LGBTQAI+ rapper Kidd Kenn quickly rose to popularity on social media and garnered local success in his hometown of Chicago after dropping viral freestyle videos. He soon caught the attention of labels and inked a deal with Island Records at the age of 16 in 2019. Shortly thereafter, in 2021, Kenn became the first LGBTQAI+ rapper to perform at BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher, setting the precedent for future generations of artists. Kenn has released a slew of successful singles and projects including Childish, Child’s Play & Problem Child, and joins us today to discuss his latest single “Body” out now. Kenn has collaborated with Rico Nasty, Desi Dior, Dellie Boe and CupcakKe and has received co-signs from heavy hitters like Nicki Minaj, Lil Nas X, Cardi B, and Latto. We caught up with Kidd Kenn to discuss his journey, milestones, newest release and what fans can expect from him this summer. Check out the interview below.
The Knockturnal: Did you always know you would pursue a career in music?
Kidd Kenn: Definitely since I was young. When I was younger, like 12 or 13, before that I wanted to be a dancer, but that just wasn’t everything that I wanted. I was always writing and once I started showcasing my talent on social media and seeing people’s reaction, I knew rapping was it for me.
The Knockturnal: What is your earliest memory of music?
Kidd Kenn: I remember I used to be at my cousin’s house and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” would come on. We’d try and sing and dance and learn the choreo, with me as Beyonce. But then after “Single Ladies,” I saw this girl with pink hair rapping – Nicki Minaj – and was a Nicki stan ever since!
The Knockturnal: You’re only 19 and have already accomplished such big milestones in your career, what have been the 3 biggest highlights in your career for you so far?
Kidd Kenn: It definitely would be getting signed, having my cypher at BET Awards in 2021 and then having Nicki Minaj like and comment on my videos and freestyles.
The Knockturnal: How did it feel to be the first LGBTQAI+ artist to perform at the 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher?
Kidd Kenn: It felt like an unreal moment. It still feels unreal because I always wanted to be a rapper, rapping with the guys, the big dogs. For my 1st cypher to be BET, it was amazing, marvelous. I wouldn’t change it and would live through it again if I could.
The Knockturnal: What are the biggest differences you see today in hip-hop from when you entered the music industry to now as an LGBTQAI+ artist? Is the hip-hop/music industry becoming more inclusive in your opinion?
Kidd Kenn: I feel like its definitely more accepting. The girls are waking up, they’re getting their moment. It’s in the vision for sure. I feel like hip-hop is taking baby steps for now, but I do see it turning into giant steps.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us about your latest single “Body?”
Kidd Kenn: I made Body with ClickNPress. I made it so people could feel confident about their body, any color, any shape, any size. It’s your body!
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us about your upcoming EP?
Kidd Kenn: Just know it’s a level up from the last one! It’s going to rock the summer, going to rock the charts, going to rock everyone’s world. It’s sexy – real sexy and mature.
The Knockturnal: Can fans expect any collaborations on the way?
Kidd Kenn: Definitely – the girls. Kenn with the girls.
The Knockturnal: Who is your dream collaboration?
Kidd Kenn: Nicki Minaj, for sure.
The Knockturnal:What’s one piece of advice you can give to aspiring artists?
Kidd Kenn: Stay consistent, Be yourself, never give up! Everyone has their time.