“My dream,” he says, "was to be a musician.”
By starting out as a producer, a pursuit at which, he says "you can be dope without anyone ever seeing your face", he was soon creating lyrics to go along with his beats, something which led him to show his face to the crowd because it made others happy. "Once I really wanted to start to sell music, I started writing hooks on my beats,” he says.
“From there I started to really enjoy writing and kept writing more hooks and writing more verses, understanding the structure of the music, and people around me just kept that support around. I was really getting a lot of love. As soon as I got to my first performance I was like 'I want to do this'."
While he loves the public feedback he has received from his music, crafting a stage act after the reclusiveness of producing took some effort. "You can't just jump into doing that and know how to react to the crowd, what to talk about, what songs to put together; it all comes from a learning experience," he says.
“You kind of have to have, not really bad shows, it might not be bad for people watching it, but (it is) to you."
As his career has developed, his show has moved away from an intimate atmosphere towards a more polished production. "Coming up, I tried to rely a little bit more on personality ... now, every time I start to switch it up and right now it's in the process, figuring out what we are going to do new, with the stage and the lights and production-wise, and mixing up some new songs.
“But the fans can always expect up energy, a lot of movement. I'm not someone who just walks around the stage. I jump in the crowd... I really try to make it something interactive.”
Self-expression, technical mastery and defying boundaries are the defining forces behind Kid Ink's enterprise. "I think my whole goal is trying to like, not aspire to any type of hip hop genre, but more so to be like this all-round musician."
Challenging people's pre-conceptions about the genre is an important aspect of Kid Ink's music. “People rapping now are from all different states and all different cities. Not everyone who raps is necessarily gang banging or selling drugs."
Instead, he is inspired by "any subject I want to talk about" and the weekend vibe of the club. "I used to spend a lot more time in clubs ... you want to be in the scene, seeing what's going on in the club. I make club music, so I'm not distancing myself from it."
With perhaps a more nourishing lifestyle than some of his hip hop predecessors, Kid Ink says there is room for him to be in music for the long haul. "I do want to do it forever and it's become a point now where rap isn't as aged as it used to be. People were getting a little bit stuck in their style and their era, and now it's a little bit more of a situation where a lot of the poppin' rappers right now are older.
“Some of them are ten years older than me and I think it's just dope, because they are thinking about how to be part of the new wave and the new generation."
Kid Ink ShowsWed 22 Feb - Metro City (Perth)
Thu 23 Feb - Prince Bandroom (Melbourne)
Fri 24 Feb - Max Watts (Brisbane)
Sat 25 Feb - Enmore Theatre (Sydney)