In light of the one-year anniversary of Dro Kenji’s ‘Tears and Pistols,’ we take a look into his debut mixtape that seemingly defined our generation’s sound.
Internet Money hitmaker Dro Kenji has been an antidote for fans still healing from the many voices lost within hip-hop in recent years.
Juice WRLD, XXXTENTACION and Lil Peep were innovators of the sound Kenji currently resides in, as the 18-year-old South Carolina native has shattered expectations and continues to rise as one of the new wave’s most gifted artists.
Dro’s growth from just a few thousand Spotify monthly listeners last Fall to over 1 million is a testament to his natural talent. Posting that margin of growth is an unachievable feat for most, but Kenji has proven he isn’t like most other artists. So, what makes him more special than the rest?
Putting out four projects all within a year of his label debut — set to release his fifth in WITH OR WITHOUT YOU — is almost unheard of in today’s industry landscape. It’s relatively unorthodox for an artist to burst onto the scene dropping multiple projects in such a short amount of time. Most artists wait six months to a year before releasing another tape of some sort, however, it’s apparent that Kenji is built different.
After steadily posting singles on Soundcloud over the course of two years, it was evident early on in tracks like “Rob Da Bank,” “Rokstar” and “Knot” that his vocal talent and style would seamlessly intertwine with Internet Money’s sound.
Kenji’s debut project TEARS AND PISTOLS was not only an introduction, but reasserted the mark Internet Money has made as both a rising industry giant and powerhouse production group. Earning Billboard praise with summer smash-hits “Lemonade” and “Mood,” Internet Money also boasts some of today’s most prominent chart-topping artists in Lil Tecca, Iann Dior, 24KGoldn and has helped bolster the careers of Juice WRLD and Trippie Redd.
With an overload of experience in developing hit-makers, IM founder Taz Taylor has seemingly doubled down on Kenji — based on the amount of time he’s taken to build both his brand and sound. Touting hits in “100 Rounds,” “Save Me” “Pop Out” and more, Kenji’s capability of creating a new wave classic was ultimately felt from the start. At 10-tracks and zero filler, each song is a cascading narrative of the young superstar’s emotions.
we shot this cover art in my living room— INTERNET MONEY (@taztaylor) November 12, 2021
we made all the music in the studio downstairs.
classic forever https://t.co/TZaMoz3G7I
His vocal talent flaunts a melting pot of styles that strongly caters to his lively trap-infused production. Sounds reminiscent of emo-rap, hip-hop, pop-punk and even opera in some instances are heard in his candences. Kenji’s content matter on T&P is majorly consistent to the genre he resides in, as his songwriting references themes like drug use and heartbreak. However, he finds balance with catchy choruses, immersive melodies and Post Malone-like vibrato.
“Save Me” was truly a defining moment for Kenji early on in his career. The track oozes influences of Kenji’s current sound, as “Save Me” is the call for help he implores to his lover — begging for her stay by his side. Brooding dark visuals set the scene for him, as the young superstar complements the song with black leather apparel and dark red roses scattered throughout the frame.
After less than a year in the spotlight, Kenji’s music remains instinctively quality. From intuitive hooks to seamless production and airy ad-libs, it’s hard to believe Kenji is just at the cusp of his music career at 18-years-old.
While he continues to fine-tune his sound, it may take some time before Kenji truly sees the fruits of his labor. However, that time seems to draw closer by the day, as Kenji goes up higher with every irresistiblly, catchy hit he conjures.
Watch Dro Kenji’s OGM exclusive interview below!