I’ve hinted at this before, but Kingdom is my favorite artist – in any genre – that I’ve come across in the last few years. And it’s not in a “I’m Midas and I’m weird, and it’s my favorite even though it’s not the best” kind of way. It’s because Kingdom is one of the most interesting and talented artists I’ve ever heard.
I’ve been trying, for a while now, to pinpoint exactly what it is that I love so much about this producer, because claims like that are always hard to substantiate. Read on for a long, personal and rambling explanation. Or, just let the music speak for itself. “Let You No” is off of Kingdom’s upcoming Dreama EP is out next Monday on the indomitable London dance label Night Slugs, and word on the street is it’s going to rule. And by word on the street I mean me, telling you. It’s going to rule. The Fader on the premiere.
Kingdom – “Let You No”
Again, lengthy ramblings about this guy right here after the jump, if you care to read.
Part of the reason I’m such a fervent fan of Kingdom has got to be that I was there from the beginning. I picked him (somewhat haphazardly) as a favorite artist from a Kid Sister remix he did, probably two or three years ago, and have since just watched the rise and the critical acclaim roll in as everyone else has slowly taken notice. If you’re reading this blog, I can only assume you get the same rush from discovering an artist ahead of the curve. It’s snobbish, it’s petty, it’s pretentious. But there’s no feeling quite like it, and watching a lot of people really “get” something you love is a form of acceptance only someone brought up by the Internet can really understand. Throw in the fact that dude has not disappointed on a single release? Unbeatable.
I’ve been DJing for a little while now, but when I first started I was absolutely clueless. I decided that I wanted to know how to do it, located a mixer and 2 CDJs, and just fucking started. For the longest time I was appalling. I just didn’t get it, and everything I did sounded terrible. Except, for some reason, when I was Djing Kingdom songs. At the time, there were a lot of basic things I didn’t understand about DJing, and could never quite discern why mixing from some Kingdom songs to other Kingdom tracks would always sound great, but everything else I did was awful. Looking back, it was definitely a combination of Kingdom recording a lot of his earlier stuff at similar BPMs and me just knowing the tracks really, really well. At the time, however, I just thought Kingdom songs were magic, and they were going to be all I was going to DJ. I still rarely go a set without mixing in at least one track from him.
I’ve never been good at listening to one kind of genre. I’m jumping around constantly, so someone who destroys musical boundaries as pointedly and fluidly as Kingdom is going to be fascinating to me. Dance music especially has always been genre-dominated. Certain artists have their niche, and that’s what they play. It’s their identity. Kingdom is one of the rare ones that is never pigeonholed. He’s gone from this to this to this, and instead of sounding scattered, it all sound like a singular movement. He’s an expert at assimilating all of these influences from across the world and the last few decades, and throwing them all into a track where it’s all, undoubtedly, a Kingdom song.
I met Kingdom this summer when I was working in New York, and he was the nicest dude ever. Where I met him, however, is the cool part. He had just launched his Fade To Mind label, and I was going to their inaugural show. It was held in the wine cellar of the Mercer Hotel in Manhattan, which is the same place Ye & Jay recorded the lion’s share of Watch The Throne. I don’t know if I’m the only person impressed by that, but I am. It’s certainly not a reason to like an artist, but I still like Kingdom for it.
I guess the most important reason is the most obvious: the music is really good. He makes electronic music with hip-hop beats and R&B vocals. It’s dance music with a soul. And there’s no one doing it better.