As you scrolled through your BURN Lifestyle Magazine timeline last night, you stumbled across a clip of our latest chit chat with our latest trendsetter. Kidd Wes is living life by BURN’s truest standard, giving society hell to tell the captain. He is not just some artist, some rapper. I encourage you to begin your read to understand just what I mean.
T: Alright so, give us your government name. I feel like when I bring on an artist I don’t ever wanna just bring on the artist. I want the audience to get a chance to know who you are, who is Kidd Wes? Who is YoungWorldLife?
Kidd Wes: Alright well my government name is Emelike W. Nwosuocha. It’s originally from Nigeria so yes, I’m a Niger Boy. I am from Miami. However, when I started rapping, I moved around a lot. Primarily, I stayed in Detroit and then moved to Florida for the majority of my life and basically, I mixed around with a lot of people for a large part of my career. You could basically say I was like a fly on the wall. I got to observe a lot of things and a lot of history which kind of impacted my career.
T: Amazing, so would you say that you moving around, you getting to see those different cities and those different ways of living, would you say that is something that inspired your rap career – something that made you want to partake in the music industry?
Kidd Wes: Umm, I won’t say it inspired it, but it definitely enhanced it. Like if you listen to a lot of the records that I make, they all have a different feel and you know, some people try to keep like an aesthetic when they’re making a project but I like to – like how you say – I like to dabble around. Because I moved around, I was able to see so many different styles and embrace those cultures.
T: What would you say inspired you to dive into the music industry?
Kidd Wes: Well, long story short, I was in Detroit [well Lansing first] and I remember 8 Mile came out. So everybody was like battle rapping and stuff like that. People stopped roasting and they started battle rapping. So, I was trying to defend myself – that’s how I got into it.
T: Uh huh, so you kinda had to do it. And what do you think was the event that let you know “I’m kinda nice at this, I’m kind of fire”?
Kidd Wes: Well, I remember I was at this camp and there was this guy and he was probably about 10 to 15 years older than me. Basically, we battled and I killed him and I think I was probably like 13 or 14. He said to me, “Look man, I want to take you around the city really quick because I never heard somebody your age do what you do.” I kind of just was like well I got a ring to it so let’s run with it.
T: Now, I know that the Rap and Hip Hop environment in Michigan is definitely different to that of Florida, Miami to be exact. Did you have to change up your ebb and flow when you came to Miami or were you able to keep it the same and make that your signature style?
Kidd Wes: No, I actually had to change it up because I mean for battle rap it was okay but at the time, I saw it coming from a distance that Trap music was beginning to evolve and become the main thing. I was really on more of like a lyrical type of thing. Then, I was listening to a lot of these rappers make hit music and I wasn’t into that. So, I found a way because I needed to find a way to make a balance so I could do both. And so I started hanging around in any type of hood or wherever anybody was performing, whether that was Liberty City, Downtown Polaco, wherever.
T: That’s incredible. So, how long would you say you’ve been doing this?
Kidd Wes: I want to say give or take, probably like 11 years.
T: Ahh, so from there, let’s go into Junior Year. What made you title that album, that LP, Junior Year?
Kidd Wes: Well, Eleven: The Junior Senior Year. The reason why I called it that is because that’s when I moved into Miami, I was able to really get engulfed into Miami. Like my first two years, anything you could name, I dabbled into it. I went headfirst into everything. That’s where I got a lot of my experience from, my wisdom from, my street smarts from because there is just…Miami is definitely a different place living there opposed to what you see on TV. So, a lot of people get the conception that it’s all glamour and glitz, South Beach, but it’s really bigger than that, it’s more than that and I was able to, umm, to embrace that culture those first two years and understand how it works.
T: Hmm, I love that. And I love that you bring the importance of the glamorization of a lot of different communities. People are — people don’t really understand what the real is. Same thing for LA. People come here to LA from the freaking Midwest and are struggling and have been here for 10 YEARS because they thought that this was going to be a completely different lifestyle. New York eats people alive, and it’s like, you gotta really…you gotta REALLY want this. So I love that you’re saying that coming in your Junior year was the time for you to just really go all in. I love that, you went all in on your craft which is exactly what we should all be doing. So, based off of how you went all in on your craft, I think that my favorite song on the album would probably have to be anywhere between “10K” and “Made in America”. *laughing* Of course, it’s looking like those are two of your most popular songs, so tell us a little bit about the both of them and let us know which ones you’re talking about.
Kidd Wes: Wow, so as far as those two records “10K” and “Made in America”, I’ll start with “10K” first. The guy that’s on the intro, his name is actually Guru. He’s a real family friend, he’s always looked out. And when I started, I had a rap group and we all used to record in this garage basement. And he admired me, he helped me out a lot and he always believed in me because, I think there were like 6 or 7 of us at first, but I was the one that was always working. If I wasn’t recording a track, I was writing tracks for rappers. If I wasn’t writing, I was making beats or whatever, and you know there was no AC in this area I am telling you about. So I literally used to stay up like 14 hours and he used to peek in the door and he was like “You know I ain’t wanna tell you nothing, I just peek in all the time and I’m like, you know, this kid is gonna be something and I know he’s going to be something because just his work ethic is crazy.” And then “Made in America”, “Made in America” actually kind of came as a spur of the moment. “Made in America” really started, we were in the studio with my engineer Mind Labs and we were like let’s just make something – make a beat and we’ll figure it out. I don’t write when I go in the studio. I just kind of hear the beat and I go in. At the same time, I remember it was around the election period. I remember that we had the TV in the studio and Donald Trump gets on and he makes this real ignorant comment, I think that’s when he brought the situation of the wall up. And uh, I was just like yo just play this track and I’ll record it and that’s kind of how it came about.
T: That’s amazing, and I feel like I like that you did that too because there were — I like that during that time period there were a lot of different rappers and artists in general coming out and speaking how they felt, standing their ground.
I thought that was a really dope time in the history of Rap because the last time we saw people do stuff like that was, first of all, Kanye West, and nobody else was doing it to George Bush when Kanye West was doing it. Then, prior to that, we have the 1990s when we have N.W.A – we’re looking at artists like Ice Cube go off about the government same thing for Tupac Shakur and so many other people that we can name off the dome, but I love that you did that because you’re really making your mark in history. Tell us a little bit about your Two Dope Boyz premiere.
Kidd Wes: Okay, first of all, shoutout to DopeBoyShake because he is a super tough critic, and I respect that about him. I tried to get on that blog for maybe like 3 or 4 years, yeah…I tried. But there was something special about this record. I…I really like that the aesthetic of the record is really about balance and I always preach about balance because there is a good and an evil, there is a right and a wrong and believe it or not, you really need both. That’s kind of how life pans out, but going back to Shake. For some reason when I completed this record, there was no…I just said I knew what I wanted to talk about, I didn’t really plan it out too much, but everything really came from the heart. I knew that – I was like man, I had two pre-listening sessions before I had my listening party and I was just like I think he’s going to pick this up. So, here’s the thing. I actually tried to push it to Complex. Complex didn’t get back right away and I didn’t think we were going to land anything. Then, Shake sent over an e-mail saying “Yo, I’m loving this. I want to post it, I want to talk about it…”
T: What a feeling. Oo I know that feels good, that’s like, how did it feel when you first hit 1,000 plays and then how did it feel when you hit your first 10,000 plays on your songs?
Kidd Wes: Okay, for instance, “10K”, I wanted to put the record out, I wasn’t originally trying to save it [for the album], I just wanted to put something out for my listeners because they were asking for new music and I was just like ok, let’s put out “10K”. I don’t know if you’re familiar with YesJulz; YesJulz, I met her before she really blew up [T: I used to follow her back in the day, really heavy] Yup, she’s really cool. So, I put it out on New Year’s Eve. And come New Year’s Day, I got all these like text messages saying so on and then I go and look and my song already had over 10,000 plays and I was just like what’s going on?!
T: Did she feature your song on New Music Mondays?
Kidd Wes: Yes she did, she did. So that kind of helped out a lot.
T: That’s incredible. That is such a good feeling, it’s such a good feeling and it’s even better being on the outside looking in like man, my boy is featured on “so and so’s” playlist! It’s like you want to promote it everywhere, I know I do. With any of my friends, anyone who wants me to feature them on the site, I’m like *gasp – blog* Blog Post Entry: THEY WERE JUST FEATURED ON YADDA YADDA YADDA. That’s exciting! It feels like a milestone. So many more to go, but definitely, just incredible.
The interview did not exactly end there. Kidd Wes and I went on to have a conversation about a new segment which the blog team is preparing – with much excitement – to launch. This segment serves as a portal to the unforeseen hearts of our favorite industry personas. This segment diminishes the idea that any adverse experience you have set out a quest against is an experience of just your own. About 9 times out of 10, we internalize matters we’ve overcome that hold keys to someone else’s successes out of our own insecurities. I am proud to bring to you BURN of the Week. We have high hopes that each burn we provide catalyzes the fire inside of you to burn brighter with each malicious experience you breakthrough. Stay tuned to hear our first, Kidd Wes.