Interview: Kid Ink talks growing up in L.A., his future in music and making his move to the big screen

Kid Ink’s unique style is unmistakable. Whether the tattooed rapper from Los Angeles is putting out new music or talking about making his big screen debut (yes, we’re all waiting for that moment) he never fails to bring 100 percent heart and passion to everything he does. His latest EP, 7 Series, includes eight hot tracks featuring artists like 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign and Starrah. With renowned producers such as Murda Beatz and DJ Mustard behind the boards, it’s no surprise the recent project has cultivated some of this summer’s greatest dance-worthy hits.

AXS caught up with Kid Ink the other day on the set of Fuse’s pop culture game show, “Trivial Takedown.” Based on the popular UK series, “Blink,” the show is set to premiere in the fall and will feature Ink, along with a number of other musical artists, celebrities and influencers.

After playing a round with Kid Ink (which he easily won) we got to talk all about what he’s up to.

AXS: Let’s start from the beginning. You’re born and raised in L.A. Tell me a little bit how the city has inspired you and influenced you musically?

Kid Ink: Definitely growing up in the ‘90s, music was big in Los Angeles. You know, we had N.W.A, Pac, Cube, and Quik; there were a lot of West Coast artists growing up so I think music was always seen as an opportunity, but I don’t think it was ever something that I really took seriously until I was around 15 years old. At that time, we were just making music about everything that was going on around us and how we were growing up in school; whether it be from gangs to girls to Hollywood. We were going to parties and clubs in Hollywood that they had for high school kids. A lot of that stuff that people still do now in Hollywood; we were just doing all that early. So I think getting into the lifestyle wasn’t so difficult. Also, L.A. didn’t feel too segregated in the schools when I was growing up. We always had to go to class and sit next to all different people. So I think I learned a lot just about how to deal with other cultures. I think all that stuff just brings it back to an understanding of how to relate to everyone and not just one circle of people.

AXS: So what was that moment for you when you knew that this was what you needed to be doing with your life?

KI: I think the moment that I found out this is what I wanted to do was when it seemed easy. Not the making it part; more so the process of making music and making beats or writing music, just seemed fun. I was always working to be better but it didn’t seem like something I was forcing myself to do or doing it for a check or anything. Any money I made, I was spending it on music equipment, or studio time, or figuring out how I can do this and that just to do music. I think once other people around me saw that, like my mom and everybody, they knew I was taking it seriously. That’s when all my gifts turned into music gifts and I started getting things like keyboards. It still didn’t make a real difference until I was probably in my mid-20s. So, it was still always a dream for a long time. I still had to go to school. I still had to get regular jobs. I had to figure out life but still get jobs that weren’t going to hurt me in the future. Because I knew I wanted to do music, so I wasn’t working somewhere where they’d be like, ‘Yo, we saw Kid Ink back in 2004 when he graduated, working at some crazy place.’ (Laughs) You won’t find any of that.

AXS: Tell me more about the other instruments you play. How did that happen?

KI: My mom always played the piano. She always liked to have one in the household so she put me and all my brothers and sisters in piano early. We were at the spot that had it for like no money, like it was damn near free with the child care. But then, when I got older I took it seriously and I was making beats. Sampling music wasn’t always the way to go if you wanted to make more money. So, I had to learn how to make original music. When I was learning how to play “Für Elise” and all these other songs, that, I think, helped me later on know just how to use the keys; just to master it. I felt like I could always go back in and make beats and just have fun with it. It’s something that’s easy for me.

AXS: Do you ever see yourself crossing genres more? Which direction would you go if you did?

KI: Yeah, I think I see myself crossing genres more. You know, I still always like to make fun music. It’ll never be down or emo music or anything. I think if I went somewhere it would probably be electronic music. I understand electronic music, just coming from L.A. and just that party scene. I would probably be the person making the beats and stuff. Or, I’d be like Calvin Harris, where I could throw a little bit of vocals on there but it’s still more focused on the production and the music making you feel good.

AXS: So, what’s next for you?

KI: What’s next? New music. I’ve also done some filming lately, as far as like TV shows and movies, so hopefully more of that. I’m having fun with that. You know, I’ll probably have to do a lot more stuff with makeup because I have some tattoos (he chuckled). I’ll probably be playing superheroes in the future or be in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ or something like that. If I got to do stuff like that I’d want to be like a ‘Walking Dead’ zombie.

AXS: I will campaign for that.

KI: I’m down to just be a zombie. I don’t have be on script, I could just go, ‘Ahhhh,’ and just limp (Laughs). But yeah, more stuff like that. And then, you know, more importantly, there’s new music. I think the music always takes me where I want go that year, and it always surprises me, so we’ll see.

One thing is for sure, whether Kid Ink is playing a zombie, a superhero or some new music, fans can’t wait to see what he’ll do next. Take a look at the new video for “Sweet Chin Music" above; The song is off of the Ink's latest EP, 7 Series.