|Features Published: May 28, 2012 |
The Legend Of Krizz Kaliko – How To Grow Your Fans By Making Them Say “WOW!”
Krizz Kaliko began his musical career in the late 1990s when he began working with a local producer by the name of IcyRoc Kraven. Another local rapper by the name of Tech N9ne was also collaborating with IcyRoc at the time, which led to the two rappers meeting. Tech N9ne was currently working on a song titled “Who You Came To See” and Krizz made a comment that the song could have a better hook. Tech offered up the opportunity to prove his case, and Tech was blown away when Kaliko proved just that. Tech would bring Kaliko into his “inner circle” which would eventually result in Kaliko signing to the label co-owned by his new found friend.
Since then, Kaliko has often contributed to albums put out by Tech N9ne, be it being featured as a rapper or simply providing background vocals for the tracks on the album. Although the largest portion of his work is that of his collaborations with Tech, he has also performed similar tasks for fellow labelmates Kutt Calhoun, Skatterman & Snug Brim, and Prozak. Other collaborations include tracks with the Kottonmouth Kings, Potluck, E-40, T-Pain and Twiztid.
Exclusive Interview With Krizz Kaliko
WWS: How did you get the name Krizz Kaliko?
KK: Kris is my name my real name, my last name is is Watson. Kaliko I named my myself because of the caliko cat,if you look at a calico cat, you see that it has all kinds of colors on its face and its body, so you look at me, and my face has a big spot of white on it. At the beginning tech called me krizz, he would say make some noise for big kizz ….. kaliko, he forgot the kaliko, then the next time, make some noise for big krizz kaliko, I dropped big, because I didn’t like those prefixes like lil and big, they get outdated, and I wanted longevity in the game.
When did you get your start your career in music and entertainment?
I’ve been doing music all my life. Ive been singing my whole life, in church 4 days a week, my mom was a choir director. There would be like 50 people singing and she would say Kris get your notes. I started performing it on stage by myself in 4th grade when I was or 10 years old. When hip hop started, my mom would take me to the rap concerts, so I always loved hip hop. From the late 80s with the Beastie Boys and stuff like that. I have been influenced by everyone from Marvin Gaye to The Notorious BIG. Me lookin like this I would have to be able to crack on kids in school. At lunch, Id be beatin on the table and bustin on kids before they called it battle rapping, I was crackin on kids. I rapped, I danced , I sang. I did everything my mom tought me to do. But I never thought that this would be my job.
Are you rapping or singing on most of the tracks of the new album?
It’s kind of 50/50. If I rap on a whole song then I still sing the hook myself. I don’t have a more than four songs that I don’t rap on it. Ill rap the verse and then sing the hook.
Tell us about the new album, what can we expect, any appearances?
I go with an assortment of people on the album. I got Twisted from Pychopatic, T-Pain, whose a personal friend of mine, Twista, Chamillionaire, who I always admired, even though you haven’t heard a lot from him recently, I’ve been a fan since the “Riding Dirty” days. I got Rich, who is Yelawolf’s artist, and is murderous on the mic. Of course, Kutt Kalhoun, and The 816 boys, Tech, Prozac , Big Scoob, I think that might be it, a lot of people on my label. For appearances I always get people that I like, and admire and make music with them.
How’s the grind going with Tech?
I tour with tech and my own, it’s a 365 day a year grind. The tour we are on now “Hostile Takeover 2012” is 97 dates in 110 days, no one in hip hop has done a tour that long. Its our 12th year together so we have great chemistry. In life we consider each other our muses. We are both in each other’s way, but help each other out. Tech will shoot an idea to me and I knock it out the park, working together is easy, our chemistry looks natural. When we tour, Tech named it “T90x” it’s a workout! It was meant to be, me meeting tech was meant to be. The grind is like it looks, its brutal on tour, but its worth it.
How do you feel about the new promotion style of today?
I am happy people can come out its easier to get on, its tight that people can get discovered, at the same time anyone can make a record and sometimes its not good. But people deserve a chance, who hates on success? You’d have to be an asshole to hate on success. We started out on a super tough grind, in cars, driving thousands of miles to get the name out, and now you have social media, so use it.
Did you ever have a regular 9 to 5?
Man, I’ve had like 40 jobs. I just said on twitter thank you for making this my job. Because I’ve done everything from cleaning septic tanks, to sewer work to telemarketing. I worked at a place just counting airplane parts, can you imagine how many little parts are in a plane. One time my job was to throw coupons in coffee cans, and there was so much coffee dust in the air, that when I would come home I would blow my nose and brown stuff would come out. That can’t be good for you. My last job was customer service for voice stream, I was fired for calling in sick to too many days. I was in the studio with Tech, when he was on a lot of drugs and told him “you better straighten it out, I lost my job for this! Haha!”
Do you feel your love from the underground is enough, or do you want to be more commercial?
I wouldn’t call it commercially known, what we do is worthy of being world wide, to people everywhere. I want to get my music to the world, if you hear the music you can’t deny that. My publicist said that a reviewer from a magazine weren’t wowed by the album. I said, “what not wowed, that’s bullshit!” My publicist said “you on your Kayne” and I said, yeah I am. If you aren’t wowed by the album, fuck you. If you not , you listen to Kanye’s album and they’re masterful, and that’s how I feel about my music. So I asked him “what did you play for them, there is no way you cant be wowed by this.” The name of the album should have been “Insatiable”, I need millions of fans and experience these albums.
Do you want to stay independent? If you could sign to a major label would you?
I’m gonna do the best thing for my career, and that is staying with Strange Music. These major labels are failing. If they were as good as they were 10 years ago, I might consider it. Now were the model, major labels are looking at us. Tech and I made the sound of this music, I don’t think I would have the opportunity to do that anywhere else. I will stay with Strange Music.
Whats the best way to promote, for a new artist coming up?
Those social media sources are the way to go, but you have get out here. the way we do it is putting on shows, you got to wow the crowd, you gotta punch em in the face with how great your music is. Even if you got 5 fans, get them to build your fan base. Wow your fans, and you will build your fan base for sure . You gotta make music that people can sing to with you. The way I look at it is you have got to have a good beat, hook, verses and you will win over new fans!