Kid Ink, DJ Ill Will Talk 'Up & Away' Album & Chart Success
Kid Ink, DJ Ill Will Talk 'Up & Away' Album & Chart Success

Ahead of his major-label debut LP with RCA, rapper Kid Ink released digital-only EP "Almost Home" on May 28. The set debuts at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 with 15,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Five Months Ago

88 Classic/RCA Records released a new version of Kid Ink’s single “Bad Ass” on Jan. 3 to announce the rapper’s signing. This version of the track, originally off last year’s mixtape Rocketshipshawty, features new verses from Meek Mill and Wale. An official video for the song premiered March 3. At that point, "Bad Ass" was meant to be a one-off single to tide fans over until the full-length. "We wanted to continue along the theme of being an indie and releasing music all the time," RCA associate director of marketing Shani Fuller says. "We just really wanted to feed his fans with new music and a new look as we approached his album later in the year."

One Month Ago

On May 2, RCA greenlit Kid Ink’s digital-only EP, "Almost Home," only a few weeks prior to its street date of May 28. Six tracks were selected from more than 140 possible cuts for the disc and a few songs were streamed ahead of release, including “Sunset,” a track that Kid Ink says "really motivated the EP." The rapper unveiled a viral video for "Bossin’ Up," a mixtape track that was redone for his EP with a verse from French Montana and A$AP Ferg, on May 13. "It's just about activating [his] fan base," RCA senior VP of A&R J. Grand says. "Now it’s our job to continue to spread that and introduce him to new fans."

Release Week

Kid Ink kicked off an opening slot on Kendrick Lamar’s current tour on May 22 in Las Vegas and performed at WQHT New York’s annual Summer Jam on June 2. The majority of the EP promotion, however, took place on the rapper’s wide-reaching social media channels in just a week after announcing the EP on May 21. "I just try to do it the same way I’ve been doing it," Kid Ink says. "I’ve been doing the same independent viral grind. My fans promote so much for me, even more than I do." As a thank-you, the rapper also sent out two previously unreleased tracks to fans who’d purchased the EP.

Next Up

Kid Ink will wrap his current tour with Lamar on June 26 and spend the summer both on the road and back in the studio laying down new tracks for his full-length. A new single from the EP, along with an accompanying video, will also arrive "extremely soon," Grand says. Kid Ink’s album is expected in September, according to Grand, and will feature new or remixed versions of some of the EP’s tracks. "We’re always very aware of the fan experience," Grand says. "The last thing the fan wants is to get something they already have for a second time when they can get a crazy remix of a record."