This interview has been updated to reflect the official release of ‘Lost In Here’ on all DSPs — which was only available on SoundCloud prior to Aug. 5.
Stemming from his five-project run in the last year, the Internet Money prodigy has quickly become one of the most resounding voices of our generation. Simply put, he hasn’t missed since his 2020 debut TEARS & PISTOLS, as his new 8-track tape is admittedly his best and most multifaceted effort yet.
While the mixtape is a precursor for his sixth full-length album ANYWHERE BUT HERE, Lost In Here is a further testament to Kenji’s quest to supply more cinematic tracks to his catalog. Gifted with a knack for narrative and god-given vocals, the 20-year-old South Carolina crooner lets the music speak for itself on Lost In Here — continuing to cultivate a “timeless” discography consistent with the new wave’s signature sound.
“This project I feel like is going to ground me more into what I’ve already been working towards. Even if I drop this s—t and it does nothing, it’s still going to be apart of my catalog regardless. When people listen to my music and look at my discography, I want it to be timeless, like you could always go back to this s—t. I feel like this project is a clear step and when I drop ‘ANYWHERE BUT HERE,’ it’s going to be crazy because of that. It’s like some big boy s—t. It’s a body of work.”Dro Kenji to OGM
Featuring fellow rising stars in DC The Don (“SO WHAT”), Mike Dimes (“STEP BACK”) and Jasiah (“MARS”), Kenji ultimately commands each track with greater poise and versatility as compared to any of his previous LPs. On the early fan-favorite “BONEYARD” and other contemplative cuts in “EUPHORIA,” “LIE LIE LIE” and “ONE TIME,” it’s apparent that Kenji has evolved at a faster pace than most. Divulging that “MARS” was his initial favorite from the tape, the relationships Kenji makes outside of music evidently affects the fire he sparks in the booth.
“All my artist friends are just my homies,” he said. “I feel like it’s real important for y’all to catch a vibe so y’all can really work together and get to know each other better.”
Banding together a group of tight-knit collaborators, Kenji’s EP is filled to the brim with instantly catchy cadences and ear-worming beats, courtesy of his right-hand man Census, Earl On The Beat, Cxdy and more. “MARS” is perhaps the most intuitive and experimental record on the entire project — feeling as if you’re floating to outer space off the back of Dro’s droning vocals and Jasiah’s meditative sing-rapping. It’s a gorgeous switch-up from the EP’s intrinsic emo-rap offerings — unraveling Kenji’s ploy to bring something completely “different” to the table this time around.
“So this one was a little different. I’ve been on some photograph shit when it comes to cover art. I was doing a lot of illustrative stuff before, but I’ve been switching it all up recently. I’m really excited for the ‘tape tape.’ But, this is still exciting in the sense of there’s songs on there that I’ve been sitting on for a minute. Only a few of them were older than this year. These ones are really special to me because I’ve been focused on making my songs bigger and sonically better — beautiful music.”Dro Kenji to OGM
Lost In Here’s sonic beauty lies within Dro’s willingness to take his emotive, euphoric soundscape to new heights altogether. Full of variety and back-and-forth flows, it feels as if Kenji is calling out from the depths and darkness he resides in — climbing out of limbo and into the spotlight yet again. Love-torn quips are Kenji’s forte, but Lost In Here continues to showcase the one-of-a-kind rockstar’s essence to the fullest.
“Enjoy the music. Listen to it with open ears,” he implored to fans. “Take what you can from it. Don’t listen to it with one AirPod. Both headphones, turnt all the way up. ANYWHERE BUT HERE is coming sooner than soon.”
Listen to Dro Kenji’s ‘Lost In Here’ below!