Kenneth Charles Blume III (born May 10, 1991), popularly known as Kenny Beats, has established himself as one of rap's upper echelon producers thanks to his tough 808's and a keen sense for melodic melodies and sampling.
Kenny grew up in Connecticut, playing drums and guitar, making beats in high school, mimicking stars like Pharrell and Timbaland. During his senior year, he relocated to Los Angeles and pursued a career in music, soon after interned for rap label Cinematic Music Group while studying music business at Berklee College of Music, and began placing beats with rappers such as Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and Smoke DZA .
Kenny Beats' new solo album, due out on January 27th, 2023. Though best known for creating highly influential albums for some of the world's most exciting artists like Rico Nasty, ALLBLACK, Vince Staples, Denzel Curry, IDLES and others. As well as produce massive hits such as 10k.
"Aloha" by Caash and "Foot Fungus" by Ski Mask the Slump God. He's also founded his own series, The Cave, in which musicians freestyle over beats he produces in under fifteen minutes. One of The Cave's episodes inspired comedian Zack Fox's viral sensation "Jesus is the One (I Got Depression)." Before becoming a full-time rap producer, Kenny was formally a member of the EDM duo LOUDPVCK along with Ryan Marks. Inspite of its popularity, the LOUDPVCK name was retired sometime in 2018.
So, I have a show on YouTube, where I bring real rappers, and they come and make songs and I make a beat. And somehow Zach ended up on it, and he asked for a beat that sounded like sonic crypt walking. He asked for a post-death of Whitney Houston type beat with a domestic violence filter. Normally people just say like, “I want trap,” you know? So it was different, but the beat ended up really bad and the raps ended up even worse.
Kenny defies standards with LOUIE, a wholly acoustic album that serves as a deeply intimate memorial to the creator's ailing father. LOUIE is a mesmerizing voyage of injured, teardrop soul spread across 17 songs, revealing a vulnerable side of Kenny never seen before.
"Hooper," the album's sixth track, ebbs and flows euphoric rhythmic melodies with nostalgic soul chords. Kenny constantly twists in new, flirty variants: a swirl of wistful keys, numerous digitized effects and barely audible vocal hymn.
His father, a renowned broadcaster, is featured throughout the album with radio-DJ-styled shifts and old audio tapes of his voice. It's a jazzy, vibrant recording brimming with studio instrumentals and soulful samples.
“I want to one day be Greg Kurstin, to sit at a piano with an Adele and just write a song that’s the biggest song in the entire world. That’s where I want to get to. I’ve got a long way to go as a piano player, an engineer, a songwriter,” he says. “As an artist, I don’t feel the need to demystify anything.”
Even when Kenny excels using different impressions — "Moire" — track number 8: production is unique. Louie's stuffed with little treasures like this, slight options that feel like gems when you unearth them, witty, basslines and a custom-made synth.
“I always said that I wouldn’t do a solo album because I didn’t have anything to say,” he wrote in advance of Louie, his full-length debut. “Finally, I did.” After his father was diagnosed with cancer in 2021, he found the inspiration he’d been looking for.
His mind was apparently changed when he found himself unexpectedly quarantined in Bath – he was working on Idles’ fourth album, Crawler – and received the news that his father had been diagnosed with cancer.
Louie's sequencing is a little lacking. The first ten songs feel like their own album, culminating with the melancholic "Eternal," which converts a Shira Small gash into a beautiful ode to the hereafter.
The press release added: “The time spent with those mixes bore an idea. Kenny resolved to create a gift for his father. The result is Louie, an album indicative of the unremitting love felt from child-to-parent – a heart-on-sleeve appreciation for his dad’s sacrifices and willingness to nurture his son’s talent, created over the course of the month of December 2020.”
Sometimes you get the impression he's aiming for a subtle emotional impact. "Last Words" guide you on a voyage, while the cheery essence of the song keeps you entertained.
In the song, we hear - "As far as goodbye, it's like, you know. You only tell me goodbye when I'm gone, and I'm gonna live forever so you can't ever tell me goodbye. We could be here forever, I'm immortal, I'm a statue. I'm a, I'm a public figure, a trophy that's nice and shiny I'm here forever like air, nobody say goodbye to the air."
TikTok is so crazy. There was some kids from the bay who danced to a part of the song that didn’t make the real freestyle. It was just when Zach was rapping and it was really just a thing we filmed, and they were dancing to it. The video of them dancing to it got like five million impressions and had all these people tweeting it. I was like, this really wasn’t supposed to happen. This was just supposed to be a joke for our friends and then we put it on the internet and now it’s like this song is bigger than all the serious shit I’m working on. It’s TikTok’s fault. It’s Zach’s fault.
Although, there are many features sprinkled throughout, Kenny's goal is to create a composition that is both somber and ecstatic, vague rhythms, jazzy diversions, unified constructionism, and unforeseen shifts.
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