Kwame Kwame aka K1 Mil has created a huge impact on the hip-hop industry that is still going strong. After breaking out in the 1989 with hits like “The Man We All Know And Love”, “The Rhythm”, and “Ownlee Ewe” Kwame has also on the production side releasing smash hits like Lloyd Banks “On Fire”, Will Smith’s “Switch” as well as songs for T.I., Toni Braxton, Freeway, LL Cool J, Mary J Blige, and many others. Check out this exclusive interview with Kwame.
Interview by Will Hernandez
WHO?MAG: What have you been up to? KWAME: I’m working on Mya’s album. I did 6 songs on that album. I’m also working on Method Man’s album. We’re on song # 4 for that album. Actually, I was in London working on this new artist on Geffen named Brasco. On the pop side just finished work with Christina Aguilera and Janet Jackson as well.
WHO?MAG: How did you make that transition from artist to producer? KWAME: My history has always been a producer. Anything I’ve ever done as an artist, I’ve written and produced myself. At the same time, coming up in the game I stayed real close to that producer Herbie Love Bug when I young boy. I helped him produce songs for Salt and Pepa, Kid N Play, and all those acts from back in the day. It was a really easy transition because it was something that I always did, even before I was an artist. It really wasn’t that difficult.
WHO?MAG: How did you link up with the Hill Top Hustlers? KWAME: When I spent time in Philly. My DJ Tat Money is from Philly. We were real close. It wasn’t really the whole Hilltop. It was just me and my man Tat Money. Then I used to hang out with EST from Three Times Dope. We just had own little click. When they would come to NY, they’d stay at my crib and vice-versa. It was just some brothers who were starting the music business sticking together.
WHO?MAG: What did you do at the time you stop recording as an artist? KWAME: I was crew chief at Burger King (laughs). Nah just playing. I was actually working on a new project for myself. Then I thought about it. What I need to do is expand and put myself in a power position. Instead of my trying to beat a dead horse at the time, trying to get a new deal and do all this kind of stuff, what I though was to become a service. Provide a service to local acts, major acts, and independent acts with joints. It took a minute because a lot of people didn’t take me serious. They thought I was coming in with an old school sound or trying to revive an old school career. I wasn’t even on that vibe anymore. It took a minute for people to take to my music again, but once it happened, things feel into place.
WHO?MAG: Production wise what equipment do you use? KWAME: Without giving all my stuff away, the basis of what I use is an MPC 2000XL. I use a lot of vintage keyboards like the ARP 2600, Mini Moog, Moog Voyager, a lot of new keyboards: Triton keyboards. I’m really heavy into the keyboard stuff. I use a lot of live instrument players. I don’t like people to hear my records and automatically point out which keyboard I got my sounds from or my drums from. I try to make it organic as possible.