Most struggling artists in New York City will agree that finding your niche, process and ultimately identity is no easy feat in the bustling city that we live in. Though Kinetics, One Love and Nitty Scott, MC agree, it’s pretty apparent that the three of them have each found their strengths and are playing on them expertly.
Following soundcheck for the release party celebrating Kinetics and One Love’s second album together, You Are Not Alone, the three of them chilled in the downstairs party room like rockstars and shared some insight behind the lives of homemade rappers.
Jeremy Dussolliet (Kinetics) and Tim Sommers (One Love) began their sensational collaboration as freshmen in high school when they found themselves as roommates. Though the two may appear to still be in college, Kinetics, 26 and One Love, 24, have absolutely mastered the method behind their sound.
“I’m originally a drummer,” Sommers notes. “I met Kinetics at school; we were roommates freshman year, and I was always playing keys. I had never really been exposed to hip-hop. I, of course, heard it growing up but never really listened to it until he really opened my eyes and said ‘You’re really awesome at keys and you can play instruments. You should try producing.'”
Props to Kinetics’s foresight, as the duo’s combination of rap and beat production is nothing short of dynamic. Until recently, the two have worked on music projects that were released for free; however, as they’ve grown and their fanbase has expanded, Kinetics and One Love have finally released a sophomore album complete with an iTunes release and PR campaign. It should come as no surprise considering the work they did on B.o.B.’s Airplanes and various other collaborations that the release of You Are Not Alone has been immensely successful.
The new album features work with several respected artists and is a testament to their history and personality as musicians. Though Dussolliet and Sommers join the ranks of rising rappers who have attended college, they maintain that this does not correlate with their music and that the journey to musical success began much earlier for Kinetics and One Love.
“We’re not trying to be in that scene, though. No offence to that scene, but that’s not really our background,” Kinetics explains. “Yeah we went to college, but I didn’t start rapping in college. I started rapping a long time ago. My favorite rappers are early 90’s rappers like Nas, Common, Mos Def. The collaborations we’ve done this past year, we had Nitty on our album, we had a song with R.A. the Rugged Man who’s a hip-hop legend; he’s done songs with Biggie Smalls when Biggie was alive R.I.P., and Remedy from WuTang, those are the type of artists I wanna be associated with, the type of artists I wanna be working with. Our album also has a track featuring Termanology who is a very well-respected legend in the underground rap world.”
Like his musical tastes, Kinetics’s method and work ethics have an old school flavor, and he and One Love have clearly worked hard to find themselves as musicians and establish their place in the world of rap.
“We’ve been making music forever, but I kinda feel like especially with this album that we just got started,” Kinetics says. “Finally music out there that we’re proud of and that really represents us and who we are as artists.”
Just as compatible with the duo in conversation as on stage, Scott takes this opportunity to expand on Kinetics’s emotion.
“I’ve been going at this forever, but I’m really just getting started. You have to find yourself,” she expresses. “Almost that same process of finding yourself as a person, I think you have to find yourself as an artist. You have to understand who you are and how you fit into the whole situation, your sound, your voice. When I first started spittin’ I had to get comfortable with my own voice and hearing my voice played back and playing with different vocal ranges in the studio. Some people think it’s like you pop out and you just rap, but I think there’s a lot of molding that goes into it. You really plan how you’re going to present yourself to the world. You’ve worked so hard to even make people care, but once people start caring that’s like the birth of you.”
Scott, too, has put in a massive amount of effort in regard to launching her career as Nitty Scott, MC. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and raised in Florida, Scott left home at the ripe age of 17 to pursue her dreams in New York.
“I went through a lot,” she notes. “I wasn’t able to just come here and immediately start doing what I wanna do. I thought I could. I was a little naïve in that way being 17, I thought, ‘I’ll move to New York and make my dreams come true!’ Ultimately I did do that but it wasn’t that black and white.”
After actively pursuing her rap career for six years, though she started emceeing as early as 14, Scott is finally seeing the fruits of her labor in terms of a fanbase and capitalism. She has been established in the hip-hop scene and making money with her craft for a solid two years, and her Twitter account is home to 11,000 followers, @BananaintheCity included.
“Sometimes I wake up and I’m like whoa, I’m somebody’s favorite rapper. That’s fuckin crazy,” Scott says excitedly. “I have like 11,000 followers now. Every time I tweet something I’m like fuck, 11,000 people are going to see this.”
Kinetics and One Love share her success with the awesome power of social networking for artists.
“If you ever feel bad about yourself, just check your twitter mentions,” Kinetics starts. When he’s interrupted by an avid college freshman from California, he picks right back up and notes, “That’s basically a live version of twitter mentions!”
Though One Love is a bit more on the quiet side than his MC counterpart, make no mistake, he is every bit as insightful, motivated and immersed in his craft. In addition to his skill with production and musical technology, One Love shares a dying passion for inclusion of actual instruments in the creation of the pair’s music.
“I like to play instruments when we do shows,” One Love admits. “As opposed to the traditional setup of DJ and rapper, I wanna do it so it’s like musician and rapper. So when it’s available I’ll play drums, I have all these loops and samples and I’ll do a lot of matchups. I play keys almost every song.”
Clearly in support of him, Kinetics states that “as our tour budget expands we’re gonna start to do that more.”
Tour budget expansion seems likely for Kinetics and One Love, who kicked off a “quasi-tour” following their CD release party last week. Though the guys won’t be headlining the shows for this tour, their presence in any sense is worth the attendance, and based on the turnout for their party, Kinetics and One Love, with guest MC Nitty Scott in tow, will be dominating stages as the main act before we know it.