At just eighteen, Drew the Kiiid’s latest track feels like an instant summer hit. With his title ¿Como Estas? complimenting Latin inspired tones, the upbeat rap track makes for a fun ride. The young talent brings a rich sense of nostalgia to our ears, telling stories of love and uncertainty in the summer heat.
Coming from a family of musicians in Illinois, Drew the Kiiid’s sound is already so full of flavour, with a style that stays authentic to his playful personality. His nickname ‘The Kiiid’ was given to him during a studio lock-in by his friend Angel Flores, as a tribute to the fact that most of his go-to collaborators are five to ten years his senior.
With so much musical talent cultivated around him, it is no wonder then that Drew the Kiiid’s sound has quickly matured beyond most artists his age.
Produced in collaboration with Niko Keenan, his latest track ¿Como Estas? emulates the feeling of falling out of touch with somebody who you want to speak to again, but you’re a sense of pride ultimately holding you back. Drew doesn’t shy away from admitting this is the direct inspiration for the song.
Starting with easy electric guitar sounds to guide us in, the song begins to pick up some pace as Drew’s voice sings a melody which is repeated throughout. It’s on the nose commentary of young love makes for a feel-good introduction, keeping our attention for the more faced-paced rap lyrics which layer the song itself.
Bouncy and buoyant, it’s difficult not to move along to Drew the Kiiidd’s new single, whose poetic inflexions stay with us long after a first listen of the song. We catch up with him to find out more.
Hi Drew, thank you for speaking to us today! Your new single, ‘¿Como Estas?’ was released last month, can you tell people a little bit about the background of the track?
Hey, thanks for having me. ‘¿Como Estas?’ is a fun, exciting summer track that I wrote while sitting in the laundromat! My friend/producer, nïko, texted me the beat after sending me like 3 others and was like “but… DID I SHOW YOU THIS YET?” The beauty of the melody really caught me off guard and I fell in love with it instantly. He always sends heat and good vibes, but this one really spoke to me and after I wrote the topline the verses just filled themselves in.
Although ‘¿Como Estas?’ is your first officially released single, you’ve got a whole host of tracks on your Soundcloud page going back over the past couple of years. How has your style and approach to music changed over this time?
When I started pursuing a career in music, I tried so hard to imitate the style of my favorite artist and that showed in a lot of my early works. I started off wanting to be a tough, lyrical rapper but slowly started embracing my singing ability more and more. As time passed, I stopped trying to imitate my favorite artists and started using them as inspiration to create a style I can truly call my own.
You come from a musical family, your grandmother being none other than Chicago house songwriter Josephine Brown. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from her with regards to music, the industry, and life?
The best piece of advice I’ve gotten from her was “learn the business!” I’ve carried a business mentality throughout my career and that has definitely saved me from a lot of situations that could’ve haunted me for a long time, but also it’s given me more respect when working with older collaborators and new opportunities.
The visual design for the single is quite interesting, and gives more of a Miami or LA vibe than Chicago. What can you tell us about the design and the concept behind it?
Yeah it is fully inspired by Miami! My muse for ‘¿Como Estas?’ lives in Miami and I met her while living there throughout high school. They have such a rich, Hispanic culture there and I had to pay homage to that with the title ‘¿Como Estas?’, since I’ve created some of my best memories there.
Who is your biggest inspiration lyrically and why? Who is your biggest inspiration musically and why?
My biggest inspirations lyrically are J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. I love their storytelling abilities and the way they flow so seamlessly and unorthodox, respectively. Sonically my biggest inspirations are Jhene Aiko and Smino. Jhene’s voice is so angelic and serene, so I definitely took notes from that and Smino’s use of his voice as an instrument is unmatched.
What is one thing about Drew The Kiiid that people wouldn’t expect?
Most people are shocked when I tell them that I’m only 18 years old because people have told me that my mic presence is so mature and because I’ve done work for Sony, Scooby-Doo, Empire, and Google.
Chicago has been killing it recently in terms of Hip Hop, but what up-and-coming artists from The Windy City would you recommend to our readers?
Definitely check out Saba, Noname, Gwapo FG, Muex, Tapiwa Musimbe, Ezkiel, Jason Ivy, Jay2, Monte Booker, Carly and Martina, Ravyn Lenae, Jean Deaux, and Kari Faux.
What advice would you give to yourself 2 years ago?
I would definitely tell myself to stop trying to be like other artists. Make the music that YOU want to make, not the shit that you think other people would like. You’ve got so much to look forward to so don’t get discouraged and stay on your grind.
What’s next for Drew The Kiiid?
Life has been full of happy surprises, so only time will tell, but the guarantees are that my cool ass nephew will be born in December and my upcoming project, Gradience, will be dropping very, very, soon!
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