The President of Based World: An Interview with Keyboard Kid
The article is written by Seth King.
Keyboard Kid is the infamous president of Based World and DJ and producer for Lil B. Keyboard has been travelling with B on the road for the past few years and is always by his side ensuring the shows go smoothly. There is perhaps no one out there more qualified to talk about Based Nation then Keyboard Kid himself.
Before Lil B was infamous and known internationally, B and Keyboard were working together in the trenches creating the initially based sound centred on positivism and a DIY attitude. Keyboard isn’t afraid to be himself. When he began to produce Lil B reached out to him and ever since the two have been inseparable working together, travelling the globe and spreading positive energy to those in need. Keyboard Kid has a unique futuristic sound and is a veteran of the game, he has been producing and rapping for over a decade working with artists such as Slug Christ, Mike Dece, KirbLaGoop and plenty of others.
So, tell me the basics – what’s your name, how old are you and where are you living? I’m Seth, I’m 23 and living in Boston.
Word respect nice to meet you, Seth. I Go By Keyboard Kid … Keyboard..Yung Namor..TreeGod For Those That Don’t Know..I’m Lil B The BasedGod Tour DJ And Producer Been Part of Basedworld with B Since the beginning. Also dropped hella of my own releases. Shit, I’m 32 And I Live In WA State ..Bellevue WA currently.
Respect to you too man, so your 32 now but take me to the beginning of your interest in music, where did you grow up and when did you first start to get interested in producing your own music?
Growing up my mom was a young mom and my dad pretty young so my love of music started with them I’m sure playing all the music loud on the weekends and in the car ride. I always loved it my mom got hella stories of me dancing to MJ and shit. We moved around my Dad was in the navy at first so I Was born in Hawaii after that we moved to the Bay Area my parents split at 5. So we moved to Seattle where my mom had roots and my dad back to Texas.
I grew up in Seattle and spent summers and some time in Texas so back n forth. But I have a cousin name go hard black who is close with E-40 he always had a studio in his house so when I was like 12 or something maybe younger I got interested in recording studios.
Didn’t start making beats seriously till I was 17 going 18.
Above is a photo of Lil B, in pink, with Keyboard Kid DJing behind him.
I cracked FL studio the early one like the first one or maybe Fl 2 lol
What was it like moving around so much while you were growing up and now, looking back, how do you think it may have affected your outlook on creating music? When you were first starting to make those early beats who were some of your musical inspirations and did you aspire to ever rap on them? What made you at 17/18 decide production and music was something you wanted to take seriously?
Man, it was a lot moving around but looking back I appreciate it now because it allows me to find common ground with a lot more people. And style-wise it was dope getting exposed to a lot of southern rap music growing up even before it was the cool dominant sound in the game it is now.
Some of my early inspirations for beats or people I just looked up to was Timbaland Pharrell Kanye Just Blaze HeatMakers Dilla Dr. Dre also Mannie Fresh.
I wanted to make a Kanye sounding soul beat really bad that was like my main goal when I started cuz I wanted to rap as well I always wrote music growing up.
That’s interesting man, so who were some of the early artists you began to work with while you were developing your style and when did you realize music was becoming career and something you could full-time?
And it’s funny cuz I was writing raps to like instrumentals I would rip off like Napster.
Lmao, I hear that – so what do you think about people ripping beats off youtube or no paying their producers and just finding their beats on Soundcloud/Youtube? do you think the modern-day producer isn’t getting the same respect they once had?
Man, when I first started making beats I wasn’t really showing nobody cuz niggas hate lol it wasn’t like it was now when everyone is like wanting to rap and produce. But I would get together with friends and smoke and Freestyle in the car. Finally, I was like fuck it and played one of my beats but ain’t tell nobody it was mine but everyone kept rapping and so when it was done I was like I made that. Two of my homies was like that shit fire u gotta get someone to rap on em. So linked up with another kid at this community college and tried to be a hip hop group. Didn’t work out but I kept making beats. Moved to Texas for a bit worked with local cats I had like just turned 19 or so. But MySpace was Poppin so I got the idea to reach out to the artist on MySpace and Lil B believe it or not one of the only people to hit me back and I sent him beats rest history.
I didn’t take it serious until a few years later I loved music hated working jobs and didn’t like school so I was like fuck it imma just go for this music.
Man, it depends I think we get respect but I mean did the producers ever get the respect they deserve u know? There are some who@have transcended Into icons and I’d like to be that for the next-gen.
I wanna be the Based Quincy Jones, Based Pharrell or Kanye you know. But to answer ur question about people ripping off producers that shit corny. Just buy a beat lotta people got $25 beats n shit.
I ain’t listening to nothing with a tag thru the whole beat that automatically puts u in the I’m not gon listen to category lol … but when I young n having fun with friends not tryna profit off it that’s diff have fun Freestyle or whatever.
When Lil b first hit you up what was the experience like for you, I’m sure it must have validated all your hard work and make you go harder – did you guys work via email or did you initially meet up in person? which way do you prefer working? what were some of the jobs you were working while you were pursuing your career? also – after the wave of myspace died down did you immediately move to Soundcloud? what was this transitional period like for a producer?
Man when B first hit me back I was def excited he wanted to hear the beats cuz at that time I was so hungry for anyone to give me a shot I felt validated And he had his own thing going already so I was excited that my music would be heard by more than just my circle of friends.
We first worked thru email, worked that way for a while actually. We would just talk over the phone and stuff.
But when he was touring with the pack and hit the NW he invited me to a show and we linked up in person when we got the chance.
I prefer working in person whenever possible tho.
Man, I worked hella jobs before I just jumped into music as my main hustle and income. Red Robin..Best Buy.. Warehouse shit…Fred Meyer…Costco… Worked at a dodge dealership and a Cadillac dealership.. an Acura dealership. AT&T Haha whatever to pay the bills when I was in my early twenties. But I been doing just music mainly for the last 5-6 years. After MySpace, I didn’t really go to SoundCloud I mainly was using Bandcamp at first when it was popping major. I kind of stayed away from SoundCloud at first using it only here and there. I still don’t use it much only sometimes lol. Iono why. Definitely was a transition but I been DIY since I started so not too much of a difference I just go with the flow.
Awesome man that’s great, so tell me what has been like to tour with Lil B? what are some aspects of the tour life with him people wouldn’t expect and what is the craziest story from it you can share?
Above is a photo of Keyboard DJing at a Based world event.
Man touring with Lil B been hella fun! Every show is like a party so it’s always a good Positive time. My fav thing is just going to new places staying in new hotels and trying food in different cities. If there a Jamaican spot we def gon hit that.
Haha, man your life actually pretty chill man. B has been doing this shit for a minute so we don’t get too hype believe it or not
Tryna think craziest story is one time tho we were rocking and hella fans were going crazy and b threw a shirt in the air if got stuck and was dripping sweat and the girls were going crazy under his sweat dripping on em also dudes was tryna grab b sunglasses and shit it was wild cuz the dudes was going harder than the females to get on stage tryna get to b. Hahah like the fan shit is Wild but it’s a blessing as well. Shout out the Based Boys and Girls.
here’s another question for you, who are some rappers or vocalists your listening too right now and who do you expect to have the biggest 2019? Also – what are some of your favourite things to do outside music? Do you smoke weed? What would you describe as the role of a good DJ and how do you view your impact on stage while DJing?
Yea it was pretty insane I forgot about that smh lol …But man I have been listening to TisaKorean, 10k Cash.. Gun Music .. Lil Tracy.. Lil Turbo.. Lotta YSL loves what they got goin.. Love Lil Keed and Gotit.. Big Baby Scumbag.. 5G .. WoD Lotta Philly underground stuff. Man, honestly I’m forgetting a ton for sure I always keep my ear on as much as possible. I really search Twitter and Insta for new artist tik tok triller.
New shit daily for sure.
And man I don’t know who gonna have the biggest 2019 u never know. Could be something viral today or tomorrow that pops up. Outside of music I like to play video games.. stay in new hotels and eat at restaurants lol def smoke a lotta tree. Seattle got really good weed. But yea I like art and anime as well that been my shit since I was a kid. Good DJs know how to feel out a crowd.. set the vibe for everyone to turn up and have a good time. U should be putting people on to new music as well as playing hits people can have fun too. And if u doing for an artist u guys gotta form some chemistry play off each other energy have good communication. Def be that good support to the main act. Most importantly gotta keep it Based
Of course man and sounds like the good life, so if you were to impart some wisdom on aspiring artists and musicians today what would you share with them that you’ve picked up over your past decade in the scene?
Also – how did your music with Slug Christ come about? What are some of your favourite fashion brands and how would you describe your style when it comes to picking out what to wear? are you more into underground brands which you haven’t heard about or are you into high-fashion brands like Dior, Supreme and Gucci?
Also, what are your thoughts on the term “mumble” rap and do you think it’s condescending?
As far as wisdom for an aspiring artist I’d say whatever it is ur trying to do or wanting to do just start now.. like, start right away. With whatever tools u have. Don’t wait around. Nobody gonna magically put u on overnight.
But the slug Christ Project came about from us just being fans first of each other’s art and then we became friends online. Got to meet slug in person while he was touring and we been friends ever since. I def think to slug a genius on this music shit. I got an Lotta luv for slugga.
We gonna start on another new tape soon.
Man honestly just Based fashion man I wear whatever makes me feel good. Could be from target could be designer might mix it all together. I don’t let or want brands to define me rather I define the brands by wearing what I wear and if I think it’s dope that’s what it is.
I like A lot of diff fashion tho very much into it from streetwear to the Fashion houses. It’s always some new term to define new art.. but I like to call it all art ultimately. But yea mumble rap a wack term. It’s dismissive. I came up and They coined the music I made cloud rap which I never like either as a term
Yea cloud rap and mumble rap both are ignorant terms, so there’s been controversy over major labels and artists biting swag from the underground – what are your thoughts on the topic?
Man yea I feel like the mainstream taking swag from the underground is nothing new..probably just more apparent now with the internet people can be more vocal about it. But man I think it’s lame but unfortunately kinda how the game goes it’s happened to me but if anything it just made me go harder and get smarter about the business side of the game.
Well said brother, so anyways, what are some of your favourite cities in the world you have visited or want to visit and why?
dope cities I been too I liked was Chicago .. LA.. Houston.. Miami cool to visit..Man I really want to go to Australia and tour or something at some point. The goal def just to get out the country and tour more abroad I ain’t been out the country enough.
Same, I wanna get out of the U.S. and travel more I’m in Boston now, here’s a last question for you that I think as Based President you are uniquely able to answer: what is your response to kids who graduated high school or college and feel confused and lost about what to do with themselves now, people who feel like because they have tons of options in our modern-day feel paralyzed by the choices?
Love def shout out to Boston! And Man To The Kids Just Entering Adulthood Graduating Highschool or College. It’s important to listen to Your self do what makes you happy. It’s tough but try to forget about what u have been groomed to do by your parents or schooling. Do what you love if possible. There’s a lot of options but find the ones that resonate with you! Also, don’t be afraid to fail that’s where life presents opportunities for growth and wisdom. Most of all stay Based And Positive!