Rise & Grind: Dro Kenji On Internet Money Partnership, Being Influenced By XXXTentacion & SoundCloud Rap
Dro Kenji speaks about his new project “F*ck Your Feelings,” getting established with Internet Money, and more for “Rise & Grind.”
One of the fresher faces on the scene, nineteen-year-old recording artist Dro Kenji is a name that you’ll be hearing a lot of for years to come. Much like how Juice WRLD stepped onto the scene with raw emotion in his sound, Internet Money production, and colorful visuals from the Lyrical Lemonade team, Dro Kenji has taken a similar approach to his own breakthrough.
Signing to Internet Money Records and working closely with producers including Nick Mira, Taz Taylor, Cxdy, and more, Dro Kenji’s rock-rap leanings and heartbreak-fueled lyrics have resonated with the masses. Two of his songs, “SAVE ME” and “Kill Cupid,” have surpassed three million streams on Spotify, and his latest hit record “SUPERSTAR” is nearing that same mark. Kenji’s music is catchy, fun, and also, uplifting. What makes it even more special is that the artist seemingly freestyles the majority of his flows and melodies. “I find that it comes out more fresh when I freestyle with the melodies and shit,” says Kenji.
As the rapper continues to gain attention with well-calculated marketing rollouts, in-your-face visuals, and relatable singles, his spark will remain lit for years as Dro Kenji could become one of the most in-demand artists of the next generation. Look out for more from this exciting talent in the coming months.
You can learn more about Kenji through his latest feature with HotNewHipHop’s Rise & Grind, answering ten basic questions before jumping into a more personalized Q&A session, below.
Stay tuned for a new installment of Rise & Grind every Monday.
I’m from Summerville, South Carolina. Summerville is quiet, it’s country. Not a hell of a lot going on. It’s a little town really.
I moved to L.A. in August or September of 2020. One of those months. I probably prefer L.A. There’s way more to do here, especially as an artist.
I’m the only artist out of Summerville. I mean, I’m not the only artist, but I’m the only bigger one right now.
I’m a Capricorn. Capricorns are generally ambitious, relentless, and disciplined. I’m not gonna disagree with any of those things for me. I don’t really know all of the traits.
Top 5 DOA:
Erykah Badu, PartyNextDoor, Trippie Redd, Juice WRLD, and XXXTentacion.
I saw on Spotify that my project is number nine, which is fucking crazy.
Studio Habits & Essentials:
I don’t have any weird studio habits. I feel like I’m not one of them n***as and I’m never gonna be one of them n***as. I like making music, so I just need a little bit of weed and I’m straight.
I just like getting high as fuck and going crazy, just vibing. For me, levels of energy and vibes are really important to me while making music. If there’s negative energy, I don’t want it around me while trying to do positive shit.
I don’t even remember when I made “SUPERSTAR”. “SUPERSTAR” is basically about using love as a scapegoat. Have you ever had someone act like they loved you, but they didn’t, type shit? It’s about how toxic relationships can be spun into drug use and cause deeper problems. A very personal experience.
It’s a situation that happened to me, but I know somebody else has been through it too.
I freestyled this song, I freestyle my songs. I find that it comes out more fresh when I freestyle with the melodies and shit.
I do have my first song on SoundCloud. I don’t remember it though. I started making music in tenth grade. At first, I was making trash songs. But, I wasn’t putting out trash songs for long. I progressed fairly quickly.
Rolling Loud in February, shit was so lit. I’m going to Rolling Loud in July. Then, I got Lyrical Lemonade.
I read the live-stream comments after the concert. I had my sunglasses on while performing and I’m really, really blind. I didn’t have my contacts in, but I did read them afterwards and they was going crazy. I saw before I hit the stage they were going stupid in the comments.
I’m looking forward to catching people’s energy in real life because it’s gonna be so fire, I can get my shows so lit. That [virtual] shit was already lit and I was by myself.
I watch “Chucky” a lot, all of the “Child’s Play” movies. I don’t really watch TV.
I’m not even into horror movies, just Chucky. I don’t fuck with scary movies like that. I don’t fuck with paranormal movies with demons and shit because that’s a negative energy I don’t wanna expose myself to. I stick with the fake ass killer movies like Chucky, Jason, and Michael Myers type shit.
Festivals, performances, music videos, tryna turn out more songs and another project. Next project is gonna be something special. It’s gonna be crazy.
Image provided by the artist
HNHH: How would you describe your style and sound?
Dro Kenji: Uplifting, no cap. In my music, what I try to do is take certain subjects that aren’t positive and form a happier release of energy. I want people to think the song is sad but it’s not really sad.
What was your favorite subject in school?
I’ve always disliked school since I was young. Up until fourth grade, the only subject that I could tolerate was math because that shit was easy as fuck until a certain point. Once that first algebra class hit, I started failing.
You work a lot with the Internet Money crew, how did you guys get connected?
My manager John, who wasn’t even my manager at the time, DM’ed me and said to send him some songs. So I sent him some songs and he didn’t hit me back for a month. When he did hit me back, he said “Yo fly out” and hooked me up with them. He was literally a stranger.
Were there any other offers coming around that time?
Everything music-related before I got to L.A. was strictly me recording in my room after school. My shit did a little bit of numbers, but nothing bigger than that. I was getting no offers, so when that n***a hit me, I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t understand who he was in the first place.
You have a sound that really fits their production, so it’s cool to see you grow with them. You’ve named XXXTentacion as your favorite artist in previous interviews, what exactly is it about the DIY SoundCloud sound that inspires you?
Just seeing how big that shit got, seeing how many people [XXXTentacion] touched and affected based on some out-of-the-bedroom type shit. N***as was really just making sounds out of snowball mics. My n***a, the snowball mics, the circle shits. Like what the fuck, that’s so fire. They just built it out of nowhere and took it in so many directions, that’s what inspired me.
What does the Fuck Your Feelings title mean to you?
Fuck Your Feelings is basically saying, just do you and be yourself, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks type shit. Fuck their feelings. A lot of people thought I was saying “fuck everybody,” but it’s not like that.
At the end of the day, what do you want your legacy as an artist to be?
I want to be known as a person who only wishes to help. That’s how I feel and how I live, I just want to help. That’s the best way I can explain it.
What would you like to accomplish in the next five years as an artist?
As an artist, I want to touch more people emotionally. I want to help people more, mentally and emotionally.