Style Means Vol. 4: Kid Ink – Full Interview
Last week, we released our fourth installment of Footaction’s Style Means series starring Kid Ink. Preceded by G-Eazy, Hit Boy, and YG, Kid Ink joins an elite group of hip hop stars known for their signature style. During filming, Kid Ink, poised for super stardom, sat down exclusively with Star Club to discuss everything from style to his musical influences to his plans for the future. The full interview, picked up and reassembled from the editing room floor, can be read below and will give you even more insight to the psyche of Kid Ink.
On his personal style:
I think my style definitely changes. I might change periodically throughout the day based on certain situations. You have to be comfortable. Everything has its moments. During the day it’s more sports wear, more shorts, sweats, things that are more comfortable. I might start off with some tank tops and shorts and by the time night comes, that’s when there are flashy moments.
Cali and the West Coast has influenced my style a lot. High knee socks has been something I’ve grown up with throughout LA all my life. I was wearing high knee socks when everyone was wearing ankle socks just because that was something that me and my friends were always in to. I’ve watched how that now went all the way to people wearing the dry fit pants under shorts and that’s giving the same effect and look and I’ve seen that grow. Tattoos for me with tank tops and tattoos and cut offs are something that’s from LA just because it’s hot all the time. It’s not something I would have picked up from the East Coast because you can’t wear that all the time out there.
On what he wears on stage:
The number one go to is Jordan 1s because those are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn on stage.
I tried to step my show up to having a theme to it. My theme lately has been like a dark knight/vampire/Dracula type theme so I’ve been sticking to a lot of blacks and longer clothes and layers – stuff that looks more villain-ish. On stage it needs to be something you would never even wear off stage. It’s a show so you want to give people a show.
It’s more of the villain side of things, the vigilante thing. When you see the villains come through with the trench coats – I think that played a part in my stage presence. I feel like the villains are always more fashionable than the super heroes.
On how he got into music:
I got into music first just from it being around me from my mother. My mother was a writer herself and she used to play the piano and sing. I knew how to play the piano to an extent, I knew how to hold a tone to an extent, because those are things she did with us growing up. From there, always having a respect for music and loving the culture. It was later introduced to me by my friends in junior high who were all going to an after school type situation and learning how to produce, write and record music and I was just going there to have fun and be with my homies and it turned into a big thing to where it turned from doing that to bringing it to school and selling beats in school to selling beats outside of school to really becoming an artist and it just trickled down.
On his mindset on and off stage:
My mindset changes from when I’m chilling to “on” probably the opposite of what you think. When I’m chilling my mind is moving faster and it’s going and going thinking about stuff but when I’m on, everything is a little slower and I’m in that moment and not really thinking.
On his style influences:
I have picked apart different things. Whether it be Jay Z telling everyone to wear button ups or everyone in Cash Money running around in white tees and bandanas – even if it’s Cam’ron wearing pink. You pick it and make it your own. I’ve never had an artist wear something and wear the exact same thing. I look at everything and see how I can make it my own. I want to be a trendsetter.
On getting off the road:
I become a homebody for the first week. I have a lot of friends and family that come on tour with me but when we get back is when we actually get to just chill and not work and be our fun selves. We turn up all the time.
To check out for personal health is very important and it’s something I learned starting out this year having such a hectic last year with more than 220 [show] dates. Being on the road and then being in the studio every day I wasn’t on the road and really working as hard as possible – last year hit me as soon as the top of the year started and I found myself almost passing out at shows from not eating and not sleeping well. That’s the kind of stuff that comes back on your body.
On if he could tell his former self a piece of advice:
If there’s anything I could go back and tell my younger self back in high school is probably be a little bit more confident. Back in high school I was a little less confident in certain areas. Whether it be the work ethic side of things or just talking to people in general.
Now I’m a little bit more confident but it was something that was forced with being a producer at first and feeling like I was a lot more behind the scenes. I was a homebody sitting behind the scenes making beats all day and not really in the face or having to meet fans. As soon as I became an artist it’s more of me not only having to speak for myself but then you become the person who is speaking for other people – this movement, your group, and your fans – and they’re responsive about how much your songs meant to them.
You have to break out of that shell after a while.
On his future:
I feel like I see myself in a more comfortable space with the same craft. I don’t want to drift away and do too much outside of music unless it involves music. Even if I’m in to certain things, I don’t want to jump out of my character to be something else. I don’t ever want to be introduced as Kid Ink the rapper slash … slash …
On what he wants fans to know about him that they might now:
Their opinions matter more than they think. I’m definitely listening to the fans and making sure that everything that they’re saying is reflected back towards me because those are the people that I’m speaking for and the people that are going to buy my records and as soon as they get bored with what I’m talking about is when that stops.
On when he knew he “made it:”
There’s a lot of different moment where I felt like I made it. A time I felt like I made is when my family found out but not necessarily money or being successful. It’s when they started treating me like a celebrity – even when people I know aren’t calling me by my first name. It opened my eyes – it’s bigger than just fans now.