Last month, Yin and I caught up with Naledge and Double-O from Kidz in the Hall to find out more about how Kidz in the Hall was formed, the new album Occasion, their views on Hip Hop & politics and found out how they like to have fun!
For those who may not be familiar with you both, who are Kidz in the Hall in one sentence?
Double-O: We’re Kidz in the Hall. We’re fucking awesome. And we’re here to take your women!
Naledge: We’re ordinary men with unordinary social skills. We’re like social superheroes!
Naledge: If being able to make people like you, got you rich. Solely just on being able to make people laugh, making people enjoy themselves. We’d probably be billionaires! We’re not super-duper rich, we’re not super-duper broke. But we have a lot of fucking friends, and we have fun. Everyday. We got this social power to make people fancy us…and give us money…and buy us drinks.
Tell me about how you both met and how you came to do your first mixtape?
Double-O: We made our first mixtape like four years after we had already known eachother. We met when he was in high school, and I was in college and he came up for a recruitment visit. I heard him at this talent show and I was like “this kid is very dope for seventeen years old”. Right after he graduated, he came out and met me in L.A. He had this idea for this mixtape, “The College Graduate”. There had been a bunch of people around, but then we realised we could really rely on eachother. When I first met him I was a manager, a producer and I had a partner that was an artist and there was another three singers and two rappers!
Is that why your called Kidz in the Hall? Cos of the large group element?
Double-O: Nah, not even. It’s Kidz in the Hall because we were similar in High School in that we were those guys that were smart enough to manipulate the system to do what we want to do, not what it was making us do. But still, at the end of the day we still got straight A’s but we’d be cutting school to go to the city to go and buy fake Rolex’s and stunt outside school like “yeahhh look! Got this Rolex”!
Naledge: Everything we do is tongue in cheek. But it’s still powerful!
Yeah I read about the track you did for Obama’s first campaign! What do you think about artists and political movements – for example the whole Occupy Wallstreet/Kanye + Jay-Z fiasco
Double-O: I’m pretty sure Russell Simmons set all of that up. I mean its a funny thing to be them, I don’t know what it would be like to be them. Cos essentially they’re the enemy, but really understand what it’s like to be at the bottom!
Do you feel Hip Hop artists, for that reason, have a responsibility to get involved?
Double-O: No I don’t think that at all. I think your responsibility lies with who you are as a man or as a woman or as an individual. This is art and I hate when people try to force art to be something it doesn’t wanna be! I hate when people are like “they should be this and this should be like this”. And it’s like why are you trying to control my expression. Sometimes music gets separated from the art conversation but it really is art as much as anything that you see painted on the wall.
Naledge: I don’t think people have to use their platform to push somebody elses agenda. But at the same time I do think with large amounts of money comes responsibility. If you have large amounts of money and you’re not helping others then to me, this is my personal opinion – there’s something inherently wrong. Even if you’re just helping your family members. That’s getting more people through school. That’s getting more people jobs and opportunities. And that’s one thing I’ve noticed in America, in the black community is often we don’t even help our own family members, and we don’t even have strong family ties sometimes. And to me, that’s where the core of it starts. With Occupy Wall Street it’s like come on this is just a publicity stunt, you know its not real. For example with Kanye, its like alright usually you have a knack for showing up at cutting-edge, avantgarde things but is that the point? Just to say you were there? It needs to be sincere and they might have been better off by just fucking giving money away to some people than actually being there!
OK so what have you been up to since you’ve been in London?
Naledge: Since we’ve been in London we’ve been doing a lot of press, and a lot of partying!
What was the best party you went to?
Naledge: After Yo-Yo shut down and we were there just drinking.
Double-O: We just had our own party till 4 or 5am.
Are there any artists over here that you’re feeling, or would like to collaborate with?
Double-O: I’d like to get a fucking song done with Sway that we’ve never gotten done before, that we’ve been tryna do for the past three fucking years (laughs). You know like Sway’s always dope, I love Estelle, we’ve got a track with her and we always ready to work with her again. Marsha is fam, she lets me use my fake British accent on the phone with her and one day it’ll get better. We always like to work with people that a) we click and are cool with and b) you know we can enjoy! I’d like to fuck with Tinie Tempah if it comes up. I love a lot of the producers, like Nero, and Caspa and Chase N Status. Like there’s so much dope stuff coming out of here.
Would you ever rap over a Dubstep track?
Double-O: Oh we already have one. Well it’s a heavily influenced Dubstep track that was on our last mixtape. But I like a very specific type of Dubstep cos I remember when Semtex was in New York and he gave me the first like Caspa record and the first Benga record and it was such a different vibe. Like the Dubstep that is taking over New York is a very glitchy, very aggressive sound. I like a lot of stuff that is more soulful. Cos to me a lot of the roots of Dubstep, and a lot of the roots of most UK music is always very ethnic like reggae, dancehall or even afro-beat kinda vibe. And I like those things that still have those references but are soulful. I don’t like it when it becomes inorganic that it just takes away the vibe.
Like a club track?
Double-O: Some club tracks are great. Like I love Swedish House Mafia. But their records make me feel good. It’s a different thing to something that he [Naledge] likes that might just be wobbling all day! He’s from New Orleans. But that’s it. One day we’ll get Sway!
And finally, tell us about your new album Occasion, what’s it like?
Naledge: Oh man it’s a fun time! Its 24 hours of drinking champagne (with a straw) and just having a fun time! Its like everything good, in life, just all happening at the same time. That’s what an occasion is about anyway! Its like when you go to that restaurant and that dish you order all the time comes perfectly. Its when the people you meet get there on time. Its when that buzz never gets killed – but at the same time, you never get blackout drunk! That’s what our album is. It’s like just ridiculously fun, and energetic and positive! And I think that’s what we aimed to do with Occasion. More so than me tryna go in and prove that I’m the best rapper, I wanted to more so prove that I have something to say to make people happy. We provide the soundtrack for what you guys do and I think that we created songs that you can play while you’re in the shower, that you can play on the way to the club, that you can play while doing homework, that you can play while rolling a blunt. But the mantra is to be happy, and take lemons and make lemonade. And don’t look at what the next person has, look at your own goals and aspire to reach them and be happy with you’ve already accomplished as well.
Double-O: Yeah it’s about appreciating all your stuff, cos if you don’t have a positive attitude going into all those things then you’ll never really be able to enjoy it. And if you’re constantly worrying about where you aren’t, then you’re not going to be able to appreciate where you’re going. So that’s what it’s really about you know like he said just being happy and enjoying those moments.
Naledge: Carefree. That’s the thing. If you ask like 9 out of 10 people, they say “Oh it’s my bachelor party I wanna have fun and let go”, or “It’s my birthday I wanna do something I don’t normally do”, it’s like why don’t you do that everyday. Everyday you should wake up and feel like I wanna that I haven’t done and accomplish something new. To be different and get different results, you kind of have to go where you haven’t been before.
You can purchase the new Kidz in the Hall album, Occasion on iTunes here, and check out the video for the track above.