Kings Konekted
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Kings Konekted

Recently dropping their debut LP ‘Corrupted Citizens’, hip-hop group Kings Konekted have promised their new album is “an ode to the human spirit” and reflects the street-smart world they come from. Members Dontez and Culprit spoke to Forte about working with hip-hop legend Trem, using their music as a voice for their community and what’s in store for the near future.

For those who aren’t aware, can you take us back a bit to where it all started, Brisbane, circa 2001?

C&D: In 2001 we’d just finished high school and started hanging together locally through mutual friends and interests.

In what was pretty exciting news for yourselves and the hip-hop scene in general, you signed to ‘UnKut Recordings’ in 2014, working under the watchful eye of hip-hop heavy weight Trem. How has this helped with your career paths and what doors has this opened for your music?

C&D: From our earliest beginnings Unkut has been the label we most revered. We were Commission fans as is; fast forward to the present it was a no-brainer to take the opportunity. Trem has taken on this project as his own. From our perspective, it was incredible to have a label boss believing so deeply in what we do. His knowledge of the game and ability to adapt is incomparable, most of all his guidance beyond music is what makes it such an honour to fly the flag. It’s now possible to push our music to further levels.

You guys have just dropped your debut album ‘Corrupted Citizens’. I know there is a lot of hype around this release – it’s been a long journey to this point. Tell us about the process in completing this masterpiece; was it a ‘piece-it-together’ project, or a ‘write and lay it down in one go’ approach?

C: Donnie’s endlessly making beats and I can’t say either of us have ever had a case of writers block, so we continually write and record regardless. I suppose it was a case of evolution in that the strongest tracks survived – there must be over 20 tracks unused from that. There has never been a dispute as to which track made the cut though.

D: I’d recorded and mixed the CC tracks at Class A Studio, later taking the project to Unkut where Trem went over it with a magnifying glass for good measure. We made some adjustments and got the third ear we really needed. Some instrumentals got tweaked, verses re-recorded. We took the final mix to Joseph Carra At Crystal Mastering, again making some slight tweaks till the final Master was cut, a beautiful one at that.

Tell us about the various elements of this project: who is involved, what producers were bought in on this one, who is on DJ duties, can you reveal any features?

C&D: Besides Our Campaign release it’s an in house affair. Even on our early mix-tape we have kept the same circle of guidance around us – we make our own sound regardless of the climate. Culprit The Captain on emcee duties, Donnie also emcees and oversees all sides of production on CC. We have guest producers Must and Prowla lending a burner beat each which could not be refused, DJ Stricknine on cut selections and cuts. Trem One added additional production experience, whether it be mixing or sequencing. He also composed cut sections and dropped a fitting guest verse on ‘The Sit Down’, featuring DJ 2buck – not to mention Buck drops ridiculous heat on that joint. Our brother Sussone was always going to have a verse in there.

We have been watching the ‘Value Of Adaptation’ clip on repeat – it’s amazing. The cinematography and track are blended so well it just reeks of professionalism. Is this clip a fairly good depiction of the sorts of dark undertone we can expect from the album?

D&C: Firstly we have to acknowledge Trem One, Josh Davis and Heata HG for their vision for this. We decided to go with two track options which Josh and Heata felt most compelled toward – ‘Value Of Adaption’ being the first to deliver the goods. The content and length made it ideal for the visuals they had in mind. The clip’s whole theme perfectly summarises the entire album to perfection; however you won’t catch us in a stolen Ford running packages interstate every weekend. It’s an ode to the human spirit; what some of us might do to survive whether it’s hustling or a 9-5.

Each track is cinematic in its wordplay, painting a gritty image with quick witted references only the street smart would pick up on – was this an aim when writing for this release, to encapsulate that street feel?

C: Yes definitely, firstly because that’s our environment and secondly, that’s where we draw a lot of inspiration from. Every time we write our purpose is to represent the lower/middle class echelons; our community and its people. We see each verse as our opportunity to steal the listener’s attention, and we put a lot of attention to detail in terms of creativity, wordplay and straight rawness.

Did you have plan in store for a tour?

D&C: We will form back into a live group again in 2016 with DJ Stricknine, and a tour is being pieced together as we speak. Trem has kept us ready for that aspect and we are looking forward to going back to our roots. A tour will no doubt be announced over the coming months.

Tell us where we can check out your stuff and where to purchase the album when it drops?

You can get the album online through www.unkutrecordings.com, unkutrecordings.bigcartel.com and iTunes. Available in selected stores with Wax & Cassette follow up in 2016.

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