Kid Ink Talks ‘Full Speed’ Album, Working With R. Kelly and Production Battles With DJ Mustard [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
Four albums in four years, not every artist can lay claim to such a feat. For Kid Ink, he's achieved just that and more by not only delivering solid lyrics but also flexing his production muscle in his work. Making the transition from underground rapper to a household name isn’t easy, but the California native makes it appear as seamless as possible on the road to his third album, ‘Full Speed,’ due Feb. 3.
After creating a buzz for himself with three consecutive mixtapes in 2011 -- ‘Crash Landing,’ ‘Daydreamer’ and ‘Wheels Up’ -- Ink picked up the torch and never looked back. His tapes included features from hip-hop heavy hitters such as Meek Mill, Roscoe Dash and Ty Dolla $ign and even garnered him a seat in the 2012 XXL Freshman Class. The rhymer proved that his good ear for a hit record coupled with his production foundation was the perfect formula to create solid albums.
Going into his fourth LP, Ink has come a long way from mixtape slayer to headlining the Scream Nation: The Reintroduction Tour with Dej Loaf. He's even scored gold plaques for his track ‘Show Me’ with Chris Brown.
Ink sits down with The Boombox to discuss balancing his work as a rapper and producer, collaborating with R. Kelly, the sexiness behind his ‘Body Language’ video and the Drake comparisons.
The Boombox: Going into your third album 'Full Speed' what can your fans expect?
Kid Ink: The response I am getting from people is that they are getting an old Kid Ink feel or style. It was kind of crazy because you do like 40 songs and you have to choose only 12 for the album.
With all those options that seems harder to create.
It’s a hard process. The list changes everyday for like two weeks before cut-off time. For me I think you know, after getting through that stress I am just thinking about how the records I chose will make the album. I don’t really like to repeat too many of the same type of records.
Does it start with balancing the vibe?
Yeah, if I have four girl songs that are hot, I am only going to pick one or maybe two so that I continue to balance everything out. I want my CD to be an entire week, more so than just a day. Some people do albums that are directed towards one day [in time]. [My album] shares my experience, experiences of the people around me.
On 'Up & Away' it was like you proved you could handle a full album with no features, but then you switched it up.
With 'Up & Away' I was coming from position where I think I needed to just handle myself and prove myself to the labels a little bit more, and to my core fans. I felt like it was a way to show them that I was a selling artist and not just a mixtape artist. That album did that. It also grew the confidence with the label, the trust to where I can do whatever I want -- musically and creative-wise. The records that I make are records that I wanted to make. There is nothing where I can say anyone forced me to record.
Listen to Kid Ink's 'Hotel' Feat. Chris Brown
Full creative control is good, since you are a producer and writer.
Yes, but sometimes I feel like my biggest problem as a producer is that since it takes away, because the label will hear records that I am supposed to send to other people and they will say, "Nah, those are hits for you." I tell them I didn’t want to write that record for me. I wrote it for somebody else but they want me to keep it. So sometimes I get caught up with so many singles. I get stuck with records -- not that I didn’t like them -- they just weren’t fit for me.
This new album has a lot of features from some of the hottest artists right now: Chris Brown, Dej Loaf and Migos. Why is it important for you to link with artists who are hot at the moment?
I think it’s because I am a fan and I pay attention. I am always doing records where I write hooks and things like that; where I think other people can sing them. I am a fan of music and I just want to make good music at the end of the day. I also vibe with whats going on new and I try not to repeat what everyone else is doing. I am kind of like always paying attention to who is going to pop-off next -- whether it be somebody old or new I pay attention to the buzz.
Speaking of seasoned artists, what was it like working with R. Kelly on ‘Dolo?’
The thing is we have been trying to get these R. Kelly records done since ‘My Own Lane,’ the first project. There was another song that we were working on called ‘Bodied Up.’ It was produced by Nic Nac and it just never fully took off and got where it needed to be. But we revisited the idea during the second album. I hit him up because I was in the studio and he was sending me hooks all the time through email and the label. We always had ideas, so it wasn’t just like we were focused on my album at the time. We were in the same circles of business so a collaboration was there and I had some records he could kill.
Listen to Kid Ink Feat. Dej Loaf ' Be Real'
Your manager said that you mixed-down and finalized all the production on your album.
With the ‘Body Language’ record, I laid a lot of drum elements down -- at least like six layers of different drums. I just wanted to make the record better and sound the way I needed it to sound in order to reach the audiences that it needed to reach. Every single song that I do for an album, I have the producer send me the track out and let him know I want to move some stuff around or ask them to go back in and make the adjustments.
But it’s hard to do with some producers like [DJ] Mustard. Me and Mustard have gotten into certain situations where we are going back and forth. But as producers, it is what it is -- you just want the record to be good. I appreciate that though, when the producer is involved like that.
The video you just dropped for 'Body Language' with Usher and Tinashe is full of twerking and ass. Who's idea was that -- you, Usher and booties?
Yes, yes. I actually didn’t see much of it though because I was getting my haircut in the back. But my girlfriend comes up to me and she's like "It is crazy out there!" Then my security guard comes up to me and he’s like "Did you see what’s happening outside?" Everyone was coming in like "Yo outside is nuts." So I went out there for two seconds for a quick peak and I was like "OK." But Usher was having a good time though. It was a lot of Usher’s influence. He directed the whole thing; I was watching him.
Watch Kid Ink's 'Body Language' Video Feat. Usher & Tinashe
What do you say to people who feel like those images objectify women?
Those women are professionals. I was in Atlanta and if you have ever been to Atlanta then you know how they do. The lunches you can have at a hot strip club in Atlanta -- it’s a lot of really good entertainment. The dancers [from the video] had a name too -- they were from Magic City -- it was like you know, the Rockettes. It was definitely synchronized twerking and it was admirable.
How do you feel about the comparisons to Drake?
Yeah, I don’t really do as much as the emo-vibe or slower music stuff or even singing. But at the same time, I am melodic and I can hold a note, but I like to have other people do that side for me because I don’t like to sing. I am afraid of being in my rap face and then you know, making the R&B face.
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