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Chit-Chat: Five Minutes With Kanii

Last year, eighteen-year-old artist Kanii (pronounced Ka-Nee) started TikTok trends with viral singles “Attachment” and “I Know,” rapidly projecting a string of successful tracks, each carrying dizzying numbers. Now, carving out an individual lane carried by the melodic tones of early Michael Jackson and the emotional undercurrents of XXXtentacion, Kanii creates retro rap in the context of new-age digital frameworks, songs that sound and feel like classic hip-hop numbers but leave a lingering draw of an artist testing the limits of what hasn’t been done before.



Steeped in synth-pop, and plugg beats, Kanii’s vocals often cut through pixelated production with moody bars like “Why do you make me feel this way? / I feel so lost without you, I feel so lost again” resembling the ethos of a heartfelt rave, anchored in a cathartic embrace of love, relationships and emphatic ambition. Standing on top of a dramatic inflection point it seems as though Kanii doesn’t need to prove his promising trajectory, in the past year Kanii has amassed millions of listeners, secured an opening spot for Pinkpanthress, and performed at his first Rolling Loud. 


On a gloomy day in West Los Angeles, minutes before his Rolling Loud California set, we got the chance to chat with the DMV artist about his upcoming tour, R&B roots, and the influence of TikTok on his music. 


How are you feeling right now about performing at your first Rolling Loud?

I feel good, I feel great. 


Are you nervous at all?

A little bit; I just don’t know what to expect honestly. 


Okay, and you’re about to go on your tour correct?

Yeah, I'm about to start in a month; my first location is Chicago.


So you’re from DC, I’m curious about the DMV specifically and its influences on you as an artist and in your sound. Would you say there is influence?

Yeah, I think so for sure, it’s just the DMV is interesting it has its pockets of good music so you kind of have to search for it but it’s definitely there in a lot of ways. 


I listened to your most recent EP, “The Heart Racers” with Nimstar and Riovaz and I got boy band energy from the three of you, especially in the more melodic tracks. In other interviews, you mentioned wanting to bring back the old R&B sound; was that intentional in this project?

Yeah, I do a lot of things intentionally, but that kind of came about because I was just messing around and making a bunch of tracks, and it kind of formulated itself into that kind of sound. 


How was the chemistry between you, Nimstar, and Riovaz?

It was lit; those are my brothers. Whenever we get around each other, it’s like family.


And can you tell us what’s next for you in terms of the sound you’re going for? I also know youre songs tend to do well on TikTok and resonate with that kind of platform; is that a kind of sound that you see yourself leaning into or straying from?

I don’t know because that’s about to get taken down, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with that. But for me, sonically, I definitely want to keep pushing the boundary of what I can do, so that’s what's next. I’ve been doing a lot of rap stuff, so it’s definitely going to be more R&B-leaning. I’m really just doing a mix of everything right now. 


Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Pinkpanthress, and you guys got connected to go on tour together?

She reached out to me and said I would love to have you on tour, and of course, I was going to say yes because she’s the best. We met and she’s hella chill, she was putting me on game and everything cause she came up before me so she was just putting me on all this new stuff.


How is performing for you, how does it feel to be on stage and engaging with your fans in that way?

I am excited, I get hella nervous before but I know I’m gonna well. 


Okay and now some more light-hearted questions - Homebody or club?

Homebody!


West coast or east coast?

East coast!


Single or relationship?

Uhhhhhh.....Single...


Freestyle or studio session?

Studio session!


Designer or thrift?

Both 


Chick-fil-A or Mcdonalds

It depends on the situation – but I'll go with McDonalds!

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