Press Lives Matter: TK Kimbro, LA Music Scene Tastemaker
Written by Greg Harris
Our latest Press Lives Matter dove deep into the music industry but from the mind of a woman. Kate Loesch gave us the insight on being a lady in the industry, having the confidence to speak up and being able to take to chances on things that you love. Seeing her being so much of a trail-blazer in her own right, it's only right we continue the trend with another bright voice in the music community.
We stay on the Left Coast that some may call the Best Coast and soak up some game from one of Los Angeles' most pivotal figures in their hip-hop scene now, TK Kimbro. He is the creative liaison that has helped and curated the careers of artists like Shoreline Mafia, 03 Greedo, Drakeo the Ruler, and the rest of the Stinc Team. Being as wise as he is, he's correctly tapped into the voice of the young and booming creative culture in LA, and it's paying off in a major way with expectations for the artists mentioned above to have great years coming in the future.
We recently had the opportunity to speak to the rising icon of the West Coast about his upbringing, his thoughts on the youth of LA, how does he think the sound is changing, and more.
How’s your Modern Life?
Amazing for me!! On god I am living to the fullest.
What are three things you have to do in the morning when you first wake up?
Look at my visionary board
Review my day before and prepare for the missions of the day
Coming up on the West Coast, how was your upbringing?
I'm originally from Tennessee. I grew up there and started bouncing as a teenager Upnoth first then around the country but the culture of LA in the 80$ is what brought me out here. I got to the LAnd in the 90$ pregentrified LA. Broad day shootings, Death Row Records juugin, gang violence, it was dumb open then, One of the best periods of my life I came out of it unscathed.
How would compare LA from the rest of California?
The LAnd is so special!!! It is unique and unlike any part of Cali. It's another world. So many cities make up the Land. They create their own cultures and rules.
How do you think this evolution has affected its direction into the art of LA music?
LA is a Latino majority city. The cultural presence is everywhere. Lowriders, dickies, tacos, all that shit is Mexican street culture. Then the Black culture here is so small but powerful. G we have never been the majority out here like that in the town but our presence in the culture that comes out of here by is immeasurable. Everything from the two rebellions, our creation of gangsta rap, the crips and the bloods come out the Black hoods of LA.
"I want to be remembered as the incubator. The talent finder and the one who brought the most quality artists to the rap game and made the most money off of it."
Being the vet that you are, you’re familiar with the sound that has put LA back on. How would you compare that era that included the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, YG, and more to the more rebellious era of LA rappers featuring 03 Greedo, Shoreline Mafia, Drakeo the Ruler?
I am a fan of all those guys including the older ones not mentioned like IceCube, Ice T, NWA and the great Eazy E. We all have the same DNA. The lineage is the same. As one of the marketing visionaries behind all the new artists, you mentioned the culture has shifted with them. Everything is mashed up. There is an openness to take and borrow ideas from everything and everywhere and all the artists I work with here reflect that.
With the likes of the last three artists I mentioned in the question above and more, how do you think they’re going to make their imprint for the Los Angeles sound?
Shoreline Mafia - the true face of LA as a group. Mexican, Black, Korean, Armenian, White, biracial. The way the city looks now. But they follow a street narrative.They aren't like anything I have ever worked with in my life. They are going to take over white America in a way that hasn't happened out here since the first and second Chronic albums. Big tours, and influences in movies, fashion, and brand relationships with them.
03 Greedo - The most important voice that has emerged ever in LA. He brings the other side of LA that people do not come to visit the city for. The desperation and hunger he delivers is reflective of the projects and the motherland of Black culture here Watts. He is going as far as he can humanly go.
Drakeo The Ruler - The villain who made it. Lingo, swagger, and menace all in a marketable package. Drakeo has Pitchfork, Fader and Stereogum tapping into the streets of South Central.His debut album will be a critical choice and big commercial hit.
RonRon the Producer - The sound. None of this would be happening without RonRon. He is the singular most important producer in LA. Expect him and his Hit Mob collective to drop hits for the next several years.
As much as the delivery of the music important in LA, No Jumper has made it apparent to give LA more of a free-form way of creating content. How do you think No Jumper is evolving the process of how people get in tune with LA artists?
Adam is my lil bro. S/O to him for making sure that the streets of LA get as much light as the left of center SoundCloud rap. He has created an open environment that allows the music industry and fans to get all forms of music coming out of LA. It is amazing watching both of these things come together.
In your position how do you want to revolutionize music?
I am working on a true partnership with one of the big three music groups. It going to make a lot of waves in the game. I work harder than any of my peers in the music industry and this will be the first year in my life that I get the opportunity to show through my performance as an executive and the artists that I am working with.
What are three goals you have for 2018?
10 records that break all the DSP streaming records
Releasing the best most innovative music in the industry
making the highest level of capital possible
When it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as the incubator. The talent finder and the one who brought the most quality artists to the rap game and made the most money off of it.