The Rise of Kid Ink

(Radio.com) Like many aspiring rappers, Kid Ink's first brush with notoriety was the result of a series of self-released mixtapes. That led to an independent full-length, 2012′s Up & Away, before the L.A. emcee signed with RCA for his major label debut, the Almost Home EP, released this past May. Featuring big, hook-laden tracks like "Time of Your Life" and "I Just Want it All," Kid Ink's sound is tailor-made for summertime radio play with the potential to crossover onto the pop charts, much like contemporaries (and past collaborators) Big Sean and Wale.

"I can't settle. I don't settle with just the same consistency�which is also something my fans don't settle for," Kid Ink told Radio.com. "They get bored when it's just the same consistent thing happening over and over and we already know what to expect next. As an independent artist after releasing Up & Away and it doing what it did in the first week and me being proud of it [the album debuted at No. 20, selling 20,000 copies in its first week], the next step I could take independently would have to only be a mixtape and then another independent album. That would probably take way longer than if I had the [major label] machine behind me and just the extra steroids to just push it and take it to the next level and take it further without changing the momentum or the quality or the consistency."

Kid Ink's concern in immediately signing to a major label was retaining artistic control; that, in his words, "is why we stayed independent so long." His hard-earned sales from an indie release give him a bit more in way of freedom when it came time to sign. "I'm really just more concerned with the creative control and be able to do the same thing, but have them [RCA] do even more," in terms of promo reach.

He's already found himself in good company with rap's current It-Boy, fellow L.A. native Kendrick Lamar. "Kendrick is doing a good job of showing that we were from the hood and we are from the hood," he said, "but with Good Kid, M.A.A.D City it makes sense, it was definitely something I grew up in." more on this story

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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