Interview: Kings Konekted – Class, Corruption & The Campaign

Kings Konekted garnered a cult following among fans and hip hop luminaries alike with their 2009 pre-album release Trails to the Underlair. Looming at the edge of the underworld’s shadow, Kings Konekted are now passing off copies of their debut EP The Campaign under a jacketed arm: six tracks of street corner discussions and heavyweight production by Stricknine, Prowla and Trem.

Kings Konekted Campaign cover

aahh: The Campaign is a relentless 6 track appetiser to the highly anticipated full length album Corrupted Citizens, due later in the year. Did you think it was important to get some new music in to the hands of the heads before the new album was released?
Kings Konekted: Definitely, we had already recorded most of those joints & written to them a year or so before, so those particular tracks weren’t really fitting the cohesiveness of Corrupted Citizens in terms of the sound. The E.P seemed the perfect solution for something in-between, and once we heard those 6 tracks together it sounded correct. Trem, Prowla & Stricknine on the production blended like a fine wine.

aahh: How would you describe the tone of the brand new EP?
Kings Konekted: It’s a very concentrated and controlled overall sound. We wanted the sound of the campaign to compliment the lyrics and their approach. It’s a very serious sound. A lot of time was put into the mixing and mastering of tracks to match the raps precisely and to emphasize certain bars.

aahh: Tell us a bit about the production on the EP and who you worked with?
Kings Konekted: Well the lead single “Repertoire Strong” was handled by me (Stricknine) and the rest by Trem & Prowla who have been Class A family since 2005, when I was doing albums with Thirstin Howl and MF Grimm. Trem helped a lot with the mastering and 2nd opinions on the MF Grimm LP (2007), as did Prowla, who also dropped a beat on that album. Prowla actually did a remix for the lead single/12” “5 Finger Discount” from the Thirstin Howl III & Rack-Lo album I did in 2005 as well. So they have been watching and helping the boys craft their music since they came on board, and it was pretty much decided from day one that they would be involved and we are all forever grateful that they are.

aahh: Emcees featured on The Campaign not only include the super talented Brad Strut and Lazy Grey, we also see an appearance from US artist MF Grimm. In your own eyes what was it that these artists brought to the release
Kings Konekted: Each guest brings the correct product to the table, most of the guests had our verses to reference the tone. It definitely provided a lot more versatility to the overall sound. And again – Lazy, Grimm and Strut are also considered family with us, so even though they are feature MC’s and feature producers on this EP they are all part of the crew and you can expect to see us working closely in the future.

aahh: The video clip for Repertoire was cut with the track Good Blood & Hand Shakes, what was the concept behind that decision? 
Kings Konekted: The concept for the clip arose as to not having decided on a single to release. Strick came up with the idea based on an old clip from GZA (Wu Tang). He did the same and used 2 tracks in one clip (Shadowboxing/4thChamber). That clip in turn gave birth to the idea that we could maybe blend two tracks. Originally we only planned for it to be a promo, but once we started brainstorming, the idea with a storyline was incorporated and it grew from there. We approached Heathen Steelburg to help with the camera work and capture our ideas. It really just fell together in our favour.

aahh: Tell us a bit about how you all became involved in the hip hop scene?
Kings Konekted: We had all been playing & listening to rap since early primary school days, though our (Culprit & Dontez) first encounter with the Brisbane scene really came about through the graff writers. We’d herd Lazy’s “on or off tap” later in 2000 which really grew on us. Other writers & crews were talking about lazy doing shows in Brisbane so some of our older brothers took us along and that’s were it all really started. We had no ambitions of being on stage at that time.

aahh: Can you give us any details on the upcoming album, Corrupted Citizens. Will it follow in the same tone as The Campaign EP?
Kings Konekted: The CC Album is a matured version of our original sound. It is definitely a different tone to that of “The Campaign”. It’s deep, its funny, its intense, its vivid & somewhat a lot more versatile. It’s a documentation of Culprit & my life through the last ten years all on one album. It touches on a range of emotions and is geared for our listeners to relate. We have put everything we had on every verse, every beat and every aspect of this album.  

aahh: You’ve recently signed to Class A Records, home to such artists as Thirstin Howl & Rack Lo, MF Grimm, Chino XL and more. What does it mean to you as a crew to sign with a label that has quality artists such as these?
Kings Konekted: To be on board Class A is an honour. It’s an important move who you work with and we’re happy with how were progressing. Quality music is our priority and we all correspond with that. We certainly work at different paces but we all stay focused. There is a lot of expectation to live up to both under the name Class A and Kings Konekted, and we don’t let it slip our minds.

aahh: You recently played ‘Stand Up’, in your hometown of Brisbane. What was that like?
Kings Konekted: Stand Up was an indicator of growth amongst the Australian scene. The crowds now are from all walks of life, which we think is  a positive. The Scene needs to go through this period in order to grow. The night for us was a true success. All respects to the organizers (469 Underworld) for making this happen. It was an honor to grace the stage with so much talent. Tom Thum is a maniac performer who really shines when he is live. Lazy Grey just gets better with age, a true master of ceremonies, he was so clear and precise you can really see his experience in vocal control. We were lucky enough to open the KK set with him & that’s a moment we won’t forget!

aahh: Will we see some vinyl coming out of the Kings camp soon, and how viable do you see the vinyl industry in Australia? 
Kings Konekted: Vinyl is definitely happening for the E.P that is being pressed as we speak. We should have more details over the next few weeks which we will announce via and our social networks etc. Vinyl at present seems to becoming popular again, even JB Hi Fi is asking us for vinyl now, it’s a pleasure not many are willing to part with, its done a complete 360!

aahh: Speaking of vinyl you guys worked with Trem on his FTTOHNL record. What was it like being apart of the select few artists who got up on that record?
Kings Konekted: To be honest it’s still sinking in. It was really just a blessing, Strick had already established connections with Trem and he had sent him some of our demos. Trem was very realistic with his feedback which lifted us to push out better verses. He was hearing our progression over the years i guess and we got stronger lyrically and live. We later got to meet and that forged a friendship. It’s crazy to think we were young fans going nuts on the early LC stuff and are now working so closely with him.

aahh: Do you guys expect to tour the country with the LP, and if so where would you guys like to take the record?
Kings Konekted: Well we have locked in a few more shows for June/July. We are playing in Brisbane again with Masta Ace & Marco Polo (Sat – June 15), and we are also playing in Melbourne with Brad Strut (Fri – July 12) which will be a massive double headliner! And we have almost locked in another headline spot for Sydney (Sat – July 6). And we are still waiting to hear back from Trem about a full Aus tour with him which will be amazing for all involved. But that hasn’t been confirmed yet…

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