered by The Arcitype.
Promoting and marketing the album was another challenge. I ended up working with a great marketer Brandon and his company Showoff Marketing. Almost immediately after we agreed to work Covid hit and we had to make quick and drastic adjustments. We ended up doing a few virtual release parties that were really successful. To further market the album, I’ve also teamed up with Viral New Wave, Music Promo Today, and Big Noise.
I’m also a Graphic Designer with a specialization in cartooning/animation and so I created all the art for the album from the cartoons of each feature, to the album art, to the 3 music videos, the website, and everything in between.
You have worked with plenty of talented musicians – which collaboration are you the proudest of?
I have! I’m so thankful to be able to work with the artists on this album. I’m really proud of the final feature list that ended up being on the album. And I got to showcase the amazing talent of my band members on guitar and keyboard. But overall, I gotta go with CyHi The Prynce. I still can’t believe he is rapping over a beat I made. He’s one of the most talented rappers in Hip Hop and it’s surreal to me that he’s on this album.
What are some other artists you would like to work with in the future?
Too many to name! Kanye and John Mayer are my favorite artists ever so definitely them. I think Anderson .Paak is one of the most talented artists out right now. J. Cole, Kendrick, Common, Rihanna, and Jay-Z are easy choices. And I’d also love to get Saba, Joey Badass, Tierra Whack, Tobe Nwigwe, and Cousin Stizz. Herbie Hancock, FKJ, Melanie Faye, Bruno Mars, John Legend, Norah Jones, Leon Bridges, Tame Impala, Coldplay! I also found some amazing vocalists Stan Taylor and Sam Tompkins and I’d love to get them on a track someday. Anyone who’s really talented and passionate I’d love to work with.
How do you choose the artists you work with? What are some of the requirements you set?
For The Kid and Friends album, I worked with anyone who got back to me haha. I guess I would choose to contact artists who showed they were serious about music and were good at what they did. And the only requirement I set was for them to choose the beat. For future albums, I’m hoping to work with any artist who I am a fan of and who’s style I think would fit best on specific beats, whether it’s an instrumentalist, singer, or rapper. When I work with an artist I like to give them the freedom to record whatever they want. I present my beats, they choose their favorite and then they create whatever they’re inspired to create. I don’t like to box creatives. I feel this creative freedom helps the artist create more genuine and passionate work and that can translate into the overall song. Freedom of expression is basically what it means to be an artist and so I try to facilitate that. Another minor thing I’m focusing on more now is giving artists specific sections of songs to create in.
If there are musicians who would like to collaborate with you, how can they reach out? Do you also sell your beats?
Yes! If anyone wants to collaborate or buy beats they can go to my website TheKidTunes.com. They can listen to my beats on the “Album Pack$” section and contact me through the website. People can also contact me through Instagram DMs (@TheKidTunes). I currently have 160+ beats on the main site and 60+ beats on a “Private Beats” page and I’m constantly updating and revising.
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What inspires you to create music?
I don’t really know honestly. I’ve always played music, mainly drums and singing. And now digitally with Ableton. I just love to create music. When I sit down to make a beat I never have anything specific in mind. I just start tapping the keys and when I find something I like I record it. I usually don’t realize what inspired me to create a specific beat until years later. My dad is an amazing singer and guitarist and so he’s my overall music inspiration. But I will say Kanye is my main inspiration for trying to be as creative as possible when making music, specifically My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I’m so inspired by how much passion, time, and effort he put into that album and how amazing it is from start to finish. I strive to make albums as complete as that.
Your sound is fresh and unique. Where would you put yourself on the genre spectrum?
Thank you! I’m not really sure about this either haha. I’ve made beats of all types, whether it’s funky, chill, high energy, slow, fast, happy, sad. I don’t know what specific style of Hip Hop I’d call myself, but definitely, Hip Hop based combined with Soul, R&B, Pop? I love blues, rock music too so there’s influences from there as well.
Any upcoming plans you would like to share with our readers?
Right now I’m focusing on promoting and marketing The Kid and Friends and I am trying to sell as many beats as I can to help fund more albums. I currently have 3 albums pretty much done, but no budget to mix/master or market/promote. Hopefully, I can sell enough beats, or land a placement, or somehow save up a good chunk of money so I can start working on releasing more music.
Thank you! It’s amazing to be able to share my music with as many people as I can and so I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity.
Exclusive Interview with Elton Lee
Elton Lee is a visionary artist who seeks to tell stories through his music. With “Sentimental Curse,” he ventures into uncharted territories, blending instrumental prowess with narrative depth to create a truly unique listening experience. He took some time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
Welcome, Elton. Please tell us about yourself, your music, and how being from Oklahoma City has influenced your music.
I was born in Roswell, New Mexico, and at a young age, I moved to Oklahoma. Growing up, my dad was a big influence on my music taste, introducing me to rock, country, and blues, while my mom taught me how to play guitar. As I got older, my musical influences ranged from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Megadeth; because of this, my music is not set on one genre. I think Oklahoma City has a very diverse and growing music scene, full of energy, that allows new artists to get noticed.
Your latest album is “Sentimental Curse.” Tell us about the project, how the concept came together, and the recording process.
“‘Sentimental Curse’ started as what was supposed to be a three-song EP. As time went on, I really got into instrumentals, then had the idea to tell a story through them, and at that point, three songs were not enough. Without lyrics, there is a freedom to where the listener’s mind can go. I try to use the song titles to guide the listener towards the theme of each song.
What’s your favorite track on the album?
My favorite track on the album is probably ‘Shine’. The way that song came together was special. I also really enjoy Aodhan Mustain’s vocals on that one.
Live or studio, and why?
The album was studio-recorded. I am very lucky to have space at Onyx Studio to write and record music.
What’s next on your schedule? Another album, tour?
An Exclusive Interview with TDKMULAA
Today, we have the privilege of delving into the world of TrillionDollaKidd, a brand that has risen to prominence over the past three years, captivating the fashion scene with its unique approach to clothing and unyielding commitment to quality. Join us as we sit down with TrillionDollaKidd’s founder, owner, and creative director, the visionary behind this iconic label, to uncover the driving force behind its success and to gain insight into what makes TrillionDollaKidd stand out in a crowded industry.
Q1: Can you share some highlights of TrillionDollaKidd’s journey over the past three years? What accomplishments are you most proud of?
In the past three years, TrillionDollaKidd has been to many places and met many influential people that others have trouble coming across, from packed-out shows selling merchandise to being in rooms with stars, influencers, and celebrities. We have also been in many other magazines throughout our journey.
Q2: How did you come up with the name TrillionDollaKidd, and what does it represent for your brand?
I came up with TrillionDollaKidd being in the car with my family and just chopping it up about what we wanted to do in life (this was around 2019). I came up with the name TrillionDollaKidd by thinking outside the box and wanting to be different. TrillionDollaKidd stands for individuals who see no limits in what they can do or achieve, and that’s with Anything. We see ourselves as overachievers and everybody around us as well.
Q3: As the founder/owner and creative director, how do you balance your creative vision with the practical aspects of running a fashion brand?
As the founder and creative director, I balance both positions by studying the game and business of fashion. It’s hard work, but being smart and studying particular niches will take a long way in balancing and staying on top of both positions.
Q4: TrillionDollaKidd is often called “the brand for all hustlers.” Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind this tagline and how it reflects in your brand’s identity?
Yes, the brand for all hustlers stands for individuals who see every day as a hustle with anything. That’s how you stay on top of the game and be strategic like a hustler. Hustlers are intelligent, bold, strategic, and risk-takers like everyone in everyday life. Working jobs is even a hustle, so everyone in the world is considered a hustler somehow, and my brand shows them this every time.
Q5: Quality seems to be a core value for your brand. Could you share more about your approach to ensuring the highest quality in your clothing?
Yes, We want nothing but the best quality materials here at TrillionDollaKidd. Without good quality, I feel like we are our customers and ourselves. As a luxury fashion business, it’s essential to give our customers the best, especially when it comes down to dominating our competitors.
Q6: TrillionDollaKidd focuses on limited pieces rather than fully stocked items. What’s the reasoning behind this strategy, and how does it benefit your customers?
We benefit from our one-of-one pieces, our limited edition collections, because everyone wants to feel special in their own way. So we make them feel unique and drop collections that, if sold out, will take a long time to restock or no restock. This makes customers feel they have exclusive one-of-one materials and gear from the best brands.
Q7: What do you believe sets TrillionDollaKidd apart from other streetwear and designer fashion brands?
Our collections, customer service, materials, and designs differentiate us. We try not to copycat but make nothing but authentic designs that are only for our brand. We make our patterns and more, marking our fashion industry path.
Q8: Could you discuss the importance of expressing your talents through fashion and how this passion drives your work at TrillionDollaKidd?
Fashion has always been my passion, but seeing others in my creations makes it 10 times better for me even to have a brand, making me push harder every day. Then, the fact of being different, I like how it separates me from other designers or entrepreneurs.
Q9: In the ever-evolving fashion industry, what trends or changes do you anticipate for TrillionDollaKidd in the near future?
We plan on making or dominating any way that comes in the fashion business with our designs and more.
Q10: How does the Chicago location influence the brand’s identity, and are there any plans to expand beyond this location?
Chicago or Illinois period is a good spot for us because this is home. People love to see someone from their hometowns become successful, famous, or whatever the deal is because it gives them hope. I give my people hope, which helps us more as a brand.
Q11: Lastly, what advice would you give aspiring fashion entrepreneurs who want to make their mark in the industry based on your experiences and success with TrillionDollaKidd?
I advise all upcoming entrepreneurs and designers to stay consistent, stay true to themselves and their dreams, study the game, and run their business. Don’t let the business run you. Don’t let any of that go over your heads. – TDKMULAA
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