By May 2, 2019Featured, Music

Kid Ink

Interview & Styling: Johnson Gold // @Johnson_Gold
Photographer: Joel Smedley // @smedleyshots
Featuring: KidInk // @kidink

Live in London

Recently taking to the stage at London’s Electric Ballroom, PAUSE captured artist Kid Ink during his performance in the capital before sitting down with the California native to talk all things music, fashion, future & more.

Describe Kid Ink in three words for when he started his music career and another 3 for Kid Ink today.

Hungry… creative… and broke.

(Laughs) and now?

Hungrier… more knowledgeable… and just a fan, a fan of the culture.

Is there a limit to winning once you’ve sold over a million hits? What keeps an artist going?

I guess if a million hits is your goal then you can probably get settled, I really didn’t do music to sell a million records necessarily, I just wanted to do music as my job because it was something I love, and I felt like I was content with doing that whether the money was millions of dollars or thousands of dollars or hundreds of dollars, just as long as I was able to pay my bills, feed myself and be able to do music and do what I love so, from there I don’t think, well for me personally, when you get to certain heights that it makes you less appreciative or less motivated.

I think there are still so many limits, I guess maybe the people I looked up to coming up have done so many different things that I haven’t done yet that are still motivational things. A lot of things are going on and then it’s also just a new generation of music, it’s new ears, it’s new people listening, it’s new award shows, new organisations, it’s all kinds of different things, the times change and you get motivated to do other things whether it be score movies, or have songs or movie soundtracks, make video games, and I still haven’t won a lot of awards or nothing like that so you know those are still things I wanna do so, I stay motivated and have faith and keep working the same way I always did.

Is social media important to you as an artist?

Absolutely, because I came into the game during social media more-so like Twitter, I definitely when I was young and MySpace was up, I was still doing music but, really when I was able to get feedback from people and talk to people personally and understand how people were taking my music and really see the followers and all that different type of stuff, I think I came into that and understood how most of that just helped people understand me, being even just the type of person that I am, I might be sometimes quiet in the room and not be the most outspoken person, so sometimes those outlets are good for people to be able to do that and say things they probably wouldn’t normally bring up in conversation or at that moment.

They want to see what other people think about them and it’s just good for that and it’s just to be able to talk to your fans and see when they post stuff about you and like those pictures and really show your appreciation. So social media’s dope, you get to show a lot of appreciation, you get to brand yourself, show what I’m wearing every day I don’t have to waste clothes, I definitely think it’s important to be able to show people what I’m doing behind the scenes in music, it helps them not just appreciate my music and understand me more.

You’ve just launched a collaborative track with Saweetie and Lil Wayne, what made you pick Saweetie?

For me she was just at the top of the list as far as somebody I was drawn to as far as doing music and listening to, it’s a female artist coming up. It’s a lot of female artists but it’s not a lot of commercial female artists that I feel you could put on your first single, and that was somebody who I felt like not only had that aspect of it but lyrically I felt like she sounded dope and would compliment the record, content-wise I felt like she would compliment the record and just do her thing, the same way I felt with Lil Wayne, it wasn’t just like I got this chance to get a Lil Wayne record, it was more like one he would compliment and really go out for and that’s what he did.

Putting a record together is definitely not just winging it, I definitely put some thought into those features and made sure it all sounds good and makes sense, I don’t want to just put people in whatever and they don’t really like it and they don’t understand how to vibe with the vibes.

Are there any other female artists you would like to collaborate with?

I mean, in any genre in general?

Like Cardi B, have you ever thought about doing a track with her?

For sure, why not. It could be dope, she has hits, she’s got some dope records, I’m coming up I wouldn’t mind taking some of them sales (laughs) but at the end of the day she’s dope, she’s killing it. Who’s coming up? There’s a lot of artists…

Are you focused more on coming up?

Yeah I mean I try, I try not to, especially being a major label artist, look like a thing where the major labels are picking my features or putting these songs together or I don’t really connect or hang with these people so I do try to get in the studio with people that I think I can not only just help them come up but at the same time catch a different vibe because it’s a newer artist who has a different mind set than a commercial or established artist who might just come in and do their regular one two, so somebody who’s more ready to step out the box.

Who are the legends in the music industry today?

Nipsey Hussle, the great, is a legend. RIP the bro. Legends today, Kendrick Lamar is a legend, Drake is definitely a legend, Jay Z and Beyonce are the goats, there’s a lot of new legends, new people breaking records, I’m waiting to see what Rihanna does, I know that’s a legend that people know, people might be forgetting but she’s about to come through with something crazy.

You know she’s about to come through with something crazy?

Nah, nah, I’m just saying it’s timing you know. I’ve been hearing things.

Which country in Europe has been the most lit when you’ve gone to perform?

It’s usually Germany. Germany is usually the most lit. That’s probably where I’ve done my biggest venues by myself. They were like the first supporters when I was just flying out to Europe.

When you say Germany, where in Germany?

Hamburg, Berlin, we started a tour off in Germany, we’ve been to a couple of new cities this time, a couple of different areas, but I’ve been all around Germany for the last five years which was dope, when I was coming out to Germany I was doing mixtapes, I wasn’t signed to a label or nothing. When I went and I think I did two European tours before I signed with a label and they were like how are you doing this, we can’t even get our major label artist to go over there.

So it was just something that grasped the attention of everybody and they were rocking with it, I can’t really say how everything came about but it was dope to be flying in and out and feeling like this is nothing but a second home.

Which would you choose, Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal?



I say I learn more new music on Spotify, just from going to random playlists and letting them play through and hearing newer music. Sometimes certain playlists are a little bit more like radio, they’re just more like standard and what the average listener wants to listen to right now like the Top 40 hits. Sometimes I wanna have a couple different mixes thrown in there.

How did you find being on a reality TV show The Platinum Life, as an artist did this impact your career in any way?

Not for me necessarily, besides my wife being able to travel and walk in the doors of different opportunities and see different aspects of careers and entertainment she can do. I thought that was dope, I honestly did one day of shooting, came in and out, just to show face, just to show I was supporting the situation, I didn’t want to be one of those guys who was trying to act like I was scared that my wife was on reality TV.

It was one of those things I was supportive of but at the same time I wasn’t in a position where I felt like I needed to be a part of any reality TV shows so I made sure it was very like in and out, I didn’t want to have any scripted lines just wanted to keep it real natural and real life and everything you guys do besides that I’ll just be watching and maybe tweeting about it but I won’t be in it.

Louis Vuitton or Gucci?

Louis Vuitton. I think Gucci is cancelled right now.

Why’s Gucci cancelled?

Nah I don’t really cancel clothes likes that based on nothing but I haven’t actually been rocking too much Gucci lately, not because of any racial things but just because it was just a little over saturated for me.

I just rock what’s hot man but as far as the crazy designer brands, a lot of them are just over, washed out, everybody has them, it’s very available, I feel like if I can’t get it from a runway or a crazy boutique that only has something that only five came out, then it’s like I’m just going to look like everybody else. So I’ve been trying it keep it real. Different streetwear, little vintage, still high fashion, switch it up, custom stuff you know.

Prada or Fendi?

I’m going to say Fendi because I walked into Prada today and I didn’t like it. I mean there was one cool stuff but nothing was like crazy. Last time I walked into Fendi they had a nice little collection I liked what they did with the little eyes and stuff.

What’s the most expensive piece of clothing or accessory you bought?

Jewellery for myself, the most expensive piece I bought was this chain. When I first, I went and bought a really big chain, a $100,000. It’s my baby. The most expensive clothing I bought was probably the Yeezy 2’s, the Nike ones, I think they were like $3500?

I don’t pay that much for shoes, I guess it’s not a lot, but $3500 for some shoes is low-key a lot, but now they’re worth like $5000 so it’s dope, and I really wanted those so I grabbed those, that’s probably my most expensive clothing purchase as far as for shoes. For jackets and stuff always range $5-7000, sometimes $10,000 for a jacket.

And Quavo just collaborated with BoohooMAN, would you ever consider collaborating with a fashion brand?

Yeah definitely, I actually know the people over at BoohooMAN, they tried to see if we could do some stuff too, they had some ideas, they’re supportive over there with the team over there, but I definitely want to try some collabs with people.

Right now, I’ve been thinking about the way it is that I want to attack that, I still want to kind of show and prove more, and have designs and stuff ready before I start collaborating with somebody just so I can be in a controlled position and not just be somebody being used as a face for something they already want to put out.

How many tattoos have you got and if you had to remove one, which one would it be and why?

I have a lot of tattoos, pretty much 90% of my body has tattoos. If I had to remove a tattoo, I don’t know, I try not to regret any tattoos because they all have meaning and moments, whether or not you like what it was at that moment or if you felt that it was childish, then you feel like ah when I got it I remember this and that so it’s almost like a music playlist that makes you remember different things.

But I would just get my symbol here which is my logo for the label, I’d probably get it redone because they scarred me up. This ‘A’ right here, it’s a little scarred up, people just think it looks like a design but it’s supposed to just be straight black.

One word to describe the music industry in the last ten years?

Open-minded. I think that every year, people just get a little bit more open-minded to different types of music, styles or looks or fashion. Everything’s been moving kind of fast. Maybe so like not the last ten years but maybe like the last 5 years you can see everything just moving fast, there’s not a lot of styles that are lasting, producers they’re going in and out, artists are going in and out, a lot of stuff is just going in and out, there are definitely people who make their stand and last through it but it’s just a lot of content in the last five years.

It’s dope though. People getting to feed their households but at the same time do better things and also just open their ears and minds to just be creative, try different things, whether it be the new kids doing autotune and changing the melodies up and rapping over different kind of beats or doing country songs, people just figuring out how to come out with their own language it’s dope instead of copying, well I mean still people copy and repeating but you can see the ones who are doing it.

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