Kingpin, upholds true integrity in his artistry. He’s a UK rapper, who allows people from all walks of life to unite through his honest expression, giving an extra voice to the underground London hip-hop scene. Supported by one of the UK’s leading hip-hop providers ‘Underworld Konnect,’ Kingpin is set to drop an array of new releases. He has just released Art Of Survival, and is set to grace our ears with another EP later this year entitled Life Sentence. Kingpin has also stepped into the shoes of a filmmaker, having written and directed a new short-film The Initiative that is set for release to the public in no time, after having done the rounds at film festivals across the globe.
We chat to Kingpin about his upbringing in London, the vision behind his latest film clip, and the love and support he’s received from fans in the U.S. Ayla Dhyani writes.
Your upcoming release, Life Sentence is due to drop later this year. How did the EP title come about?
The EP contains a lot of honest heartfelt material and lyrical content. Especially tracks like ‘Circles’, and ‘Speaking From My Soul’ and because the lyrical content was so closely connected to my life experiences, I felt that ‘Life Sentence’ was an appropriate name. It’s obviously a play on the term ‘Life Sentence’ which is what we call a long term in prison and also as a ‘sentence or utterance’ related to my life.
What was the vision behind the film clip for 'Shut It Down'?
We filmed it in Switzerland, which is where the producer is based and where the EP was made. We needed a dramatic location, something that looked good on camera, and we figured that the location was suitably dramatic and engaging for the eye. There’s no particular connection to the lyrical content but there’s no doubt that it is a dope location. Reminds me of the ‘Bat Cave’ from the Batman movies.
How has your upbringing in London influenced your musical and lyrical style?
My upbringing and my environment completely inspires all my musical content. Not only has it shaped me in terms of my personality and outlook on life, but it has also been the main inspiration for most of my artistic content. I am the kind of rapper that writes about stuff that I know, things that are personal to my own lived experience and this is why my environment is such an integral part of my creativity.
Tell us about the concept behind Underworld Konnect.
Well, they are the record label that publishes all my creative ventures. They were very supportive when I was making my short film ‘The Initiative’ and helped me get it into the film festivals. They are also involved in promoting a lot of events in London. They go by the name Underworld Konnect because they see themselves as a link to the entire underground hip hop scene. They also chose to spell Konnect with a ‘K’ because when you break it down, it is ‘UK’ which is the scene that they are repping and where their work is based.
You've toured throughout the U.S. in the past. How did the hip hop community in the States respond to your London-styled flow?
I have had a great response from those in the U.S. I have done most of my work in New York and I have sold a lot of albums in California. So there seems to be plenty of love for me. No one ever really mentions the accent, they always get at me for being authentic and a genuine character and they say that it doesn’t seem like I’m putting on an act, they feel like I’m ‘truly Hip Hop’, whatever that means. I’m just being me. A lot of heads from the U.S. show love for my flow and delivery. It feels great to get love from cats in America because it is the home of Hip Hop culture and you know that if they accept you there, it’s the ultimate stamp of approval. But in all honesty, I’m confident in myself and don’t need approval from heads to continue to pursue my musical endeavours.
Can we expect any new projects on the horizon?
Before The Life Sentence EP drops, there is a new album entitled Art of Survival which will be available from May 21. You can pre-order it from iTunes or my bandcamp. I’ve also just dropped some visuals for this. Look out for a track called ‘Capital Punishment’. Also, keep your eye out and your ear to the ground for a short film which I have written and directed called The Initiative as it has done the rounds on the film festival circuit and I will be hosting it online for all the public to enjoy soon.
What stimulates your soul?
Creativity stimulates my soul. The arts stimulate my soul. The ability to take a blank canvass or an empty space and make something that can connect or provoke an emotional response from an audience. That is what stimulates my soul.