These days, it's very easy to mine through the internet and discover new talent. Unfortunately, this also means the marketplace is extremely over-saturated. There was a time when the excitement of finding a new sound was cherished, but now that experience is as fleeting as the first 15 seconds of each track. So it's a joyous occasion to stumble across artists like King Kay who add a different perspective to the millennial experience.
The North London-based rapper-producer has marked his territory with a smooth approach to communicating his message. After going through his catalog, what we find most interesting is his unwavering flow that does not conform to trends in popular music. Kay's ability to help his listeners unwind as they delve into his world comes with ease. We got the chance to talk to Kay about his artistry and here are some the things we learned.
Why is making music important to you? Making music is cathartic. It helps me offload anything that's been burdening me, which is why I love it. Creating my last EP, Winner's Winter, got me through a very interesting time in life, so it's good to have a positive method of communicating how I'm feeling. People describe me as somewhat of an enigma as I don't really give much away about myself or do too much talking, but through the music I find it so easy to get personal and reveal things about myself that I wouldn't normally.
Are you passionate about making an impact in the industry? The U.K. rap scene has been churning out some serious talent for the past 10-plus years, but it's only in the previous few years that the spotlight has been on us and people are actually acknowledging the talent over here. Getting my music out to the masses is definitely important to me because my take on rap is very different from what people are used to. Especially as an artist from London, it's important to expose people to the different vibes, flows, and style that my music embraces.
When did you begin to take music seriously? Back in, like, 2007 to 2008, I was in a grime duo with The Homie JJ and we used to drop music and share it with all our friends on Facebook and MSN Messenger, but I think I started taking music seriously after releasing my EP Mr Gatsby back in 2015. Hearing all the feedback from it, listening to the way people connected with the music made me want to take it further. I am in my own lane and I want to expose more people to the sound I'm creating.
How do people describe the feeling your music gives them? I would describe my music as having a very classy vibe or a 'merlot and pasta' vibe. Also, people described a few tracks from my latest EP (Winner's Winter) as giving them 'the chills'—"Stay," for example—which is a definite win. That's what I was going for! All in all, I would say it's a very laidback, soulful, and classy approach to hip-hop.
Who are some of the people that have influenced your taste in music? London rappers Kano and Dot Rotten definitely served as major inspirations for me growing up. Tinie Tempah too because of his lyricism in the early days and keen eye for fashion. Tracks like "Wifey Riddim" and "Hood Economics" were inspirational and revolutionary in the music industry and for me! On a musical level, I really fuck with the legendary jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum, who influenced a lot of the sounds that were covered on my first tape. Additionally, D'Angelo, who is easily my favorite artist! Predominantly, my musical taste ranges from old school grime to R&B, neo-soul and even gospel music.
Where would you like to perform your first sold-out arena and why? My first headline arena show would have to be at the O2 in London because that's home. When you can sell out an arena with a capacity of 20,000-plus people, you know you've done something right. I guess it's every artists dream to sell out the biggest venue in their city. The O2 would give me the same feeling of accomplishment as a New Yorker selling out The Garden.