By Dean Mayoga
Ever since he moved to the majors earlier this year, rapper Kid Ink may have to change his name to just Ink—hip-hop scribes and critics have been spilling plenty of it. He’s a rapidly growing beats-and-rhymes artist, and UCR got him while he’s still warming up for its annual all-night Heat Music Festival—slated to scorch the campus tomorrow. Before the show—which also counts Tyga, Awolnation, Porter Robinson and Best Coast on the setlist—the Weekly caught up Kid Ink for a sec to get a handle on what’s going on in Inkland.
Is this your first time performing in Riverside?
I don’t feel like it is. It wasn’t [UCR]—this is definitely the first time at the school. I had shows, like, a long time ago.
So you started off the year right, signed to a major. You’ve recently said that one of your challenges with being on a major label is introducing yourself to new fans. How do you feel you’ve done so far?
I haven’t really had any opportunity to do anything because I haven’t had the opportunity to have a project or release any new music, besides the single [“Bad Ass”] that just came out. But I don’t feel like it catered towards the direction that I’m trying to [take] with the album. [There still is] some time to grow with it and push the movement and what I’m trying to do. It’s just the beginning.
Have you completed shooting the “Bad Ass” video?
The video is done, it should be out Monday. Monday is the release date. We’re hitting up MTV Jam of the Week and all the exclusives, you know? We got the big guns—you know we got RCA behind us. We put a lot of money into the video. We were able to get Meek [Mill] and Wale [to] come out and shoot with my guy Alex Nazari who shoots most of the videos that we’ve done.
Where do you think you fit in the long line of West Coast rappers, because you don’t sound like a typical L.A. artist?
I think it’s an entire new look at the West Coast so there’s not really a big comparison because it’s a new wave and new age. I think it’s not the regular stereotypes from the old West Woast. It’s something brand new.
So, what do you think you are adding to that tradition of West Coast rap?
I definitely don’t deny where I’m from so the No. 1 thing is adding some light to the West Coast and my city. But there’s not really anything I’m trying to do to prolong a sound or anything specifically from the West Coast. I don’t really have a concern to make a “West Coast sound” more than make good music.
Kid Ink is slated to perform at UCR’s Heat Music Festival at UC Riverside, 900 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 827-1012; heat.ucr.edu. Sat, 7pm-12am. Kid Ink’s set time: 8:30pm-9:30pm Southland Stage.