Ken Casio is a Texas-based artist that is unafraid to stand out from the crowd. Ken’s music is a hurricane of braggadocios and facetious lyricism commonly over a grandiose soundscape that draws you into his prototypical dimension in a way similar to the way a black hole draws in all surrounding light. Ken started his career under the name Kenny Casanova but in 2022 he officially changed to Ken Casio as he felt the name was more authentic to what he wanted to represent. Under his former name, Ken released 5 solo mixtapes/eps, two duo tapes, and four projects with a large rap group, PNTHN in The span of 5 years. Key 2 The Lock is Ken’s latest project and the first that he released under his new pen name. He recorded K2TL in his own studio Swaycon Studios located in Austin, Texas.
Jay: On the track Innit, you experimented with a singing rap cadence to describe the lifestyle you're living. On Blood of Di Wicked, the song's tone is sharply different. Did you aim towards experimenting with different sounds on Key2TheLock to express different experiences?
Ken: Yes, first I wanted to showcase the different styles in which I rap. Second, I wanted the songs to lead the listener through a personal story by putting them in a different energetic space in each song. Every track represents a different phase in what's known as the hero’s journey. The tones attached to the songs were my emotions in real-time so the drastic variation in sounds happened very organically.
Jay: Most of the production for the project was handled by MeOff3Backwoods. Can you describe your working relationship with MeOff3Backwoods? Ken: He’s literally the closest person to me. We make music non-stop. He’ll just come to the studio, roll three woods to start and just go crazy without saying a word. His work ethic is insane too. He probably has a million beats by now. Jay: I think Mac is the best track to close out the project. It ties in the experiences of staying down through the tough times, not being an enemy to love, and staying true to yourself. What made you decide to put Mac as the last track?
Ken: I really didn’t feel like it fit anywhere else. This whole mixtape is a monomyth and having that cathartic message to cap off the journey while keeping hope towards the future only made sense.
Jay: In regard to your musical growth, how does Key2TheLock compare to your last project Mercury In Water?
Ken: I am always going to be improving as an artist, liking the newer stuff over the old is almost inevitable for me. The flows are more melodic & I’ve given more spotlight to the beats in K2TL compared to Mercury in Water.
Jay: You used to go as Kenny Casanova but changed your name to Ken Casio. What are some differences between the two personas?
Ken: Kenny Casanova is the body, Ken Casio is the mind & spirit. Kenny originated as a caricature manifestation for the rap group PNTHN representing a player of the sort. Ken Casio is more aligned and unattached to the past; the name is supposed to represent timelessness. Jay: On the first listen, Key2TheLock sounded like it's targeted at the early to mid-twenties demographic who loves the sounds of Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott, and Toronto rapper/singer Jazz Cartier. It's a different blend of sounds that defines Ken Casio as this to me: superstar music that shares dark moments un upbeat tempos to hide the darker feelings of situations like betrayal and heartbreak. Is that a fair assessment of your sound and if not, how would you want people to interpret your music?
Ken: You’re right on the money. I find the dark feelings funny & intriguing because they’ll pop up anywhere unannounced, in disguise & without your permission. I'm someone who is gonna sit with these feelings to understand them better but we live in a world where we only want the good and that's it. The superstars are some of the least transparent when it comes to these matters but the realness/fakeness that comes from a superstar can affect a whole generation of people. It's important for us to experience and acknowledge the lows as well as the highs in order to achieve balance in life.
Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?
Ken: Too many to count but I want to give a shoutout to Mike Melinoe, Hatesonny, Okir, Lix, Stemlines, Ife Neuro, Makai Alexander, Zulu & Playytime. All immensely talented artists.
Jay: What was the best no that you have ever received and why? Ken: There are already so many divinely delivered nos that had set me straight; the best one, by a hair, was the no to pursuing my music career with a group. While there were some things we could measure as good with being a part of the group, foundations of friendships, artistic direction, and collaborative pacts were extra shakey & irreversible. I appreciate having control of my life and career presently, especially with all the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired along the way.
Visit his website to check out all his music kencasio.org
Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.
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