Interview: Kble

Kble on His Rap Origins, East vs. West Coast Styles, and Why You’ll Never See an Escape Roots 2

Kble is the newest member of the Just Due extended crew. His style combines the intricate wordsmithing of hip-hop’s golden era with the sharpest contemporary production, as well as West Coast swagger with East Coast daggers. His ear for beats and hooks has elevated him from rapper to songwriter, and the future is very bright for this young talent. Here he let’s us pick his brain a bit about his journey, which includes time on both coasts. However, listening to his debut album, one thing becomes clear: No matter where Kble resides, his mind is always basking in the Cali sun.

Can you tell us about your journey to become an M.C.?

Kble’s journey to becoming an MC began back freshman year of high school yo, in Orange County, CA 2006, when my best friend at the time introduced me to underground Hip-Hop heads like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Murs, Mos Def, I really could keep listing forever. Honestly, I was hooked from that point on. All I wanted to do was find more artists to listen to. Eventually towards the end of high school, around 2009, the homies and I started freestyling, just to fool around and have a good time. My friends ended up falling off of all that, but it stayed with me in more ways than one. Once I landed in college at Boston University, I was fortunate enough to fall into a large and incredibly talented network of other hip-hop fans and artists (the BU Hip-Hop Stans you know TJ!). This group of cats fueled my love and passion for the genre and the culture all the way through 2014, when I attained my degree in business management. After graduating and working an outside B2B insurance sales rep position for about a year, I finally built up the nerve to quit my day job and leverage the network I had in Boston to pursue music instead. In 2015, I started working on Escape Roots, dropped the project October of that year, and really the rest is history still yet to be made.

How are the East and West Coasts hip-hop scenes and styles different to you?

West versus East Coast Hip-Hop, the unremitting debate. Lucky me, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a significant portion of my life on both ends of the spectrum. How are they different? In vibe, West Coast rap has, and always will be my first love. You can’t beat that smooth G-Funk feel when you’re pushing the whip with the windows down and the sun on your skin (and even when you’re not, in my opinion). But I can’t say that the East Coast didn’t heavily influence me as an artist long before I even knew I was going to be one. The dense lyrical stylings and gritty street vibes commonplace on the right coast are arguably more present in my content today than the groove I grew up with on the left. So I’ve definitely got a special place in my heart for both scenes, and each helped shape me into the MC I am now, but I’ll likely just leave it at that for this one.

Who are your biggest influences as an artist, and who is on your bucket list to collab with?

My biggest influences, wow, where to begin? I got artists influencing me from the very beginning like Slug and Mos Def, and I got artists influencing still today like Isaiah Rashad and Kendrick Lamar. I guess if I had to pick, maybe the top ten artists personally influencing me right now, today (sorry, I don’t know if I can go shorter than that) I’d probably hit you with these cats, in no particular order: Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, The Roots (Black Thought, specifically), Drake, A$AP Rocky, Mick Jenkins, YG, Bryson Tiller, and Freddie Gibbs. Trust me, I know I’m missing a whole lot of all-time greats on this list, but really the only way I could narrow them down is by time period, and these are the artists I’m listening the most to these days. Hate it or love it but that’s my answer at the moment folks.

What has been your favorite moment thus far as an M.C.?

My favorite moment as an MC thus far? This one probably goes to my first live show ever, in an Allston, MA basement, actually at a crib some of my homies used to live in a couple years prior (almost like home court for me, if you will). Some other friends of mine doing their music thing had sets to open up for me, Kble was the headlining act. The moment I’ll truthfully never forget, is right after the homie Buckets left the “stage” area. There I was, about to walk in front of maybe a hundred or so of my close friends and their friends etc, my first live performance; I’m prepared but still nervous as hell, of course. Then it happened, everyone in the basement (and you could tell it wasn’t just my dogs) everyone there started chanting out Kble’s name: ” K-BLE, K-BLE, K-BLE, K-BLE…” I walked out to screams and applause, the love was so pure and palpable, the support so powerful and unflinching. It was a pretty magical moment for me to say the least. That shit calmed my nerves completely and the show went great overall, an unforgettable night. That’s got to be my favorite point as an MC so far, still now.

What is your creative process like?

My creative process as an MC is still in the process of evolving I’d say. But so far it really consists of me locking myself in a room with an instrumental of choice on repeat. That, or taking a long walk with some headphones doing the same as far as writing goes. Time in the studio is always just a dope session with some friends of mine, you know we may be sipping or toking, taking our time with it, but most of my creative energy seems to emerge when I’m on my own, without distraction.

What is next on the plate for Kble?

As far as what’s next for Kble, shit man just making more music I can be proud of. As I alluded to in my answer to the previous question, Kble is still evolving, still growing, still learning more about who he is and who he is to become. Y’all can believe there’ll never be an Escape Roots 2, that’s for sure. But really that’s all, it’s that simple, I’m just trying to create, build. More shows and more exposure along the way is great, but really I’m just trying to make more shit for y’all and myself to vibe to and connect with, that’s what it’s really all about and that’s what on my plate until further notice.
Thanks for this opportunity again TJ and shout out Just Due for hosting me and my first project “Escape Roots” on their platform. Y’all are tight.

 

 

TJ Reynolds drops NPR on the nation.

TJ Reynolds has been putting in some work!! From the mind of a true artist, Just Due releases NPR, an album dedicated to well….Hip Hop and NPR!

What happens when the world of Hip-hop collides with National Public Radio? You get this fun romp through NPR’s world as filtered through the lens of Hip-hop. NPR theme songs get chopped up and turned into beats, and lyrics play on the themes of the shows. Interludes where the rapper calls in to shows like A Way with Words and Wait, Wait…, as well as exclusive interviews with famous Radio personalities such as Diane Rehm and Terry Gross take you on a road trip unlike any other.

Stream & Download here!