The Astronomical Kid Explains Using DJ Shadow Production, Debut Album Delay
Exclusive: The Astronomical Kid (a/k/a Astro) explains why his rocking a vintage DJ Shadow beat on a recent mixtape single is good for Hip Hop. He also refuses to have a 10,000 unit-selling debut album.
Brooklyn, New York emcee The Astronomical Kid has gone from viral video sensation to "X-Factor" contestant to one of the young artists aiming to restore a 1990s sound that they may or may not have witnessed the first time. The artist also known as Kid Astro (or sometimes simply Astro) spoke with HipHopDX recently in the wake of his video, "Don't Test Me."
The Astronomical Kid Discusses 1990s Influences In Hip Hop
"I didn’t direct the video, but I had a little idea. I knew once I recorded the song in the beginning I said, 'New jiggy, but he kicks it like the old Jigga,'" Astro explained, referring to late '90s Jay Z. "When I recorded this song from the beat and the flow reminded me of 1999 Roc-A-Fella or ’98 Bad Boy [Records movements]." Visually, the emcee who notably appeared on Sha Stimuli's My Soul To Keep album almost five years ago added, "I wanted somethin’ cool and laid back, but at the same time, not corny like when you walkin’ in front of a wall cause I had did that already with 'He Fell Off' video and 'Catchin’ Wreck,' so I wanted it to be somethin’ where I was spittin’ the whole video, but somethin’ just chill with me in the car. Somethin’ that was cool and I didn’t wanna take away from lyrics in the song. I wanted people to listen to it."
The "Don't Test Me" song features recycled production from Solesides/Quannum Projects co-founder DJ Shadow. The Davis, California native has not been commonly associated with East Coast Hip Hop—especially Brooklyn, since he produced a lone track on Cage's Hell's Winter eight years ago. Asked about the pro's and con's of young artists hipping their audiences to underground and old school Hip Hop production despite lack of consent, he waved. "It travels on. Another artist who is up and coming is gonna no matter who he’s lookin’ at Joey [Bada$$’s] music or my music or anybody’s music—instead of using a modern-day swag beat he’s gonna say, 'You know what? You’re gonna use that type of beat, then I’m gonna try that lane too.' It just travels on." In the wake of Lord Finesse's seven-figure lawsuit against Mac Miller over such usage (later settled out of court), Kid Astro thinks this is a great way to bridge generational music gaps. "It keeps the MF DOOM-type of beats to DJ Shadow beats going and it also shows you that people are tryna keep the real Hip Hop alive because there is so much you can take of the swaggy beats all day the radio beats you know what I’m sayin’? Sometimes you want something that’s rugged and raw and hits hard, but still digestable. I think it’s great."
With a career further developed than many of his peers, The Astronomical Kid was asked about his album plans. "Right now I’m workin’ on a mixtape that’s supposed to drop in September. The thing is a lot of people have asked, 'Why haven’t you put out an album yet?' The thing is by the time I wanna put out my album I wanna make sure I know who I am as an artist completely." After a series of mixtapes, Astro added, "I know what ebonics I use and flows I use and all of that. I wanna make sure I know myself 100%. That way I’m comfortable on the album. Another thing is I personally feel it’s weird when people ask for the album, 'cause I feel like people don’t know me like that yet. People know me from 'X-Factor,' but when I put out my album I want my album to be my first album. I don’t want it be nothing coming out selling 10,000 records first week. Reasonable Doubt was Jay Z’s first album. College Dropout was Kanye [West’s] first album. I wanna build up my fan base, but soon enough I will definitely be able to put out my first album. I’m still getting to know myself though I gotta be 100% comfortable before I put out something to sell."