The Break Presents: KAMI
One of the fresh new faces coming out of Chicago right now is SAVEMONEY's KAMI. The half-Nigerian, half-Ghanian rapper has been working hard to develop his sound as his fellow SAVEMONEY brethen like Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa experience huge success.
In 2012, KAMI released his LIGHT mixtape, but got his first break by forming the duo Leather Corduroy with friend and fellow SAVEMONEY member Joey Purp. The duo would drop Season LP, Porno Music Vol. II: TSFR EP and a few bangers here and there before taking a brief hiatus to focus on their solo works.
Fast forward to April of this year and KAMI would release Just Like the Movies, his debut album. The project is unlike anything you've heard from any member of the SAVEMONEY collective. Executive produced by Knox Fortune, Just Like the Movies features genre-bending sounds and KAMI's penchant for melodies, making the LP one of the most refreshing projects of 2017 so far. The effort will surely turn heads in his direction and expand KAMI's fan base. “It’s just some good music,” he tells XXL while in New York.
KAMI followed up Just Like the Movies with a new four-song EP titled Superstar. With momentum on his side, find out more about KAMI and why he's someone to watch.
I grew up listening to: “When you a shorty, you listen to what your parents listen to and what’s on TV. But I know my OG, she played a lot of Sting and Michael Bublé and I remember going to school, you automatically start picking up on hip-hop as a Black kid. OutKast was one of my first favorites, Eminem, I just remember being so into his character. I’m the biggest fan of Lil Wayne ever, but everyone is. That’s like saying everyone is special [laughs].
"I remember the transition between listening to The Slim Shady LP every day with George Bush just became president to “Go DJ,” when you first saw that Lil Wayne video when he was in jail. That shit was incredible. That was that part of my life. Then I found like everything else that was poppin’.
"I’m Nigerian and Ghanaian. I was exposed to [African music]. I went and lived in Ghana and stayed with my grandmother from like age 3 to 6 and I was exposed to everything. Nigerian movies, those shits are crazy. And of course being in Ghana, you definitely listen to Michael Jackson, that was the biggest worldwide phenomenon.
"I started making music on my own, I think the first time I wrote a rap I was in fourth grade with Brian Fresco. Me and him had a little rap group in elementary school. We were on Audacity recording raps and we transitioned to Fruity Loops when Soulja Boy came out. But I probably didn’t record my first serious attempt until I was like 16, 17 and that’s when I said, 'I love this shit.'
"I went through college for one year and thought it was something you can balance, rap and school. Then I thought about it and people go to college for four years and invest times in different things to master them. I think that was an epiphany that I reached where I said, 'Aight this is a decision that you have to make and your pretty young but you have to be confident that this is what you want to do.' So, that’s all it was. I thought I wanted to [make music]. I didn’t want to be a financial accountant; I’m not the best in math. I felt comfortable and felt a sense of accomplishment when I make music and it was as simple as that."
My style’s been compared to: “People like to do the Kid Cudi or The Weeknd comparisons with the sound, which is cool as hell. My sound itself is very nostalgic or comparable but it’s not easy to compartmentalize. It’s a decent blend of future sounds and nostalgia. I get those two a lot. I feel like both of those comparisons, those two people, they took big risks and were confident with what they were doing."
Most people don’t know: “When I was young, I was mad proficient in computer technology. I went to boarding school for one year; it was an alternative boarding school. I did some fuck up shit when I was 14. It’s like African culture for kids to boarding school. So my parents sent me to boarding school in Mississippi and I was part of the IT program. It was funny as hell because they thought I was a genius. But really it was just an alternative for kids from like Baltimore and they just didn’t have the same situation [as me]. You can tell some of them had rough situations. It was cool though."
My standout records or biggest moment to date have been: “Biggest moment was me and Joey Purp doing Coachella with Vic Mensa. We did a song called 'Have U Eva' and Vic let us perform with him. Personal song from me is the song called “Home Movies” ’cause I shot a really cool video and people really responded to that. If you listen to that song, you’ll probably fuck with me."
My goal in hip-hop is: “My goal in music is to continue to make music. I love music, I love figuring it out, I love the freedom that it helps you achieve. I don’t think I would know what else I would be doing."
I’m going to be the next: “I like to be the next myself. I like to be the next me. I would like to be the next somebody for somebody else."
Standouts: Just Like the Movies
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