24 mai. 2022CULTURE THE KID: THE PATH TO GREATNESS
Culture The Kid is an up-and-coming rapper whose thirst for success can never be quenched. The young Brazilian-Luxembourgish artist’s energetic live shows will transport you to another universe and make you feel like you’re in a rap battle somewhere in New York. Watch out for his next projects.
You were part of Kultur | lx’s recent concert at Den Atelier, how was it?
It was a very nice selection of Luxembourg’s finest and I’m glad there will be more editions in the future. The event gave more visibility to Luxembourg’s rap scene, which is really thriving and expanding at the moment. Kultur | lx created mini series of interviews at Unison Studios, then filmed our sessions for a few minutes. Each artist was paired with a producer, I was with the one I’ve been working with for two years now. We work very well together and I’m grateful they invited producers to be part of this experience as they’re usually more behind the scenes.
For how long have you been in the rap game?
It will be three years in September since I’ve started actively rapping and five years since I started writing. The first song I released – Living in The Clouds – was actually a compilation of a bunch of lines that I put together. I got into rap because it gives so many more possibilities in terms of vocabulary, it’s richer than other genres of music. There’s more emphasis on the lyrics and the freedom to express more diverse thoughts and deeper messages, that’s what I find attractive about it.
What are your main influences?
Listening to 50 Cent is what got me into rap, but I obviously didn’t and don’t have his lifestyle and past experiences so I can’t say that he was a direct influence. We don’t rap about the same things. I’d say my influences are my own life experiences, simply rapping about my thoughts and how I feel. I’m also a huge fan of a rapper from New York called Marlon Craft, he’s one of the best.
I noticed that you have a strong New York accent…
I want to represent Luxembourg and put it on the map one day, but I identify more with the way New Yorkers speak and I want to stick with it for the moment!
What are the major themes of your songs?
I don’t have a hard life with lots of struggles, I write about what’s authentic to me. Now my process is less about profound thoughts but more my aspirations in life. It may sound arrogant but I really want be great. I genuinely believe that I can be and do something great and put it out there. I’m in this phase of my life where everything feels possible. I’m finishing school soon too so that’s what I’m trying to channel into my music. I currently have no balance between school and music, I’m either focused on one or the other, but I have my exams soon and then I’ll (finally) be done!
What are your plans after high school?
Initially, I figured I would do “normal” studies and music on the side but realised it was impossible, so I chose the London Music Academy, which will allow me to still be in a in the world of music and hopefully lead to a stable job one day. If something great comes out of my music I will naturally pursue that of course.
© Valentin Dufour
Are you open to other music genres?
You know, I started with a collective called RockClub, led by Fred Barreto and Chris Hewett. They allowed young musicians to go on stage and experiment a bit with drums and guitar. I used to sing and practice with them every week, we would cover rock songs, from Hot Chili Peppers and other classic rock bands. This collective was a real stepping stone for me and many others. We could write, record and collaborate with other artists, in my case I did a collab with Maya Maunet, she did the hook on Living in The Clouds. I see myself as a rapper now, but not in the classical sense, I’m open to anything that can positively influence my music and make it better. London has a big hip hop scene and lot of jazz flow, it’s very organic. I’m looking forward expanding my taste in music and discovering new sounds in London.
Did you grow up in a creative family?
I definitely got my love for music from my parents. My father would mostly play rock, pop, funk and soul and on my mother more Brazilian music. I try to channel that diversity into my music.
You’re fluent in 6 languages, do you write and rap in all of them?
Of course! I already wrote a song in Luxembourgish, another one in Portuguese and one in French. I don’t feel connected to German and Spanish yet, maybe one day! I feel a strong connection to French because you can be more playful with the words, more than in English because words sound similar so you can pronounce the same syllables but say different words. It’s difficult but that’s what makes it beautiful. Another major influence is Benjamin Epps. He’s less of a conscious rapper, it’s more about ego trips and seeking validation, the focus is on yourself and it requires subtle wordplay. He says he’s the best rapper in France and I believe him. He released three albums and they are all perfect in my eyes. He definitely embodies my current phase. That confidence will make you feel like the king of the world. Another great album would be Fun House Mirror by the one and only Marlon Craft, a masterpiece really.
Is Matteo different from Culture The Kid?
Definitely, I become very cocky when I rap. I have a tunnel vision on stage, I’m focused and feel a real rush. Matteo is a hyperactive guy in general, and he gets nervous before stepping on stage but Culture The Kid transmutes that as energy. Matteo can be very shy and introspective but Culture The Kid puts a lot of emphasis on external validation, the opinion of others matter too much to him sometimes. He wants to get validation from his peers and people in general, he wants to earn their approval constantly, prove that he’s a good rapper.
You seem to have gone through different cycles since you started this rap journey, in which cycle were you in when you first started?
I was deep into my teenage years, I felt confused quite often. I didn’t know what to do and felt very disconnected from reality. I was trying to put together different aspects of myself and in doing so writing quickly became a very therapeutic process. I can write something but will usually find the meaning later. I would think of a line and build up a whole song around that thought. I’ll start in the middle or at the end, I don’t have a particular order or structure. I’m a huge fan of Kendrick Lamar because people can spend hours analysing his lyrics, he hides a lot of meanings and I want to do the same one day, it pushes people to make the effort to listen consciously and go deeper.
What’s the aim of your songs?
I used to say that I wanted to be a messenger but I already am. I have a lot to express and I don’t think I will ever run out of things to say as long as I have other things going on for myself outside of rapping. I want to be great and be remembered as Culture The Kid. I want to have an impact outside of my comfort zone. I appreciate Luxembourg but I want to expand. My goal is to be the opening act for one of my favourite rappers within the next two years. I don’t want to be a superstar, I want to work hard enough to be able to live a decent lifestyle.
In the rap game, you need to build an authentic persona, use what’s inside of you. I have Brazilian and Luxembourgish heritage so historically I don’t have a connection to rap. In my position it’s important to acknowledge this, give back and not appropriate rap culture, rather appreciate it and be respectful of it. Rap is about the ability to play with language, the flow is very important, a good rhythm is what I consider to be the bare minimum. With all of these ingredients, you can become a good rapper. It’s all about practice. Express your inner world fearlessly.