Some say keeping yourself busy keeps you out of trouble; for buzzing producer Kid Classic, staying busy keeps the hits coming in. His most recent chart-topper “Won’t He Do It (Remix)” by The Voice finalist Koryn Hawthorne has now spent its 14th consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart.
Kid Classic’s production contribution to Raheem DeVaughn’s new single “Don’t Come Easy,” could land him another solid hit as it starts to pick up steam on the urban Adult Contemporary radio chart.
“I’m excited about what both records are doing on the charts,” he exclusively tells Rated R&B. “It’s my first time dabbling in the adult contemporary and gospel genres.”
Before treading into new production territories, Kid Classic was putting in hard work and dedication into his craft to make his dreams a reality. Born in Maryland, and raised in East Atlanta, Kid Classic started becoming interested in music at the age of 16. He cites his neighbor Ms. Michelle as an early influencer. “I would go over to her house and music is all we would talk about,” he says. “From the people behind the scenes to the people who were in front of the camera. I fell in love with [music] the same way I did with basketball – expect I was tall enough to be in the music industry.”
Realizing he wanted to pursue music full-time, after graduating high school, Kid Classic enrolled in the audio engineering program at SAE Institute of Technology. His skills learned laid the early foundation for his soon-to-be producing career.
Shortly after obtaining his degree, Kid Classic began working on his own project that he rapped on and co-produced titled iRap iProduce. The 18-track project was released jointly with DJ Genius in 2010. His rap career was short-lived, though. “Honestly, I just lost my drive for it,” he says. “Even when I was rapping, I was trying to market my production more so than anything. That’s why my first project was called iRap iProduce.”
In 2014, just three years later after leaving his rap dreams behind, Kid Classic landed his first album placement on YG’s debut album, My Krazy Life, for his engineering efforts to the certified gold single “Left, Right” featuring DJ Mustard.
Since then, Kid Classic has contributed his production efforts to several hip-hop and R&B artists including Bobby V (“Freakin’ You”), Roscoe Dash (“Then Again”), Demetria McKinney (“No, No, No”) and Ace Hood (“Devil Get off Me”), among others.
In our interview with Kid Classic, he talks staying ahead of the music wave, working with artists from different genres, studio sessions with Koryn Hawthorne, K. Michelle and Usher, his musical inspirations and more.
How did you come up with the name Kid Classic?
I always wanted a name like “young” or “lil” so “kid” was the closest thing to it. And classic is the way I approach production. So I just attached the two.
And how would you define classic production?
Classic to me is music you feel without searching.
Some songs you just feel instantly. Others have to grow on you.
You produced a possible classic “Don’t Come Easy,” the first single from Raheem DeVaughn’s upcoming album. How did that come about and what was it like working with him?
Actually, I never had the opportunity to meet Raheem in person. I produced the record some years ago, and a writer/friend named Blanco “The Ear” came in and wanted to write to the production and “Don’t Come Easy” is what we came up with.
You’ve worked with many hip-hop and R&B artists. You’ve even tapped into the world of gospel music, working with The Voice finalist Koryn Hawthorne on the remix to “Won’t He Do It.” What’s your approach when you work with artists from different genres?
Honestly, with every artist, I try to go against the grain of what they already have musically while still incorporating their sound. If that makes any sense. My mindset is, they’re coming to me for a specific reason so I try not to steer away from that.
I see you and Koryn are still working together. How involved are you in her future project?
As of right now, we just wrapped up her album. I did two records on there. As far as future projects, I pray that I stay very involved. Maybe we’ll have another No. 1 record.
As the sound and direction of music continues to change, how do you do stay ahead of the wave and evolve as a producer?
Spotify! I have a little stock in them (laughs). I love the different playlists that feature artists who are on the rise. I also listen to different genres and try to incorporate them into what I am doing. That way I don’t have any fear of copying what’s on the radio.
You were spotted in the studio with K. Michelle last year. Were those sessions for her Kimberly: The People I Used to Know album? If so, how close were those songs to making it the album?
Yes. We were working on her most recent project. Unfortunately, I don’t know how close they were to making it only because I wasn’t there during the final stages of her project. I knew I didn’t make it when I saw the album release date and I never got the call saying I made it (laughs).
Do you have plans to work on her next album or upcoming mixtape.
Definitely. I’m sure things will come back around full circle. That’s how the industry works.
You’ve worked with Usher and Keyshia Cole, too?
Yes. I got a chance to work with them for their last projects but [the songs] didn’t end up on it. The Usher record was called “All The Above,” which was more urban than R&B or pop. I want to say the Keyshia Cole joint was called “Victorious” but I can’t remember. But both artists are great people. I like Keyshia because in every record she wants to tell her story and not just do a gimmicky record. Usher was super humble. That’s one of those sessions that you’re just blessed to be there. He’s one of our legends.
You’re the founder of MADAR, a self-started music company. The acronym stands for “Making A Dream A Reality.” What’s the last dream you’ve made a reality?
Last year I signed my first artist named Natalie Orfilia. I have to say, the things we have accomplished as a team made my dream and her dream a reality. She’s in the process of signing a major deal, without saying too much.
Was there ever a time when you didn’t think your dreams of becoming a hitmaker would become a reality?
There was never a time. I always knew I was going to get where I’m at today and I’m nowhere near done yet. I haven’t even scratched the surface.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
I’m inspired by Kanye West because he’s never scared to push the culture and his production to the next level. He does it unapologetically, even if he’s crucified for it. I can relate to that a lot. Pharrell, too. He’s very creative and I like his approach to production. Even him as an artist is inspiring. I’m really a fan of Dr. Dre especially for what he’s done beyond production. Him starting Aftermath and having one of the biggest artist [Eminem] signed to him is something I aspire to do with MADAR. Also, I like the fact he’s an engineer along with being a producer. I don’t know too many producers who are incredible engineers along with being incredible producers.
The summertime is quickly approaching. Anything on your bucket list?
Hmm. People say I don’t live enough. I’m so wrapped up in music I don’t really have a bucket list. Maybe one day. But if I could pinpoint anything it would be to go somewhere out of the country for a week. Then back to work (laughs).
Follow Kid Classic on Instagram @therealkidclass.