2013 has been a banner year for SoCal rapper Kid Ink. After scoring a huge deal with RCA Records, dropping a successful debut EP, and hitting the road with Kendrick Lamar, the producer turned MC is now prepping to drop his first full-length studio release. Kid Ink stopped by the Hot Afternoon Show with Jenny Boom Boom to talk all about his upcoming album, working in the studio with Pharrell, choosing to sign with RCA Records, and more!
You are in town on your own tour, but you just got off a tour with Kendrick Lamar?
I just got off a dope tour with Kendrick Lamar. I hopped on for the U.S. side… We did thirty-five cities and I had a lot of fun! I had to do the opening thing this time around, so my biggest downfall was having more time to eat catering. I think I gained a lot of weight! [Laughs]
I know you do shows all the time, but did you learn anything from being on tour with Kendrick?
Definitely! You learn different things about crowd control—their interaction with the crowd was the biggest thing. Of course they put a lot of money into their set [too], so it got me to want to put more money into the sound and lights and all that big stuff. I had fun.
What did you think about Kendrick’s “Control” verse?
I thought it was pretty dope. He probably wasn’t the only one who felt that way (I have even felt that way). I just thought it was dope that he got into a position to be able to say it and not come off as angry.
I felt like it was a smart move to get at that point, to feel that way, and actually express it. It was good feedback. It made me go to the studio. I am never against wanting competition and wanting to work. It makes everyone want to do better.
We know you have already heard Drake’s new album, Nothing Was the Same. What do you think of it?
I’ve skimped through it. I don’t know any of the songs by title yet, but I have a couple favorites. Right now there are three that I am rocking with, and the rest I just have to get with. I think I have become more of a Drake fan this album than before, so I am listening to it as a brand new fan. It’s pretty dope, I feel like he always has a different sound.
You got this big deal with RCA at the beginning of this year– record companies were in a bidding war to sign you!
It was pretty overwhelming at one point. I felt like it got to a point where I was excited when all the labels came –Maybach, Badboy—just because you look at the them and say, “Oh, these people are actually paying attention [to me]!” It was cool at first, but then it got down to the actual business side– paperwork, lawyers and all that stressful stuff.
I definitely made the correct decision with RCA. When the money was the same between a couple of labels, it really came down to the creative control. I felt at RCA I wasn’t afraid to do my own music and go in there and boss up on everybody as far as, “This is what I am going to do, this is what’s working, this is what’s good.”
Before you were signed, you produced records for a lot of huge artists–
I have been in the studio with Diddy, Sean Kingston, Yung Berg, Dirty Money… Me and my boy, Rob Holladay used to produce for everyone. It’s funny because now I see all those same people that didn’t remember me sitting in the corner making all those beats. I was just the quiet kid in the back, just working and working and working, but not really in the forefront.
Tell us about your new record, “Show Me,” featuring Chris Brown.
Both of us are really excited about the record. It was more of a personal record more than a label thing. I hit Chris on Twitter like, “Yo, let’s get in the studio.” He was like, “Lets’ do it!” I booked him in the Record Plant, played him three records, and he knocked all three records out. “Show Me” was the first one. Once we got it down, we knew that was it, so we did all the rest for fun.
Will “Show Me” be on your debut album?
Yes! It is titled My Own Lane. December is the month of the due date, but we don’t have an official release day yet.
Besides Chris Brown, who else is on the album?
Producer wise, I’ve been in the studio with Pharrell.
How was working with him?
It was pretty crazy. I got to see him make two beats in front of me– which was like a dream from a producers standpoint!
I think the biggest thing was at the end of the session, before he left, he was like, “I have been watching you record, seeing the music you chose, how you attacked it all—I understand what you are trying to do and I understand you as an artist.” I felt like that was all the validation I needed at that point to move forward with the rest of the album. I felt if I do me, it will all work out.
You have had so many amazing moments in the last six months since I’ve seen you. What has been the most amazing moment?
Besides the Pharrell session, and actually having a complete album coming together, I think being on the road and traveling was a big thing for me. The biggest stepping stone was doing Hot 97’s Summer Jam and being the only West Coast artist there. I felt like that was just marking where I am at, what I am doing, and the grind. I felt the East Coast was always so hard for me to break into. I felt like that was a dope moment for me to go out there and do that, and move on from there. It’s all been going well!