Interview: Krizz Kaliko

Krizz Kaliko just unleashed his newest album, Shock Treatment.  As a follow up to Genius, Shock Treatment is sure to continue to cross boundaries and shatter expectations. With a pronounced lighthearted feel,Shock Treatment will definitely bring the party, whether it’s pounding thru your speakers or rocking stages on tour. Krizz Kaliko’s latest release with Strange Music, features the singles “Elevator” and “Stripper Dance”. The album features Stevie Stone, Big Ben, Kortney Leveringston and Irv Da Phenom along with Strange Music labelmates Tech N9ne, Kutt Calhoun, Big Scoob and Brotha Lynch Hung.

The Hip Hop Democrat caught up with Krizz Kaliko last week during  his visit to New York.  He talked to us about his Tour, his inspiration, and his latest album,“Shock Treatment.”


Hip Hop Democrat: What can we expect from this album that is different than past few albums?

Krizz Kaliko: I dunno.  I think I always try to do something different.  ‘Cause you know I do Opera, Pop, Rock, Reggae, R&B.  All these different things.  So, I think just doing that is not enough.  That on this album.  Actually, I probably didn’t do as many of those genres on this album.  I think it is even better though because I was super concentrated on the types of tracks I did do.  Like some of the rock I got on there.  Some of the stuff is a little bit more pop sounding.  When I say pop sounding, I don’t mean bubble gum. I mean it’s almost like my way of, I don’t wanna say fitting in but it’s my way of fitting into the mainstream format.  I would never be all the way super mainstream. I love our fanbase, but I need to grow.  So I need to get everybody’s attention.  So maybe some of this music will fit into their format a little bit more.  Just because of the beats.  You know the hooks are always gonna be dynamite no matter what because you know that’s my specialty.

HHD: So what producers did you work with on this album?

KK: Same dudes. Really, same guys that I worked with.  You know I got a core group of dudes that I work with Michael “Seven” Summers.  Guy named Matic Lee.  A kid named OG, little superstar producer in training.  Young Fyre, who is pretty much exclusive to T-Pain.  You’ll actually start hearing about Young Fire a lot.  Wyshmaster has produced a lot of stuff for a couple of upcoming pop stars.

HHD: How do you go about selecting which producers to work with?

KK: Whoever got the heat, whoever’s got the heat.  It don’t matter.  You know what I mean.  Funny thing is , the dude’s whose names I can drop, I didn’t even use their songs on the album.  Trackboyz and I used a producer named Dow Jonez.  And he produced “We love her, we love her too”- Drake, and I didn’t even use his.  Not that they weren’t hot, I got their beats kind of late.  You know, whoever got the heat, that’s what I’m gonna use.  I’m a true musician, I wouldn’t call myself a singer or a rapper.  I’m a true musician so, I want quality production.

HHD: Being someone with an eclectic sound, where do you get your inspiration from?

KK: I think I’m inspired by everything, everyone.  I’m inspired by Tech.  I’m inspired from everyone from Biggie Smalls to Motley Crew.  John Legend to Drake.  Queen, absolutely Queen.  It’s always hard for me to think of who I am inspired by because I listen to so many people. So much different type of music.  I listen to 80’s pop.  I think the 80’s pop sound is what inspired me to do songs like “Leave me Alone”  You know that texture of voice sounds like 80’s pop to me.  So it’s like I get my inspiration from so many different places.  The science of me coming up with a song, I could look at that plane, or hear somebody talk or use their conversation and use it and turn it into a song.

HHD: As an artist, there must come a time when you experience writer’s block. How do you tackle it?

KK: Walk outside.  I could just go walk around the block.  Especially in a busy area like this.  Just go walk outside and listen to someone’s conversation, pick up a magazine, watch T.v.  There’s inspiration all around.  Lauryn Hill said “Music is supposed to inspire.” You know what I mean.  I listen to music too.  I could listen to other artists.  Not bite of ‘em or anything but I could go listen to some rock music and be inspired to write a rhyme/rap verse. It’s really easy when someone already has a concept for a song.  Then I can just put myself into all of that.  This dude on our label had a song “if you call or if you don’t call” I forgot , about this girl constantly hounding him and he’s out there trying to get money. I got that right here in my head. I don’t need inspiration for that.  I go thru that every day.

HHD: What about the title of the album? I know you were going back and forth with names for while. Why “Shock Treatment?”

KK: Yup.  Shock Treatment I think fit the best because  everything has got to be a shock treatment.  Everything has got to have shock value.  My artwork gotta have shock value.  My music has to have shock value.  My stage show has to definitely have shock value.  Just my everyday appearance.  I look different than everybody else, it already grabs everyone’s attention.  Let alone spike my hair up on the front cover, that’s gonna shock the hell out of people.  People don’t even know if that’s rap.  You look at Krizz kaliko and you don’t know what the kind of music it is.  You can’t tell by name or buy the name of the album or nothing.  It’s all about that shock treatment I’m giving everyone. And that’s what we do.  Me, Tech.  We are to the left type of artists, you know.  I think really is shaking up hiphop right now.  Because we are everywhere.  Gotta give ‘em the shock treatment.

HHD: With the tour coming up, I gotta ask, what’s your favorite song to perform on stage?

KK: Anxiety, because it’s so energetic.  Everybody, Even those people who have never heard it, are into it.  You know I’m singing real soft in the beginning and then it’s got a real rock edge to it.  I feel like I’m a rocker trapped in a rapper’s body.

HHD: Michael Jackson died and everyone stopped to pay their respects. Seeing that happen, what kind of effect did that have on you as an artist?

KK: Oh man. I remember I was driving down Interstate 435 in Kansas City and I pulled over.  Like I had to pull over on this little road.  I didn’t cry.  I just like…sat there.  I was stuck.  Like “MICHAEL JACKSON is dead.” Like, It’s the same one I saw him in concert and person.  I was standing right there.  It just threw me.  We always have Michael Jackson stuff incorporated into our show.  Tech and cut did the cover.  Last year we did the Thriller dance.  In the middle of the show we just broke into Thriller all of a sudden.  If you look at Tech’s killer album cover, it looks like Thriller.  Plus Michael Jackson also had vitaligo. So it super connected me with him because that’s what I have.  Wow.  This dude is the most popular person in the world with the same skin that I have.  So, I took it real personal. Like I knew him.  You know what I’m saying. It inspired me to be like maybe there is a void that should be filled in the world.  I feel like I can possibly do that. Like I don’t know anyone else that does what I do. And I didn’t know anyone else that did what he did.

HHD: Is there any particular artist you would like to collaborate with in the near future?

KK: Cee-Lo Green.  We talk.  I said this a long time ago.  I think probably like six years ago.  Travis, our CEO, asked “Who do you want to collaborate with if you were to ever put an album out?” At that time I was just doing Tech’s music.  I said Cee-Lo Green. He was like “What?” He told Tech. Tech said “Cee-Lo man? Dude from Goodie Mob.” I said you gon’ see.  And now look, everybody knows who Cee-Lo is.  Yea, I’d love to collaborate with Cee-Lo.  And I’d love to collaborate with Alicia Keys.  And I’d love to collaborate with Avenged Sevenfold.  It’s a rock band.  I wish I could have collaborated with Notorious B.I.G. while he was alive. That’s a big inspiration when I rap.  And plus he was a big dude.  Whenever there’s a lot of things I can relate with.  And I can hear it in the music, and their past and I can relate it with mine. It makes me be like,  we’d probably be kindred spirits.  He’s the same type of guy.  To me it’s like their getting inspiration just from living their lives and its something similar to me.  It seems like it would make the creative vibe really good.

HHD: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would you want to meet?

KK: Notorious B.I.G.   ‘Cause I met his mom.  Hot 103, this hip hop/r&b  station in Kansas city, had this gala ten years ago. It was the “Hot 101 50th Anniversary Gala”  and I was seated next to his mother and I talked to her like the whole evening.  We had dinner at this event and talked to eachother.  And she, at the end of the night, I walked her to her car and she told me “You remind me of my Christopher.” I was like ohhh. It hit me in the heart because I was already such a big fan of his.  That’s probably one of the main reasons she said that.

HHD: Can NY Krizz kaliko fans expect to see you out here anytime soon?

KK: Nah, I don’t think so.  It’s not that I don’t want to.  We did one in last tour.  And it was a little light so that might be why.  There’s a flood of rappers.  The more popular that you get, the more people see us.  XXL did a spread on us.  MTV is giving us something.  You’re starting to see strange music pop up everywhere.  I think as that increases, you will see the crowds increasing.  We got love out here on the east, but it’s just that New York City, it’s hard.

HHD: Anything you would like to say to your fans?

KK: Just get that Shock Treatment.  September 14th. I think I do, and this is not being pompous, I do Grammy-sounding music.  When I hear what other people that are nominated, I’m like man, I KNOW I do better stuff.  I know a lot people say “I’m gonna change the game” but they don’t necessarily have game changing material.  That is what THIS is. To me, since I fit in several different genres, I think that’s why I will have longevity.  It’s been a little bit slower to get started but I think it’ll make me stick around longer.  If someone just has one sound, after a minute, it kinda gets played.  But if someone has all these different sounds, if people get tired of my r&b, I can just rap, if they get tired of hearing me rap, I can do something else.  Hell, I can do country. I write country music.  Just buy that Shock Treatment album y’all


To purchase “Shock Treatment”go to StrangeMusic.Net

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