The artists on Tech N9ne’s Strange Music label are known for their relentless work ethic, but even on a team of overachievers, Krizz Kaliko stands out. After releasing 2012′s dubstep influenced Kickin’ And Screamin’, which debuted at #43 on the Billboard charts last May, he’s back with a new album this week,Son Of Sam, that finds the Kansas City rapper and singer pushing his music in even wilder, more eclectic directions.
If releasing and promoting an album wasn’t already enough work, Kaliko is also in the process of directing videos for all 15 tracks off the record while currently traveling as part of Tech N9ne’s Something Else Canadian tour. It’s an ambitious plan executed on a hectic schedule, but Kaliko sounded completely unfazed when XXL spoke to him over the phone about his new video for “Schizophrenia” which we’re premiering above, his budding directing career and how growing up with Pink Floyd made him the artist he is today.
XXL: What’s the premise of the “Schizophrenia” video?
Krizz Kaliko: “Schizophrenia” is all over the place. It’s something that could be a single. It’s just about a relationship in turmoil. The song sounds like schizophrenia. It goes from straight up in the club hip-hop beats to dubstep to smooth R&B. It sounds like schizophrenia. It’s about a relationship and just like everything I try to do, sometimes it backfires on me…’cause I’m gone all the time and women need attention. Sometimes it can create a lot of turmoil in a relationship.
You’ve shot 12-15 videos for this album. Why so many?
My last release, Kicking And Screaming, we had an intern named Anthony. I told [Strange Music CEO] Travis [O'Guin] that I had this idea to shoot all these videos, and he said, “It’s probably a good idea to shoot two or three of them, but not 10 or 15.” But I told Anthony, “Why don’t you just steal the camera and we’ll go out and shoot our own videos?” So we did. And it doubled my album sales… I think it gets people more into the music.
How involved are you with all the videos for this album?
I direct all of them. I come up with all the treatments and direct all of them.
When was the first time you directed a video?
My first one was called “Kill Shit.” There really wasn’t anything to it. I told them, “Hey, we’re gonna walk into this mall and rap, and people are gonna look at me crazy. When security tries to kick us out of the mall, don’t stop filming. I want that to be part of it.” It worked.
Of all the videos you shot do you have one that you like the best?
I don’t think I know an answer to that… I have one called “W.A.N.S.” and it stands for “We All Need Sex.” ‘Cause we do. We’re all animals. It’s a song that people would love to get drunk to and sing together like an anthem. Like I said, no one wants to be in the club thinking. They wanna be in the club drinking.
Was there a genre in particular that you wanted to explore with this album that you didn’t get a chance to explore on the last one?
I did always want to do something with a little country flair to it. That was one of my main goals with this album. So I did that, and I really love it. It’s still hip-hop. It’s got a little country flair to it, but it doesn’t feel forced. It feels natural. It feels good.
Do you worry about alienating your fans with your experiments?
I do. I’m concerned about it sometimes. But there’s so many different flavors of me, you’re gonna like two or three of them. The main comment I get from people about my records is that you can put it on and let it play from beginning to end and you’ll stay interested.
There’s definitely a progression to it. Each song seems to lead into the next one.
I just want it to be a continuous work of art. From the party to the slow jam to the serious. I want it to be one continuous work of art. I only use certain producers to do that. I communicate with these guys very heavily… I’ll be like, “Put some chimes in there” or “Make the drums go like this” because I already know whoever produced the next song it starts like that. I really got that from listening to Pink Floyd to tell you the truth. When you listen to Dark Side Of The Moon, they just have one song bleed into the next.
Were you into Pink Floyd growing up, or was that something you got into later?
I lived in the suburbs as a kid, and I was one of the only Black kids in a predominately White area… But then I moved into the hood when I was like 15, so I got into all the stuff was popular there. Also, I grew up in the Black church. So I’ve got all these different styles of music and different types of culture mixed into the music. It made me crazy, but it also made me really creative and made me try all of these things I’d heard. I’m an ’80s baby, so you know I grew up listening to a lot of ’80s pop, but I grew up listening to Pink Floyd too though. I grew up listening to everything from LL Cool J to Alabama. From Billy Ocean to Bon Jovi to Public Enemy and Ice Cube. So I grew up listening to all this different music, and once I got into doing music myself I was like, “I wanna try all of this. I wanna try everything I can.”
The good thing about Strange Music is they give us total creative autonomy on our projects. I’m not gonna say they don’t go, “Dude, what are you doing? Your album’s all over the place. How do we market this?” But they don’t stop me from doing it, and they love it. Travis is like, “All right, I see what you’re doing. We’ll figure out how to get this to the masses and let them tell us what they love.”