Kam Robinson Interview

In this exclusive Music Mondays Interview Rei Low sat down with a creative known as Kam Robinson and they discussed everything from new projects, inspirations, their creative process with music and much more in this insight into a very passionate artist.


Rei: How has the process of recording your new album gone?

Kam: My process is always changing, and the hardest part is the final edits and wrapping it up. It's what people are going to hear, but I’m caught in a lull. I think I need time away and then let it be mixed and mastered. As far as collaborating, I work with people I trust, but with new people, not every engineer is going to sound good with an artist. Mixedbyali is one of the people I love.  

Rei: How did you initially connect with your producer, DJ Grumble? He’s a PhD right?

Kam: Yea he’s a PhD Chemist who’s been making beats for 10-15 years. Player pro is his daw. It’s like this weird piece of software. https://sourceforge.net/projects/playerpro/ I heard about him in highschool, and we stayed in touch. When I was in Atlanta, he was in Boston, but for college during my freshman and sophomore year I went to St John's. He took me to the For Your Eyez Only tour, and I met the Dreamville artists through him. We collabed in Astoria, Queens and camped out and recorded for hours. Like with Don't Kill My High- 187 takes. I was trying to get it right. I don't try to punch in, and it takes away from the essence of rap. I'm not trying to knock it, but I try to do a take straight through.

Rei: A major theme of your first album is coping with failed relationships and depression; how did you maintain the mentality to record through negative life experiences?

Kam: I wanted people to hear the music so bad. It's so fulfilling sharing an intimate project like Mood Swings. People tell me they're trying to get through tough times, and they practice my music in their everyday life. Even though I was going through it, I wanted to share it with the world. Being able to write your- being able to rap- is a gift. Especially in a way that is artful and sounds good and about shit that matters. It's cliché to say everyone raps about the clichés; do something different. So something you like and is impactful. Authenticity is what draws people in. Things I go through other people go through. There's 8 million people on earth who go through the same things as you. 

Rei: What is your process for writing lyrics?

Kam: It's weird, I like to let it come to me, opposed to sitting down. I can't do it if it's not there, but if I have it going on a roll it can get so easy sometimes. It's like a math problem. I love playing with rhyme schemes- like internal and external rhymes.

Rei: What does a Kam Robinson type beat sound like?

Kam: Gotta have a rich sample- definitely sample based music, but also the drums don’t have to be there. All I need is a simple loop, tasteful sampling is the centerpiece of the beat. I like the fact that it was already there. Nothing is new under the sun. You're drawing from history, you can take something with a certain sound and then it's totally different.

Rei: Describe some of the albums of your childhood, who introduced them to you, and what associations do you have?

Kam: One of the most important albums to me is Graduation. I lived in Australia with my mom- being the only black kid, I wasn't accustomed to it. I was the only black person for miles, and I remember listening to Barry Bonds dribbling around the Pittwater House. That album was so black to me, and I was the only black person in Australia. I grew up with Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, and Lauryn Hill. My biggest influences are Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, Kanye, and J Cole and they all made me want to rap really badly. The way they rapped showed me there was a place for me. Rap about being yourself. 

Rei: What are the themes or sounds that you notice keep repeating themselves on your new album?

Kam: I feel like a sense of being lost. When I think of this new album I feel I’m in an open space with handcuffs on, being free but also trapped. A common theme is that I shy away from greatness and change. But new stuff is on the horizon, and the paradigm is shifting. 

Rei: How has living and going to school in Atlanta influenced your new music?

Kam: I've kind of put myself in a shell the last year and a half, I like Holy Rain and Wiz Kelly, they're super talented- my favorites down here. Wiz is like underground Mach Hommy. He’ll spit at you with the vicious kind rap. Also, he's done a few tapes with his dad Khalid Salaam https://open.spotify.com/track/3ukIYuywHOW7uCDTEEKWKe?si=5cc3b66f914b4914 Holy Rain is like artistic melodic rap.


Rei: How does anime influence your music?

Kam: One Piece, as it becomes mainstream, there's a sample of a One Piece song of what I'm into called Nami’s Theme. Animes are just crazy, like Code Geass- it's basically overthrowing the government. One thing I've been grappling with every monster is based on a real person. I’ve been reading berserk- basically the demons are people that have so much pain that they are willing to get rid of it, get rid of the pain and become a demon. One piece- there's so many arcs that are supposed to be anecdotes for real life: where one of the fishman leaders was on his MLK shit. A human fucked him up but he refused a blood transfusion from them but didn’t fight them. It's art.

Rei: What have you drawn from Kendrick Lamar?

Kam: He’s so real. There's something about artfully saying something with layers. You have to listen multiple times. And his voice, he's a big inspiration.

Rei: Why should people listen to your new album?

Kam: The growth is that the sounds are a lot more varied, and my rapping is better than a few years ago. The way I express it is more nuanced. That's what will make people appreciate it more. Being inside a lot, I got caught inside. These last two years have been very quick. And I'm ready to put out music again. It gives you more avenues to explore. It can be anything you want. 

Follow Kam Robinson: www.instagram.com/ksrob99/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y%3D 




Written By Rei Low: twitter.com/_rocktimist