Interview: The KYD – Sedgwick Avenue

Hey, super nice to have the chance to chat with you. Can you tell us about your early career? Where did you get the idea for the music industry? 

Likewise. I started rapping around the last year of high school when my friend Connor got me to try freestyling one night, which blossomed into recording and writing raps regularly with a group of friends as a weekend hobby. I didn’t really take it too seriously and then I started checking out classic albums like Illmatic started trying to really study it. People kind of started noticing that and seeing how I was progressing and started telling me that I might actually have a talent for this beyond just it being a weekend hobby. What might have solidified that for me even more is when I jumped into cyphers at university with people who’d have no problem saying if it was wack and I ended up getting a really good response. It kind of showed me more that I might have something worthwhile here. 

Where do you start when producing songs? 

Depends on the track and how I’m feeling really. Sometimes I start with the hook if the track is more conceptual so it can act as a guide as I try to write verses around it. If it’s just a skills-based track, I write the verses and then sum it up with a simple hook to balance it out with all the technical stuff I might be doing in the verses. Sometimes I just get 4 lines in my head that form a dope rhyme scheme and that will set a whole track off.  

One track I’ve written recently that will be out soon had this approach. My goal was to write a track that maintained the same rhyme scheme throughout and I thought of 4 lines I thought would serve well as closing lines. I wrote everything to set them up while making sure every line fit the syllable scheme they established. It was kind of working backwards a bit. It’s fun to figure out though. 

It can also just start with a line I think will be a dope opening line and then expand on it from there. There’s no set formula, really. I take the writing part real seriously and really enjoy it. 

Your latest song is ‘Sedgwick Avenue’. Can you tell us more about the making of it and if there were any unusual things happening during the process? 

It started with the concept. I was talking to Dango (who features on it) about working and we easily could have just made a track where we both just bar out, trading verses. But I kind of wanted to go somewhere else with it and have wanted to make a track paying tribute to the hip-hop legends for a while. And with Dango being from Detroit, I thought it’d be a dope to have me giving a general summary of hip-hop’s early days and Dango showing love to those who’ve really made Detroit a force in the culture. Once we had ideas for the verses figured out, I had a few beats from Blaize Wareham, sent them to Dango and we picked the one we thought best fit the concept. I had the opening line “The path was paved by the breakdance linoleum” already written and held on to it for this track, everything else just had to follow after that. 

What was the most difficult challenge you faced? 

Probably just getting out of my shell to put myself out there. 

I’m naturally not animated like that and I’m normally pretty lowkey and a bit introverted. So I’d be lying if I said adapting that personality to some of the requirements of being an artist in this era isn’t challenging at times. But watching artists I’ve looked up to like Lloyd Banks, Black Thought or Nas who have a similar demeanour and have used it to their advantage really helped in the beginning. The key I guess is just figuring out how to present yourself in a way aside from the music that connects and is authentic to you. 

What is your goal in artistic activities? 

My goal really at this point is to get into a position where I can do music full-time, make a good living off it and not have to worry about a job. I want the respect of my peers and the listener as one of the best around. Hip-hop has done a lot for me personally so I just want to be able to make a meaningful contribution to it. I really don’t care about being the richest or most famous in the long run to be honest. I do this for the respect and to stay true to the artform. None of that extra stuff matters to me if you don’t have that.  

How do you know when work is finished? 

When I listen back and don’t have the urge to keep rewinding sections back to nitpick or second-guess stuff. I’m my own worst critic.  

What is your trademark? It’s about unique sounds or behaviors on stage. 

 Been told that I have a real distinctive rhyme style/flow and voice that makes it obvious who it is when I start a verse so I’d definitely say that at the moment.  

What are your biggest achievements so far as an artist, but also personally? 

A lot of good things have all kind of come this year really. Released the collab album PK All Day with Pats, a fellow Canadian rapper from the same town I’m from (Chatham, Ontario), that we put a lot of work into and that finally dropped in April to a really great response. It also served as my debut full length project which is a milestone for any artist.  

I started this year with under 100 monthly listeners on Spotify (probably hadn’t even hit 75 yet) and have now been sitting steadily around 9,000 listeners lately since I’ve been continuing to drop tracks over the summer which is really encouraging to see. Hopefully only good things continue to come going forward. 

What memorable responses have you had to your work? 

Whenever I get a DM from someone saying they related to something personal I’ve written is great since you know something that was therapeutic for you is resonating with others. Getting genuine props from another MC I respect on a track or verse is always gratifying as well.  

What are your plans for the future? 

I’ve recently just completed recording on another full-length album that will serve as my first solo project.  That’s currently being mixed/mastered and being prepped for release. I hope to have that out by around holiday time this year and will push that going into the new year. Haven’t finalized a title for it yet but I’ll have more details to share on it soon. Aside from that, I plan to just keep busy and put out music as consistently as possible and expand my reach, as well as hopefully do some shows and getting my feet wet there. I’m excited for the next year of this.

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