The Kid Daytona can flat our rap. That was one of my first thoughts after hearing the Lanky BX native, who hit the scene with a remake of Tribe Called Quest material handled with care and knowledge as well as guidance from Hot 97’s Cipha Sounds. There’s something a bit more to The Kid, as witnessed in his second successful “concept” project, The Daytona 500, a seven song EP in which producers from Double O to 6th Sense reinterpret Bob James’ “Nautilus”. The record gets better, as Daytona adds to the songs by weaving stories about career take-off, as each song contributes to his ultimate flight. We caught up with The Kid to talk about his last EP, as well as the main course, Come Fly With Me, set to drop later this year. Daytona also talks about working with Cipha Sounds, and how the loss of his parents has impacted his music. Check it all out below as The Kid Daytona goes under the RH First Look Microscope.
RubyHornet: You caught a lot of attention from your A Tribe Called Fresh mixtape. How did you prepare for that project? Were you “extra” careful at all being a young artist re-interpreting classic material, especially from ATCQ, and especially after what happened to them at Hip Hop Honors? It seems like something like that creates a fine line and you got to either be excellent with it, or not do it at all.
The Kid Daytona: That idea came from Ciph to do that tape… He was like, how could we come up with a way to represent Daytona, but at the same time keep the sound familiar? So Tribe just popped up in the convo, and I was like ‘yea…. That sounds ill. Let’s redo the records but not in a disrespectful way.’ My uncle and older cousins used to bump Tribe in the crib all the time, so I was already familiar with some of the records. And Tip is one of my favorite mc’s of all time, so I was excited to start the project. Before we started, Ciph and Jamal (who is Ciph’s partner in Jackmove) made me study all the albums so I could fully understand their direction and sound. I studied the pocket they had on those records, it was refreshing to me. I really took everything in like a real student, it made me an overall better artist. I think we pulled it off in a dope way, because it’s not like we just took the records and rapped on top of them. I did the classics, but then put the Daytona spin on them… The feedback was good, and all I wanted to do was have content out there for people to listen to. Shouts to A Tribe Called Quest for putting out timeless music for us younger artists to listen and learn from!
RubyHornet: In that sense, how does being around Cipha Sounds help you navigate that line being doing things excellently and the right way, vs. just doing them?
The Kid Daytona: I learned a lot from Ciph too man… Like, he’s a perfectionist in every way shape and form! He gets so crazy with being perfect, sometimes the project never gets to see the light of day. Sometimes that can affect you, but it doesn’t hurt to think about what you’re doing before it actually gets done. With every project I do…It has to be a concept behind it, it all has to make sense and have purpose. It’s all marketing and branding… You have to paint the perfect picture so that the average fan can see what you’re trying to get across and grasp the whole concept without thinking so hard about it.
RubyHornet: One of my favorite Mos Def lines is “Restlessness is my nemesis, it’s hard to really chill and sit still, committed to page, I write a rhyme, sometimes don’t finish for days.” What are your thoughts when hearing that? How does it relate to your song creating process/mentality.
The Kid Daytona: I can relate to that all the way!!! I do the same thing, I think really, I have a strong case of ADD. I hear that most creative people do… Songs come out better when you think about them, as opposed to just writing down what ever comes to mind. For that you might as well freestyle everything… Some people can get away with that, but not me. Best example of that is when me, 6th Sense, Outasight, and Harlems Cash did the 2009 joint. They all finished their verses in like a half hour or so.. I took my time with mine, maybe a little too much time! We didn’t get out the studio till about 6am because I took so long writing… It paid off though, because hands down I had the best verse on there!! lol
RubyHornet: “Ask me, oh you still f**king with Ciph? Then why I don’t hear you on Hot 9 every night?” is a lyric that stood out to me on “The Engine” produced by Double O. The song itself is one that many artists can learn from. It seems to me that feeling slighted can have really one of two effects on an artist. It makes them humble and work harder, or they can grow bitter, and piss people off. You’ve gone the first route, why is that, and while writing “The Engine” was there any hesitation in being that honest?
The Kid Daytona: I actually held back on a lot of stuff that I could have said on there.. But some things are better kept with in family, and not meant for the world to hear. I always think I’m being slighted, I never feel that I get enough respect/credit. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because really it just makes me go harder. That’s why I named that track “The Engine” because the things I said in the song, are things that really fuel me and push me in the direction I need to be… The direction to where I feel I should be. You can’t get mad when people don’t get you right away… Look at all the people that’s on top of the game right now… They all had doubters. Jay, Kanye, Wayne, T.I… They all had people that just didn’t get it, people that didn’t want to give them a chance or a shot. They took all that negative energy, and made positivity out of it… That’s the only true way to go about it. You can’t be bitter in this game, or hold grudges… Not by any means.
RubyHornet: The new mixtape, I’m not sure if you call it a mixtape, is a conceptual 7 song project with song titles being specific to aircraft, the imagery borrowing from Licensed To ILL and the sample being used by the producers. Do you remember the moment or moment when the concept for this popped into your head? Was this an easy sell to your team right away?
The Kid Daytona: I always wanted to do something with Ghost Face’s “Daytona 500″… Just because of the name. It was Ciph who actually introduced Bob James’ “Nautilus” to me. I never knew that this one song created so many different hip-hop records… Classic hip-hop records at that! Mick Boogie originally wanted me to go in on 500 different hip-hop records lol… that would have been too crazy! So we scaled it down, and 6th helped me with putting the concept together. All the producers on my album are up and coming and not really out there in the mainstream… So I thought about a way where everyone can display what they do, in they’re own unique way. It worked out… I knew it would, because everyone has a different production style from one another. Nobody did the same thing twice… I’m happy with it, happy that everyone is responding so crazy to it. Makes me more excited to put Come Fly With Me out there…
RubyHornet: Why so much with the theme of flying? What is it about flying or being in the air that connects to you and your music?
The Kid Daytona: To me, flying is like the most peaceful thing ever… It’s like… imagine if we could fly how ill it would be?? I lost my mom and my dad when I was young, so often I would imagine flying away so I can go up there just to have a conversation with them. I would talk to my mom as if she was right next to me… I still do it to this day, it helps me to make decisions. Sometimes, you just need to escape life… Sometimes this place can just be too much to handle. The only real way we have of being able to fly as being humans, are drugs and alcohol. No matter what the economy looks like, those industries will always survive… Most of us just want to fly, get away from it all.
RubyHornet: “Time is the only thing I can’t afford to spend” at this point in your career, are you changing your approach to getting on projects, which events to attend etc? Have you had to kind of take stock again of where you are, and adjust your “rates” so to speak?
The Kid Daytona: I do songs with people that I f**k with… People that I think are dope. People hit me on myspace/twitter like, ‘yo can we do a joint together??’ I mean, if I never heard of you or know who you are, why would I do a record with you?? Especially for free… Even if I was getting paid, if I think you’re whack, I’m not gonna do it. I didn’t come up with you… Why do I or should I look out and rock with you like that?! People get tight, but look at it like this… We all grinding, I had my route to how I got here. I’ve been doing music for over 10 years, and the only real way that it’s going to work out for you is if you do it yourself. You can’t rely on anyone else but you! If it doesn’t make sense for me… I’m not going to do it. Not at this point…
RubyHornet: How dope is 6th Sense?
The Kid Daytona: 6th Sense, no lie, is a savior to my career. Without him, a lot of the stuff that you see going on with me wouldn’t exist period. We just started though, more great things to come from us. We share a lot of the same ideas on music, I’m excited to see what we do in the future… You should be too! lol
RubyHornet: The name of the album is Come Fly With Me. Do you have a target audience in mind? Who do you want to see get on the plane?
The Kid Daytona: I just want all people that love music to get on board… It’s going to be a journey. This is just the start of the flight.
RubyHornet: Lastly, tell our readers that may not be familiar with you, what are three things would you like our readers to know that maybe able to shed new light on the music?
The Kid Daytona: The Kid Daytona is a refreshing sound, a little bit of old blended in with the new. The Kid Daytona is Hip-Hop all the way. The Kid Daytona just wants you to watch… I paint pictures.