Key! has slowly been making a name for himself in the Atlanta music scene. A former member of the Two-9 collective and friend to many of the up-and-coming producers hailing from the South, he has many of the necessary tangibles to break in a big way soon. While he isn’t the most talkative artists around, he does have a ton of personality and seems to be an ambitious artist. He chopped it up with us last week, when he was in New York for some CMJ shows. Check out what he has to say about the “Big Apple”, his departure from Two-9, and performing at shows.
Recently you separated yourself from Two-9, you still collaborate and stuff.
Key: Yeah, because there is no bad blood, there are still my friends.
So what happened, you want to change direction?
Key: I just wanted to chill and be alone; getting on my emo shit.
You just weren’t feeling like being around six other dudes?
Key: Everybody thinks I’m playing, they think I’m going back to Two-9.
Well I mean you started it, right?
Didn’t you come up with the name too?
And the logo?
Key: I ain’t come up with the logo, I came up with the hand sign, but now I throw it down.
How do you like New York?
Key: I don’t like New York at all.
Key: I guess, I don’t like Manhattan.
What’s wrong with Manhattan?
Key: Too much movement.
It’s like too busy for you?
Key: Yeah I like being in the hood, cause it’s chill. I like the people here more than the city.
Where else have you been, Brooklyn, Queens?
Key: I’ve been everywhere.
Oh this isn’t your first time, this is like your second or third?
Key: This is like my hundredth time. I hate it here. I f**k with the people here though.
So let’s get into the Fathers are the Curse. You seem to have something against parents, what’s up with Mothers are to Blame and Fathers Are The Curse?
Key: It ain’t nothing bad, it’s not just straight negative. It can all be explained. Fathers Are The Curse, I feel like you are cursed by your dad, if you are a man. Just to go through everything that he went through, that’s it. I don’t even remember what Mothers is about, it’s been so long.
So you have some tracks on there with your frequent collaborator TrapMoneyBenny and Curtis Williams. How did you guys come up with that album?
Key: Cause I’m picky, I can’t work with everybody. I wanted to produce it at first, but I didn’t have enough time to do it. So, I just stuck with what I knew.
Were you guys just in the studio listening to beats and stuff?
Key: That s**t took a whole year.
From the Time Mothers Are To Blame to release?
Key: So it was like, recording then we would stop recording for three months, then we would record again, then we would record.
Then go on tour and stuff?
Key: I don’t know about any tours. Ya’ll can’t put me in your magazine yet, I ain’t got no tours.
I mean you toured with Dom Kennedy and Smokers Club.
Key: When? (help from friend) That was just one city. I ain’t did consecutive shows, every time they do get a tour and the come through Atlanta, we perform.
I mean, you do have a strong following.
Key: I don’t know nothing about that man. All I see is twitter.
You do have a lot of followers on twitter.
Key: I need more than what I got. I got like three thousand, four thousand that ain’t s**t.
Its independent music, that’s pretty impressive.
Key: Man, Curt got like six [thousand].
I saw you just did A3C and CMJ. How was that?
Key: A3C was hilarious, I only did one show and then I went on Grand Hustle Stage. That show was cool, I was f**ked up, I felt possessed.
Key: By what? Narcotics. Narcotics had me stressed out. That was cool, then Young Thug performed. That s**t was amazing, that was the best show.
And CMJ, what did you do out here?
Key: I did the Players Ball and then something at Santos. The first show was cool, but the second one was amazing. That Players Ball joint was at a strip club.
Weren’t a lot of people on the bill?
Key: Yeah, it was cool, long, but cool. Irv was there, dovie performed, he had the best performance. That one was cool ,it was the coolest show. It had a younger crowd, I hate going to hip hop shows cause there are too many standing or sitting around, looking around s**ts.
I talked to Ceej and Curtis Williams, who said it was hard to rap over their own stuff. Do you find it difficult too?
Key: I rap over all my s**t when I make. I don’t like giving beats out, because I feel like I already have a song to it.
I know you got into the game by producing and then rapping, but how did you originally get into production?
Key: Curt. Curt was like a nerd when we got the first fruity loops, and he left it on my computer. So I just started learning how to use, but when I was making beats, I was rapping with it. I did everything at one time, like the first time I recorded a song, it was over one of my beats. It was ass, probably hyphy type of beat.