Kidz In The Hall have been schooling the game on the indy movement since they 1st dropped in 2006 and they’re sort of the precursor for a lot of the artist that are becoming popular now. While still keep their creative integrity and edge, The Kidz are steady grindin’ for that mainstream success.
I had a chance to sit down with Double-0 & Naledge to talk about their MTV 2 reality series Here Now, their new album Occasion, their relationship with Just Blaze, Heavy D & more. So check it out as we talk the love, the grind, & the money. Rap shit.
Since Heavy D just passed, give you thoughts on what he meant for hip hop.
Double O: My 1st memories of really falling in love with hip hop always kind of included Heavy D. A lot of the records that he was doing early on, I gravitated towards. Being that I was from a Caribbean background, those influences that he had in the records meant a lot [to me]. It was so New York but still it was global. Those were really some of the first kind of pop [records] but it was still very organic & real for a lack of a better word. He still maintained integrity no matter what he did.
Naledge: It’s pretty obvious he repped for the bigger dudes. He was the 1st dude to really be the smooth heavier set dude. He set a brand with what him[self] and Puff did at Uptown. He created the image of the bigger guy that dances and gets the girls. You can see that influence on where Puff took Big and even what Rick Ross is doing right now. There is none of that without Heavy D.
Exactly. Now, how did the MTV2 series Here Now come about?
Naledge: Honestly, it was one of those things that seemed like a crazy idea & turned into reality. We decided to brand ourselves a little bit differently and let people know who we are as people. Ya’ know, sometimes being that we’re independent artist and not on a major label, it’s harder for people to get that media coverage on us and really see who we are. So we decided to spoon feed the public and let them know who we are and hopefully they will get to know us and want to root for us. So we pitched it to a couple brands and they got on board and after we got the content, we pitched it to MTV. They decided to run with it through an online format and that’s where we are now.
Yeah, that was one of the main premises, to bring Kidz In The Hall to a wider audience, Is that something ya’ll think about when you go through your recording process or do you just focus on making good music?
Naledge: The music is the music. The reality show, while it’s centered around two people who make music, it’s more about getting to know who we are as people because in the world that we live in everything is 360. For you to know who I am and for you to know who a person is behind the song and what we do on a everyday basis. I think that’s one thing about our era, everything is real time, everybody is getting information at such a high pace, just a song or just a video can get lost in the shuffle. If you really feel like you know artist and you know someone that bought somebody’s album, it’s not because of a hit record or a video, it’s usually because they dig that person and what they perceive that person to stand for. So that’s kind of what we wanted to do with the reality show. It’s a glimpse into our everyday lives and it allows you to be like â€œDamn, they some cool dudes. I wanna support them.â€ Then through that you can get into the music.
During the series, there was an incident where ya’ll threw a party and a young lady, who probably had a little too much to drink, sat on a table and broke the table and she was screaming she was going to fix it, inquiring minds wanna know, did she actually fix the table?
Double-0: Nah, if watch the next episode I had to fix the table. I had to literally go put all that together. She definitely escaped out of there as quickly as possible. *Laughs* That was one of those things where it’s like, just own up to it and actually try and fix something. I’m sure she was a little embarrassed. You’ve got cameras on you & you just made a stupid decision to sit on a table that wasn’t meant to be sat on. It’s a good thing we were just able to put the table back together and keep the cool.
Ok. Ya’ll have a real close relationship with Just Blaze, how does he fit into the plans when ya’ll put together a project. Is he like an unofficial executive producer or is it just a mutual respect thing?
Double-0: It’s a mutual respect thing. There are times when I’ll bounce ideas off of him. Like on the last album, he actually had a little more influence obviously on songs like â€œTake Over The Worldâ€, which we co-produced. And even on hooks like on â€œFlickin’â€, I remember we were just trying to find something [to work] and I had a few ideas in terms of melodies & things that I wanted to do. We wound up having a conversation on iPhone [chat] and ended up recording a loose melody that wound up being the hook for â€œFlickin’â€. There are those times and then there are times were it’s just [being around]. Like I was just at Just Blaze’s studios actually, his engineer was mixing with the Drake record & â€œI Love My Bitchesâ€ record with Rick Ross, he was also helping me pull together a mix because it was just something about it that wasn’t landing where I needed it to. I needed it to still be gritty, bottom heavy and be very hood & blended with the pop, clean sheen on top of it. So it was one of those mixes that I worked a while and went back and forth. So sometimes it’s just being around.
What can we expect from the new album Occasion as far as producers and features?
Double-0: I mean production wise, me. That’s basically what you get. There’s co-production by Ness & Rio on the song â€œPlayer Of The Centuryâ€. Other than that, you’ve got Killa Kyleon, Bun B, David Banner, Esthero, Marsha Ambrosious, Freddie Gibbs, Kanye on the bonus record for iTunes & a couple of new cats Sulaiman, Vic Spencer & Anton Genius. It seems like a lot of people but it’s just complementing music.
Ya’ll have already picked the official 1st single right?
Double-0: Yeah â€œPour It Upâ€ is out right now. That’s the record with Bun B & David Banner. The video will be probably coming out in the next week.
Ya’ll have been known for your creative promotional series, like with the Brain Candy series & of course the Here Now reality series, Do ya’ll have anything special planned once Occasion comes out?
Double-0: You’ll see. We’re actually trying to do something with the fans when we launch the video. So you’ll see that in the next couple of days. We’re also shooting the 2nd season of Here Now. We start shooting Monday (11/14).
You’ve said before that ya’ll have see some of your musical friends achieve a higher status in the game than you have in a shorter period of time, why do you think that is?
Double-0: For me to be quite honest, I think we just came at a very tweener period. When we 1st came out in ’06, the industry wasn’t quite ready for independent music in the way that it is now. And I think that for us, we pretty much had an idea that you had to have some kind of deal to come out. So it helped us to sign to Duck Down and Rawkus had a lot going on early on but I think is also hurt because when we did have the records that could really get us a major label deal, we weren’t able to make those moves because we were already locked into an indie deal. Whereas some of our contemporaries made records [like that, and] because they were just indie and they didn’t have any affiliations or deals anywhere, they could easily make those moves faster than us when the time came. So I think that locked us into the situation. We were definitely in a space where we had [major] deals on the table once â€œDriving Down The Blockâ€ hit. We just couldn’t make any moves and we thought, ya know it’s alright we’ll just put out another album and be fine. But not being able to capitalize on that momentum definitely set us back a little bit in a time where everybody was kind of moving forward with this new movement of rap music.
I think you touched on it in the reality series but I’m not sure if anything has transpired since then, have ya’ll been in any talks with majors to maybe sign a joint venture or do something to help get that push?
Double-0: It’s kind of funny now because it’s not necessarily the opposite [as before] but you’re seeing now that a lot of these majors don’t know how to deal with new artist. At the same time that a lot of our contemporaries have a larger star power than us because the major label is throwing them everywhere, there’s a lot of them that don’t have albums out . There’s a lot them that are just putting their 1st albums out and it’s been 3 or 4 years. We’re on album #4 already. It’s kind of deciding on whether to give up your creative freedom in order to be out there as a star. I think we’re still trippin’ off of that. You’ll see in some of the new season.
Do you think the music on Occasion will remedy that to where you won’t need that push behind it? The music will just speak for itself.
Naledge: At the end of the day, the music is just a platform to reach the people. At the end of the day it’s about making a career. As far as success, people aren’t getting plaques like they used to get plaques. People aren’t doing numbers like they used to do. Even them pushing a record [doesn't matter]. There are records that just touch a chord and sometimes it’s not just about a big push behind it, it’s about touching that chord.
Ya’ll just shot the video for â€œPour It Upâ€ yesterday (11/10), what can we expect from those visuals?
Naledge: I think all of our videos are usually tongue in cheek to an extent and this is no different. It’s not just a straight forward rap video. The videos that we usually do have a little bit of humor, a lot of sarcasm & tongue in cheek [humor]. We like to have fun and enjoy our videos and use the as a platform to show our humorous side. That’s kind of what it is with this one. It’s a party record so it’s definitely a party oriented video. It has us in a liquor store and we run the liquor store and that’s all I’ll say. If Kidz In Hall ran a liquor store what would go down.
Did ya’ll get Bun B in on the fun because he’s usually serious in a lot of the things that he’s in? Did he join in with the shenanigans?
Naledge: Bun B has a huge sense of humor. He has what I like to call dry humor. He can be really sarcastic and people will take him seriously. And that’s thing because it’s such a juxtaposition with him and his persona as a rapper. He’s looked at like this harder southern artist. Ya know, He grew up in the south, in the hood, & gritty [persona]. He’s really a well read very cultured dude. He has a good sense of humor. It’s just, you have to catch it. Sometimes he can be talking to people and they don’t catch it because he’s serious and he says things with a straight face.
Now Occasion was just meant to be an EP, what made ya’ll switch it up to a full length album?
Naledge: Ya know, just more money with more songs. *laughs*
*Laughs* Just be straight out with it. I thought you were gonna say something like, we just started working and the music flowed.
Naledge: Nah, The music did flow but ya know the label suggested it. Add more music and turn it into an album. We actually have enough music to make 3 albums. Ya know. It is what it is.
Ya’ll already started touring off this album?
Naledge: Yeah we’re doing spot dates. We’re looking to tour. Anybody that checks this out can find us on Twitter and have us booked where ever they are. What we’re trying to do is be on the road as much as possible. We go to Europe on Monday (11/14). We have a couple of shows out there. Come back. We have a couple of shows in the Midwest and we have an album release party in New York & Chicago. You know, more money, more hoes, more clothes. Rap shit.
Naledge, you were planning on doing a solo project, is that still in the works?
Naledge: Yeah, ya know the beauty about that type of stuff is that there’s no time table. I can just put it together whenever I feel like it. [It will probably be] at some point later in 2012. It’s not going to be immediate it’s gonna be something that I take my time with. Right now, we’re focusing on this project, Occasion. I think we’ve got another album’s worth of material that we’ll probably end up putting out sometime in the Spring, then I’ll start to think about [the solo project]. I’m always recording, so I’ll take those records and record them all the way and eventually we’ll have a project that I’ll put it out. I think I’ll make the announcement about it when it’s ready. I just don’t want to just put something out and disappoint, I wanna make sure the people really wanna hear it.
What’s next for The Kidz as a group? Ya’ll said you have season 2 of Here Now coming out is there anything else planned?
Naledge: Fucking a lot of hoes and shit, drinking hella bottles, standing on couches. Ya know, I wanna emphasize FUCKING HELLA HOES.
Ok, I’ll make sure I type that in all caps. So they know you’re serious.
Naledge: *Laughs* I’m joking but serious kind of.
We’ll see how it works out. If it looks good when I type it, I’ll just let it ride. *Laughs*
Do ya’ll have any shout outs or last words you wanna leave for the fans?
Naledge: Go get the album November 22nd. It’s a great project. It’s what I feel is our best work and it stands up to everything that’s out now. And have safe sex. Very safe sex.
Double-0 do you have anything to add?
Double-0: *Pause* No. *laughs*
Double-0: Nah. Just pick up the album, enjoy the music and come see us at the show.