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Rapper KYLE joins the “New Hip Hop” talent pool

2015-06-08-1433751527-6103693-kylepic-thumbLet me introduce you to the rapper who vehemently denies that he sounds anything like Drake — and honestly he’s got a good point. KYLE has been making waves in the hip hop scene, working with producers DJ Carnage and The Cataracs, all while spitting thoughtful lines revolving around his personal life, the hip hop industry, and what he is searching for in his future. Rapper KYLE boasts a storytelling nature that lets you know exactly who he is and where he is coming from, a trend that is slowly gaining steam in the hip hop world as a whole.

KYLE’s full-length release, Beautiful Loser has gained fans in a multitude of people (including fellow rapper Childish Gambino), for his fresh approach to lyrical content and of course, for his comparison to a few other heavy hitters in the industry today. Musically, some of his melodies and vocals are a bit repetitive; however his lyrical content more than makes up for this lapse by creating unique hooks and one-liners that make the listener reevaluate the common values of your typical hip hop scenarios.

For example, what could possibly be his most popular track, “Keep It Real”, creates an almost tongue-in-cheek definition of the popular phrase that is constantly thrown around in the hip hop world. KYLE takes a literal and deeper approach to the phrase, while also giving a glimpse into his personal life, rather than candy-coating the term into a “cooler” diluted version of the truth. Just take a listen to the track by itself, then watch the video for the full effect; it’s as if the meaning of the song pops right out at you, and the surprise ending to the video is deep and alluring in a way that makes you realize you’ve been truly listening the entire time. It was not what I was expecting at all from the music video, and when I told him how surprising the video and its meaning were for me, KYLE agrees that it’s something he’s heard from his listeners.

“A lot of people say the same thing. “, he explains. “It is a real personal story and it is a little bit of acting. They hear the song and they kind of get the message, but at the same time it sounds normal to them. But then you see the video and it actually makes sense why it’s called ‘Keep it Real’.”  The central theme of the song seems to float around a very important topic in the hip hop world, and as KYLE put it, “Money is not always what’s important.”

With his lyrics and musical style, KYLE offers more than the typical; in fact, he gives his listeners a glimpse into “the life” without masking his own personality and without segregating himself from the average Joe fan. A self professed “video game dude”, KYLE shakes off the online blogs who call him out as being a nerd, and instead simply accepts his guy-next-door status — if the guy-next-door also happened to be one of the most interesting young rap talents today.

He’s not out of reach, nor out of touch, and this dedication to who he truly is reflects widely in his music. He’s mastered the art of being an extraordinary talent and a typical male all at the same time.

And much like the typical 20 year-old male, his perspective on love and relationships isn’t quite humble — tracks like “Oceans” features the lyrics: “Bring it to my bedroom baby, I bet we won’t sleep at all.” And dance-themed track “Love For You” goes even further into that young love mentality as KYLE raps, “When it comes to sex do you do it the best? If not, I might move on the the next, though. Think about that before you give it a rest.” But this bravado only makes him that much more human, as he opts for relationship advice and flirtatious advances in lieu of the typical sexification of women in hip hop.

These lyrics, in my opinion, make him only more relatable to a generation that already sees a thin line between lovers and friends and moments and forever. But with any creativity comes criticism, and KYLE even admits that the critique he has faced can be more brutal in the hip hop world than with any other genre.

“I think hip hop sometimes, more than any other form of music, has a real bad stigma of: ‘if you don’t do your music a certain way, it’s not real hip hop.'” He points out that his musical tastes are vast, and therefore will reflect in the style of music he creates. “I like to experiment with a lot of different genres… and I think that because of that I’m really not afraid to make any type of song.”

The weight of criticism seems to roll easily off of him, and perhaps it’s because of the current growth in hip hop as a genre. Artists are slowly stepping away from a rigid definition of rap, and stepping into new territory as acts like Macklemore and The Weeknd are helping to pave the way for a variety of different styles and subject matter. KYLE is no exception to the rule. When he further speaks on criticism, he adds, “The only criticism I think I’ve ever faced… is that sometimes they think my sound can be too alternative or too pop or too this or that.” But once again, he seems unaffected by negativity and almost vows to continue on this path on which his musical tastes have taken him. “It’s not selling out or anything, it’s like, this is the actual type of music I listen to… and I’m inevitably going to make.”

Though he’s only 20, he has a serene knowledge that can only come from experience, proving he’s already learned and grown quite a bit since his earlier days rapping under pseudonym K.I.D. KYLE admits to touching on a few serious themes in Beautiful Loser, simply because it comes with the territory of growth. “I did write a little differently. I think what happened is I’m just growing up, you know?” He’s referring to the whirlwind of an early career, which includes over a million views on his music video and a big move from his home town to downtown.

Perhaps working with a close circle of music veterans such as DJ Carnage and the Cataracs also helped to add a bit to his wisdom and growth? And the wisdom is heavily apparent, as I had to constantly remind myself that he is only 20. However, he admits his playful side will most likely always be dominant in his music.

Related: DJ Carnage is hitting Harrah’s Rincon Casino

“A lot of themes…just matured. It’s not like I switched what I wanted to talk about, it’s just I’m naturally living a different life now. But at the same time you’re always going to have ‘Sex and Super Smash Bros’. Some of that is still going to stay the same.” He’s referring to what is probably one of the most energetic and animated tracks off the album, “Sex and Super Smash Bros”, a tune that’s catchy, flirtatious and fun-loving, while sampling in the video game at just the right moments of the song.

More evidence of this fun-loving and intriguing playfulness can be seen and heard in “Bang” — the video is a clever and comical ode to a famous scene from the movie Friday.

“It’s not to make fun of it, it’s just like a shout out to that whole movie. That scene is funny. We can’t make fun of a funny scene!” He says between laughter as he explains the mentality behind the video.

Other songs on the album include even more witty commentary on his personal life — “Love For You” is smart line after smart line, and “Fruit Snacks” is a unique ode to the good life. I forgot to tell him during our interview that I had fruit snacks that day and saw it as a good omen for our talk, but I did get to ask the video gamer side of rapper KYLE what was possibly the toughest question of the interview: Favorite video game franchise.

“Favorite video game franchise? That’s really tough! I love Final Fantasy, but I think I was too little to fully understand it, but it kind of blew my mind. Obviously the Grand Theft Auto franchise is fucking legendary, but also Elder Scrolls is really tough, I’ve been playing those for awhile. But I have to give it to Elder Scrolls.”

He writes plays, he writes rhymes, he plays video games — and if his music isn’t on your mind after listening to Beautiful Loser then you may need to check your pulse.

You can check in with KYLE on his Facebook page, his Instagram and his Twitter for more updates on his ever-growing music career, and the west coast can see him on his first ever headlining tour this month. Check out his website for all the tour dates — and if you’re in San Diego, head to Porter’s Pub for an up close and personal live show this Friday.

DJ Carnage comes to San Diego’s Harrah’s Rincon Casino

Don’t have plans this weekend? Then you must not have heard about the multitude of dance and hip hop acts that will be in San Diego. Please make sure you don’t miss out on any of these great times; you don’t want to be that friend come Monday morning, do you?

Friday August 23rd: KYLE at Porter’s Pub

A fresh new talent in the hip hop world, rapper KYLE is heading off on his first headlining tour and stopping in San Diego on Friday. His quirky and playful approach to music makes his latest album, Beautiful Loser, the perfect mixture of songs to dance to. And if you’re not a good dancer, you’ll be more than entertained with his lyrics alone. Don’t believe me? Check out this interview I did with him for more proof of his awesomeness. (All Ages Show, For tickets, click here.)

Saturday, August 24th: DJ Carnage at Harrah’s Rincon Casino

The DJ who brought you the inventive and unique genre called “Festival Trap” never disappoints, and Saturday will be no exception. The fact that he’s performing at Harrah’s Adult Swim Saturdays means you can make a day of it — so bring your 21+ friends for a little gambling before dancing away at what is sure to be one of the hottest pool parties this weekend in SD. This DJ is creative and has already put his own personal stamp on the EDM world, making him an act you just don’t want to miss. (21+, For tickets, click here.)

Sleeping Giant Music offers new recording possibilities in San Diego

studio-header-SGM-sleeping-giant-music-the-indie-sdContinuing to place its stamp on the SD music scene is Sleeping Giant Music, San Diego’s only licensed music agency, who just launched a premier recording facility following their open house on August 21st. The grand opening featured tours of the state-of-the-art facility and even prizes to win free studio time.

Designed by SGM co-founders, Freddie Hard and Mike Beltran, Auralex Acoustics and Professional Sound and Music, this has been a long standing dream for the music industry veterans.

“We book over 350 shows locally a month and all these artists were working out of their home studios. We realized there was a demand  for a recording studio with a professional quality live and control room,” said Mike Beltran.

For more information regarding control room and live room specs, along with studio rates, please visit www.SGMstudio.com.

Sidewalks were made for serenades: Just ask John Cusack

This is a little mini post. I am turning over a new leaf with this website. I, being the owner, Stephanie. By the end of this post, I am going to need your help.

For those of you who have ever wondered what it would be like to have your own site dedicated to the music scene of San Diego, I have one word for you: Exhausting! That’s the first word that comes to mind, but trust me, that’s not the only one. I can also say that this site is fun, inspirational, and even downright surprising at times. Through hard work and dedication one can get so much done, and see so many things, and I’ve definitely done that over the year.

But there’s a problem. There’s a big stain on my site lately and I’ve been totally lacking in elbow grease. Let’s say that my inspiration is the elbow grease — so you get my drift. I got too roped up in all the opportunities that this site brought about and I worried too much about pleasing everyone else. I realized that at the end of the day this is MY project, and thus I have to start thinking of it in that way.

I thought long and hard about all of the things that bring me inspiration, and I thought about all of the articles I have posted on the site over the course of the past year. Yes, it will be a year on November 21st, since I created my dot com. I know it’s a little too soon for New Years-like nostalgia, but just stick with me for a moment. I thought back and I realized that I had the most fun, the most inspiration, while working on two projects. The first was a piece I did on my friend’s project, Immovable Objects. I sat in the studio with Matt Gagin and his friends, and I learned so much. I witnessed their dedication and talent, and I got to dive right into their musical world. It was enlightening to be let in on such a process.

The second thing was the shortly famous Streetside Sessions. My most views ever on this site came the day after I posted that video. I remember I could hardly contain myself, as I kept having to push back its debut date on the site. I just wanted to share it already! Not only that, but being on the streets of Bankers Hill, listening to a San Diego musician play their songs for their entire neighborhood to hear, was magical. I watched people come out of their balconies to sip a cup of coffee and just listen and admire. I watched passerbys stop to ask insightful questions, and one person even offered a tip! To say that the project was a success would be a severe understatement.

Those were my two favorite moments of theIndie SD, ever. Now I invite you all to help me turn over a new leaf.

Help me help musicians, local musicians, people who want to share their music on a street corner, or conduct an impromptu concert in a park. People who want to genuinely share their love for creation and art. Tell me which bands you think should be a part of something like this. I seriously want to know.

And more so than that, tell me what you want to see on a local music site. What do you not want to see? What kinds of things have you always wanted to do with the San Diego music scene? I know it sounds like I’m just stealing your ideas, but what I want is everyone to have the chance to be a part of this. Music is a community event. It’s something to be shared and experienced, whether you play an instrument or not, whether you sing like an angel or croak like a frog. Consider all of you guys and gals, all of you out there reading this, cordially invited to be a part of it. Come into studios. Sit down with others and learn about their music. Head bang at local music shows. And yes, listen to some great, amazing musicians, playing on the streets of San Diego.

Because at the end of the day, I get absolutely nothing out of this site, no money, no fame, nothing — except fun. I’m profiting off of inspiration. And I want to share the profits with all of you. Here are more than a few ways to reach me, there’s also a comment form, and please don’t be shy! This isn’t just my music scene. It’s all of ours. And we all get to be a part of this creative process, don’t we?

The very first Streetside Session

“PLEASE do this more often!”

That was only one of the many things that were yelled out at pop-rockers Social Club, as we filmed for the very first installment of Streetside Sessions. If you don’t know what a Streetside Session is (or you can’t guess from the extremely obvious title), then hang tight, because a video will be around here soon. And when it does get here, you’re welcome to swoon and ahh at the brilliance that is performing on the streets of San Diego. To say this shoot was fun would be an understatement. The day was spent in Bankers Hill and included balcony-spectators, rolling compliments, and even a five dollar bill from the window of one woman’s car. Drive-by donations, anyone? The video isn’t here quite yet, but in the meantime, enjoy some behind the scenes shots of the shoot.

I know, I know, we are such a tease.
Click photos to launch full-screen.