Rapper/Singer repping Little Rock, Arkansas, Kari Faux has been delivering her profound sound with minimal production to the music airwaves setting the tone to be one of the industry’s most spotlighted artist. Appearing on HBO‘s Insecure‘s official soundtrack gravitated Faux’s visibility to higher heights, gaining a even newer fanbase. Recently, Gabriel Williams of Stuff Fly People Like sat with the budding star as she talked about her new music, influences, style, being Lost In Los Angeles and more.
Check out the full interview below.
Tell me a little about yourself?
I don’t know, that’s such a broad question. I mean I’m from Little Rock, Arkansas. I moved to L.A. a year ago [and] started making the music that is the album. [That’s what brought on the title of the album right?] Yes, Lost In Los Angeles and I feel like it’s more [of an] honest version of myself. I don’t know if you’ve heard Laugh Now Die Later which was the first mixtape. [It] was more fun but I feel like this one is a little bit more honest.
So being from Arkansas which for some of us is like unheard of. We maybe come across 1 out of like 15 people from Arkansas in a place like New York City, so I’ve always been fascinated to know what goes on over there. What do you guys listen to and what was your upbringing like?
As far as how things are over there I mean it’s southern, very southern. [We] listen to [artists like] Bossie and Webbie. That’s what you hear when you go to the club. We’re two hours away from Memphis, and then we’re like 8 hours away from Atlanta, we’re close to New Orleans, we’re close to like all of Texas; [all these areas are} a big influence so it’s just a really country, southern place.
Wow, I’ve never been so what’s why I don’t know anything about it. That’s crazy, I didn’t realize it’s so close to everything, that’s pretty cool.
I mean it’s basically like Nashville without the music scene, without the poppin’ music scene. There’s no music scene, but I mean if we had like more artists coming out; which [now] there are a lot of artists working and utilizing the Internet. We can easily become a Nashville or a Austin because we’re in the center of like everything.
So your style of music what influenced that? I kind of hear a little bit of the regular more clean rap. You can understand what you’re saying and you understand every lyric, which kind of takes me back to artists like MC Lyte you know to the days of Queen Latifah.
I like, which everybody feels is elementary but I like the early hip hop stuff where you know what they’re saying and like the rhyme scheme is very easy.
And they’re telling you a story.
Yes, like that kind of stuff. I don’t know, it was just easy for me to get into.
So what brought that on, how did you pick that up?
I honestly don’t know. I mean I listen to… I don’t know like who does that? Who even does that style of rap? I was saying earlier [how] Lady Mecca from Digable Planets, I like how easy her flow was and how smooth her voice was just over tracks. Even JJ Fad with Supersonic that shit is fire, like it’s easy, not too complex you just go with the beat.
With your style which is different and I like it by the way; I think it’s going to go far, what are you looking to add to music? Are you looking to have others follow you into that era when hip hop was simple?
Not necessarily I just want to do what I want to do and if people like it and want to do the same thing then cool, but I don’t understand why people don’t like that style of rap. I mean like going super hard and being super lyrical that’s tight, it’s cool, and you have to have like some real fucking talent to do that; but also I’m just like that’s where rap music started.
So have you been getting a lot of backlash from it, is that what it is?
Not a lot but I mean people do be like “Ah this is elementary” and I’m like so.
Don’t worry about them. There’s always going to be naysayers saying whatever they want to say. It’s different and people can catch on to it and you stand out which is what’s important.
So the L.A. life what did you experience there? Tell us about the good and the bad of being there compared to Arkansas? What did that bring about on your album?
The good is [that] I feel completely free when I’m in L.A. I feel like I can be whatever I want to be compared to [being in] Little Rock like you kind of have to be hard and you have to be tough for people to really truly support you and fuck with you. I mean they fuck with me because they’re like “oh okay she’s from the hometown,” but in L.A. I don’t feel like I have to restrain myself. I can just be free musically and as a person. Then also in L.A. I feel so out of place when I’m there sometimes. I just feel super…
Even up until now?
Well now I appreciate it a lot more, but when I first got there I felt really out of place.
Because it was a complete change.
Yes, and I had never been to L.A. before I moved there so it was like [a] culture shock.
So you just went straight there?
I was culture shocked like crazy.
So you went there knowing that you wanted to pursue music, that’s what made you make the move?
I was already making music.
Yes, you were making music of course, but you went to L.A. for better opportunities?
So what can we expect from the project?
A lot of honesty, vulnerability. It’s a lot of different like there’s no one genre. There [are] jazz influences, funk influences, disco influences, and west coast influences. I think it’s a really fun album. Even the saddest song on there is like “Oh yea this shit rides.”
What’s the meaning of the title of Lost in Los Angeles?
So basically Lost in Los Angeles is trying to find yourself in a new place. When you’re in your hometown you know who you are, everybody knows who you are. You worked to establish yourself, [you’re committed] to being this person. Once you’re taken out of your element where you’re most comfortable and you’re put somewhere else you kind of have to figure out who you are again. You have different elements coming into play and you’re like wait and you ask yourself “Is this who I am?” or “Is this what I stand for?” or “Do I like myself?” You know all these different things so that’s just kind of where I was, just questioning myself and I got an album out of it.
As far as your next project is there anyone you want to collaborate with? Are there any artist out right now that you think would be dope to work with?
I really want to work with Michael Christmas. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Michael Christmas, he’s a dude from Boston and there’s this other dude from Boston named Cousin Stizz who’s really dope. But I haven’t really thought about it. I do want to do more features [on] my next project.
What about producers?
I don’t know. I’m very like me and him have good chemistry, we have a good thing. I do want to work with other producers but I’m not like…
You won’t get mad if she works with other producers, right?
Naw, he actually encourages me to work with other people,but I’m just so…
You’re used to a certain sound, correct?
I get it, I totally get it. So explain your style. I see you change up your hair every now and then.
I change up my hair like every week.
I saw pictures of you with braids in the short bob, and then I see your hair now, and I think I saw another picture of you with your hair out.
I’ve been wearing my hair like this. I’m trying to keep my hair like this for a while because I’m actually trying to grow a afro a big afro. My hair is natural under this so, but I have commitment issues when it comes to styles, cities, people. That’s just how it is sometimes.
So how is your style would you describe it as retro?
It’s whatever I’m feeling that day or that week or that month it just switches up, it changes [but] I’m trying to be better about having a consistent style.
So as far as what you’re doing now with the music and everything that’s going on, are you in a good place right now where you think you can kind of soar musically, and get to where you need to be?
Since the album came out I’m just like I just want to rap and I’ve been just been writing little raps or whatever. I had like a session with a producer the other day and walked out of there with like two amazing beats so I’m excited about the future. I’m very excited. I think it’s going to be really, really cool.
How did the album come into being?
Most of the songs were ideas [I had] or he would make something and I would go “Oh I know exactly what this could be and I would write something, [Sometimes] I would already have something written and then I would bring it to him and he would just make something. Then I would make my words fit to the beat basically. I started to learn to write without the music, which I feel is better for me because [at times] writing to the music I feel like I was being bound by the music. Kind of like “Oh no this has to go right here.” I just [decided to] start just writing stuff and then just making it fit just later on.
So you’re from Arkansas as well?
So you guys pretty much moved to L.A. together?
So how long have you guys been working together?
Since 2011, so five years.
I heard “This Right Here.” How did that song come about?
His Dad’s from L.A. so his family came out for Christmas the year before last. So he made this beat and his brother came in there and was like, “Hold my fucking phone this right here my song” and we all just started saying it together and I was like “I’m gonna make a song out of that.” He was like “Alright, bet.” He got like a writers credit on my album and everything. It’s pretty cool.
Explain the video is that your normal day to day or kind of like cookout party situation because I saw kids on one side playing in the living room?
No, that’s not a very normal situation. Well the thing is when I’m in LA my manager takes me to these parties with his friends so yea I guess it is kind of when I’m in LA and I’m with his friends and stuff they have like kids and they be cooking it be cool, it be fun.
Photo Credit: Bernard “Beanz” Smalls
Follow Kari Faux
Twitter & IG: @KariFaux