Interview: Allan Kingdom On Who He Wants To Collab With, Performing In NYC And More


The excitement in Allan Kingdom’s voice is undeniable. Between his enthusiastic tone and his light-hearted laughter, it’s clear that he’s exhilarated for his first headlining show in New York City.

Tonight (Aug 27), “All Day” earlier this year, the 21-year-old rapper/producer seemed like natural on stage. But he admits he still gets the pre-show jitters.

“Yea that never goes away,” said Kingdom. “It’s just that once I’m actually on stage, I do feel a lot different. That was one of the biggest things I got from performing with Kanye. After that, it gives you the heart to just go out and be like ‘whatever happens, happens.’ That kind of freedom makes you a better performer and doesn’t allow you worry as much.”

Kingdom has been paving his own lane since he was 17-years old. After releasing his first EP Pinkspire Lane in 2012, the young Canadian artist, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, established his solo career with the help of Plain Pat. Since then, Kingdom has been on a mission to create his own scene and alter the fairly new artistic mold inadvertently developed by fellow Canadian artists such as Drake and The Weeknd.

“I feel like that’s what any new artist does that presents a new sound or anything like that. It just shows that different kinds of people are able to express themselves through their art. When Drake came out, I knew there were people who were not comfortable singing in their raps. But now, it’s like ‘I can use this part of me to express myself.’ So its just another way for kids in Canada or wherever to be inspired.”

The multi-faceted MC additional projects like Talking With Strangers and his critically acclaimed project Future Memoirs since his name first popped on the blogs. After releasing a self-titled album for his rap collective thestand4rd, Kingdom got back on his solo grind and is currently working on his first full-length album. VIBE say down with Kingdom before his show to talk about the direction of his upcoming body of work, who he wants to feature on his first album, and what he plans to do before his first headlining show in New York City.

VIBE: What direction do you see yourself going in for your upcoming album?
AK: I just see myself being me and taking it into a broader direction that relates to more people. I feel like when I first started releasing and producing things mysel, without any management or anything, I was relating to kids who were on the Internet all the time, stuck out, who were weird or felt like outcasts. Now I feel like my newer music is tapping into everybody who ever felt like they were left out. So I feel like I’m reaching a broader audience as well as my old fans, too.

Will you be keeping the album more intimate or have you reached out to others?
Yea I have a few collabs in the works for this album. I’m the type of person who loves to be creative with a lot of people. Some of it might not come out or certain things may happen, but I’m always trying to expand. But I don’t like to overcrowd my projects either. So it’s a good balance of both. But I do like to step into different environments and create.

Who are you looking forward to working with for the album?
Oh man, there’s a lot of people that I would love to work with. But for the album, I’m mainly looking at the peopleI’ve had fun working with. Up and coming people like D.R.A.M and Goldlink. I can’t confirm any collabs but just in that lane of fresh energy. There are a lot of kids coming up from Atlanta right now. I felt like it’s more important as an artist to create your own scene and your own lane, and have your own family come up together.

Was the “Nelson Mandela” freestyle you did for DJ Booth off the top of the dome?
I had that planned, but whenever I make songs, I like to add an element of freestyle though. My regular songs like “Take It” or the songs on thestand4rd album, most of them are freestyles. So I’ll take that, and if it’s dope enough I’ll keep it. Or if I need to go write to it I’ll do it but I keep a certain level of improve in my song because I feel like it keeps it natural.

I read on your website that when you first started producing, you used to sample your on voice. From that point to now, how do you feel like your production has evolved?
I don’t know, I just feel like I’ve been around so many creative people who are so good at what they do. I just naturally learned from their process. It’s not like anyone had the time to sit down and teach me. But just being around everyone from Kanye to DJ Kasloco to thestan4rd to Plain Pat raises your taste level.

You’re originally from Canada and now you live St. Paul, Minnesota, do you feel like you’re giving Minnesota a new name in the game?
Yea, definitely. I feel like I did it inadvertently. That wasn’t the goal but it was one of the bonuses of it. It was a plus that I could that for the city. It’s an honor for me to be able to do that.

This year was major for you not only because of the “All Day” appearance. There was a lot of talk about you during your time at SXSW in Austin, Texas. What would you say was your best memory from that week?
The whole thing was just so dope. I feel like the best memory was at the end of it all. I played six shows in two days, and I was very confident for all of them. All of the performances were such a different vibe. I was able to successfully tackle each one.

You’ve got another show coming up this week. What’s something that you do that’s different before each show?
I don’t get high or drunk before my shows. I feel like that’s a common thing a lot of artists do. I don’t know I don’t have a special routine or anything. I just like to keep a clear head, like I don’t like a lot of people around me before my show. After my show it’s way different, but before the show is a sacred time for me. I want to make sure I’m on my P’s & Q’s and everything. I make sure I hit the key points that I set for myself but also not limit myself and be robotic. I still want there to be raw moments where I connect with people.