King Myers Discusses Upcoming Debut LP "Kingology," Working With Rakim
Exclusive: The Bumpy Knuckles apprentice and godson of Rakim talks about making his mark on the game at just 17 years old, having a hit on YouTube and the details of his debut album.
Most 17 year olds don’t have already flourishing careers. King Myers, however, is the exception. He won silver at a local poetry contest when he was 10 years old, and since then, the Suffolk County, New York native has already made several professional music videos, performed live and is CEO of Urge Music, his own independent record label. As a child, his godfather, Rakim, would bring him on stage during performances to let him soak it all in. It’s something Myers doesn’t take for granted, confidently noting that these experiences helped get rid of his nervousness.
Today, King Myers has just put the finishing touches on his debut LP, Kingology, due in stores on November 2. The album features veteran emcees like Rakim and Bumpy Knuckles, as well as Fred The Godson. The album boasts a wide range of beats, ranging from classic breakbeats to slow-tempo, chopped-and-screwed tracks. “I want everything to have a completely different sound, and that’s what I was trying to do with the album,” said Myers, during a recent phone interview with HipHopDX. “I wanted to make sure it was very diverse so all people could feel it.”
During the interview, Myers’ drive for success became notable quickly. He’s a very mature teenager, and he’s realistic about his prospects going forward. “Right now, basically I wanted to focus on getting my respect first rather than coming up in hype,” says Myers. Check out what else he had to say about growing up around Rakim, making music, his plans going forward and much more below:
HipHopDX: My first question is what’s your relationship with Bumpy Knuckles and Rakim?
King Myers: Bumpy Knuckles is like... I call him my uncle. I met him last year, I was performing at an event around my neighborhood, and after my performance, I went and got off stage and I met Bump and everything. We had a good connection, he told me to call him uncle. So ever since then, I’ve just been calling him uncle.
And Rakim is my godfather, actually.
DX: Alright. So did you grow up with Rakim around you?
King Myers: Yeah. Growing up as a kid I used to go around when he performed and all that. He brought me on stage...I been around a lot of people. He kept me around that vibe, that music vibe.
DX: Word. You never got to be around Eric B. were you?
King Myers: No, I never even met Eric B.
DX: Alright. If you’re on stage as a kid with Rakim, you’re definitely exposed to Hip Hop at a young age. How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a rapper?
King Myers: I was around ‘bout 10 years old. But I been writing poetry- before I ever really started rapping, I was writing poetry. I always play with words for some reason. But at around like 10 I started rapping on beats and stuff. My teacher entered my poems into a poetry contest in the county and I came in second place. So I don’t know, I think that started my buzz that made me want to rap.
DX: So after that, when would you say you seriously started making music?
King Myers: The first time I went to a studio, I was like 12 years old. My father [brought] me to a professional studio for the first time so I could get a feel of how to actually use the real studio equipment, so I could get used to being around that.
DX: Right. And you laid down a couple tracks?
King Myers: When I went to the studio I only did one song. The title of that song was called “This Is My Story,” that was the first song I ever recorded in the studio.
DX: Nice. So how old are you now?
King Myers: I’m 17 now.
DX: Considering your age, how do you feel about the progress you’ve made thus far in the game?
King Myers: Right now, for my age, I think I’m doing a lot better than a lot of people, considering my age. Because of what [Rakim] did for me, I would say. Because he [brought] me around that crowd at an early age. This is how I’ma say it: Rakim took away my nervousness. He took away my nervousness as a kid, and he helped me to be what I wanted to be.
DX: When you say he took away your nervousness, do you mean like, when you were on stage you got to see what that was all about?
King Myers: Yeah. Like, as far as being in front of thousands of people and just being around those kinds of people. He took that nervousness away.
DX: Last year you dropped “Summertime” with Reek Da Villian and since then, the video has gotten over 50,000 hits on YouTube. Between that popularity and you being CEO of Urge Music, your own record label, are you the only one calling the shots when it comes to your career?
King Myers: Um, I would say most of the shots. Like, I come up with a lot of the ideas and I put in a lot of work into it. But my father... I would say my father is somewhat like my manager too. So he helps me with that, but he doesn’t call too many of the shots. He helps me as far as like, financially and all that stuff. But a lot of the ideas I come up with, I make sure I speak to that, because those are my ideas. I don’t want to speak to anybody else’s ideas, ‘cause I want to be proud with what I came up with.
DX: True. As CEO, would you say your priority is your music, or are you interested in bringing other artists on board as well?
King Myers: What I do... see, I always listen to other artists’ music. A lot of people come up to me and ask me to listen to their music and all that. And just like, sometimes in my spare time, somebody puts their music out, sometimes I’ll listen to it. But mostly right now, I’m just dealing with myself.
But I started the label and everything, so after I feel like I’m complete with working on myself as much as I needed to, then that’s when I start bringing other people around and making it like a group label type thing. But as far as right now, I’m just focused on myself.
DX: How long have you been CEO now?
King Myers: Like a year.
DX: Alright. The upcoming project is Kingology. Can you tell me a little bit about this album and what it was like to watch your first album get made right in front of you?
King Myers: Kingology. I’ve been working on that album for almost- I would say almost two years. But recently I just came up with the album title. I just been recording the tracks- I’ve been recording a whole bunch of tracks for the album. It’s been a special process, but it’s also a fun process, because I got to work with Rakim. A lot of people can’t say that, a lot of people my age can’t say that. I got to work with Bumpy Knuckles on the album, I got a chance to work with Fred The Godson. A few people that people my age would definitely want to work with so I would say that this album was a big accomplishment for me.
DX: You have a release date for it yet?
King Myers: Yeah it’s gonna be out on November 2.
DX: November 2, all right. The lead single is “Around the Way.” What’s the reception to that track been like?
King Myers: I put out “Around The Way" on May 31. I decided to put that song out first, ‘cause- I actually got the idea from LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl” song. And the hook- the “Lisa, Pamela, Angela, Rene” part - I got that from LL Cool J. And I just thought that that might be a good track to put out as far as for my age group, ‘cause it’s about the girls, and it would also be a good track to put out for people who knew LL Cool J. So I thought that that would bring it both groups, you know? Bring ‘em both together. And right now it has over 13,000 hits on YouTube, and I haven’t even done the video yet.
DX: So it’s been a success you’d say?
King Myers: Yeah I would, I would definitely say that. I actually- I’m planning the video. I’m putting the video together now. The video is going to star three of the girls from Bad Girls Club.
DX: Oh, okay. Moving on, on your track “Originality,” you sample the Rakim line “Old school feel with the new school slang,” and I think both in the case of the beat and the lyrics on the track, that’s definitely accurate. But then you’ve also got “Got The Block Shakin’,” which is an entirely different sound.
When you write rhymes, do you feel any pressure at all to make tracks that sound more like one of those tracks than the other?
King Myers: No what I do is, I try to make sure they don’t have the same sound. When I write tracks, I start out... I get my subjects and I start out writing a verse. I pick what I want to talk about, and then I form the whole track around that one verse. That keeps everything simple. And as far as the beat selection, [I do] that too. I don’t want all of my beats to sound the same, I don’t want all my beats to sound like just raw boom-bap Hip Hop, and I don’t want all my beats to sound like the tracks down south. I want everything to have a completely different sound, and that’s what I was trying to do with the album. You’ve got a whole bunch of songs from the album: you’ve got flow, R&B beats that I was rapping on- it’s a whole bunch of different sounds and I wanted to make sure it was very diverse so all people could feel it.
DX: Yeah, diverse is a good word, you’re pretty versatile with your styles and lyrics. You don’t like to stick to one concrete style?
King Myers: Yeah.
DX: Alright. So you mentioned that you already worked with Rakim, Fred The Godson and Bumpy-
King Myers: Yessir. And actually in October, I’m going to put out the song that’s me and Rakim, that’s going to be like the single that comes out before the album.
DX: Oh, is there going to be a video for that one?
King Myers: Yeah, there’s going to be a video, definitely. We’re going to push it to MTV, BET, all of that. We’re going to try to do that one real big.
DX: So you’ve collaborated with all these people- and that’s pretty good for a 17 year old. Who else are you hoping to work with?
King Myers: I would say after this album, my next project I work on, I would want to work with more of my age group. ‘Cause right now, basically I wanted to focus on getting my respect first rather than coming up in hype. ‘Cause I wanted the people who had respect in the Hip Hop game, I wanted them to bring me out. But it’s almost like a co-sign from the O.G.’s and the ladies of the Hip Hop game, I wanted to do that first.
DX: Alright. And once Kingology drops, what’s next for you?
King Myers: After Kingology drops, I’m going to be working- I’m actually working on a mixtape right now. I don’t have a title for it, but after Kingology drops, most likely I’m gonna put out a mixtape, I’m gonna put out a few videos, I’m gonna work on getting performances and all that. I’m just gonna keep on grinding, my grind can’t stop.