Los Angeles' Kid Ink — real name name Brian Todd Collins — may have perfected one of the best formulas for accessible hip-hop that fits into the mainstream without burning bridges with the streets. Listen to his albums or hear a song of his on the radio and you will recognize it immediately: find some great melodies, and run with them.
Kid Ink's approach towards music has worked out ideally so far. He is a few years shy of his 30's, and has already tore into the charts with singles such as “Time Of Your Life” and “Bad Ass,” broke iTunes records, and played successful shows across the globe. All because of the scientist-like approach he takes to his sound. Some rappers take a technical, intricate approach to constructing their bars, Kid Ink makes sure the whole picture and production is well-constructed.
“I've never been one to write on paper, ever,” he says. “I had a point where I was writing on my phone, but then it got to a time where my phone was dying and I couldn't really rely on it or I would write verses and the phone's dead and I had to wait for the phone to charge to finish the song. It got to an annoying point where I forced myself to write a little bit like I did when I first started writing, looking up to people like Biggie and Jay Z and Weezy. When you hear people don't write it it motivates you to think you could do it too, and I feel like I kind of started writing, and then became lazy, and started writing on my phone and then kind of forced myself back to just going into the booth and just having fun and letting the initial thought come across and reviewing it all and see if anything needs to be changed.”
This take on music was something that came out of his initial years as both a producer and just a normal music fan, and it's something that he feels developed naturally. Since he was in his teenage years he was working on something artistic, whether it was drawing or producing beats. He covered his body in tattoos because of his affinity for that type of art, and he makes music for a living because of his connection to hip-hop.
Kid Ink is on a path to becoming one of the west coast's biggest crossover and chart-friendly rappers, and along with his show at the Observatory this weekend, he is also working on more material to dominate the airwaves in the near future.
“I just dropped the EP Almost Home which I felt like was my summer soundtrack I put together to hold my fans over while I work on the album, which I hopefully I can have done and finished by the end of the year. I feel like I'm going back to the independent grind I had before the label deal and doing a lot more features and street records and videos.”
Now, with the combination of the major-label backing and the force of his own hustle, chances are Kid Ink's melodies are something we all will be hearing for a long time to come.
Kid Ink performs tonight at the Observatory, 8 p.m. For more show info, click here.