Quiet demeanor with a loud sound and unique sound. The first reaction that comes to mind when talking to and hearing the music of Suadi-born, LA resident $kinny. Softly speaking about his sound and how he got into music as a young man, $kinny’s calm voice shines through on tracks like “8 Dollar$” and “Makavelli.”
$kinny’s self-taught production skills along with his pen game landed him a deal at Warner Records a few years back. Learning the ropes and using his advance check to focus on his solo career, $kinny released his project “Ghetto Disneyland” in 2014. Finding his own unique sound mixing soft crooning hooks with menacing production, $kinny left Saudi-based subject matter behind and focused his message around his new home of LA.
Sprinkled with gems like “Oompa” and “Marijuana On Everything,” $kinny’s tape caught the attention of some major players. Pusha T fans will find a very familiar sound on “Gunshot$” as Timbaland chopped up $kinny’s production to form the main body of Pusha’s “Darkest Before Dawn” hit “Untouchable.”
Between writing, rapping, producing and directing, $kinny has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. We sat down with him to get more details on his start in music, being recognized by the legendary Timbaland and his forthcoming project “Flights To The Moon [Empire].”
You can read our interview below while you play through “Gunshot$” and watch $kinny’s self-directed video for “Eight Dollar$.”
How did you first get into music?
First I wanted to be a rapper. I was young and I really didn’t know what I was doing. It was really hard for me to get beats and really start doing my own thing so I had to really teach myself how to make beats and that’s how I got into producing actually. It was like 10 years ago so I just started producing and making my own music and then practicing my rap at the time being until you know I felt like I was ready.
You’ve taken some heat about your content from people back in Saudi Arabia, have things gotten better as you’ve received more recognition?
It’s been so-so so far but you still get heat every now and then you know? I guess every artist does but it’s a lot better [now] though. The music is getting a little more acceptance.
Do you go back and forth at all?
No, not much actually. I haven’t been back in years.
How did your writer/producer deal with Warner help shape your solo career?
It meant everything because when they cut me the check it really helped me to focus and I really invested in myself. I put everything back into myself pretty much.
I heard you met Timbaland while at Warner, did he hit you up before chopping up your “Gunshot$” beat for Pusha T’s “Untouchable”?
Actually I met Timbaland before I got the Warner deal but we never really kept in touch like that. You know Timbaland is really busy and I’m sure at that moment he was working with a lot of people. It was surprising to hear actually but I didn’t mind it. I thought it was cool, I’m a Pusha T fan.
That sample is the heart of “Untouchable,” does that validate what you’re doing with your production being that a legend like Timbaland is chopping your stuff up?
Oh definitely. It definitely felt great you know just to hear it and stuff I was like “wow, that’s pretty cool” you know what I mean?
So you write, produce, rap, and direct, do you always start from the same creative space or does it depend on your mood?
Well usually I start with making the beat and then it kind of all comes together. That kind of just draws the whole video and kind of brings the lyrics out. It starts from definitely just the music first and then it sort of builds builds builds and I kind of just see it in my head and translate it the best that I can. You know just use whatever I have to translate it to a cool video.
How did you get into directing? Did you stumble into it like you did with rapping producing?
I don’t think I stumbled into rapping. Rapping and producing is something I always wanted to do it just took me a while to really get at it. But directing I definitely stumbled into. I had shot one video, my first video ever which I never dropped. It was such a waste and I knew I would have to take control of my career. It’s hard to really with some of my habits it’s hard for somebody else to really say “okay I’m going to do this” because I’m very picky and particular with what I want.
So that first video you never released was shot by somebody else?
Yeah I had actually shot a video for this song I did called “Oompa.” I had recorded the song back in 2011 and I just was like “let’s shoot the video” and we shot a video. It was great, but then the way they shot it was such a flop. It just kind of opened my eyes to like I can’t trust anybody with my work.
Your project “Flights To The Moon” is dropping soon, will you talk about that title a little bit?
It was really just how I felt when I heard it. It felt like a cool journey you know? The music, when I listen to it, it sounds like you’re watching cartoons on the moon with your best friend. It has a great feeling to it. It just felt right.
Is the sound more spacey and aired out that you’re talking about being on the moon?
To me you know when I hear it, it kind of reminds me of watching old school criminal movies. It has a cool 70’s influence mixed with hip-hop mixed with an alternative sound I would say.
So you’re pushing the “8 Dolla$” video right now, do you have any other visuals coming out?
Yeah that’s what we’re pushing right now and we have three videos that are coming out. Two cartoon videos I’m working on and just another video. So I have some cool stuff coming out, some cool visuals that will be great.
Keep it locked to $kinny’s website for more information and news on “Flights To The Moon.”