Kidz In The Hall Interview
|Artist:||Kidz In The Hall|
|Label:||Duck Down Music|
|Next Project:||Class Participation (Jan '08)|
|Twitter:||Kidz In The Hall on Twitter|
|Website:||Kidz In The Hall's Website|
While some teenagers look at the prospect of attending college as a necessary step in life, others view the route as a diversion from their true aspirations and goals. If you know you want to be a rapper or a deejay at age fifteen, what’s the point of going to school, right? Well, according to recording duo Kidz In The Hall, wrong! Both MC Naledge and DJ Double-O knew that music was their passion and their promise; both needed a chance meeting on a college campus however to foster their individual musical creativity. During an interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” the guys discuss why the youth of America can’t listen to Kweli and Common forever, how they soundproofed their college apartment and why “Detention” is the perfect title for a mixtape being released according to industry standards.
Listen to the Interview
Kidz In The Hall Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth are two guys who hope to use their higher education chance meeting to boost their tax bracket to a higher level. Please welcome Naledge and DJ Double-O of Kidz In The Hall. Guys, how you doin’?
Double-O: All right, what up?
Naledge: Chillin’, its all good in the hood, you dig?
DJ Booth: You guys are on tour right now, cross-country– what stop so far has been your favorite? Which city?
Naledge: Surprisingly, Bloomington, Indiana.
Double-O: Yeah, definitely.
DJ Booth: What about Bloomington, Indiana made it the best city so far?
Naledge: College town, man, they get it crackin’.
Double-O: They just enjoyed the fact that, that we came out there. Sometimes, those are some of the best shows when you know the crowd is just really appreciative before you even step on stage.
DJ Booth: Plus, beer is involved, so it can’t be bad.
Double-O: Yeah, exactly.
DJ Booth: Seven years ago, you guys met at a University of Pennsylvania talent show – of course, we just were talkin’ about that -
Double-O: Woo, that’s a long time ago! [laughter]
Naledge: Crazy! ‘07, it sounds so long – when you say 2000, it don’t seem as long ago!
DJ Booth: Tell me about it – going into your freshman years, I know music was major, but what major did you both declare at school?
Neledge: It’s kinda weird, ‘cause Double-O was already there and then I kinda came into what they had already established as far as tryin’ to do music. For me, it was like, “Oh, I see that this is already here,” so that’s kinda what helped make my decision other than, the fine academics, and the fact it was in the city and all of that stuff.
DJ Booth: Okay, but if you knew at that point you already wanted to do music, why’d you go to college?
Double-O: I mean honestly, it was definitely one of the things that we knew we kinda wanted to do, but I don’t think it was official, yet, that that was what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives, probably really until Naledge actually came to school.
Naledge: Scratch all that sh*t, ‘cause we smart as f*ck! Because we was good at that sh*t. We’re not idiots – we realize bein’ rap stars is a one-in-a-million thing, and I don’t want anybody listenin’ to this interview to think it’s smart to drop out of school, ‘cause it’s not. At all. That’s reality.
Double-O: We come through a background where you gotta get at least that Bachelor’s, if not more. At the end of the day, as much as we don’t wanna have a B plan, we have one. Because we’ve spent those extra four years just getting’ a degree. But at the same time, school – the whole situation helps facilitate everything that goes on right now.
DJ Booth: I could not agree. When I was in school, I lived in an off-campus apartment for a few years, and I know amenities are not always the greatest on college campuses. You guys created a makeshift studio in your off-campus apartment – did you use the egg cartons for sound-proofing, or the shower as the microphone booth?
Double-O: I actually came up, and when I got my one-bedroom apartment, senior year, it had a huge, kind of walk-in towel closet, so that essentially became the booth. It really wasn’t that much in terms of sound-proofing, except for just the little bit of carpet or something I put up on the walls. At that point, I really wasn’t the engineer or sound-proofer that I am now, so I really set the mic up in the closet and hoped for the best. It wasn’t until we moved to LA that I really started doing research on acoustics and figuring out different materials that I could supplement – there was really just the towel closet and the microphone.
DJ Booth: Ideally, that’s obviously not the best place to record, but I’m sure you guys would probably both say some of your best material came from that confine…
Double-O: No, definitely. I mean, a lot of “School Was My Hustle,” our first album, was recorded in the apartment that I had in Los Angeles, which was a step up from it, but probably acoustically treated a little better – all I did was go to Home Depot, get some wood, and I had stapled my carpet and comforters, basically, to the wood setup.
DJ Booth: You gotta do what you gotta do, guys. I read a quote in your bio from Double-O that reads, “His sound and my sound somehow became the same sound.” What can youu attribute the word ‘somehow’ to? Practice, persistence, fate, luck?
Double-O: Seven years. [laughter]
DJ Booth: So Time…
Double-O: Just working together for that long and so much of our inspiration is life, so starting to really just live and have certain experiences together; a lot of the things will start coming together and start making sense. And me understanding his voice, and him understanding what I was doing musically.
DJ Booth: You guys signed a joint venture with Rawkus and John Monopoly’s Hustle Period, and you have Just Blaze and his Fort Knox imprint behind you as well. Is there any real rush to go out and find a major right now?
Naledge: I wouldn’t say that there’s a rush to find a major, but I would say that we definitely believe that our music has the capability of being very big – much bigger than the box that we’re being placed in at the moment. And, I don’t know if a major would quite understand where we’re coming from and what we’re doing, ‘cause it’s a little bit more innovative, and it’s not imitating what’s popular right now. But I do believe that if we had a strong budget behind it, we could take our music to the next level.
Double-O: Even though there are some good power players behind it, if the budget’s not there, it doesn’t matter. As good as the product is, a lot of times stuff gets lost in the shuffle because, you’re going up against something that just has three or four times as much money behind it. You know, there’s definitely a balance that needs to happen and I think we’re slowly starting to figure it out and find it.
DJ Booth: There certainly is a formula for success – when you guys see 95 percent of hip hop artists and groups release albums and they fail to reach gold certification, is marketing the initial thought that comes to mind as to why the product probably failed?
Double-O: There’s a formula for success, but it honestly is a stroke of luck sometimes. You look at certain records that were cool but not necessarily great; certain things have to fall into place. Let’s say the artist comes out with the record – it does all right, but then they’re on a guest appearance that really gives them kind of natural exposure, and then let’s say they get the cover of a magazine at the same time. If the album follows right when the buzz hits a certain peak, they’re gonna do well, as opposed to somebody who has a decent single and is doing well but [the label] waits a month too long to put out the album and then the buzz is gone; as opposed to going up.
DJ Booth: Okay, so in an ideal situation, no one knows Kidz in the Hall better than the two of you. How do you market your sound and music successfully?
Naledge: The listener has to realize that we’re them. Most of what’s out right now is means and extremes, man, its people who are extremely rich, or people who are from the bottom of the bottom, and that’s not the majority of society. We come from the middle, and that’s what the majority of what a hip hop listener is: from the middle. We’re relating directly to their lives and they can latch onto us. Honestly, most of the time, those are the people that are misunderstood. Those are the people who have everyday problems that don’t get addressed, and we address them. Oprah can talk about middle-class issues and have a number one rated talk show for years and create an entire brand around everyday nuances in middle-class life, and we can’t create rap music that does the same exact thing? We’re just a new generation of the Native Tongue; we’re the new generation of your Pharcyde. We can’t listen to Kweli and Common forever – they gonna get old. If you eighteen years old right now, can you really relate to the same things a 36-year-old is talkin’ about? I’m 24 years old; I’m speakin’ for these people. I am the new Common, I am the new Talib; I am this new dude! Everything that those dudes were, that’s what we are. But, we’re our own generation’s version of it. It’s definitely new, and it’s fresh, and it’s cool.
DJ Booth: Well, you took the words right out of my mouth. I was just about to say, it is a breath of fresh air – something that if marketed properly, the way that you just described, can be very successful because plenty of people out there want to hear exactly that. Let’s talk about the new project, guys. You hooked up with Cleveland’s Mick Boogie for “Detention” The album is labeled as a concept project. Explain the conception.
Double-O: That’s probably a question for our publicist to answer, because we didn’t label it that. [laughter]. “Class Participation” is way more of a concept album than, “Detention” is. We had to find something to call it, only because of the state of official mix tapes and having a product in the marketplace. The concept behind it is that we’re doing a mix tape that is all cleared records. The important thing for “Detention” for us is to really test the new phases and ideas that the industry is kind of putting forward in terms of getting music out to the masses.
DJ Booth: You guys seem like pretty stand-up dudes, but in your early school years, were either of you the delinquent with the dunce cap in the corner of the classroom?
Double-O: I think we al have a little bit of that in us. We may not always be the person who’s always getting in trouble, but, I did my share of time at detention. It had to do with just me, just acting up and being a smart-ass in class.
DJ Booth: What about you, Naledge?
Naledge: When you smart, you don’t get caught, and I’ll leave it at that. [laughter]
DJ Booth: No argument if I were to get some of your old teachers on the phone?
Naledge: I was an angel as far as they knew.
DJ Booth: As far as they knew, exactly. January of 2008, we’ll see your new LP, you mentioned it before, “Class Participation.” What is most essential between now and January to ensure the LP is a success?
Double-O: Pushing the single – really giving it time. It’ll probably come out in about a month and a half, and really just giving it time to rock. I think that if there was anything that went wrong in terms of our initial release, it was not having a proper setup in the United States. And we saw how it affected our sales here, as opposed to our sales in the UK where it was a long enough lead-in that as soon as it hit, it hit well. The important thing for us is really just making sure the single comes out and gets across. Hopefully move us up in terms of public really understanding and seeing kind of who we are, and that we’re not obviously in this nostalgic hip hop, early nineties box anymore.
DJ Booth: I wish you nothing but the best of luck with this brand new project that is available right now on iTunes called, “Detention,” and also your LP dropping in January, “Class Participation.” Give everybody a website or Myspace Address.