<a href="/music/Kid-Ink">Kid Ink</a> might not be known to fans for his decision-making skills, but they're a big part of what found him the success he's gotten today. Known best for his radio and club-friendly hits that have brought his name to the international stage, the rapper has developed a career in music that began with a piano at a very young age.
Sitting down with Billboard Radio China at Hong Kong music festival Clockenflap's 10th anniversary weekend, Kid Ink discussed everything from his roots playing music and staying behind the scenes in the early days to his philosophy on his fans and returning to his roots with his latest album, 7 Series.
The L.A.-born rapper started things off by explaining his early days, coming up as a young producer in a collective that included rapper <a href="/music/nipsey-husle">Nipsey Hussle</a>, and the choice he made in producing for the group instead of being yet another rapper. In a group of eight people, he explained, it made more sense to be producing beats for the collective than trying to stand out against so many others. At the time, he produced one of Nipsey Hussle's first singles, giving him an opportunity to fly to New York City and work on studio sessions with the rapper and others.
For those not familiar with Kid Ink's journey, the next part may come as a bit of a surprise. The rapper explained that he started releasing his own mixtapes following a lack of success as a producer. Eventually he got to a point where he was releasing music on iTunes as soon as he was able and eventually found himself signing with RCA Records, going from independent to a 360 deal.
In a time where independence is seen as a virtue and signing with major labels a mistake, the decision seems unusual. He explained that not only was signing to a major label a dream for him, but that they were able to help get him the exposure he needed at a time when social media played a much different role for artists. In his view, he signed at a time when finding great music was a harder process for fans, whereas now new rappers "are popping faster."