For years, the United Kingdom‘s invasion of the United States has been well documented. From the atomic bombs known as The Beatles, Elton John, and Eric Clapton, to the recent bombardments of Adele, Sam Smith, Estelle, and Ed Sheeran. The Queen’s homeland has birthed some of music’s greatest influences, creators, and visionaries, it has also conquered the box office with notable talents like Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo, and Daniel Kaluuya. Hip Hop, however, has yet to see much of a UK invasion since we found out that 21 Savage was British, the brief stint of Lady Sovereign, and controversial M.I.A. Yet what is Hip-Hop without it? What is it without competition and the will to conquer? KSI, by definition, is our new answer.
Well, let’s be all the way honest, KSI has been creating music for a long time via his top-rated Youtube Channel for years. What sets him aside? Only a few, 20.5 Million subscribers, a recent professional boxing victory over Logan Paul, and a hit record rising on the music charts.
KSI has shown that no matter what he sets his mind to, he makes it a requirement to excel at it in the most epic of fashions. “JJ”, as his friends and acquaintances refer to him, has grown his social presence through his comedic videos, gaming commentary, and outright love for making music. The fun-loving, self-made artist took the time to sit down with me, on the heels of releasing the video for “Down Like That”, featuring Rick Ross, Lil’ Baby, and S-X.
H. Sylver: Congratulations on your victory over Logan Paul. Fans are already looking forward to seeing your name in lights once again, hopefully in Vegas or maybe even do something outlandish and lucrative as a fight in WWE. Who do you wish to fight or challenge next?
KSI: I haven’t said anyone yet, but I’m willing to fight anyone really. Maybe celebrities especially. There are a few celebrities with some boxing backgrounds who would like a chance to. At the moment, its in the air as to who I will fight next. But for right now, after a few fights, I’m just trying to enjoy myself.
H. Sylver: You know that Justin Bieber has been talking since you beat his boy up. Any chance of that happening?
KSI: That fight won’t happen! It’s a pointless fight. Especially for me, it won’t even be a challenge.
H. Sylver: You are well on your way to following in the footsteps of triple treat superstars like Jamie Foxx, The Rock, and Childish Gambino. Which industry do you feel the most pressure in?
KSI: I don’t really feel any pressure. I think for me, I am able to bounce around, so I have less pressure. I have been doing Youtube and Music for a long time, and boxing for two years. I just feel comfortable where I’m at right now. Every time I jump into something new, I do well at it. I just enjoy it, it’s fun for me, so there is no pressure.
H. Sylver: You just dropped the visual for “Down Like That” and it looks phenomenal.
KSI: Thank you, man. I literally filmed it two days after the fight. The crew did a great job!
H. Sylver: How did this collaboration come about?
KSI: It started with S-X who sent me the beat with the hook on it, and I knew instantly that this was going to be my single. The shit just knocked! I worked on a couple of verses, found the right one, and sent it back to S-X. We were going to leave it at that, but my management wanted to take it further. We were thinking of a few names that would be right for the song, and we thought of Rick Ross and Lil’ Baby and wanted to see if they wanted to do it. They said yes, and sent it back and we got a SMASH!!
H. Sylver: With multiple EP’s under your belt, will we be getting a full-length album from you?
KSI: Hopefully next year, that’s only because of my life as of late. I’m always doing the most, either going on tour or training for the next boxing fight. I definitely want to find the time to work on an album.
H. Sylver: Knowing what it is like to be at the forefront of social media-driven success. Your fight in Los Angeles, your must recent single features some notable American Artist. What sets you aside from other UK artists that kicked the door into the US market?
KSI: I bring something different. There is no other rapper that does YouTube and boxing as I do. I think the last person to do boxing and music was Roy Jones Jr, and that’s pretty much it. I am doing YouTube on top of that and other ventures. My unique selling point is that I do it all, that’s what breaks down that barrier for me anyway.
H. Sylver: At the end of the day, after studio sessions, interview reels, social media posts, and comments, what are the top songs, that you mellow out to, to unwind?
KSI: I don’t really listen to songs to unwind, but I always have new songs I’m into like “The News” by PARTYNEXTDOOR, “Roxanne” by Arizona Zervas which I really like. There is “Dark was the Case” by Giggs, I think that was a banger! My own song “Down like that” *laughs*. I like “Jerry Sprunger” by T-pain and Tory Lanez, that’s a great song. “Must Be” by J Hus, “Work” by A$AP Ferg. I just choose and I like it.
H. Sylver: What is your advice for someone trying to break into entertainment? Whether its music, online content, or combat sports? How do they stay a step ahead as you have?
KSI: You always have to move with the times and don’t be afraid to change your content. A lot of people stay in that safety zone, and eventually, they watch their viewership or popularity go down. Too many are afraid to take a risk and do what you wouldn’t normally do. Take all the opportunities! There are plenty out there, and you have to be the one to take it.
H. Sylver: Will you be doing any U.S. tour dates?
KSI: It will definitely be next year. 2020 is going to be a big year. 2019 was a hell of a year, but I will somehow top it!
*End of Interview*
The often brash, humoristic, yet confident KSI is one Hip-Hop artist to look out for. He has proven that he is willing to lay the groundwork, follow through with each chance, and to deliver successfully; moments that will go viral at his command. The charismatic star’s patented laugh is widely loved and hated, but numbers do not lie. He is a force to be reckoned with, and one to anticipate great things from in the future.
Born and raised on the island streets of New Providence, Bahamas; H. Sylver grew up in a Haitian household that nurtured his love for music and theatrical performances, spoken word poetry, and writing. This passion gained him a spot on Island/Def Jam's Street Team, where he became an ambassador for hip hop, promoting artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Jeezy, Nas, Rick Ross, and many more. He has great insight and analysis of the current music scene, providing written reports on trending news, and original think pieces. He currently resides in Baltimore Maryland with his family, and is currently writing his first novel.