Similar to the famed NASCAR event and his EP of the same name, The Kid Daytona has been setting goals for himself and crossing the victory laps with the ease of a checkered flag wave. Accomplishing what would take most newcomers an eternity to complete, the Bronx bomber has released two projects (including the 4 Cig certified Come Fly With Me) and a host of guest verses to pad his discography in just under a year.
But despite the posh parables of his music, The Kid Daytona’s mindstate takes it deeper than rap when it comes to life away from the microphone. TC caught TKD on the ground long enough to reminisce about his upbringing as an orphan, rookie rhyme mistakes and promising future. Get lifted with one of the leading candidates for ’09 Rookie of the Year.
TSS: So your style…it feels like you mastered the whole cashmere thoughts, Big Willie, rapping in the booth with mink slippers on angle. Is that something you worked hard to patent?
The Kid Daytona: (Laughs) I wouldn’t say it was something I tried to patent, it came natural more than anything. I guess just coming from Uptown, being in a borough — everybody got an ego, you gotta come across as the illest dude ever! (Laughs) You kinda get that coming up in the battle scene with dudes like Jae Millz…J.R. Writer…the list goes on. Basically some Uptown shit (Laughs).
TSS: So would you consider what you have going on swagger?
The Kid Daytona: I guess swagger is a word used to describe somebody that’s confident and not necessarily conceited and I definitely would say I’m a confident person and have utmost belief in myself. And I would just say my style is original because nobody else is Daytona. So the stories and style I across with just comes along with being Daytona. I don’t try to be anyone else.
TSS: So you got Daytona 500 and Come Fly With Me. What’s with the infatuation with aviation?
The Kid Daytona: (Laughs!!!) Well I’m not this mad scientist who just sits in a lab and comes up with all these ill ideas. It seems like that but it was like the stars lined up the right way. That was one of my favorite movies growing up: [Michael Jordan’s] Come Fly With Me. I used to study the tape and try and mimic him and watch all his stories of being overlooked. Because you know he wasn’t “Jordan” always. He got cut from the team and all that shit and I felt like I was being overlooked in the industry. And I was like if I could parallel the movie to the actual soundtrack, it would be ill because I felt it would be describing me: someone who’s come a long way.
And the Daytona 500 project came about because I always wanted to fuck with Daytona 500 because of the name and Cipha Sounds introduced me to the “Nautilus” record and pointed out all the ill songs that came from the sample and when I met 6th Sense, it was like “How can we use that to catapult the Come Fly With Me aspect of everything.” And we was like “Yo! Let’s name each of the records parts of an airplane and build the plane to the album.” And it fit perfect. And on that one, I just wanted the people know I could actually rhyme.
TSS: So was Daytona 500 the initial movement where you felt like you arrived?
The Kid Daytona: Well when I first came in the game, I did some songs on Z100 which is like the biggest Pop radio station in New York. And people was looking at me like I was a Pop nigga; not respecting my rhymes or any type of lyrical capability. So that was big but with the Daytona 500, I wanted them to know I had something, ya know. And with the album it was like this dude can make real actual songs that make sense and authentic hit records — songs that the people wanna hear. I could still do the braggadocio records but I had to give them bits and pieces of me.
TSS: What’s it like working with 6th Sense?
The Kid Daytona: I can’t even front: 6th is helping my career in a major way. Especially with the Internet stuff introducing me to The Smoking Section and other sites. A lot of people didn’t really know who I was or clear what I was bringing to the table and 6th showed me the way. Like “Yo. This is how you do it and this is what you do.” We just built and kept building and building to this day and we’re very young in our careers so I think this is the start of something big for years to come.
TSS: Does he lay the concepts for the songs too?
The Kid Daytona: He definitely has an idea for every beat he hears (Laughs). And I’m very instrumental with everything that I do. So we just work with each other as a team; feeding off of each other. Nobody’s 100% right, we actually listen to each other. Like the record “In The Wind.” He made the beat and said “this sound like some in the wind shit.” And just from the one quote I built around the record. Matter fact, I’ll say every single record on there we started from scratch. Like MPC, dumped in Pro Tools, me writing — just everything from scratch. And when you do that shit, seriously? You learn a person and I know what direction 6th is gonna go 98% of the time.
TSS: What’s the thought process behind making a credible, mastered, quality LP and just giving it away for free?
The Kid Daytona: (Laughs) The way how it is now man, it’s just so hard. [Editor’s Note: PAUSE] I came out after 9/11 and the industry just kept getting crazier and crazier. I had a deal for like 4 months and then the person who signed me got fired. So then you start to get some insight like “Yo, this shit is fucked up!” And just the runaround like making records, labels flying you out, taking meetings…they just don’t get it. Everybody’s so afraid. Why am I gonna keep making these demos and letting my friends here it, when I have an opportunity with the Internet to put it out for the world to hear.
You just don’t have to rely on anybody anymore. And luckily, I’ve been doing this long enough to where people have heard about me. It was like let’s just put this shit out. And with that, it opens a lot of doors. Like I’m going to Tokyo in August! Talking to different brands to license songs for them; selling records. And if I never would have left these songs go, I would just be sitting in my crib, angry at the world (Laughs). Like “why can’t I get on, I’m dope!” When you look at comments, negative or positive, it’s still good because people are responding. They’re taking time out of their life to talk about me in any way, shape or form. And that shit is mad ill to me.
TSS: How do you plan on marketing it the album with it being pro-bono?
The Kid Daytona: Yeah, we’re actually talking to a couple of companies to license some of the records for marketing dollars. I just plan on using my connects with the radio and just plugging it where I can. Because the music is dope — and dope music doesn’t get overlooked. That’s pretty much the plan in a nutshell.
TSS: Do you have a favorite record on Come Fly With Me?
The Kid Daytona: I would have to say either “Lately” or “In The Wind,” and I’ll probably lean towards “In The Wind” because its more personal. The first verse from that song is the best verse on the album to me. But 6th will tell you that the 3rd verse is the best one. But to me, every single word…if you really knew everything that I had to do to get to this point, you’d be like “Damn son.”
TSS: Speaking of personal matters and “In The Wind,” you make mention that you lost both of your parents early on in life, is that correct?
The Kid Daytona: Yeah, I lost my mom when I was 3 years old. And when my mom passed away, I guess you can say my dad did the same thing. He just went into this deep ass depression and he never knew how to handle it. He had a whole bunch of money and he lived in Antigua [West Indies]. We had clothing stores, night clubs, all that. After she died, he didn’t care about any of it anymore — and he died as a John Doe. Like I said on “In The Wind”: “When the money and the cars go you see who is friends and who really are foes.” And my dad really died on a rooftop in New York City and he was on top of the world before all that. A lot of his life, I take it and apply it to mine. Because I see a lot of me in him and I’m traveling on a similar path, but I learned from his mistakes. All my life I heard “You’re just like your dad, you’re just like your dad.” And it was scary especially dealing with addiction and things like that.
TSS: Who raised you then?
The Kid Daytona: My grandma. In the South Bronx. Basically right across the street from Yankee Stadium. And I remember high school days was when the Bloods first came to New York. And I remember my entire block turned Red, and I was like the only one who didn’t want to fit in. I naturally wanted to be different. My whole block was fresh one moment, and all of sudden, niggas wanted to be thugged out the next. They started looking dirty — on purpose. I’m like “Yo! I can’t do that.”
I gotta be me — always. A lot of growing up made me who I am right now. Which is why you can’t look at me now and be like “That nigga fuhgazzi, he don’t know what he talking about.” And you can say that for a lot of people with the whole retro fad that’s going on. Everybody trying to have trends and all that but it’s like if you don’t know anything about that, why even speak on it? Like I can remember when I first started writing rhymes, I used to rap about bustin’ mad guns, shootin’ this nigga, sellin’ mad bricks and all that shit…I ain’t know nothing about none of that! It was just something like “Oh, I think people is gonna fuck wit’ me because I can say this ill punchline about bodying someone a hundred times in a verse.” And when you come into your own as a human being, you get comfortable and realize that there’s so much to talk about instead of just fit in with what’s current.
TSS: You alluded to the fact that you were going to Japan. What’s that about?
The Kid Daytona: Well my boy Dan Solomito [Kidz In The Hall’s manager] introduced me to his friend Phina who happens to work with all these clothing brands in Japan. And I did a photo shoot with them and they like the music and after that, they asked me to come out and do shows and rock with three of their major clothing brands. They’re really respectful and appreciative of shit, it’s amazing. They don’t take things for granted.
TSS: Daytona the model and the mogul? Is that what we’re hearing?
The Kid Daytona: (Laughs) I mean if you wanna say it like that. It gets overwhelming at times because sometimes you just want to be an artist. But I’m learning so much. Its like I’m going to school without taking classes. I’m learning marketing tools and promotion. So after all of this, I can never rely on anybody to do anything for me. I watched people come in and out of this industry and seen them get frustrated like “The label didn’t do this for me or such and such didn’t do that.” And you really can’t blame anybody but yourself. So there you have it.
TSS: So what’s the most common misconception for The Kid Daytona?
The Kid Daytona: Um, niggas would definitely say I’m a swag rapper – or- a hipster rapper! I be like “Me?” Of all people! (Laughs) And I just gather from it that those people don’t listen. And then I feel like a lot of niggas just wanna say some dumb shit just to do it. You know what I mean? (Laughs) Like “This nigga’s the wackest nigga ever!” Or somebody like “Yo Daytona is dope.” And then they be like “NO! That nigga sucks…and he sounds gay! (Laughs!!!) That shit just be mad funny to me. But yeah those are the two biggest misconceptions. Swag all day and I’m a hipster. Just listen to the album.
TSS: That seems to be one of the hardest obstacles new rappers face: just being heard.
The Kid Daytona: Hell yeah! Shit is crazy because a co-sign goes a long way, but I’m ill enough to where I don’t need a co-sign. Like for what? You can’t breakthrough yourself nowadays? So there you have it B.
TSS: Lastly, you are one of the taller rapper out there, can you dunk?
The Kid Daytona: (Laughs!!!) I was NOT a dunker. Definitely had a jump shot though. I was like the Black/White boy. But if you give me a fast break and I’m like basket hanging, I can catch a one-hander (Laughs). I’ll clap it on you but I won’t bang it on you (Laughs).
The Kid Daytona’s LP Come Fly With Me and EP The Daytona 500 features appearances and production from Mickey Factz, 6th Sense, Jet Audio, Outasight, Bun B and many more. Both are available now for free download by clicking the pictures above for the links.
Previously Posted — “Air Jordan” – Review Of The Kid Daytona’s Come Fly With Me | “The Daytona 500”