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November 16, 2016Feature

Kirk Knight is the production mastermind behind many of the tracks released by Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era collective. In recent years though he has picked up the mic himself. We caught up with the rapidly ascending artist to talk about his disdain for social media and how it often leads to depression

Kirk Knight’s production influence is far reaching. He’s worked with the likes of long time friend Joey Bada$$ and Smoke DZA, as well as making beats for his own project ‘Late Knight Special‘ last year.

For a relatively young man he’s insightful when it comes to discussing important issues like mental health and self realisation.

Below is a conversation we had with him about the damage being done to people by social media, as well as his unselfish reasons to have a successful career. We caught up with him ahead of his appearance at the Abelton Loop event, Berlin taking place between November 4-6.


I read somewhere that you’re building a legacy not for yourself, but for your kids. I thought that was quite interesting. When will you feel you’ve reached that legacy? What is it that you are aiming for?

Well in my head it’s not about being the best rapper. I just want to be one of those creators that inspire other creators and the masses, not just music but any aspect of creativity.

I just feel like I want to be one of those dudes, those creative heavyweights, that can have an input and really make a change through their records, through their songs, through speech, through politicking, or whatever, you know what I’m saying?

I want it to get to a point where a person hears me and might reconsider their actions because they know I have so much experience in that field.

What was it that made you decide on that unselfish legacy?

Well because I’m really selfless bro, to be honest with you. Like at the end of the day my mom could live the rest of her life on vacation if she wanted.

The same for my kids, so they don’t have to live any of the bullshit that I went through. I had to go through a lot to get to this point. But I don’t want my kids to think that everything is given to them in the world either.

I’m a workaholic, I have tunnel vision. I don’t really have no stop or chill button. I feel like at this point I’m not even working for myself, I feel like I’m working for my kids because I work so hard I don’t even get to enjoy or celebrate my accomplishments, so I guess my kids are going to instead.

A running theme especially in your latest project is the idea of fulfilling your potential. Why has that become such a big part of your musical content?

At the end of the day you can be an artist with the most potential and never blow up. Why? Because you’ve never stepped off that ledge. That’s why I feel like in ‘Late Knight Special’ I’m not amplifying, I’m not stepping on the gas on the potential that I already have. With music and stuff like that, I’ve just been redesigning my mind and attack on certain tracks. So people listening can be on the same vibe I’m on.

I know you’re vocal about the negative impact of you know social media and technology and the effect it has on people’s social skills, do you feel you’re fighting a losing battle and people are always going to be buried on their phones from now on?

Oh yeah, it’s over. Like if you lose your cell phone you won’t talk to your friends for weeks because they don’t know how to contact you. At the end of the day we’re relying so much on technology.

We don’t even look up, we don’t even look at the sky any more. Social media along with ads and pop ups are just a distraction from reality, from what’s actually going on.

It’s just like overload. Even with music dropping so frequently, it drops and you forget about an album instantly. Everything is being said really fast and we’re all trying to digest it.

Yeah, yeah. A sad sight at the moment in a crowd is that sea of phones just recording the show. Is that a depressing thing for you as an artist?

Yeah it’s a depressing sight to see because at the end of the day it’s like nobody is looking at the show. They’re not like listening to the show, they’re literally just watching you move as a human and trying to record the fact that “oh my God I saw Kirk Knight”.

Instead of enjoying the show and be like, “yo, I saw Kirk Knight”. You know what I’m saying? It’s a different ball game.

Any other new artist come out, it doesn’t even have to be popping. People will automatically pull-out their phones and then when they realise it’s not somebody then they put their phones away.

Everyone wants to catch that moment with their phones and not with their eyes.

Would you ever call the audience out and say put your phones away?

I was thinking about that but that’s probably when I get really big as fuck.

It’s going to be one of those concerts with no phones. Certain cities I don’t really care about phones because the town is boring anyway. I’m talking about the towns are lit as shit and they’re still on their phone? It doesn’t really make sense.

I understand if a place doesn’t really have people come through, they can take as many photos as they want. It’s the cities that have a culture and have everything I don’t understand.

Do you think that relationship with technology leads inherently to depression?

Yeah because you’re always looking for gratification through the internet. Imagine a beautiful young lady that loses lots of followers out of nowhere, right? She is beautiful and shit but just the fact that losing all those followers, she would question it and think she’s ugly as fuck? Stupid shit.

It also leads to depression because you’re aimlessly on the internet. And especially when you are a rapper and you just looking around and shit, you’re like damn I wonder what motherfuckers saying about me on the internet, YouTube and all that shit.

You’ll read a comment that’s going to throw off your whole day.

If you’re a strong-minded person the internet is ok. There are so many people on the internet who talk shit just to talk shit. Like it doesn’t mean anything, they just comment “fuck your mother!” or whatever and they don’t even mean it.

You seem quite open about talking about mental health issues, I was talking to Erick The Architect recently about this too. A lot of hip hop artists aren’t that open, why are you?

Well because I was in a fucked up situation for nine years, mentally and physically. My physical life around me was fucked up and the situation that played in my mind as a kid…

Imagine if you had the shittiest week and you’re starting to feel like there’s other people who get the one up and not you. And to me it was happening on a consistent basis. The reason why depression leads to more depression because you’re starting to think negatively about everything. You start reincarnating negativity into your life, you feel me?

Negativity feeds off negativity. Positivity doesn’t feed negativity. When there are two negative things happening at the same time, it becomes one big ass negative. When there is a positive and a negative thing happening at the same time, it becomes a positive. You focus on the positive.

All you got to do is be positive and then move how you do in your own way. Other people like to look at other people instead of making your own shit. That’s why I feel depression happens because you’re thinking about why that person is lit, why this person is this, why this person is that. Instead of going through yourself and figuring out what you have to do to make yourself ultimately happy.

You’re battling with yourself because you don’t think you’re worthy of that happiness. It’s a lack of self-confidence. They don’t feel like they belong anywhere, so that leads to depression.

You need to start projecting who you are. Like if that’s who you are, nobody could stop you.

Kirk Knight is one of the many talented names involved in the Abelton Loop event taking place in Berlin between November 4-6. Click here for more information on the event in Funkhaus.

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