Kid Ink Gives Details on ‘My Own Lane’ Album, Chris Brown Collaborations [Exclusive Interview]
Kid Ink knows a little something about the grind. Selling albums is by no means an easy feat in today's fickle music industry. Yet he managed to do so without the help of a major label, selling 20,000 copies of 'Up & Away' -- his independent solo debut -- in its first week of release. Now he's an RCA Records signee, has a new album on the way and a few Chris Brown collaborations up his sleeve.
'Up & Away' remains Kid Ink's most popular retail effort (although his 'Almost Home' EP from last summer is no slacker), but he hopes to out do (and outsell) his past projects with his major label debut, 'My Own Lane,' due in December. 'Show Me,' the LP's first single with Brown, is proof that he's pulling out all the stops.
The Los Angeles native chatted with The Boombox to give details on his new body of work. Find out which producers he scored for 'My Own Lane,' why he's cranking out collaborations with Breezy and which new albums released this year inspired his work ethic.
TheBoombox: What did you learn from creating ‘Almost Home’ that you intend to apply on your new album?
Kid Ink: I definitely have to go after what the fans like. The EP I focused on not really making it for the summer; I chose the records that I recorded for the album that kind of fit the summer vibe. Then I just kind of chose like a half and half of songs that I personally liked that I felt had some growth to them. I kind of got an idea of what the fans’ response was from that, and what songs they like. It was kind of cool because the ones that I got a response for the most was my personal favorites, and the ones that I was just being myself and not really making any type of specific radio song.
What were the songs that earned praise?
We tried with ‘Money and the Power.’ ‘Money and the Power’ grew on iTunes when we first released the album. I thought it had a good representation of Kid Ink. But it was songs like ‘Bossin Up,’ which was one of my personal favorite records, and then ‘Sunset’ -- which was the record close to the time-of-your-life vibe. My fans still want that vibe from me, and ‘Bossin Up’ was something where I felt like I was spitting [as] a hip-hop artist, and the fans didn’t overlook how I was just going in.
Watch Kid Ink's 'Money and the Power' Video
Your independent album, ‘Up & Away,’ was a success and managed to sell 20,000 copies in its first week of release. How do you top that with 'My Own Lane'?
That was such a long time I felt like an independent artist. That was 20,000 with no promotion. It was grind and street work… with DJ Ill Will. We were going in as a team and doing what we loved, and it continues to sell. Even last we saw the independent albums sits above the EP on iTunes, which is just crazy to see. It’s still selling and still doing its work now.
The approach with the second one is that it’s going to do just as good as the independent album. It’s just going to be even better because it’s just more quality, bigger features. It’s going to be way more put into it, and I guess way more machines behind it. It’s just a lot of growth, and the fans themselves have grown. So everything is bigger than it was so long ago.
You have ‘Show Me’ with Chris Brown. What made you guys push that as the single and how did the collaboration come about?
I know before he had the record that it had a lot of single potential, but it just wasn’t where it needed to be. When we linked up with Chris Brown, we played him the record and he kind of understood that. He put that extra… what the record needed to come to life. We knew that was the one even though we recorded three or four other songs that night. It wasn’t really about having Chris Brown on it; it was more so the one with Chris Brown on it. It sounded amazing compared to the other records.
It was a collective thing really. It wasn’t really nothing to try to fight. We just vibed out and not fight the inevitable.
So you link up with Chris Brown and in a sudden session you have three to four songs, right?
Yeah, man. We were working. We were there for a long time.
How long did it last?
I got there at like 3PM. He got there at like 8PM. We stayed there until about 9AM.
Are any of those recordings going to be on the upcoming LP or no?
Not necessarily. We were recording and making sure that we just vibed out and had a good time. He was just working so fast and there was so many hours left, I was like, "Yo, I got more records," and he played me a bunch of records. We’ll see where they all go, but for now it’s just that one song that’s set in stone for the album.
What are you guys planning for the video?
There’s no plans so far. I’m still waiting on just the final treatment. Chris Brown is directing the video, so we can come together, come up with ideas and hopefully have it ready to go soon. Nothing is really set in stone.
How many recorded tracks do you have for ‘My Own Lane?’
Probably about 25 records.
Of course not all of them are going to fit on the album right?
That’s the hard part. Singling down.
So would we see those other tracks in a separate release or are they going to be shelved?
I said probably before that there’s probably going to be some leak. Stuff that I felt were really good records. I do still work with in-house producers and people who understand the mixtape game and the grind, and releasing leaks and having stuff for the fans to motivate. Let them know what the album is going to sound like given the preview.
What we heard on ‘Show Me,’ is that the blueprint for the album or will we have that nocturnal vibe that was on ‘Almost Home?”
‘Show Me’ definitely stands out as its own record. Just going over the records that’s in my hands, there isn’t one other record that sounds like ‘Show Me.’ There’s other records that had similar vibes, but that definitely stands out as its own single.
Listen to Kid Ink's 'Show Me' Feat. Chris Brown
You said previously that ‘My Own Lane’ is coming out in December, but didn’t give an exact release date. Did that change at all?
It’s still the same. I’m just trying to make sure the album is 100 percent done. I just don’t want to promise anything and it doesn’t happen.
Can you spill the beans on any production details?
So far I’ve been in the studio with tons of producers. I’ve been in the studio with Pharrell trying to lock in good stuff, and then Boi-1da been sending a lot of crazy beats too. And T-Minus. There’s a lot of up-and-coming names more than anything. There’s DJ Mustard, Jahlil [Beats], Cardiac… nothing too crazy. I haven’t really been focusing on who’s producing. Just on what sounds good.
We’ve had a lot of big album releases this year. Do any of these releases give you inspiration or do they give you an idea along the lines of, “Here’s what I want for this LP”?
The dopest thing is that a lot of these new releases, a lot of the artists people didn’t think were good-selling artists have been selling more records than expected. Whether it be J. Cole selling more than Kanye West, things are going platinum and there’s people who don’t even have a lot of radio support selling a lot of records. It just inspires me to release an album and know that I can work on a core fanbase. The grind: Just make good music and it translates.