Artist Feature: Knxwledge
Carhartt fan Glen Earl Boothe, raised in New Jersey and Philadelphia and now based in Los Angeles, is better known as Knxwledge - an instrumental hip hop producer with a love of Jazz, Soul, old skool hip hop and modern Rap, all of which have a profound effect on his creativity. After dozens of remixes and collections of his countless tracks on Bandcamp, Knxwledge has produced for the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$, released several LP’s and compialtions on labels like Stones Throw, Leaving Records and All City Records and has recently collaborated with Anderson .Paak as NxWorries for the LP Yes Lawd!, released on Stones Throw. For Carhartt WIP radio he has now prepared an exclusive mix that consists of his very own, mostly unrealeased Knxwledge material. We manage to talk to the smoking boy from L.A.. Here is what he told us.
Can you introduce yourself and your work as a producer to our readers?
Knxwledge: Whats the deal readrs. I am Glen aka knxwledge aka Yung i850 aka the Yung Kozy. Theres too many ill stop here.
What is your musical background? What people or artists influenced you during your youth in New Jersey and Philadelphia?
Knxwledge: Grew up in church. I was there pretty much five days a week. Then on Saturdays to help clean it with my parents. I was blessed enough to have all the musicians there be family members so after a while new/better drums and keyboards basses kame out and I was able to take the old ones home at a young age to start dabbling.
What was your musical intake when you were younger?
Knxwledge: I’d listen to anything. Kan't remember a time where I didn’t wanna make musik. Always had a library of things I like still have some early early work till this day.
Since 2009 you’ve released almost 65 albums (via Bandcamp). Would you describe yourself a workaholic?
Knxwledge: I mean people go to work everyday too its no difference. This is just what I do and I’m not a part time dude. In other words I need more sleep. Everybody say I should go to Hawaii.
You’ve released albums like Hud Dreems or Kauliflowr as well as EP’s like Buttrskotch or "Rap Joints Vol. 1” on labels like All City, Stones Throw or Leaving Records. What distinguishes these records from your Bandcamp releases? And how did you end up working with those labels?
Knxwledge: They don’t differ that much in sound. There is some things that I save for vinyl just so its not at a trash rappers disposal so easy. I linked up w All City in the Myspace days. Shouts to my G Olan still killin thats my G right there. Hit me early about releasing my first record. Sent some files, had my homie Teebs send me some things and it was a wrap. I make & kompile these tapes in one sitting never kan spend to much time on one thing one sound.
Do you think that websites like Bandcamp help with a “liberating” of the status of producers – in the sense that they are free from label restraints and that can choose how their work is presented or released?
Knxwledge: Bandcamp is like everything else. They get money. They also have policies just like a label. They’ve undoubtably helped one to sustain like myself off old releases. Blessed. Its not a race tho. Its nice to share sometimes.
What exciting stuff do you have in the pipeline currently?
Knxwledge: Everything man. Workin on a few tv shows inkluding the vice joints w my G’s Aktion, AL, BigBodyBes. Always new unexpekted musik man always.
Which of your own tracks/productions are you most proud of and why?
Knxwledge: Everything I've touched tbh. I am just a vessel. I am not the nicest musician but I kan bootleg it, thats how I got here. Proud of everything.
Your sound is hard to pigeonhole as you fuse many different styles like Jazz, soul, hip hop, rap and more. Would you describe yourself as a producer without borders?
Knxwledge: Its never the same. I knt rock w anything that has to much of a traditional formula. I'm good. Everything changes. I switch it everytime.
You’ve produced tracks for artist like Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$ or Earl Sweatshirt - any new works coming out with them?
Knxwledge: Thats the thing. All of these placements didnt go by my sending out packs going to labels. Nothing out of my way. I just put out music. Period. Who kan do that for u but yourself? Feel me.
You moved from the East Coast to the West Coast. Do you feel this move boosted your career? What does the West Coast have in store for a young producer that the East can't deliver?
Knxwledge: Everyone is here. Everyone has to kome past here if they are somebody. Sorry to say but LA is just one of those places where u have to be at some point.
Do you think that living in Los Angeles has had a strong influence on your work? If so, how?
Knxwledge: I kn and have work from everywhere, but LA is good for morale. Nice weather everyday. Although a bit strange being from the East knowing tht this kant last forever. Its too nice. Fake winters bahah, its a wild place. But its the same with anywhere u have to be komfortable and in a good state of mind for anything to work.
Can you describe to us the contemporary Los Angeles hip hop scene a bit from your perspective and tell us what makes it special?
Knxwledge: Simply bc over the years in hip hop everyone has gravitated towards L.A.. People love music here. All forms of it. Specially live even since I been here theres always been a big community of like minded musicians.
What do you personally consider to be some decisive moments in your work and/or career?
Knxwledge: Thats kinda wild. That question was half my last answr. Obviously being in the right place in order to get a Grammy. I didn’t have to be in L.A., but I happened to be bc that happened by me just continually putting music out nonstop. Tht beat was almost six yrs old b4 he (Kendrick) rappd on it.
What kind of music would you make in a world without electricity?
Knxwledge: Akoustik. Get a few bby grands and some akoustik basses. Unpluggd.
What advice would you give to producers who are just starting out?
Knxwledge: My advice to everyone young and old its to brush your teeth. You only get one set. Help yourself. Take kare of them joints.
How do you feel your generation is going to leave its mark on hip hop?
Knxwledge: Weve been doing it everyday, but not thnking about tht I know I have. Its a art to not be so tuned in with everything all the time tht kan really damage the mind I feel. So ill just stay over here.
In your opinion when it comes to contemporary hip hop, who's at the top of their game?
Knxwledge: I dnt realli kno what kurrent hip hop is, but def all my klose G’s I draw inspiration from. From Alchemist to Samiyam to Earl to Aktion to BigBodyBes thats enough. Haha…
Who are some of your favourite producers/musicians of all time and why?
Knxwledge: Favorites are tricky w me I knt realli konsider anything or one favs bc whenever I work. I draw from my overall situation where I am sick. Wanna sock somebody if I am in Jamaica w my family w no electricity u kant stream musik u gotta rock with what you got.
What is something you’ve learned through music that has helped you in your daily life (and vice versa)?
Knxwledge: Discipline. Something that I learnd b4 I was able to kreate as much music as I wanted. But discipline is the main fokous of my kraft. Jamaicans work hard In Living Color explained this years ago haha. I’ve worked many jobs as a kid. Grown man labor work. Shouts out to my parents for making me things rugged I thank them tht. I was always working.
What old albums have you rediscovered lately if any, and what makes them special?
Knxwledge: This is almost as klose as the fav question but ill let it slide hah. Anything from Donny Hathaway theres still so much we’ve haven’t heard.
What top 10 tracks would your favorite mixtape include?
Knxwledge: Im about to just do 10 of mine bc nihgas bite and then theres my whole live set. Fuck tht.
Ill give a few gems haha.
9.: knx - yaymhm.
10.: Retch - Since My Dog Died.
Please recommend two artists to our readers who you feel deserve their attention.
Knxwledge: Elijah Boothe & Earl Sweatshirt.
What are your hobbies beside music?
Knxwledge: Im full time w it. No days off tbh. Verii rare maybe in a few years.
What is your favorite rap/hip hop video of all time?
Knxwledge: Mobb Deep - Quiet Storm.
What album would you listen to after a bad breakup?
What gift of nature would you like to have?
Knxwledge: New Carhartt fits every single day like Luke Cage.
What book is currently lying on your bedside cabinet?
Knxwledge: The Word is Here - Keorapetse Kgositsile.
What are five words that would describe your personal fashion style?
1. gray/navys blk dark solids.
2. kozy boy always.
3. 3XXL shirt minimum.
4. always Carhartt on my person. EVERYDAY.
5. sweats/komfier than yesterday tomorrow.
Finally: can you tell us some secrets about Los Angeles that you can’t find in usual travel guides?
Knxwledge: LA is a weird place. Find one and let dreams find you.