"Cloud On My Mind"
KIT, The Holy KIT, possible descendant of Aleister Crowley and Actual Pain dreamboat, is not a rapper. Do not call him a rapper. He's not a singer either. "I'm a Scorpio, man," he told me in a FaceTime interview this week. "This dark-sounding, grey-area shit I make comes from that."
The Chicago transplant will prove this to you in the video premiere of his cut "Cloud On My Mind" from recent mixtape NewWavey, which you can watch above. The slurred, obviously weed-friendly clip is "dark and trippy without being too in-your-face about it," claims the rapper.
KIT, née Keary Baldwin, embodies this ambiguous type of R&B/hip-hop artist that's existed for years, but has recently come to the forefront of music again thanks to the likes of Kelela, Travis $cott, A$AP Ferg, and even Drake. KIT doesn't quite sing, he doesn't quite rap—rather, his flow sits somewhere in a cloudy sing-drawl. There's little point boxing in any of these artists with one specific title--rapper or singer--and KIT wants freedom from such labels, as well. At least ones that he hasn't created himself. "My shit is simply NewWavey," he says.
The term is the name of his recent NewWavey mixtape, which has received some loving nods from Fact, PreFix, Fader, and more. But unlike Mykki Blanco's up-tempo, party-starting, "Wavvy"—of which KIT is a fan—NewWavey is a syrup-coated, 1/8th a day type of chill. "If that party is in the front, I'm chilling on a couch in the back," the musician joked.
NewWavey is more of an emotion or lifestyle than a blog-perpetuated subgenre, and it belongs exclusively to KIT. With help from leftfield, pop-skewed producers The-Drum and The GTW (the latter also released the incredible track "Neymar Night" last week), KIT has sharp sonic sculptors to build the platform needed to complement his vocal style. The GTW told me that New Wavey is "a confident spin on the current 'progressive' ideology" that's happening at the intersection of forward-thinking electronic labels like UNO, Night Slugs and Fade To Mind, and artists like Kelela, or KIT. Think about floating in an isolation chamber, three weed brownies deep, and you're getting close to being NewWavey.
KIT's so-relaxed-it's-almost-frustrating personality is the quintessence of NewWavey. And it was his likeable vibe—which translates from his singing cadences to the way he talks in person—that caught the attention of the Chicago-based producers, after he simply appeared at their studio one day. Really, how many male artists can make a song with the hook, "I wanna fuck you with the lights on" sound charming?
"KIT's ability to sing and rap at a spaced-apart cadence is what drew me to him musically," say The GTW. "Our music is similar in a sense that you could hear our vocals on something you wouldn't expect—from downtempo, jungle-like tracks, to other styles you wouldn't hear most rappers get one. That's why we vibe."
The-Drum agreed: "One of the best things working together is whenever I suggest we go more strange, he's game. We want to make Yeezus seem straightforward."
KIT is currently working on an EP produced by Supreme Cuts that will drop in early 2014. He also hopes to take his Occult-friendly image into look books and fashion spreads in the near-future. Just don't compare him to A$AP Rocky.
Zach is on Twitter - @ZachSokol.