Here at Kingston To LA, we appreciate authenticity, originality and creativity. If you couple that with a positive attitude and a dedication to your art, it becomes something that can transcend. KickRaux is an artist who possess these traits. Someone who saw the current pop appeal of dancehall, before many in the industry were aware of it's mass appeal potential. Future Dancehall. A phrase KickRaux doesn't take lightly. Always pushing the boundaries of what the art form can do and what it means to those who are a part of it.
Over the past year we have been trying to keep up with the very busy KickRaux. The Jamaican born music producer's career has sky rocketed. His remix of Kranium's Nobody Has To Know is one of the songs that ignited his popularity, as it topped the charts throughout last summer. Recently, he became a platinum selling artist and celebrated over one million streams of his song Palace, on Spotify. So, we sat down with KickRaux and asked him a few questions about his foresight, new projects and how it feels to be a go to name in dancehall's future.
KNG2LA: What are you working on next?
KickRaux: I've got a few surprises lined up, my latest mix, released on Warner, is an official remix of one of my favorite songs from Faustix, Come Closer. You might know Faustix as one of the producers behind Diplo ft. Faustix and Imanos on the song, Revolution. This was my jam when it came out. Straight summer vibes.
KNG2LA: When and where can we catch the Bring The Beat project? How was it working with such a talented bunch?
KickRaux: I have to thank the King of Soca and arguably Caribbean music in general, Machel Montano, for involving me in the project. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and truly an honor to work with the incredible team that Machel put together for this Digicel campaign for the 2016 Olympics. We went down to the historic GeeJam Studios in Portland, the same place where Katy Perry, Drake and other massive pop acts made some of their big hits. We came up with something we thought was the Caribbean (heart) beat. It's a blend of the new, the old and all the flavors of the islands combined.
KNG2LA: Lyrical Anomaly on the Kabaka Pyramid Accurate mixtape is such a great song. Do you see hip hop blending with reggae as a "new" genre?
KickRaux: Caribbean music and culture has always been comfortable anywhere in the world. Lately, pop culture has been putting our influences in their productions, so as I've been saying for the past two years, it's time for us to put their influences in our music. On Lyrical Anomaly Chronixx and Kabaka Pyramid show that they can hold their own with ANY hip hop artist, Kabaka killed it and Chronixx's verse might be one of the best rap verses Ive ever heard.
KNG2LA: Are you working on a new album?
KickRaux: I'm trying to, but I keep getting distracted with outside production requests. I'm hoping to get away to Trinidad for a month and finish the album. At this point, I have somewhere between 20-30 songs that need to be finished. Then, I'll have to filter it down to 10 solid tracks. In the meantime, I'll be releasing singles and producing for other artists. You'll be hearing plenty of new KickRaux in all genres until I finish it.
KNG2LA: Do you have any shows scheduled?
KickRaux: I love performance, but with so many opportunities coming up to work with so many amazing artists, I've admired and looked up to, I've been focusing my time on giving the people music and then later in the year do the proper big tour ting.
KNG2LA: Will you be in Los Angeles anytime soon?
KickRaux: I have a major label project that I'm producing on now that I can't publicly speak on and we have some LA sessions scheduled, but I can't give much details on the whole thing.
KNG2LA: We believe you coined the term "future dancehall" and now it has evolved into it's own genre. What are your thoughts on others using this terminology?
KickRaux: When I first said "Future Dancehall" and called my label "Future Dancehall Records," two years ago, I envisioned it to be making the kind of music you hear on tracks like, Work, Controlla. These songs blend caribbean influences into a more commercially appealing sound for the masses. It takes time to release a record properly and most of the songs that are coming out now, as you can hear on Kabaka and Chronixx's track, my vision for Future Dancehall was always for a blend of the caribbean sound that anyone could enjoy. I try to put a lot of thought into the music I make, meanwhile, a lot of the internet producers took the phrase as being drop based music or music with random Jamaican vocalist. We as caribbean producers and artists we don't need labels like "Future Dancehall" anymore because at this point, we are the sound of pop music.
KNG2LA: Where can we find your latest music?
KickRaux: Mainly places like Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, etc. I know that most people say that Jamaicans and a lot of the island countries are not big on these sites, but I think we need to be because the only way for our voice to be heard by labels and brands is with our pockets. I will also be using my Youtube Channel more and putting exclusive content and fun remixes there as well.
KNG2LA: What artist would you like to collaborate with the most?
KickRaux: I've always been a fan of Konshens. Hopefully one day we will get to work on something. I'd love to do a song with him where I put him with some unexpected artists. I think he's going to have a big year. Outside of that, I want to do more work in other genres and bring the caribbean sound to other cultures.
KNG2LA: What is your favorite thing to do in Jamaica? How do you spend a day of relaxation?
KickRaux: My favorite thing to do in Jamaica is eat food. Pepper Shrimps all day; I would spend all day eating Pepper Shrimps. That is the ultimate in relaxation to me, Pepper Shrimps.
KNG2LA: How does it feel to have exceeded so many people's expectations and still stay so humble?
KickRaux: That's nice of you to say. I guess I never really look at anything I've done so far as really accomplishing anything because every time I achieve something I've been working towards, I come up with new goals. The music business will drive you crazy. So I decided at the beginning of this year, I would take a positive approach at everything and not be the people I've met that weren't grounded. I treat people how I would want to be treated and stand up for myself if someone tries to take advantage of me. Ever since I've made that change, I've been the happiest man in the world. I think it's very early in what I could accomplish in my career. If I can continue to just keep my head down and keep working.
Not only is KickRaux a tastemaker and game changer, he is also a visionary, a fortune teller if you will. He said it best. Future Dancehall isn't a ting any longer. It's just good music now.
*Images courtesy of @KickRaux Instagram