K Camp reveals the creative process behind music's best club bangers
K Camp's brand of hip-hop is melodic, infectious and hard to avoid. If you've been to a club or tuned in a radio station that plays hip-hop, chances are you've heard one of his songs. 2013's "Cut Her Off" was his debut single and remains a staple club anthem to this day.
He was raised in the Atlanta where much of today's rap is either coming out of or emulating, but K Camp's own sound has more range than a lot of Atlanta artists out of the ATL. His style of both singing and rapping is exhibited best on the extra smooth "Comfortable" which rose to the top of the charts in the summer of 2015. While his singing performances could be compared to the likes of R&B stars like Jeremih or Jason Derulo, K Camp isn't afraid to get in the booth with some of music's hottest rappers. His debut album Only Way Is Up also features T.I., Yo Gotti and French Montana as well as hip-hop veterans French Montana, Bun B and Snoop Dogg.
In the last year, he's released two mixtapes, 'Lyric Ave' and 'RARE.' Yet, K Camp is still exploring new sounds. It's something that comes natural to him as an artist who defies genre and finds inspiration everywhere.
AOL.com had the chance to sit down with K Camp and speak with him about his creative process, his house parties and his musical influences. Check out the full interview below!
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How did you fall in love with music?
BET. MTV. As a kid, just watching my favorite rapper on TV. I'm just thinking to myself, "Damn, I wish I could be in that position and make music like that." Also, my family, my uncles, my aunties, everybody played in a band. My auntie was a singer. It was heavily influenced when I was a kid. My grandma used to always play Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye in the house, all the time. I just love melodies. I wanted to be an R&B singer at first, before I became a rapper. It was always just singing. I think that played a really heavy influence on my life, and I just ran with it. I didn't understand where it was coming from as I was doing it, but I think back. All the little key points, it really hit me, I was meant to do this s**t.
What is the songwriting process like?
It's different. I stopped writing years ago. When I get in the lab, I just go off the top of my brain or how I'm feeling at the time. What I've probably seen that day or if I've got a lot of s**t built up and I feel like it's time to lay it down. If I hear the right production, that's when I can really lay the s**t I got in my brain, but it varies. I gotta be in that mode, I can't just jump in the booth on some random s**t. If I'm not feelin' it, I ain't feelin' it. I don't force nothin' that ain't there. But if I'm feeling it, then that's when you get the magic.
Where do get inspiration for your music?
I'm inspired by everyone around me. Like I said, I can pull inspiration from anywhere. Just being in this little room right here, I can pull a song if it's good enough. I really can pull it anywhere. It's just a gift I was blessed with.
When you write a song, are you spend time rewriting or do things in one take?
Sometimes I might get in the booth and just lay some s**t. At the time, it might sound like the greatest s**t ever. I might come back to it and be like, "Ah, this!" And I'll come back and do surgery, take some s**t out, just try to build around it. But for the most part, I just go in and express. I can record a song in 10, 15 minutes if I'm really feeling it. "Cut Her Off" was made in 15 minutes. "Comfortable" was made in like 45 minutes, straight off a plane, straight off a show, came home and recorded "Comfortable," one of my biggest records.
What was it like recording 'Only Way Is Up'?
It was a new process for me. It's my first album, so obviously it was important. We were really working at the big studios because normally I work at my own studio. I got my own set up, and I create on my own. But with that album, we were in the big studios every day. It was like a collaborative project, my producers in there, different people trying to input. It was a little different for me, but it came out dope. I'm no longer working with those producers. Big Fruit, I'm not longer working with him. Now that I'm doing my music, I got new producers. I'm changing and elevating my sound. 'The Only Way Is Up,' you probably won't here that no more. You're going to hear the same content and same feeling. But as far as the sound, you probably won't hear that no more. Unless, I go back to Fruit and do that. But salute to him. We had a great run.
How was the vibe on your 'Lyric Ave' EP different?
The 'Lyric Ave' vibe was a whole different element. I moved to Cali -- to LA, and bought a mansion. When I moved out there, my whole thought process was like "I need to drop a project." I had been trying to think of a mixtape or EP name in Atlanta, and I couldn't think of this s**t for weeks. I had about a hundred names in my iPhone. It wasn't clicking.
So, when I got to LA, the street we moved to was named Lyric Ave. I saw it and initially thought, "That's cheesy as hell. They gonna think I'm coming on some Nas, Mos Def rappin' lyrical shit." But then, I was like, "Damn, Lyric Ave. That shit just rings a bell." So we ran with 'Lyric Ave.' And everything on that project was current event. From "Touchdown" to "Fuck is Up" to "Lyric Ave (The Intro)" -- just expressing what 'Lyric Ave [EP]' is. To "Hungry N Lurkin'." That whole house was a like a movie for the six months. We got kicked out of the house, by the way, and that was the worst day ever, but that whole time was just like a movie. The six months we were there, that was Lyric Ave. Everything we did, I expressed it on that project. So that it's a staple memory for me.
Do you like living in LA?
Love, hate. I miss home. I miss the city, but I came out for a reason. I gotta stay focused and continue what I came out for.
What was your favorite song to work on for 'Lyric Ave?'
"Free Money" with [Slim] Jimmi [of Rae Sremmurd] because every other song on the project I recorded by myself. The "Free Money" record had gone to another studio when Jimmi pulled up, and it was just wild. We was just drunk as hell, smoking good and just came out with a banger. That boy got hella energy.
How has social media evolved your music career?
Social media gives you a platform to speak freely and do whatever you want. I try not to go too wild on social media. That's the key. I try to keep my life private. I love a private life. But nowadays with social media, it's hard to try to keep your s**t private because the fans want to know what the hell you got going on. So, it's more like a gift and a curse to me. It's a good platform to express yourself and get your music heard and all that rah, rah s**t. Excuse my French.
Do you connect a lot with your fans a lot on social media?
Yeah, I'm always on Twitter, retweeting my fans and speaking to them. I don't really come back to them on Instagram. Snapchat, I'm goin' crazy. My Instagram is like PG. Snapchat, you gotta be 18 or older, like a rated R movie. Twitter is just Twitter. You just tweet, retweet, show love.
Who's been your biggest musical influence?
I don't want to get rappers credit that don't deserve. I've been following Drake's career, for a minute, just the way he moves and changed the game up in hip-hop. He opened the doors for artists like myself with the melodies and rapping. And of course, Wayne for opening the door for that guy. Wayne the GOAT. And Hov, his business mind. And K Camp, I'm always going to say me.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Never let them see you sweat. Don't fold under pressure because the game is a dirty game. And once folks see you weak, they'll take advantage. Big Sean told me that.
What advice would you give to inspiring artists?
Don't do rap. This s**t a headache! But if you really wanna do it, just do it. Can't nobody really tell you no. If you have a dream, I say, "S**t, pursue it." There's going to be a thousand people that tell you no. As long as that one person tell you yes, you good. All you need is hope and faith. And stay consistent, quality over quantity. That s**t's key. If you puttin' out bulls**t, people going to see through it really quick. If the music changes lives, they're gonna appreciate you a lot more
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