Producer/emcee Kwame stops by Ms. Drama’s show for an exclusive interview to talk about his music, his new label, his sneaker obsession, working with Lauriana Mae and Wiz Khalifa jacking his style.
Catch the full interview after the break.
00:00 Ms Drama Intro
01:53 My Girl’s Got A Girlfriend – Ray Lavender
05:31 Tequila – Ray Lavender
08:23 Ms Drama & Ray Lavender
20:33 We Love – Ray Lavender
23:48 Strip – Ray Lavender
26:30 Ms Drama & Ray Lavender
40:29 Worth It – Ray Lavender
44:14 Ms Drama & Ray Lavender
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THE UNFORTUNATE THING ABOUT RAP TODAY IS THAT IT’S VERY COOKIE CUTTER. EVERYBODY HAS TO ONE UP EACH OTHER WITH SAME THING… THEIR IS NO INDIVIDUAL STYLE. THAT IS SO CORNY TO ME.WHEN I WAS A KID RAPPERS WERE INDIVIDUALS. NOW IT’S ABOUT WHAT CLICK YOU’RE WITH NOT ABOUT BEING INDIVIDUAL.
THE FEW RAPPERS THAT I APPRECIATE ARE INDIVIDUALS. LIKE ANDRE 3000, KANYE WEST, JAY-Z… THERE ARE A FEW RAPPERS THAT MAY RISE TO THAT RANK, BUT HAVEN’T DONE IT YET.
IT’S FUNNY WHERE A WIZ KHALIFA WOULD HAVE TAKEN MY HAIRSTYLE, BUT A YOUNG KID THINKS IT’S A WIZ KHALIFA THING. IT’S NOT LIKE WIZ KHALIFA SAID THAT HE STARTED IT, BUT THE FACT THAT HE HAD ENOUGH SWAG TO PULL IT OFFAND OTHER KIDS WANT TO FOLLOW HIM NOT KNOWING THEY WERE FOLLOWING HIM FOLLOWING ME, I THINK IS COOL.
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As a child, Kwamè was inspired by Stevie Wonder, Lionel Hampton, and Abdullah Ibrahim, who were family friends.
He was 16 when he released his debut album Kwamé the Boy Genius featuring A New Beginning in 1989, which was produced by Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor. A New Beginning was his backing band and Kwamé was one of the rare emcees at the time to use a live band. The album spawned the singles “The Man We All Know and Love” and “The Rhythm.” The accompanying music videos featured a polka-dot motif in the costumes and production design. This was to become Kwamé’s trademark and started a hip hop fashion trend as fans began wearing polka-dotted clothing. In 1990, his second album A Day in the Life: A Pokadelick Adventure was released. It was a concept album about a day in the life of a high school student. The album spawned the hit singles “Oneovdabigboiz” and “Ownlee Eue. “Holland is a cousin of Vin Diesel, who danced in some of his early music videos.
in 2002, Kwamé reemerged as a music producer nicknamed “K-1 Million.” He worked for many artists such as LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige and Dru Hill. In 2004, he had a major success as the co-producer (with Eminem) of Lloyd Banks’ smash hit song “On Fire”. In 2005, he had even more success with Will Smith’s single “Switch”. He continues to work steadily as a producer and has since returned to using his real name.
New R&B/Hip Hop singer Jamie Jones started a form of introduction to Kwamé’s production by whispering “Shhh, Kwamé did it,” which can be heard on Fantasia’s song “Not the Way That I Do” from her self-titled second album, Raven-Symone’s fourth studio album, Jesse McCartney “Makeup” from his album Departure, and recently, Skillz with “Sick,” from his album The Million Dollar Backpack.
Kwamé has scored scenes for the film Step Up, as well as Step Up 2 the Streets, Dancing in September, and Stomp the Yard. The song “Let’s Go,” featured on Step Up 2, is unavailable on the internet, despite the thorough searching of many fans.
To date, he has produced and contributed to records selling over 30 million copies.
Kwamé holds music workshops for children and has worked with various youth organizations, including his wife Tamekia Flowers Holland’s non profit Hip Hop 4 life.
In 2008, Kwamé launched his independent record label Make Noise!!!! featuring Rockaway Queens NY rapper Beyond Belief and NY/LA/MIA based Female rap duo Nola Darling.
Currently Kwame is still touring and scoring music on Vin Deisels’s episodic directorial Debut “The Ropes” Produced by FOX and is Crafting the “sound” for Atlantic Recording artist Lauriana Mae. Both set to release mid 2012.