KR is a #YounGeniuz who is putting on for the West Coast, being one of the most inventive lyricist to look out for in the hip hop industry today. Despite only being 18, when you listen to his craft, it’s ageless, insightful and you’ll always come out learning something. He’s great at hiding the medicine in the food and his music has been getting recognition world wide.
He dropped his latest mixtape I$oLyf3 2 late last year and since then everything has been looking up for him. From being featured on The Source, The XXL, Complex and many more major publications, He’s now ready to make his imprint in the game. Mechanical Dummy sat down with KR and discussed how he managed to get a buzz with a $50 microphone, what his mixtape series I$oLyf3 is all about and going on tour. Here’s what the Young Genius had to say.
Words by : Roger Kimbeni
Mechanical Dummy: KR what’s going on?
KR: Chilling man, working in the studio, what’s cracking with you bro how you doing?
MD: I’m great, we’re just bumping that I$oLyf3 2 over here. I’ve always wondered why you named the series of your mixtapes I$oLyf3, what exactly does that mean?
KR: Man growing up, I went through that typical phase of being a nerd in school, talked about, people making fun of me. So I was always by myself. I was sitting in my high school class one day and I was sitting in the back because I was in trouble and I wasn’t paying attention in my math class. So my teacher sent me to the back of the class by myself and I kind of felt isolated. So in the class I thought to myself “man I should make something” so from there I was writing a bunch of ideas down on a piece of paper of what I would name a movement. This is when I didn’t really have fans but I had an idea and I was going to call it I$0Lyf3. I representing I as myself. $ for I need to get money. The lower case o represents my small circle. And I spell life like lyf3 because life is “life failure and experience” and I put it all together. My movement represents all the lonely kids out there that have no voice, I’m rapping for them. All of the sudden I started dropping tapes and people started catching on. It all grew organically so I’m just blessed that people are listening.
MD: Everything definitely has been coming together for you. You mentioned before that you were spending a lot of time to yourself, now that you’re getting all this praise, do you like the attention that you’re getting?
KR: It’s different, I like the positive feedback from the support, like I look at my Twitter and Instagram and people are saying I motivate and inspire them. Of course it comes with haters but I don’t really pay attention to them because it’s like as long as those haters are listening it’s all good. They’re listening for a reason, they hate me because they’ve heard me before so they know my name and I appreciate that. Only thing that’s kind of iffy right now is that everybody is coming from out of the wood work and trying to get something from me. But I just keep to myself; I stay on my music and keep focused. Whoever mess with me messes with me and whoever doesn’t can kick rocks you feel me?
MD: Yeah most definitely, It’s dope because you’re making all these moves with a $50 microphone. I saw the whole set up and was impressed with the end result of the tape. How did you build up the confidence to start rapping with the equipment that you had?
KR: Man, YouTube man, I used to watch a lot of up and coming rappers and I would be like “Yo I wanna be a rapper”. But I really wanted to rap about stuff that I went through. I didn’t have a father growing up, I was going through a lot and I had a lot to speak about. I thought you needed a real expensive studio to make music but my mom’s bought me Pro Tools 8, and YouTube works magic bro. I looked on YouTube and I sat on the computer in my room for hours bro! Just watching how to compress and EQ and then I went into my closet and started doing it myself and I had to work with what I got. You don’t need expensive stuff to be heard. I put hours and hours in and worked until I got it down pat. So hopefully one day god willing when I do get a big studio I’ll already know what I’m doing and I won’t need anybody to help me while I’m in there.
MD: I feel you, you won’t have to spend money and ask “can you mix this down for me?”
KR: Yeah exactly
MD: I like that, something else that I notice about your music too is that your lyrics are really deep, you’re 18 though and I’m not much older but I go through your twitter and I’m getting jewels from you hahaha
KR: Thank you my dude, you the realest for that
MD: I mean what made you so deep and what are some things that you have seen growing up that really impacted you and shaped your character?
KR: Pain is one hell of a motivator my dude, I know you went through something in your life and you’re like “man that hurts, what can I do to make this better?” for me it was really pain. I got a mother who’s strong and she plays both roles being my mother and my father. Growing up, nobody accepted me and it hurt a lot but I had to do either two things, I had to let them talk about me or give them something to talk about. So I decided to give them something to talk about, I started making this music, and I don’t know how but if you know anything about music you’ll know what I mean when I say that it’s really hard to be heard. There are thousands of rappers who just want to be heard. So the fact that when I drop my music and I see people are listening, its dope. It spread out of my state, I didn’t expect that. Like fans are tweeting me from Brazil and London and I’m like “man, where are y’all coming from?” cause I’m still not used to it. But I gotta get used to them because they support me, they’re telling me that they relate to me, they’re saying they want to be like me and they’re trying things that I do, to me that’s crazy man. So I’m just trying to stay humble with everything I got and I have to just keep going hard.
MD: That’s 100. So with the 2nd installment of I$olyf3 you had some different producers on there, I know on the first one (mixtape) you worked a lot with “The Real Kidd Sound”, what did you try to do different with this 2nd tape and how was the process of recording it?
KR: With me, when I hear beats I don’t really go off on how important the person is that’s making the beat, good music is good music, if it’s a good beat I’ll use it you know what I’m saying? So I gave different people a chance to experiment and I listened to different beats “Like man this is funky, lemme try this”. I’m not the type of dude to think if someone isn’t a famous producer then I won’t mess with them. That’s not being humble. So with the first tape it was like “Who is this kid? Oh I see em” the 2nd tape was “I like this kid” and the third tape I’m dropping Isolyf3 3, this is basically going to be the tape where it decides if I’m going to be taken seriously in the music industry or not, if that flops, I’ll be that “what if” rapper, if I don’t flop people are going to be listening. So this I$olyf3 3 tape, it’s really going to set it all off. I$olyf3 3 will be the last of the I$olyf3 series and then I’ll start dropping other projects.
MD: Are you working on that right now?
KR: Yessir, at first I was thinking about rushing it and dropping it soon but I was just thinking about how I dropped Isolyf3 2 in October so I’ll let that ride out a little more. But I’m only going to do 10 or 11 tracks for I$olyf3 3 you know? I don’t want to over saturate my tape. When I drop this one, I just need it to be real intimate on every song, I don’t want it to sound like nobody else. I just want you to enjoy the music and have it spread out farther.
MD: Yeah man and speaking of spreading out, you’re going to be on tour with Alex Wiley, have you ever been on tour?
KR: Naw man this is going to be my first ever tour.
MD: Aw man!
KR: I’m tryna eat.
MD: I know you gotta eat but I’m just thinking about all the fun you’re going to be having man, you’re going to be the man in every city you go.
KR: Yeah I’m trying man, I guess the worst part of going on tour will be not knowing who’s going to come. I understand that I have an appearance on the internet with my music but those live shows are a whole different story. I don’t care if 5 or 10 people show up, I’ll give them my all. If those 5 or 10 people like it, they’ll tell 2 more people and those 2 people tell more people and the list goes on. I gotta give my heart out and hopefully in the end I’ll be a worldwide name because I feel like I have an advantage. On the East coast of course there’s Pro Era, those are the teen lyricist on the East coast, for the West coast they ain’t got nobody if you think about it. They don’t have anybody on the West coast that’s putting in work like the East coast teens are and I’m trying to fill that gap so I just have a lot of work to do man.
MD: You’re definitely one of the young cats that’s displaying lyricism, I like how you show an importance in live shows, I mean you got booked in Fargo, North Dakota. No rappers get booked over there man, you’re doing it for hip hop.
KR: I appreciate the love
MD: Is there any other updates?
KR: One secret, everybody wants to know about my rap patterns and things I do to make my music stick. I just want to let everybody know that’s listening right now. Every rapper, every fan, I’ll let you know that my whole I$olyf3 3 mixtape is being recorded on my $50 microphone in my closet.
MD: Wow, that’s real.
KR: My series of mixtapes have not been touched by any professionals, I did everything in my closet so I$olyf3 3 will be the same way. Hopefully this tape proves to everybody that you don’t need all the expensive material things to make good music.