Interviews

Published on May 16th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford

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Yung Knxw: Carving Out His Own Lane!

Yung Knxw dropping new project, “Only Knxw Knxws,” on 5/20

The pressures of being the offspring of a legend while trying to conquer greatness in the same space as your legendary parent could a stressful period. Yung Knxw, the son of legendary Geto Boys member, Bushwick Bill doesn’t see it as pressure. It’s just an opportunity for him to keep his father’s legacy going. Last June, the legend lost his battle with cancer. Fortunately for us, he created a monster before passing. You could hear his influence through Knxws interviews, his passion through his son’s music and the look is undeniable. Although, he gained valuable knowledge being alongside his father, Knxw has did it his way with no freebies or handouts. Continuing to evolve not only as an emcee, but as a man as well, Yung Knxw’s best is yet to come.

Yung Knxw’s latest project, “Only Knxw Knxws,” will be dropping on May 20th!

 I was so proud of you seeing you out there in New York on ‘Sway In The Morning,’ handling yourself. What was that experience like for you?

Yung Knxw: It was beautiful. I went out there with my girl. She captured so many moments. To really grind and to know that that was only my second time in New York ever. The first time I went, I did an interview and photo shoot around my dad neighborhood in Bushwick Brooklyn. I stayed at my aunt house the last time, so I could see how it feels to be in the neighborhood my dad grew up in. So, to come back 4-years later and be on, ‘Sway In The Morning’ honoring him and doing what I was supposed to be doing. I told myself when I went back to New York that it was going to be something big. And I actually did it and it was just unreal.

Your pops gave you priceless maturity and that’s what I took away from seeing you handle yourself on that show.

Yung Knxw: I greatly appreciate it. We did a few interviews together before he passed. He really taught me a lot when it comes to being ready and making sure I don’t say the wrong things and be wise when I talk because one wrong word or one wrong scenario could add emotion out of context and blow everything out of proportion, and mess up everything that’s moving forward.

You dealt with that firsthand when he passed with some inaccurate reports from media, so in so many ways, context is everything.

Yung Knxw: Definitely! When my father actually passed… when the news broke out, it’s like he passed two times in one day. I was so confused because, a lot of people don’t know, but the night before I was actually in Houston still. Once I found out everything that was happening, I got on a flight early that next morning to Colorado and by time I landed, all the news broke out while my phone was on airplane mode. I was still on the flight, so by the time I landed, my phone was blowing up saying, “RIP,” and this and that. I was like, “No, I’m making it in time. What you mean? I’m getting there in time to spend the last moments with my father.” It was unreal to me. It’s like, “This is not happening.” So, I talked to my dad’s PR and I talked to my moms and everybody was trying to figure it out. It didn’t happen because the person that was with him was saying he’s still alive. The fact was fake news had got out and it was like me having to deal with my dad passing two-times and that shit had me worried. I knew I was making it in time.

That’s crazy. You shot a video for, “Times Still Hard,” while in New York. How did that go?

Yung Knxw: Man… that’s the craziest thing. With Sway and everything, he made sure we had a hotel that was 2-blocks away from Time Square, so we were in a good location. I was there for a day, but after my interview, I had a few more hours to be there before I had to catch my flight. Literally, my girl shot my video in an hour.

Damn!

Yung Knxw: That video you saw was shot in one hour. We really captured the essence of Time Square. People wouldn’t even believe the time frame that we did everything in. we had to hurry up and get everything together in the hotel and still make sure we bounce back and head for the airport that was about 45-minutes to an hour away from Times Square.

You made it happen. I always tell you that you have your own vibe, but on, “Times Still Hard,” you sound just like your father.

Yung Knxw: Yeah! It’s crazy you say that because on my dad’s project, “Phantom of the Rapra,” “Times Still Hard,” is my favorite joint on it. When I listened to that song, I found the original sample. After he passed, I was influenced by a lot of the things that he did even more. I just wanted to make sure I curate and add what he did in terms of his influence in hip-hop. On his verses and certain things, he ended it with like, “That’s real!” Certain key things that he did in his verses, I made sure that I ended it a certain way to pay homage. If people were to go back and listen to that song, they would feel that same feeling that they felt. I put my heart over that beat. I worked with the producer hand and hand and he literally built that beat from scratch and I was writing while he was doing the beat for like 3 or 4 hours. And it came out to that final product.

You served it well, Yung.

Yung Knxw: It’s unreal. Everybody that listened to it and was around at that time and actually heard that, “Phantom of the Rapra” tell me that I did that song justice.

You have hit us with a few singles, what do you have cooking right now?

Yung Knxw: Ah man, it’s about to be crazy. Right now, I got a project coming out at the end of this month called, “Only Knxw Knxws!” The release date is set for 5/20/20. I haven’t even put that date out yet. You’re the first to get that. I have been working hand and hand with people on promotion and 3-D module promotion and certain visuals. I’m working with visual artist all over the world to curate this and make sure it’s what I want it to be. With, “Only Knxw Knxws,” the last song I ever did with my pops in the studio was a song called, “Badu Vibe Remix.” In that track, Treach from Naughty By Nature came to Houston to NRG Stadium like a month or so before my dad had passed. Beforehand we all were in the studio. The whole Naughty By Nature in there, and I played that song to my unc when he was on his way to his meet and greet and he was like, “Yo nephew, I gotta get on that track.” So, that same day we all… the whole Naughty By Nature, me and pops all were in the studio kicking it. Treach hopped on there and he bodied it. The beat and that whole real feeling, my pops, Naughty By Nature and me and all of my uncles watching me and just really digging what I’m saying. That feeling was unreal to me. But I got to experience that moment before he passed. That song with me, my dad and Treach from Naughty By Nature is on the project.

Many generations of greatness right there, my man.

Yung Knxw: It’s unreal, son. I’m the only person that can really do it. Nobody else can really get my unc on a song and then my pops as well.

Are things still on time for you or did some things get slowed down due to the impact of Covid-19?

Yung Knxw: It really just made me focus more and lock in more, and really build around this project while being locked down. I only did one show this year. Everything got shut down, but that one show stayed going. It was right before everything really got bad. The one show I did was beautiful. I rocked it out. I was the best performer there. My homie that was the promoter was like, “Yo, you killed it. The energy, the vibe… you made sure they felt you, you made sure they got in tune and you were interacting.” I knew what I had to do. I made sure they feel me because I feel myself, so they gonna feel that energy.

You said on social media, since being quarantined, you’ve been elevating mentally. How so?

Yung Knxw: I’ve been reading a lot more. I read this book, I read it once before, but it’s like, I’m in a whole different mindset now. So, I read it again and it’s called, “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success.” And I read another book by a New York Times best seller, “The Last Lecture.” It was basically about this professor that had the same cancer as my dad. He was able to tell his kids about his life and captivating those moments and appreciating his last moments with his family. It’s crazy that I ended up finding that book. It resonated with me. Even towards the end of the book, he was talking about certain things that he was telling his kids like, don’t base your life on things that you think I would want you to do. That really helped me because, I did a lot of stuff with my dad, we had a lot of laughter before he passed. But that just let me know, don’t try to mold yourself into being something that you think your father would want you to be. Keep being the person you were when that person was alive.

I love the fact that, although you have a legendary father, you are where you are today based on your hard work and self-promotion. You haven’t received any handouts.

Yung Knxw: It feels unreal because I barely got to spend time with my dad. I got to spend more time with my father as I got older. I really brought myself around my dad more as I got older when I could do that. When you’re younger and you’re living in your moms’ house, you can’t just move around like you wanted to. My mom knew my dad better than I knew him because they were married. So, she understood my dad and she was like, “You want to know your father? Okay, I’m going to let you know your father.” My first summer with my dad when I was 17, I learned the ups and downs of the industry. I learned what it was like on the road, traveling, how to move on the road. It let me know how you can’t be around certain people and a certain environment. If you don’t pay attention of where you’re at, literally something can pop off and that could be it for you. He taught me so much on that road. That whole summer, he taught me so much of what I needed to know life in general.

Last time we spoke, you were saying you felt like you were getting better each time you dropped. What can we expect from you on this project?

Yung Knxw: Man… they can expect more growth from me and me being more resonated with myself. “Times Still Hard,” is on that project and that is so unfiltered and real. It’s the realest I could be with anybody because I put my heart and soul into that track. Every time I listen to that track I cry because it makes me think about my pops. I really put my heart and soul into that track. I didn’t filter it or nothing. I put it out there how I feel about him. How we grew to feel better about each other and how we grew to have a good father/son bond before he passed. It’s beautiful how everything transitioned. The 6 or 7 years that I had with him in my life was beautiful because towards the end, everything just made sense.

Keep doing your thing, YK! Always appreciate your time. Is there anything else you want to say?

Yung Knxw: Thank you, man. I just want everybody to know that the legacy is going to continue. I’m going to keep doing what I’m supposed to do as a son to make sure the legacy of my father never dies out. I know it’s never going to die out, but I’m going to make sure it gets done the right way and his history and everything he did is respected. I want to let everybody know what he did and for them to not just know, Bushwick Bill, but also Richard Shaw.



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