Dancehall artiste Kranium recognises that he works in a business which rewards explicitness and antics, but it doesn’t mean he comfortably complies.
The US-based artiste, whose Gal Policy record boasts about having sex with another man’s girl then washing his genital in the kitchen sink, said he’s had to “dumb down” his lyrics to please today’s music consumers.
“To a regular person, they’d say that’s the best part of the song,” he said in a recent interview with DJ 4eign. “This is where music is at where mi haffi break it all the way down and dumb it down and go seh mi a f**k gyal inna kitchen and wash d**k inna sink. I do it though enuh, but Jesus Christ, mi never waan tell everybody.”
“Nuff man inna music fi 40 years, 50 years, and don’t have one gold plaque fi show and mi do dis from New York.”– Kranium
The song created waves in 2020, adding to his catalogue of hits including Nobody Has to Know, Last Night, Can’t Believe (featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Wizkid) and We Can (featuring Tory Lanez). Though the former is his most commercial record (certified gold) to date, Kranium said his favourite record is Lifestyle.
“A di only song mi gi forward, like me’ll drive and pull up the song and seh ‘Dah bwoy yah bad enuh’. Lifestyle is a different record. I was going through the phase of being a one-hit wonder so it more personal than anything… Dah song deh have a special place inna mi heart because a di struggle me did a face as a artiste mentally.”
But not all of his releases have soared to popularity despite his understanding of the current music climate. Kranium is baffled by the poor reception to his 2018 track No Odda.
“I don’t understand how it miss. To this day I’m like ‘dem treat mi pickney bad’… It’s one of my favourite records I’ve ever done musically.”
The age of clout
Though he’s achieved a great deal in the past six years, Kranium believes he would have been more popular if he had more clout.
“I think I would have been a way bigger artiste at a faster pace if I was in Jamaica because I would have the clout and the hype and that’s what music is driven by,” he said. “Since 2016 and up I think seh clout and hype is very important. So I’m used to doing everything on my own so I never really got that true support early out in the game… I never got where if mi drop a record mi have ten other artists who is on the ground a post and a seh, ‘Dis man a go be the next thing’…”
Despite this, he is proud of himself for earning a gold record without having that massive backing from the Jamaican music fraternity.
“I became an artiste from America who break. I coulda run back home and go siddung and post everyday seh mi deh a Jamaica and work with the system there but I wanted to be that guy when mi dead and come off a di Earth to always be remembered as the kid who single-handedly break from America….
“Nuff man inna music fi 40 years, 50 years, and don’t have one gold plaque fi show and mi do dis from New York. If that is not f**king amazing to unno then mi nuh know what is and me still a work everyday because now mi waan something bigger and greater.”