Just over a year since signing a major label deal with RCA Records, L.A. rapper Kid Ink dropped his major label debut, My Own Lane, a week ago (Jan. 7), an entertaining romp with guest spots from Chris Brown, August Alsina, Pusha T and Tyga, to name a few. And with five mixtapes, an independent album and an EP already under his belt, it’s about time Kid Ink steps out fully into the mainstream. With his West Coast brethren such as DJ Mustard, YG and Ty Dolla $ign also about to drop major label debuts, it’s a new era for the West, separate from the shadow of the titans of the G-Funk era.
Last week, Kid Ink stopped by the XXL offices to pop some bottles, celebrate the release of My Own Lane and talk about working with Chris Brown and DJ Mustard, his peers in the game, and the importance of breaking down barriers. —Dan Rys (@danrys) and Eric Diep (@E_Diep)
How does it feel having the album out now?
It feels like an accomplishment, but not only for me, really for my whole team and all the fans and for everybody who really rode with me to get to this point and help get to this point. I feel like everyone really feels like a part of it, and this is special right now. It feels good to have a major label album out. It came together easily when I did get to the studio; I didn’t always have time to get to the studio because of the tours I was on. The Kendrick tour, then I came back for a week and did my own tour for 30 days, then I came back for another week and did a European tour for 15 days, and I had to mix in getting the album done before the European tour, so the last day before the European tour I was recording and went on the flight the next day. I did end up cutting one last record—the Mustard-produced “Rollin’” record, I ended up finishing that in London—so I got one record in out when I was over there, but I still wish I got a couple more records finished just to choose from in the final listing. But I’m 100 percent down with it.
Do you feel like you got all the collaborations that you needed on this album?
I feel like I definitely got all the features that I needed. Some people might feel like it was more than needed, but I felt like it was decent being the fact that, you know, a song with Chris Brown singing the hook is definitely Chris Brown singing the hook, but I’m still doing my verses; it’s still a full song from Kid Ink. I just have songs where, I don’t wanna sing the hook. I wrote it, but I don’t wanna sing it right now, that’s just not the zone I’m in. So I have people like Elle Varner who can come in and sing a way bigger hook than me, and Chris and August Alsina, and I also felt it was doper in a way to reach out to those people and show how we rock with each other.
But dream collaborations? I wish I would’ve gotten one of the Pharrell records on the album. With Pharrell, it’s not really about just getting a record done, but it has to sound crazy and right. And he was so busy after that. I got in the studio with him, cut two records, and then he sent me another record, and we were supposed to keep getting back in the studio, and then “Blurred Lines” was gone, “Get Lucky” was gone, Despicable Me 2 came out, and it was a whole wave. But we’ve definitely been trying to find that time to get back in a session and finish these songs. We’ve talked about it. It’s not like they’re lost, it’s just the timing, man; people are trying to stay busy.