K!Ds #f ✞he 90’$: Like we should be… Connected, you know?

I first found K!Ds #f ✞he 90’$ in one of those dark internet holes you find yourself in at 3:19 am on a Friday night. At the time, I wasn’t writing about hip-hop, I was just consuming and creating it. He stuck with me though – his songs just made sense to me. I studied the techniques he used in his beats. I’ve put “//” on mix CDs for the whip (cause really what else are CDs good for now?). I distinctly remember the song playing over the fuzzed out car stereo one cold fall evening taking a cruise through the graveyard. These are those kinds of tracks. 

K!Ds #f ✞he 90’$ is that kind of an artist: Crisp, cool, slightly macabre.  He first got into making music because he was sad and “had a goth girlfriend in middle school that got [him] into making music.” So maybe that explains some of it. After starting to rap in 2008, he began producing in 2010 because he “hated using other people’s beats.” That’s right, those downright raunchy beats are of his own creation. Take notes. It certainly helps that he knows how to play piano, drums, guitar, bass, violin (it’s violin on “//” not a synth?), cello, theremin, and is currently learning to play the flute.

That’s the sort of musical aptitude you just don’t see from most producers, let alone one who’s just 20 years old. The sort of thing that tells me K!Ds #f ✞he 90’$ is dedicated to his craft. He also does most of his own graphics. His music drips with that “fuck you I’ll make my own path” vibe that defines some of the greats. Check out the interview below, listen to his tracks, and follow along. This is an artist I fully expect great things from.

It’s the age of information, we’re the smartest generation, and knowing the cold truth brings great amounts of sadness. And hey the world may end by the Yellowstone Volcano, or even the sun might expand and take Earth, BUT AT LEAST MY WHIP CLEAN THO.”

– KOT90s

The intro to your project The Lost, The Love[d] VS The Happy, The Hate[d], “(The Loved),” features audio from the video “My Video for Briona for Our 7 Month.” Is this used in a genuine way even though the video itself is largely shared in order to mock the creator? How does this balance between mockery and sincere appreciation influence the message of your music? Was its inclusion conscious of this dichotomy?

Haha you know what’s really funny? We’ve been working on the “Character Selection Screen” music video for quite some time, and I’ve been actually trying to get that skit in the music video. I don’t know how to explain it without making it sound stupid, but the transitions are really impactful. I wasn’t necessarily mocking him, but I also wasn’t necessarily NOT mocking it. The other name for TLTLTHTH is The Perfect Head-Ass Tape including a phrase that has now become one of my favorite phrases as of recently (Head-Ass) lol. It means corny, a lot of the times in terms of love. I just really wanted to use that video as a sort of vibe setter/comparison to the obsessiveness, and corniness in love in Character Selection Screen. It’s kind of like Character Selection Screen is the music version of that video

In my estimation, the production in a lot of your work is heavily influenced by electronic music. Where does this come from? What inspired you to fuse modern hip-hop production with electronic composition and instrumentation?

I honestly believe that electronic music, and being able to make things electronically, doesn’t have as much limit as every other option. Digital just overall sounds really interesting as well. Also, another factor is I’m sometimes a goof when it comes to producing, and I mess up things. In “//” did you know that’s actually a violin, and not a synth lol? Everyone seems to think it’s a synth because I crushed it so much. Anyhow, I’m straying away from that a lot in the new project. Like I’ve said there’s a lot of live instrumentation that I composed myself that I feel everybody’s going to think I sampled since it’s so professional.

The use of symbols in your name and the names of your tracks seems to allude to a trend I noticed in Witch House and hacker culture. That genre also seems to come through in your production which could just be a coincidence. Did you listen to much Witch House?

I’ve had no idea what Witch house was until now, but it’s definitely something that seems interesting to me now that I’ve searched it haha. I just have a thing about displaying emotion or trying to say what you want with as little words as possible. The more words the more the judgment will be passed. It’s kind of like you’re diving into something unaware of what it’s about. I don’t want to drop any full projects with words in the title. The symbols in my name are symbols that kind of describe the brand that we’re placed there to resemble a comic book font. The cross symbolizes the name I use whenever I can’t use KidsOFThe90’s: “The9Religion””

As I understand it, Witch House artists did this in order to create additional obscurity and make finding them more difficult, the same can be said of hackers. Is this something you also aim to do? If so, how do you rationalize creating a barrier to digital accessibility when one of your goals is fame?

Ahhhh That’s REALLY cool lol. I mean my artist name is KidsOfThe90’s haha I’ve already given up on being found through search a long time ago because I already know there’s like a million other KOT90’s pages. It’s just my duty to bring millions of people in instead of hoping they discover me, or I get discovered. I still remember back when Future first came out, and whenever you searched his name only pictures of a futuristic city would pop up haha.

What’s the significance of your name and your tagline “like we should be…. Connected, you know?”

A lot of people think I came up with the name first, and then I found the tagline. Or another misconception is that KidsOfThe90’s was always just one person. Back in college, I had a production group that was sort of like a mini band. I was watching my favorite TV show at the time, and that’s when the beautiful phrase came out of Queen Nicole’s mouth “We’re kids Of the 90’s, like we should be…. Connected, you know?” while talking to her sister about how she couldn’t get off of the phone. Because even though kids of the 00’s are cool as well, there’s something that connects kids of the 90’s. Just like growing up with N64’s, AOL, and watching classic Cartoon Network lol. 

I instantly knew that’d be the name of the group. At the time I was going under the same rapper name I had been since 2010, but since the band broke up I just decided to drop my old name since it’s just me now. I probably shouldn’t have done that since my old brand was really going somewhere, and I just decided to drop it, and start it all over. Even though I’m still using my old page as the label’s page, it still will never be the same.

You seem to weave between braggadocio and expressions of depression, sometimes even within the same verse. Do you think this is something that’s common for “kids of the 90s” or merely a part of the human condition?

Switching up from braggadocio to depressed? lol I think that’s just a me-thing because I’m bipolar. But yeah we do have the most depressed generation of all time, and that’s not just kids of the 90’s it’s like every kid since 1990. It’s the age of information, we’re the smartest generation, and knowing the cold truth brings great amounts of sadness. And hey the world may end by the Yellowstone Volcano, or even the sun might expand and take Earth, BUT AT LEAST MY WHIP CLEAN THO. Besides there’s no amount of heat greater than a Young Thug track, so we’ll be good.

On Twitter, and in your lyrics (especially “$$” and “??”) you often express distrust in regards to those around you. You seem to project this vibe that you’ll get famous despite those around you. Can you talk a little bit about the personal experiences that have caused you to project this vibe so consistently? How have those experiences influenced your work?

Yeah I noticed I talk about that a lot as well, I’m definitely cutting that down for the new project and talking about other aspects of my life, or at least go into detail. But yeah I’ve always felt that I’ve never had a real life friend that I could trust or one that genuinely values knowing me for who I am, rather than my connections, my job, or what I have. I’ve just never had anyone I could be myself around because 8/10 of my real life friends are business friends (If that makes any sense), and the other 2/10 just don’t care at all about me. But don’t expect any more of those raps because I’m 100% about what I rap, and just like I said in “Nice2KnowU” I’ve officially cut everyone off since January 1st “Alone Pt.2” coming soon lol.

It’s also something I realized today while recording, I talk about my bad friends a lot haha so I’m really going to try to never do that again. “Nice2KnowU“, and another song I have called “Art” coming sometime next week are probably going to be the last songs on this topic. “Nice2KnowU” was a cool song I made that took shots at all of my local friends lol. Like I made it VERY clear who I was talking to, it wasn’t a song that they could ignore, and still try to talk to me haha. A lot of them actually got the shots, while others messaged me right after asking for something even after saying they liked the song. My singing in the middle are words from an actually good friend to me.

In one of your newer tracks you say “in 2017 [you’ll] never leave the house.” What caused you to re-evaluate the way that you approach music? How will this new approach be put into action this year?

That whole verse was actually about a free session that I had offered a friend last week. With all due respect to them, I arrived ready to record after packing up all of my equipment, but I ended up wasting my time. I left after an hour of waiting for them because it’s like I’m an artist too lol. I can’t spend my time being a side-kick, or the just the “engineer” when I can be recording myself all day long, or even engineering for people that pay. I did say I was going to lock myself in my room until I’m done with the EP, and so far since I’ve only been worrying about myself, I’ve pretty much finished 60% of the EP.

I swear this year I’m going to drop a song every month at least. I couldn’t do that last year because I wasn’t focused, it was mainly because I just didn’t have a way to record after leaving the studio. Now that I do have a way to record I feel like there’s no way I can’t win. Also the EP Double Cross (Oasis) that I’ve been working on for almost a year now will be out on my 21st birthday in March lol. I swear this is the greatest thing I’ve ever created. I’m going to try to put some of the music I made in college with some pretty big names on the project. Like I’ve been saying this project is a wave. My production is far better than anything else I’ve put out. The next single should be out by the end of this month.

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Arthur Lunn