KA$HDAMI Interview: Young rapper is ‘paving his own lane’ towards stardom

16-year-old Las Vegas artist KA$HDAMI approach to his craft is simple: “I just feel the vibes.”

With three projects under his belt in #KashDontMiss, 16 and his latest effort Epiphany, KA$HDAMI has his sights set on the bigger picture — focusing on paving his own path as an artist.

The emerging young star has been turning heads since his breakout hit “Kappin Up,” which premiered on WorldStarHipHop in April 2020. After the video’s release, Kash saw his popularity soar when the viral “Kappin Up Challenge” swarmed Tik-Tok for weeks — allowing him to reach greater heights and a greater audience.

He’s heard it all at age 16, as comparisons to the “The Race” rapper Tay-K seem to float by Kash everywhere he goes. However, that doesn’t faze the up-and-coming Nevada native. He invites it, but knows he has something special beneath the surface.

After his debut tape #KashDontMiss, Kash got right back to work releasing 16 on his birthday in December 2020. Now midway through 2021, listeners can clearly see how much he’s grown in just six-months’ time. Strongly influenced by his home base in the DMV, his dark, melodic mix of hard-flowing punchline bars and captivating vocal performances seamlessly slide over Epiphany’s somber yet punchy plugg production — drawing inspiration from the original era of SoundCloud Rap.

The 14-track album reaches a pinnacle on cuts like “Up!,” “Dior,” “Reparations!” and “Wake Up” (featuring ssgkobe), as KA$HDAMI floats over Epiphany’s dreamy beat selection effortlessly. However, the album’s breakout single “Look N The Mirror” earned Kash his highest streaming song to date — with nearly 7 million streams on Spotify and 1.2 million views on YouTube alone.

Also linking with Internet Money superstar Lil Tecca on “I Know,” Kash showed high praise to the IM artist/producer, revealing how the two initially met to create the wavy, plugg joint.

“I love Tecca’s music, like it’s hard as fuck to me,” he said to OGM. “Tecca hit me up — I think sometime last year he had DM’d me because he had posted a little thing where you could put your music over it, and it was like a little meme joint. So, I put my shit over it and he’s like, ‘oh shit you fire.’ I appreciated that, saying he was an inspiration. And from there, we locked in awesome beats and shit. I sent him “I Know” and he was like ‘this cranks.’ So, we had to throw it on Epiphany.”

Epiphany packs a punch for listeners at only 23 minutes long — especially those who have yet to be introduced to KA$HDAMI’s deeper vocal register. As his sound continues to evolve, Kash not only looks to become the “icon” he sets out to be, but also strives to set himself a part from the rest.

HR: What have you done so far since being out here in Los Angeles?

Ka$hdami: “I’m linked with Internet Money right now. I just been recording in their [studio]. We’ve made a lot of hits so hopefully I can get one of them Platinum records. It’s inspirational [being at the Internet Money house]. It’s fun. I gotta get a place like that some day. I haven’t been exploring too much, but I definitely enjoyed the view from up there.”

HR: You’ve been going crazy, right? You’re bringing this like this SoundCloud essence back that fans fell in love with a couple years back. Where do you get the inspiration for your bars?

Ka$hdami: “The bars just really be coming to me. Like sometimes, I’ll think about the most extravagant words, and from there I’ll try and rhyme some shit around it. Or some bars will just pop into my head. Little phrases or rhymes just pop into my head and it’ll stick with me.”

HR: You’re rapping over all these plugg beats, these melodic style beats and you’re getting bars off like crazy. Did you look up to any like lyrical artists, rappers or anything like that?

Ka$hdami: Yeah, that’s actually how I used to rap. I used to rap on some Logic, J. Cole type shit. But, the guy who really put me on to punchlines was Ugly God. He definitely deserves a lot more credit than he gets.”

HR: You went viral very early on Tik Tok and at a very young age. Was there the downside to acquiring all that fame so quickly?

Ka$hdami: “People were trying to place a ceiling on me. Like, you can’t do that like especially when you got to see the potential, you know? I’m saying with the Internet, just got to see the growth. My old shit wasn’t bad, but it’s not to the same degree of my new music. It could still bump, but it’s not to the same degree — and I feel like a lot of people tried to place me in a box over ‘Kappin Up.’ People tried to base my whole catalogue for that… Like if you painted something three years ago and compared it to what you could paint now, would it be the same thing? Fuck no.”

HR: So I want to talk about SoundCloud too, But I want to put a little spin on it. puts you on the spot. RapCaviar today, put out a Mount Rushmore of Drake, Kendrick and Cole and they had like one open spot left… With that said, who’s on your SoundCloud Mount Rushmore?

Ka$hdami: “For sure everybody who makes plug beats. I feel like the producers deserve a big portion of credit. But artist wise though, people who definitely helped advance the sound for me was, Diego Money, Famous Dex, D. Savage and Trippie Redd. This is my personal influences though!”

HR: Who do you want to work with? Who are some people that you haven’t had a chance to link with yet that you want to work with?

Ka$hdami: Definitely Comethazine, he hard. YNB Nahmir, he’s very hard. Cochise too… he’s hard as FUCK bro. I want really want to make some shit with Cochise, man.

HR: It seems as though everything is happening all super fast for you? Do you feel like that too?

Ka$hdami: Yeah, it’s hard to sometimes keep up, you can ask anybody in my circle. Every day is some new shit. It’s some new shit to be like ‘damn, here’s another ‘W.’ And my team is also going crazy. Everybody on my side has been doing everything they can, so I’m really just grateful for the position to be honest.”

HR: I loved Epiphany. I love how you were like it. A lot of the stuff on there has this phase side-chain going through a lot of the verses. The beat selection was really dope to me. IT features Baby Santana; Y’all make some really good music together. I really liked “Up!” was my favorite song off there for sure.

Ka$hdami: “I agree. It’s a very, very good song.”

HR: It was a really different bounce for you. It’s probably the one that I think that sounds the most different from everything else on there.

Ka$hdami: “Yeah for sure. I was just cruising through the streets of LA just listening to “Up!” and it’s just a whole different vibe. Like it really just matches the LA aesthetic, you know?”

HR: Can you explain like the cover art for Epiphany?

Ka$hdami: “I think about my cover art with varying depths, so they’re all connected. If you notice on #KashDontMiss, I’m falling like into the world and I’m in space and all that. That’s my intro: falling into the world. With 16, I walked my shit, you feel me? Even though it underrated, I was walking my shit. Iwas my birthday when I dropped it and I had to drop something on my 16th birthday.So with Epiphany, I’m coming down on my chill vibe; on my calming, angelic vibes. That’s why I’m coming down on the cloud. I’m returning to this earth with some ‘out of this world’ shit.”

HR: How many songs were leftover on the album? And are you planning on making a deluxe or anything like that?

Ka$hdami: “Only if I showed you my Dropbox, it’s crazy. I got like songs from years ago that I’ve never thought of. I got 300 songs probably in total. I’m just going through with Epiphany right, but anything else y’all here has already been through a ‘filter process’ of like 300 songs. So, I’m picking the best of the best shit to be honest. I feel it has to match the timing of it all and everything.”

HR: Has there been like a snippet or anything that the fans have been harassing you for?

KD: “Yeah, this one called ‘I love you.’ [My fans] have been harassing me about that. ‘I love you’ is, I think track 13 or something like that. It’s very hard. That’s also one of my favorites. Like, I can listen to that shit all day. It gives me the same feeling — like ‘Reparations!’ gave me the same feeling when I made it.”

HR: What do you want to accomplish with this this project? What are some of your goals for Epiphany? What do you want to do beyond it?

KD: To be honest, I just want to wake the world up. I want people to start taking me for real. I feel like a lot of people try to to put me in like a box, and I fucking hate when people try to do that. I’m going to surpass that shit every time. Epiphany was really just to wake the rest of the world up, no cap.”

HR: What is your creative process? Where do you draw inspiration from?

KD: “Now, I just feel the vibe. Like however I’m feeling, whatever I’m wearing, I’m about that shit. Your clothes are a big part of it. It’ll be a very literal thing. You can ask anybody, if I was in the store right now, Grey Jordan 3’s on, that’s probably how I’d start like: Grey 3’s on my feet.”

HR: Your songs are usually super short. What is the theory behind these short songs? Why do you go about making short songs?

KD: “Well, I like them because XXXTENTACION put me on to that type of short-song style. It’s just like with ‘Reparations!’ It was one of the shorter songs I made and in that moment, it was like a turning point in my career. Now, all my music is short because when I was listening to my music, I was like ‘bro, I don’t need to add no more to this to make it extra or overcomplicate shit,’ just because people think this isn’t real song. It fucking cranks! I feel like it’s perfect just the way it is. So why add extra shit? It’s like jingles and alphabets? Like ABCD get stuck in your head because it’s short. It’s fun. If it was 30 minutes, how would you remember that?”

HR: How did you and SSGKobe link up?

KD: “Kobe the homie, for real. I found Kobe a minute ago because we posted on this page called ‘Humor.’ I think it was ‘thrax’ is how I found him when it first dropped or maybe it was some of his old stuff. I was like to Kobe, ‘we got to lock in.’ So when I blew up, one of my homies had put me on with Kobe. And from there we made ‘Wake When I had the song, I needed to get him on it because it just seemed perfect for him. From there, just know we made a lot of good songs man. Coming soon.”

HR: I know you’re currently in school. Do you plan on dropping out?

KD: “Hell no, I can’t do that to myself. I have a little bit too much pride. Like, I got to finish but it’s like to what degree? Like, do I have to finish good? Not necessarily!”

HR: Let’s talk about motivation. I saw you speak on Michael Jackson being a big inspiration for you. What motivates you, is it getting that big? If not, what is it for you?

KD: With Michael Jackson, it’s like whenever he would walk into a room, he could make people pass out just when by walking in. I want to sing, I want to do the same shit like that. I want to be an icon, in fashion. I’m cool with people and my music speaks for itself. I want to hit like all angles with that shit. So, I can be like an icon, but by the time I’m like 25 or something.”

HR: There’s a lot of people saying that you’re the next Tay-K. What’s your thoughts on that?

KD: I definitely understand the comparison because we’re both young, but I don’t even want to be the next nobody. Like I said, I’m paving my own lane. I’m doing this my way. I want to take this shit my direction. You for me. So, I’m just playing all my cards — and with everything that I’ve been dealt, I’ll take it from there on my own. I’m not really thinking about nobody else’s path.”

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