Before IAMKeynotes became a buzzworthy new artist in today’s Hip Hop, he developed the grit for the business different than most. After happily serving our country for eight years, the rising star has a story to tell and with catchy raps, unique subject matter and more, the world is undoubtedly ready to hear it. Making the new artist one of the hottest new artists of 2020. But who is he behind the bars and hooks? That’s what we are here to discover. These last few years, the rapper has made a breakout presence with popular songs “Whip” and “That’s My Dawg”. Now wanting to be a most sought-after artist, IAMKeynotes recently spoke to The Source about his past transgressions and why he is destined to be the next big thing in Hip-Hop.
How did you come up with the recording name, IamKeyNotes?
Well honestly, it started off as K Smoke back in 2009 lol, I primarily used to rap. I started to sing and I hated that name, so it went from K Smoke to K Notes to Key Notes, with Keyon being my first name it was almost a no brainer. Iamkeynotes is my name and also a statement, it also eliminated searching issues.
How did the military prepare you for the music business?
Being in the military gave me discipline, not only that, but it also taught me to be a punctual person and to complete everything I start. It also helped me make better decisions with so-called opportunities. I don’t ever make rash or quick decisions without calculation, which saves me from scams, wasting my money on unnecessary services that some companies or people like to offer. Mostly because I have something to back me up and stand on if all fails, I am very logical and realistic this doesn’t happen overnight.
What were some disciplines you adapted from the military to creating music?
I create music of all genres, and I create music that creates a vibe for the consumers (fans). It gave me a new outlook on how I organize my words and foul language. Military personnel hear my music and will continue to hear it, and I want to be able to take full pride in every word, whether good words or bad. So creating a vibe for them has been the answer to that. There is also the dedication factor, being in the Army is a very time-consuming job and it is also a lifestyle. I have learned to work 10 times as harder than the average artist because I have no choice, if I slow down then I will never reach my destination. Regardless of what is going on, I’ve learned to accomplish my mission in making it to the top competing with the best.
Do you remember when you first fell in love with music?
I honestly was never musically inclined growing up. I fell in love with music the moment that I learned I had a talent. I had to study up on it and play catch up as an adult believe it or not.
Do you find relief and therapy inputting your journey throughout the military into your music?
Actually no lol, it is very hard and stressful doing both. I make it a point to be the best that I can be with all that I do. With that being said, I put 100 percent into both the military and music and that’s what makes this difficult and more of a hassle like job.
Growing up, who were some of your musical idols and why?
Well, my favorite rapper was always Cassidy growing up. The freestyles and music he made molded me into Key Notes. Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Avant, Omarion. All of these guys had something special, I studied their music, their dances, and performances. These things gave me what I needed to aim for myself.
Describe the importance of teamwork in music?
Teamwork is everything, a lot of artists say, “I did it on my own”. I always disagree with that statement, no one can do this on their own. It takes relationship-building skills to do this and it takes solid relationships for your teammates to hold up their end and really play their role.
Describe your style as a writer and performer?
As an artist, I like to create vibes and I love wordplay. I like to do and say things that I know will be repeated but I want someone to ask how, or what made him say that that’s dope. Fast-paced melodies that stand out to the point that everyone knows that’s Key Notes. As a performer I really focus on sounding good, I want my audience to know this is all me and that I sound like my music live. I really can sing.
The best song you’ve ever created, in your opinion?
I would say Rainman. That song is very creative and has an undeniable concept. I created a character (Rainman), that is on call, to take care of any woman’s sexual needs no matter the situation. Rainman is something like a hitman jiggalo (laughs).
Who are some of your current musical inspirations?
Now I would say the same artist mentioned earlier, but I have to add in Drake. He always implements relevant factors that everyone can relate to, and the melodic sound makes it that much better.
What are some traits you’ve learned from trial and error in music that the military didn’t prepare you for?
I was never prepared for how harsh the music industry really is, how many people are just out for the money, or are just plain stupid. Some people don’t really want anything out of life but they will step into your life hoping for a quick come up with no work ethic. I wasn’t prepared for the long nights that completely added up to nothing, like meeting for an important studio session with the engineer and someone well known in the industry, and the engineer did not show up. I’ve spent countless days and nights dealing with complete nonsense and drama. Lies, Jealousy, etc. I wasn’t prepared to actually get popular, being popular comes with a lot of perks, but it also comes with many downfalls.
Tells us about the producers you’ve worked with that really help elevate your sound?
Dorshae out of my hometown in Virginia. We have been doing this for 10 years together, 5 years taking it extremely serious though. She helped me create melodies, vocally trained me when I wasn’t able to sing as well. Juke Box Bully out of Hampton Virginia, although our relationship was tarnished by stupidity and lies, I can’t leave him out. He created Rainman and a few other tracks, I wouldn’t be who I am if we hadn’t met. He is a very talented engineer, songwriter and producer.
The best advice you’ve received in the military and in music?
Don’t Give up
Describe your competitive nature as a songwriter?
I am competitive with myself, each song that I create has to be an Upgrade in some way form or fashion. I have to have good wordplay, I won’t be satisfied with a song until I do.
What can we expect from your music for the rest of 2020?
Nothing but great music.