An Interview with Kinetics [FNT Exclusive]

Posted by on August 16, 2012

Earlier this morning we had the privilege of gracing our site with “Still Dreamin'”, the first single off Kinetics & One Love’s upcoming album You Are Not Alone, which is due out August 28. We also had the pleasure of sitting down with Kinetics to discuss his place in hip-hop, the new album’s concept, and what we can expect from it. If you missed the video, you can check it out here, otherwise, sit back and listen to this talented lyricist speak his mind.

FNT: “Still Dreamin'”, which we premiered this morning, was our first taste of You Are Not Alone. What can you tell us about the rest of the album?

Kinetics: You Are Not Alone is by far our best work. Everything about my performance – from the issues I talk about, the flows I use, the mastery of my delivery – is a level above my previous projects. One Love’s production has also reached new heights: the beats just knock harder, sound more professional, and stay truer to hip-hop. Fans will immediately recognize a maturity in the sound. It still has that underground, indie and trippy Kinetics & One Love vibe that our fans have grown to love, but two years of songwriting for Warner— sitting in sessions with multiplatinum producers and writers —has taught us how to better package our sound. It’s tighter, more professional. It was cool writing the album together, because Love would notice me stepping my game up and would feel obligated to step his own shit up, and vice versa. No one was allowed to come weak even in the slightest.

And I’ll be the first to say it: the tapes I put out last year were trash. Little kid shit. There were a few songs I did that were cool, like “Butterfly Effect” and “Halley’s Comet,” but the whole vibe of What Model Are You? as a cohesive work was lame. No personality, no soul. TO EVERYONE AND ANYONE THAT HAS EVER HATED ON MY MUSIC OR JUST BRUSHED IT OFF UP UNTIL THIS POINT: YOU HAD THE RIGHT TO DO SO. But I promise if you listen to You Are Not Alone, there is no way you can deny its talent. There’s a reason why the first song One Love and I ever wrote together sold millions of copies across the entire planet. The songwriting on this album is exactly where it needs to be.

With so many new rappers popping up out of nowhere and releasing new music left and right, how do you feel You Are Not Alone fits in to or stands out from the crowd?

I had a lot to say on this album – and I think that’s one of the key differences between me and a lot of these other kids. I’m not just rapping about partying, or “swag,” or blowing up and making it. I’m talking about issues that will resonate a little bit longer with listeners. For example, there are songs about feeling like an outcast and struggling to fit in, a song about domestic abuse, teen suicide, a verse where I address a corrupt pharmaceutical industry and prescription drug abuse. I’m not saying you can’t throw this shit on at a party and let it bump – because you can, as should be the case with any good rap album – I’m just saying that if you wanted to, you could sit there with your eyes closed and have something to walk away with when you listen to the music.

So, would you consider it a concept album?

Yes, it’s a concept album from start to finish – but the concept and backstory may not be entirely obvious at first listen. I want you to listen closely, a few times, make some guesses, ponder a little bit and fill in the gaps yourself. In as few words as possible, the concept is this: the entire album is told from the perspective a futuristic alien society reflecting upon Earth’s mistakes in 2012 and pondering the future direction of mankind. Kinetics & One Love are a computer from this alien society, observing and reacting to what they see on Earth, like a reporter. That sounds really fucking weird when I say it like that. You’ll just have to listen to truly understand.

I’ll take your word for it. So what’s the deal with the whole “I am a computer” and “#teamcyborg” theme you constantly write about? You even have a little robot on your chain. I’m assuming that has something to do with the album concept?

Hah yeah…the robot/cyborg/computer alter ego is a major component to the You Are Not Alone concept. It started a few years ago. I would be freestyling for a crowd of kids, drop a crazy punchline or rhyme scheme and people would start shouting, “Holy shit, he’s not human! You’re a fucking robot, dude!” So I ran with it. But over time the robot persona began to symbolize more than that. Now it’s a metaphor for feeling like an outsider or outcast. I say “sometimes I feel like a robot” on the album for anyone that has ever felt slightly different, or alone – like a robot. It’s about embracing that feeling of being a weird ass robot amongst a world of completely normal humans and embracing it, using it to your advantage. Or…you know…maybe I am actually a cyborg uploaded into a human body.

Okay. And what about this Christopher Nolan comparison you’ve been making for yourself. Why do you consider yourself “hip-hop’s Chris Nolan”?

Chris Nolan — who directed movies like Inception and The Dark Knight — is my favorite director. The Prestige is one of my favorite movies of all-time. I just really admire his work, and I think there are similarities in the way we present stories, with hidden double-meanings and crazy twists in the conclusion. I would also like to think there are parallels in our career paths: Nolan’s first film, Following, was low-budget and didn’t really bring him much commercial success. Memento, his second film, was a major improvement in terms of production quality and was the project that put him on the map to a mainstream audience. From there, he followed up with huge blockbuster successes like Inception and the Batman trilogy. If our first album, Fading Back To Normal, can be compared to Nolan’s Following in that the quality was amateur and its reception lukewarm, then our second project, You Are Not Alone, like Nolan’s second, will put us on the map and introduce us to a wider audience. From there, we’ll sign a record deal and drop huge mainstream successes like The Dark Knight. Know what I’m saying? “It’s all part of the plan.”

Who are you looking forward to collaborating with in the future?

Man, this summer has been such an exciting period for me in terms of meeting and collaborating with new artists. Within a few days, I recorded a song with the internationally-known Termanology, said what up to Statik Selektah, chilled in the studio with Remedy and R.A. the Rugged Man, and met Hopsin. I also ran into Childish Gambino at a club, introduced myself to him and the next day we were sitting in his hotel talking about setting up some sessions. I would really love to do a track with Hopsin — he’s one of the only artists out of all these new cats that I really fuck with. What else? You can probably expect a track with the homie Skizzy Mars soon. I want to do a track with Immortal Technique on my next mixtape. Oh yeah, someone tell Soul Khan that Accent and I would love to do a track with him. And last but not least, everybody go please check out the reggae band Morning Sun & The Essentials. We’ve already begun working on a joint hip-hop/reggae album with them that we plan on releasing next spring. But in the meantime, make sure you cop You Are Not Alone on August 28th!


Tags: , , , , , , ,