With September in full swing, many people are enjoying the last days of summer and outside vibes. It’s a period of transition and feel-good gatherings are made better with a soundtrack that’s cool and easy.
Dancehall artist Kranium has been providing such tunes as soon as he broke out on the scene with 2013’s “Nobody Has To Know.” With Ty Dolla $ign later assisting the song to become a hit, it was clear Kranium was about to put Jamaica and Jamaica, Queens on the map.
Now, he’s continuing his run thanks to songs like “Can’t Believe” (featuring Ty Dolla $ign and WizKid) and a new album on the way that Kranium says will pull from various genres. His latest single “No Odda” serves as an example of what’s to come. The track samples the always-club-ready track “No Letting Go” by Wayne Wonder, yet Kranium slows down the groove for a smooth R&B-like banger.
We caught up with him at a TIDAL and Appleton® Estate Jamaica Rum event in Brooklyn where dancehall fans can connect to new music, while enjoying some of the best drinks from Jamaica. Before he performed, we discussed how dancers on social media are important to current artists and he revealed what he thinks about pop artists embracing dancehall.
For your song “Can’t Believe” you shot a straight up dance music video without appearing in it yourself. What was the thinking behind this?
I feel like reggae music and dancehall music is all about the dance. Tons of dance comes out of Jamaica. So it was dope to incorporate every dance that was going around at the time when “Can’t Believe” came out. When we’re at parties, we go to enjoy ourselves, so I really just wanted that feeling to be captured.
Today on social media, you’ll find a lot of dancers shooting their own videos for popular songs that’ll get millions of views. Do you stay in tune with this and do you reach out to dancers yourself?
Of course, a hundred percent because an artist wants the best for his video. In dance, I want the best song to dance to and to show the dancer’s skill. So when I reach out to a girl who’s on Instagram or any Internet platform that is actually dancing and that looks dope, I’ll be like “yo, I think you’re a good fit for this video and for this song.” But I mean, it’s okay for them to say “I don’t like that song or I don’t think that style is my style” too.
Today you have a lot of artists like Drake or even Beyoncé incorporating dancehall and reggae into their music. Do you have any thoughts on pop artists taking on dancehall vs. some of the dancehall you might’ve grown up with in Jamaica?
If an artist wants to incorporate certain sounds in their music, it’s fine. When they do it, just actually let people know where they get it from, where the song comes from or whatever the case may be. But at the end of the day, nobody owes anybody an obligation. It’s just up to our community, fans of dancehall and dancehall artists, to defend our own stuff. So if we felt offended by anything, just speak about it and it is what it is.
When you think about the future of your career, do you think about awards and the other prestigious recognition some of these artists are getting?
I don’t really care about awards much because I feel like what is for you, you will get. So I don’t really think about it. I feel like when you think about getting a certain award, you think about a certain sound and that’s when you start messing up because you start thinking about that sound when it can just be natural. Just be yourself, be an artist and whatever is for you, you’ll get.