The Vixen Q&A: Kilo Kish Talks Uninhibited, Generational Rebels + Respecting Odd Future's Flippant Attitude

Kilo Kish (pronounced KEY-LOW KEESH) is a mystery. Even a thorough Google search won't result in Wikipedia-sized article about about this quirky, 20-year-old Art Institute of NYC student who vocally laced "Want You Still", a track created by The Jet Age Of Tomorrow (a group nestled within the ever-growing collective Odd Future). The trippy, spaced out record launched Kilo, who is a member of hip-hop threesome Kool Kats Klub, into our radar and we caught up with the easygoing and sarcastically non-serious New Yorker. She talks to VIBE Vixen about jokingly starting her music career, why she has respect for Odd Future and why the extent of her fashion sense is comfortability. -Niki McGloster


Kilo Kish – where did you get your rap name from?

We listened to a lot of Kilo Ali at our old apartment where I lived with Justin [her manager] and another friend who I do music with, Smash Simmons. They’re from Atlanta, so we listen to a lot of Kilo Ali and they put me on to it. I kinda just fell in love with it, so they would joke around and be like “Kilo Kish” and all that. I think it was my Twitter name before it was my rap name, then I just kept it.

I like it! Do you live with the other members of Kool Kats Klub now? Smash Simmons and Mell McCloud?

I no longer live with them now, but for like a year we were all just roommates hanging out and that’s how I started doing music. Smash had the whole recording studio set up in our house, and we would just get in there late at night and hang out, have a beer and just make music. At first, I was just kidding around. I’m still just kidding around which is kind of the point.

That’s what’s so awesome. You’re just having a good time with it. Now, just to rewind a bit, when did you start wanting to record and release the music?

Well, maybe last year, I noticed that every one in New York was coming out with a mixtape. Like, everybody you met was a rapper or something, and it was funny to me. It would be really hilarious if I could go to parties and have a mixtape just to joke around and be funny, so I started doing it and then I realized why everyone does it. It’s so much fun to get in there, screw around, say whatever you want and just be you. ‘Cause I go to school for art, so I’ve always just been a painter, but I realized music is a really quick way to get out your own personality and get out your style. It’s really cathartic just to do it. The first music I have is me [when I was] even worse of a rapper hanging out and saying whatever. I was working at this store called Georgia and I would play it there, then my friends were like, ‘That’s really funny, but it’s also not bad.’

While you were joking, people were taking it seriously.

Yes, and people were like, ‘No, it’s actually pretty good!' And I just kept doing the same thing. My friends would play it at Supreme, and it’s just funny to me that people like it.

People are really into it, and I think that’s what’s good about it. It’s very organic and it just so happens that it’s good.

Yeah, and I don’t even have to try. Music is great because you can be yourself, and you don’t have to try to be like anyone else. Like, I’m not trying to be the best rapper ever; I’m not trying to compete with anyone. I’m just being myself, and that’s what makes it fun for me. When it’s not fun anymore, I’m just going to stop doing it because I’m not a musician [Laughs].

I feel you. Well, you’re featured on “Want You Still” from Journey To The 5th Echelon, and that’s what everyone is recognizing you for. Tell me, what are your affiliations to Odd Future, specifically Matt Martians and Hal Williams.

I ended up meeting with some of the guys from The Super 3, and my friend Matt who happens to be really good friends with Justin and Smash. He stayed over at our apartment one time, and I was just playing some of my music and he even jokingly was like, ‘You need to get on a song.’ Even he thought that it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal, but he just sent me a beat and was like, ‘This is yours. Do whatever you want on it,’ and that’s how “Want You Still” came about. Like, some stuff I write down, and some stuff I improvise as the song is playing, and that’s what I did with that song. He ended up really liking it and keeping it on his CD. I haven’t met any of the other guys from Odd Future ‘cause I haven’t gone out to LA and they’re not really [in NY] that much, but I feel like it all works out pretty well. The sense that I get from them is that they’re just hanging out, having fun and just being themselves, and I’m the same way. I’m not all puppies, kittens and butterflies. I’m kind of a bit dry too and really sarcastic, so it works out. [Laughs]

Swag

You’re personality definitely seems to fit with their style of music so well. I can tell that with The Jet Age Of Tomorrow, your vocals match perfectly with their spacy, futuristic beats. You fit so well that I had to double check if you were apart of the Odd Future collective.

[Laughs] No, I’m not a member, but I think they’re awesome. They’re just kids having fun, and I think that’s great. I think people should be more uninhibited to do what they want. Tyler and the whole Odd Future crew, they’re all really, really talented. I think it’s just their personalities that it comes from. A lot of rappers and musicians try to live up to this persona where you have to talk about cars and girls and champagne and shit. Odd Future is just talking about what they know about which is good. They’re not speaking on anything that they don’t know anything about, and that’s really respectable. I respect them for not caring and not giving a fuck.

Do you think the movement of "not caring" is what this generation needs?

I think every generation has their own way of standing up for themselves, you know? Every generation. Like, the 60's had their whole peace movement. Every generation has their own movement of rebellion and standing up to whatever system that they dont' agree with. There are kids all over the place who have ideas and feelings and opinions and it's not any different now; it's just easier for them to get those opinions across because we have the internet, we have Twitter, we have all these social mediums to allow you to say whatever you want, and I think it's a culmination of that more than anything.

Whoa, I understand that so much. With your own crew, Kool Kats Klub, are you expressing your own movement of rebellion?

Um, I feel like everybody has something that they have to say. Sometimes Smash will get on a track and talk about whatever he's feeling about girls or working and daily life. But it's more of us just having fun because when we're making music, it's hilarious!

How does your painting and drawing directly influence your music or vice versa?

I don’t know if they reflect on each other so much, but it all reflects me. My paintings are very expressive. I use a lot of black; I don’t use a lot of straight lines. I just flow and let it do whatever it wants to do. I let paint drip, and I’m not the neatest, geometric artist who takes the time to finesse every little thing. And it’s the same thing with music, I don’t really freak out over it. I got to school for textile design, so I’m really into patterns and prints. I want to create home products at some point. Everything. Lamp shades, bedding, everything...

How deep is your love for fashion?

I love fashion to a certain extent. I go to fashion school, so I like it. I can appreciate fashion, but at the same time, my own style is pretty simple. I like my space to be pretty simple—a clear palette to go through life with. I keep it comfortable. [Laughs]

Is there any person or particular thing that influences your style, or is it very much “wake-up-and-go”?
It’s definitely “wake-up-and-go” because I have a million jobs. Not only just school and the music, I work in restaurants and nightlife. I have to run from 9 a.m. all the way to 3 a.m. some days, so I have to be comfortable and just go from there.

And from here, this point where you are in your budding career, where do you want to go? What do you want to come from the recognition you're gaining?

Music isn't... I know that there's a lot of people that want it way more than me. With me, my passion for music grows every day, but I don't think I'll ever be at that level where there's somebody who wants it so bad. Like, they want to be on television so bad and they want everyone to hear what they have to say. I'd really like to just have something chronicling... because I don't really keep a diary or anything to help me chronicle what I'm feeling. I think that's what people sell art for. It's not just to sell paintings or make money or become famous; it's just to have a diary of yourself. And if nothing comes out of this, I'll be happy just knowing that this is how I felt when I was 19 or 20 or 21... Just to say that I did it.

Something that can show that you lived! And lastly, what other projects are you working on?

[Kool Kats Club] is going to release a few tapes on ImNotAToy.com, and I'm also working with The Super 3 from Odd Future doing a whole CD by myself. That's going to be out at the end of the summer, and we're going to call it Junior Varsity.

 

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
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Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

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aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

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Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

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— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
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Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

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The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

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Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

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View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

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This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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