TK Kravitz Aims to Go Bigger and Deeper With New Mixtape ‘TK Kravitz 2.0′
It's difficult enough for an artist to build a substantial buzz around their music once, but to pull off the feat twice, especially after being introduced as a package deal, is reserved for the most talented artists. Rapper TK Kravitz is one who can claim to have done just that, and appears to be well on his way to making sure it's the last time he'll have to start from the bottom.
A native of Augusta, Ga., TK, originally a solo artist, teamed up with fellow Augusta native Ca$h in 2007, forming the duo TK-N-Ca$h, as well as the record label Banq Boi Entertainment. Releasing their single "Anthem" in 2014, TK-N-Ca$h would sign a major label deal with Columbia Records that same year, but have since decided to pursue solo careers. TK maintains there is no animosity between the two.
"It’s not the fact that I wanted to go solo, it was just natural," TK explains during a visit to the XXL office. "We started that TK-N-Ca$h brand at the age of 15, 16 years old and I’m talking to you as a 24-year-old man now. So it’s just natural to grow and that’s something I had to do. But I’ve always moved as my own individual, you know what I’m saying? Like in the studio, I always follow my mind, my first instinct, so the transition wasn’t hard at all."
In 2016, he released TK Kravitz, his first project as a solo artist. The mixtape featured appearances from Ty Dolla $ign, Blac Youngsta, Dej Loaf, YFN Lucci and Famous Dex, and was led by the single "Bae AF." On the solo front, TK has hit the ground running, building his individual brand while also lending his songwriting talents to some of the game's brightest stars. And with his anticipated follow-up, TK Kravitz 2.0, to his self-titled project looming, the rapper is primed to strengthen his status as a promising newcomer with the potential to become a bona fide hitmaker.
TK Kravitz sat down with XXL to discuss his transition from being a member of a group to being a solo artist, his forthcoming mixtape and the goals he's set for himself moving forward.
XXL: What has your experience been like so far as a solo artist and how would you say it's altered your creative process?
TK Kravitz: I’ve always moved as my own individual, no matter who around me. I got my own mind, I have my own mind. I go in the studio and, like, legit—I don’t wanna sound rude—but I don’t care who in the studio, I’m just in my mind, I’m going off my vibe. So it didn’t alter anything, it didn’t change up anything, I just go in and create, and when I hit the stage, I’m somebody else when I’m on stage. I’m in a whole ’nother planet, so it didn’t really change nothing.
Being that you're establishing yourself as a solo artist, how would you describe yourself as an artist and a person?
I feel like I’m a very humble person. I feel like I’m a little passive at times, you know what I’m saying. I feel like I’m very ambitious. I feel like I’m... man... that’s a crazy question. But I feel that describes me.
What's something that your fans would be surprised to know about you or your backstory?
I’m not sure a lot of people know I’m actually an army brat. And the term army brat is someone that was raised up in a military family. My father was in the army so we move around like every three years. I used to live in Hawaii, Panama and California and Seattle, etc. And I’m originally from Augusta, Ga., so that’s probably a fun fact a lot of people don’t know.
What would you say was the best part of growing up in that life?
Just seeing different cultures, seeing different people. That’s why I make my music so mutual for everybody because I grew up listening to Lauryn Hill, Big, ’Pac, and then next CD I’d put in would probably be like Green Day or something, you know what I'm saying? So it’s just weird. I just was blessed to experience all different kinds of cultures. So that’s like the best part about it.
Would you say that comes through in your artistry?
Exactly. I want my music to be mutual. Black, White, yellow, pink, purple, I just wanna be mutual. So yeah, it definitely expanded my horizons.
You recently released your song, "Space," which is doing very well. What was the inspiration behind the song?
“Space,” we were just in the studio and I really just like listening to beats and go in, I don’t really think about it before I go in, I just get in front of the microphone, put my headphones on I follow my first mind and whatever comes out, that’s my first mind. So it’s not really no long story, it’s just, like, pure feeling.
What was the recording process like, as far as acquiring the track and getting Sexton on the track?
Actually, my brother co-produced it, my blood brother, shouts out to Exotic Muzik. We three years apart, that’s my brother, legit so that’s a crazy feeling to say that he produced my first single, that’s a dream of mine. Shouts out to the BeatMonsters, they produced on it as well, and Sexton and XL, shouts out to XL. Sexton, she was working with them and like I said, my brother was co-producing with them at the time and he just called me to the studio and I came, I seen her swag, and I just wanted to give her an opportunity.
You've also been getting into songwriting for other artists. How did those opportunities come about?
See, I’m just like a real, like, studio rat so I just enjoy recording. And at the time, I didn’t have a platform or a way in the industry and I knew people took a heed to my songwriting so I just built a relationship with a different A&R’s and I feel like I’m a peoples person a lot of times. And I love talking music, so they picked up on my vibe, a lot of A&Rs, and we [was] just emailing back and forth and I got my first placement and from there, I just started songwriting.
What would you say are some of the artists that you've built a bond with outside of the music, on a personal level?
I’m like, I almost feel like I’m your favorite rapper’s favorite rappers type shit, you know what I’m saying, if that makes sense because I got a lot before they really pop off, before the masses really know about them. We’ve already discussed music and we’ve already built that relationship. So yeah, it’s too many to name.
So it's not, like, really like somebody that you're really tight with or you connect with on a consistent basis?
Kevin Gates. Jacquees, one of my best friends, that’s my dawg. Shout out to Tee Grizzley, we clicking, that’s my homie. 2 Chainz, yeah, that’s my big dawg, that’s my big brother. He taught me a lot. I had to be like 14 when he started really, like, giving me game and I would just go to his shows, following him and be hyping him up onstage, you know what I mean, and all that. So definitely, I can’t even forgot, I don’t even believe I forgot about 2 Chainz. Shout out to 2 Chainz, shout out to Tit.
You're signed to 300 Entertainment. How would you say being on the label has helped your career?
Yeah, big shout outs to 300. It’s family. Shouts out to Selim [Bouab, SVP of A&R], we call him Selim the Dream, you dig? The whole staff, they’re amazing and we just work hand-in-hand, you know what I mean? We on the phone every day going back and forth about ideas and plans. So it’s a real machine, so you can’t do nothing but love it.
With all of the changes that have been going on at the label recently, has that affected anything as far as how you operate and communicate with the label?
Nah, that’s not my business, just making sure my business straight, you know what I’m saying? That’s all I can make sure, is that my business straight. Ain’t nobody in control of that.
It's almost been a year since your last project was released. Can the fans expect a new mixtape anytime soon?
Yeah, this is my first time saying this. Like late August. I dropped my last project Aug. 26 of last year, so it only makes sense to drop it around the same time.
What's the title?
TK Kravitz 2.0.
What's the inspiration behind you making it a sequel and running with the self-titled series?
I’m just giving you me. I could come up with names or whatever, [but] I’m giving you me. That’s TK Kravitz, so that’s why I kept it self-titled. And 2.0, it’s just, sonically, it’s bigger, you know what I mean? Subject matter, it’s deeper, so everything is just going deeper and going bigger, that’s why I call it 2.0.
Your last project had a few high-profile features on it. What are some of the collaborations fans can look forward to this time around?
TK Kravitz, man. The focus is just on TK Kravitz.
How about producers? Are there any you've had a special musical chemistry with as of late whose beats could end up on the album?
Exotic Muzik. That’s my blood brother and we came up in the game together so we’ve created music since I can remember. His sound has evolved, I feel like my sound has evolved and I feel like it’s time to give the world the sound that we’ve literally been working on for our whole life damn near, and it’s finally coming to fruition.
What would you say was your main goal making this project? How did you know you were done?
You know how I know I’m done? ’Cause I was in the studio last night and I didn’t have shit to talk about. That’s how I knew I’m done, honestly. The project is really complete. So yeah man, I’m done.
With the year halfway over, what would you say are your goals for the second half of the year, going forward?
Wake up to an email saying my single's platinum. Just keep on waking up to good news, man, you know what I’m saying? I don’t really ask for too much, man, bruh, I just keep making music be happy and just keep doing what I love and take care of my family. Whatever comes my way, comes my way, it’s really god’s plan, so you can’t rush nothing. So I just wanna be happy and keep making music, period.
What would you say has been your highest moment so far in the game and your lowest moment?
Well, my first deal, shout out to Chaka and them, to Ludacris. I was a kid, I signed my first deal at the age of 15, so that was the highest ’cause I’m a kid and coming from where I’m from, Augusta, Ga., a small town, nobody makes it out of Augusta. So for me, that was a super high. And then super low a few years later, I found myself, like, homeless, living in the studio. I had, like, five outfits in the booth I rotated so that was the lowest, you know what I mean, and that’s just real.
But you can’t let that discourage you if you really want it. If you got a passion for it, that ain’t gonna stop you. That’s why I’m blessed to be talking to y’all right now, XXL right now, off of ambition. That’s why I describe myself as ambitious, ’cause I could’ve easily let that discourage me.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years as far as making your mark in the game? What are some things that you want to accomplish in music and then outside, as far as business ventures or any other aspirations that you have?
No. 1s, No. 1 records. Tours under my belt. My own tours, headlining tours under my belt. I don’t know man. And branding. I’m deep into fashion, I know that sounds cliché, but I’m really heavy into fashion so of course, getting that off the ground and just getting more into fashion.
Your own clothing line?
Maybe or just endorsing a brand that I like and help continue that brand, you know?
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