The last time we connected with K.E.L.L.S  was in February. At the time, he had just released “Good Shit” and was performing all through out The Bay. We caught up to Mr.Ian Kelly and discussed 2015, and what the new year had in store for him.  

Last time we linked up with you, we mentioned Kendrick Lamar. Have the comparisons continued? Do they annoy you? 

(Laughing) yea the comparisons are still there but they don’t really annoy me. I understand why people say that and know who I am and where I’m headed these days as an artist. We’re two completely different people with two completely different life stories and more than anything I just appreciate that people respect the passion they can hear in both of our music. Kendrick is a beast in this game and a great artist, so I take it as a compliment when people try to make the correlation. 

Congrats on the Creed soundtrack, how did that end up happening?

Thank you very much, fareal. That came about do to me and the homie White Dave constantly making music together. White Dave’s brother is Ryan Cooler and he’s actually in the film as well. His brother though is not somebody who’s going to just give out handouts easily. White dave really had to work his ass off and me and him do a lot of music together. White Dave told me months ago that he wanted to do a song that could make it into the film and he honestly sent his brother, and those working on the soundtrack, like 20 to 30 songs. He had already gotten two songs on the soundtrack and they liked his work so much they asked if he had another song that he wanted to send them. The last song happened to be “In The Kitchen” featuring me and another artist by the name of Young T produced by Kyle Betty. You can actually hear my verse in one of the gym scenes of the movie, so definitely go check out CREED if you already haven’t. It’s a great film with many powerful messages. 

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What are some of your 2016 goals?

My main goals for 2016 are too drop a couple projects and then really just work on my branding and marketing. I accomplished a lot in 2015 and while I may not be one of the most known artist in the Bay Area right now I feel that things are starting to look better for the future. I’m ready to create more with my team and just continue to make great memories with my loved ones.

What are some habits that you are leaving behind in 2015?

I’m down on smoking in the year 2016. In 2015 I already made a good stride of cutting down the habit by not smoking for 5 months, but I think the rate at which I smoke will be lessened a lot more compared to 2015. Also trying to stay away from hella sugar. Health is wealth so I’m making more of a conscious effort to regulate what I’m putting into my body.

What was the biggest lesson that 2015 taught you?

2015 taught me a lot of important lessons but I’d have to say the biggest is just to have more patience and faith in whatever you do. Many don’t know this, but due to being impatient and not really feeling like I was making strides the way I wanted to for a while I almost stopped rapping this year. Just was feeling boxed in, in different aspects. I had a few conversations with some close friends and family and realized that I had to keep going and had to learn to just be patient and work. When it comes to being an artist you have to have tunnel vision, respect for the craft, and respect for the business aspect of what you’re getting into.

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You’ve been dropping songs left and right, what do you do on your down time?

I honestly sometimes just keep my phone in my pocket and spend time with friends and family. I’ve been trying to read more, but I like shutting the world off at times, as funny as that sounds. I go to school, have a part time job working with kids, and constantly make music, so it’s good for me to slow down sometimes and just cherish people and the things around me. We’re so connected to technology these days and we constantly have our heads down in our phone so often that sometimes we minimize the world to being all in our phones. I’m also a movie watcher. I watch sports, movies, and some of my old favorite TV shows all the time.

What inspires you to create? 

Lately what inspires me to create is just the love of music and being somebody I feel that can be another powerful voice for my city. I’ve experienced a lot, know people who have experienced a lot, and just want to make sure the whole world feels that. The same way I see people like Marshawn Lynch and artist like GQ from Jamla records as Oakland’s big brothers I see myself as Oakland’s good little brother with some rough edges who soaked up knowledge from everybody along the way.

How do you get into your creative space?

For me to get into my creative space I just need a beat I like and some water. I literally have went from rapping in closets, basements, to rapping in studios, to going back to rapping in my homies room again. It doesn’t take much for me to become creative it’s more about finding a calm mental space in my brain rather than an actual physical space. I love to make music and I love the challenge of attempting to be one of the best artist that’s ever done this when it’s all said and done. I have a desire to be great and nothing less than that.

If it wasn’t for music, what would you be doing?

If it wasn’t for music I’d probably just be working with the youth in some shape or form. I like to give back and help others, so I’d be doing that on some type of scale whether it was small or major…That’s a hard thought now a days though seeing that I truly feel I can touch more with music more than anything else.

What is your biggest fear? 

My biggest fear is honestly losing some of those that are closest too me before them actually being able to be around for the good times I see coming in the future. I lost my father and one of my best friends already two years ago, so that’s probably my biggest fear. Death is inevitable for everybody and I understand that. I just want to be able to look over to the ones I care about the most and the ones I’ve had long talks with when it’s all said and done and be able to say ” I made a promise to you and I made sure to keep it”.

Any upcoming performances? 

I have a performances on December 6th, 10th, and the 13th. I’ll be performing at the next Gold Mind Gallery event, at #LegendvryAndFriends, and at Winter Vibrations with the beautiful ladies of Nook and Kranny. To find all the details you can go on my Instagram @lastnamekells or my Twitter @lastnamekells.


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