On the list of "Top 25 Rappers to Watch in 2014", rising artist Allan Kingdom sat down with Profound's Gaston McGary and had a conversation on some of Allan's present and future pursuits. He's come a long way in a short time and we were interested in speaking with him and seeing where he was headed. We also wanted to get some insight into how the Kanye West collaboration on "All Day" came out. Give a read to the conversation we had with Allan below:
Photo By: Connor Siedow
PA: So first off, for our readers that might not be familiar, can you introduce yourself? Where did you come up with the name Allan Kingdom?
AK: Yeah I’m 21 live in St. Paul Minnesota. Grew up around North of the U.S. & South of Canada. I’m an artist I like to produce, write, rap, sing. Just make songs. I love to make songs. The name Allan Kingdom just came to me. My name’s already Allan and last name already starts with K so it just came together like that.
PA:I know you got into music at an early age but what’s the backstory on that? How did influences from R&B and African music get you into making your own stuff?
AK: Well it mainly started on my own intuition and interest in music. Always writing poems in my notebook in class, drawing, etc. But music was always first. Influences from R&B and African music got me into making my own stuff cause I’d just sing harmonies over a lot of that music or make up words in the spaces. A lot of that music especially African is built on harmonies, or the solo artists unique voice and not so much on runs or flashy vocal stuff.
PA: How has Plain Pat played a role in your overall career?
AK: He’s been a great mentor and role model. Just having someone that accomplished on the ride with you every step of the way helps you to keep going and makes you feel like what you’re doing is actually worth something.
Photo By: Connor Siedow
PA: Growing up in the Northern US and Southern Canada area -- what’s the hip-hop scene out there like? How has growing up in that area really affected not only your overall music but also your fashion? Or has it even?
AK: There is a hip-hop scene here already. It wasn’t exactly my thing really but that’s cool cause it forced me to create my own sound. It’s weird because it has affected my music and fashion very strongly but in the most indirect way. So I still respect and am grateful for the scene regardless cause without it I wouldn’t be the exact me I am today.
PA: Speaking on the scene out there, how did the stand4rd come together? And how do you feel to see people really vibing to your music as a group now?
AK: The stand4rd came together very quickly, but very organically. It’s actually pretty wild because the songs were really made with such ease. I mean we still work hard on putting the project together but the actual creative content is just stuff we whip up for fun.
PA: You’ve said that you didn’t get into rap until the 4th or 5th grade. What’s the first hip hop song or album that really caught your attention and why was it that particular song or album?
AK: Fresh Prince. Lol. There was no hip-hop scene I was old enough to even be aware of when I was in Canada and my mom was def not gonna introduce it to me if there was. But when I seen Will Smith rapping on Fresh Prince he was the epitome of what I thought a dope young rapper looked and sounded like. I guess I indirectly take influence from him to this day lol. But after that it was Andre 3000, Cudi, Kanye, Pharrell, Lupe etc.
PA: You’ve really created a lane for yourself musically with innovative productions and all around dope content. With inspirations like Pharrell, Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Andre 3000, how did you get into your own individual sound?
AK: I just kept making music man. That’s the only key. If this is really for you the more you create the more you should find yourself. I also focus on what the people say they like about me, at the end of the day I believe my music is a gift for myself and to share so I do pay attention to my fans and listeners. Not too much though.
PA: It’s amazing to hear an artist that doesn’t restrict themselves to a particular genre. What’s your creative process like when you step into the studio? Or are you an artist that just work anywhere?
AK: Yeah man I just work anywhere. I don’t really like “studio studios.” But I will work anywhere without a problem it really doesn’t matter. I don’t like a lot of stuff, I don’t like too much equipment, I don’t like a lot of people around me. I usually just step in, and when the write melody is played or the write drum pattern hits I just start writing and recording.
PA: The “All Day” feature with Kanye West I’m sure has been huge for you. First off, how did that come together and how was that entire experience at the BRITS awards on stage?
AK: Yeah it has been huge for me. More so internally than externally. I know that sounds crazy but I feel like it’s done so much for me as a person on the inside than my career even. That all came together so quick and organic as well. It was a series of quick and surprising phone calls over 2 days before the awards. Changed my number last day, got there the day of the awards, rehearsed twice, got styled, hit the stage. I felt like a secret agent on a mission or something lol
PA: What do you have planned in terms of new music. The latest single “Take It Easy” is holding fans over -- but any plans for an album, EP or mixtape soon?
AK: Yup new project coming soon
PA: You’ve got a really unique, organic sense of style. How does fashion play a role in your music and overall creativity? What do you look for when re-stocking your closet?
AK: I look for items that’ll last for a long time, and clothes that I could wear over and over again. Like 3 days in a row and still be fresh, even a week straight if I feel like it. But I like stuff that sticks out too and will look different on someone else even if they get it. I don’t like stuff that looks too much of a particular trend or scene. Idk I switch it up everyday really.
PA: Thanks for taking the time to chop it up with us, fam. We'll connect when your back in NYC!