Name: Kirklandd

Growing up, what drew you to hip hop? Where there any artists or aspects of the scene which inspired you?
When I was 12, my cousin introduced me to Lupe’s first Food & Liquor record. That record single-handedly inspired my creative direction and songwriting style. After initially believing hip hop was confined to superfluous, infatuated lyrical content, that record showed me everything that was possible beyond this.

How have you seen the hip hop genre / community change over the years?
The hip hop genre has expanded so much in the sense of production, and that’s something that inspires me more than anything. Artists like Raury blending elements of folk with hip hop, for example. Drawing reference from other genres to constantly create something sonically unique is the greatest and hardest challenge as a rapper now, but it’s crucial for longevity.

To you, what defines Australian hip hop?

What do you think lays in the future for our local scene?
International recognition the likes of which we’ve never seen.

Is there anything in particular that you and your music seek to achieve?
Leading on from the diverse production I mentioned, that’s probably the most defining thing about my music. Cam and I constantly seek to incorporate elements of soul, funk, EDM and alternative music to create a broader soundscape. Faded, for example, is an anthemic trap project, but to make that more musically rich, we recorded seven live electric guitars to form the bridge section. It’s challenging these genre boundaries that I hope people will come to expect from my music. Also, truth. Nothing I write will ever be a facade.

How did you come to submit your track to the WVS Next Gen Competition, and what was your thought process while waiting for the results?
Faded was my first entry into the trap genre, and I was excited to see the response from a label so well acquainted with this sound. I wanted it to speak quality to people like the team at WVS, and I’m humbled that it did. My Melbourne homies suggested I submit it and the rest is history.

Tell us a little about the track you submitted:
Faded explores the darker side of embracing your vices; for me in this instance, getting faded. Being in this state is never a completely positive experience, so I wanted to create an anthem that explored this authentically; the lows and peaks of getting high. It’s my hardest track to date, but it certainly doesn’t glorify drug use the way rap so commonly does. It’s more of a balanced portrayal.

How did you feel when you were announced as one of the winners out of 120 entrants?!
Incredibly excited to perform with the rest of the class. Faded is our strongest track live, period, and I’m excited to see the response.

What are you most looking forward to at the WVS Next Gen Showcase?
Man, to me Jose Halftime had the hardest track on the compilation, period. I got a real Boldy James “Moochie” vibe from it, and it was dope to hear something so street come out of Aus. I’ll be lit when that goes live.

How do you see independent hip hop labels like WVS making a difference in the Aussie hip hop community?
They’re drawing attention to the right artists. Personally I feel a big divide between commercial Australian hip hop and the innovation in this booming new wave so many artists are a part of. Slowly but surely we’re bridging the gap, and labels like WVS are the pioneers of this this gradual transition of quality hip hop ascending in the industry.

Which other up and coming hip hop artists do you think should be on everyone’s radar?
Um, Masego is my shit lately. Listen to Loose Thoughts. Also Genesis Owusu and Imbi the Girl. It’s looking like a giant 2018 for the fam.

Tell us about what you’ll be doing next!
Working further on my first EP. I’ve just spent a month in India writing the early concepts of each track, and I’m invigorated by what I’ve come back with. Cam and I will be putting forward a totally unheard sound on this project, and I’ve got a serious surprise in store for the first single later this year… stay tuned.

Head along to WVS‘ first annual NEXT GEN Live Showcase, featuring 11 of the best up and coming hip hop artists from around Australia.

25 Jan, The Evelyn Hotel, Fitzroy. 

Tickets are FREE! For more information, or to RSVP, click HERE.

Jessica Jade
Elijah Yo
Mike Wang
Kid Pharoah
Jose Halftime
Figuero Jones
Vic August

Plust special guests:
Kwasi x HFNR