Grunge News interview with Caden Kujawa !
We recently had the intervention of Caden Kujawa in an article dedicated to rap that you can find here. Grunge News interviewed him to understand his point of view on rap, how does he work with artists, etc...
He introduces himself :
My name is Caden Kujawa. I’m from Miami, Florida and I’m making music, making album
covers, and all in all, I’m just trying to make the artist I work with look better. Whether it's by
styling or by helping them manage their social networks. I am currently studying fashion as well as art, so I like to bring as much as I have to offer to the artist with whom I work, and bring him my full vision. For the majority, I work with rappers such as Yung Mal & Lil Quill, Yung Kayo, mars90s, …
Can you give us your definition of rap ?
For me, rap is a way of telling a story through sounds, flows and words.
How did your passion for rap come about ?
My father played a lot of jay-z and kanye when I was young and honestly, I've been listening to rap for as long as I've been listening to music. I also started to get interested in fashion in
middle school and rap is definitely influenced by fashion and vice versa.
How did you learn about music production? Did you have music skills before you started ?
In middle school, my friend started making beats on his computer using FL Studio and after he showed me I started straight away. Since then there have been times when I take breaks, but getting good results always motivates me.
How do you get into contact with the rappers you work with ?
A friend introduced me to Yung Mal & Lil Quill and thanks to them, I was able to work with other artists from Atlanta. Living in Miami allows me to meet artists easily.Also, a close friend of 808 Mafia always invites me to studio sessions. Sometimes I also get in touch with artists I really like through Instagram. It’s all about creating connections and offering as much as possible to artists.
How do you manage the artists Instagram account ?
I adapt and compose images and I try to create a certain aesthetic that appeals to the artist.
This is where I like to be most creative because I can imagine what I would like and bring it to life.
How do you go about making the cover of the rapper's album, the single, ...?
The cover is directly linked to the artist's aesthetic. I hated seeing these boring covers for
rappers, so one day I started making them myself.
How do you work when working with a new artist ? And after ?
When I meet an artist for the first time, I don't try to force things and I just have a good time with them. After that, it is much easier for me to know their type of rhythm selection and style.
What is your goal in your future life in the rap industry if you continue to work in the field ?
My goal is to become a manager / PR and to keep pushing myself to be creative.
You told us in a previous interview for the article on "Rap is not in WEEKND 2/2" :
"I personally like punk and rock and I think it will be one of the most important genres the rappers of this new generation will be inspired. " Can you explain your opinion to us ?
By that I meant that the more aggressive sounds by rappers like Xxxtentacion were inspired by it. Apart from the sounds, I have the impression that the overall aesthetic of punk and rock will be even bringing some back from back then. Today, going to a rap concert is like going to a punk concert in the 80s. Rappers play like rockstars and the crowd form mosh pits.
Today, there are more beatmakers who are famous (for example: Nick Mira), do you think that in a few years, the beatmakers will be more successful than the rappers ?
This time period has never been so favorable for producers and we finally have the credit we
deserve. I think some producers will have a long career in the industry and will be just as popular as the best rappers. If producers like Nick Mira, Pierre Bourne, Metro Boomin and many others are famous, it's because they offer much more than just making a beat. They all made a unique image for themselves. Even the little things like the tags at the start of the songs, for example :
"Yo Pierre you wanna come out here" had an impact on the producers' careers. I think the
producers will continue to gain notoriety and I also think they will start to release their own
albums / mixtapes. Metro Boomin and DJ Mustard are two producers who have released their own projects and who have proven that it is possible to be more successful than rappers.
Rappers like Lil Peep, XXXtentacion or other emo-rappers have changed rap to bring something new, emotion. Before gender could be emotional, rap was done just to expose strength, power, etc, so why does emo-rap work in our society ?
Can we call this movement "rap" ?
The "emo-rap" has experienced a recent boom because it is raw and much more storytelling
than average rap music. The melodic sound that emo-rap offers is very fashionable at the
moment and I think it has its place in rap and that it is here to stay in the future.
Why do you think rappers (especially American rappers) are dying younger and younger ?
There are two things that have killed rappers in recent years. Juice Wrld, Lil Peep and Mac Miller, all died from an overdose of drugs like percocet, xanax and codeine. In Juice and Peep’s music, they talk about their abusive relationship with the drugs they take. The sad part is that labels promote it because it strengthens their image. Glory, money, relationships, etc.
All have an impact on their mental health and it has become normal for American rappers to take and promote pills. This is honestly one of the biggest problems in the rap industry right now. Pop Smoke, Nipsey Hussle, Xxxtentacion, and many more have been shot. All these rappers come from a place where it is almost impossible to get out of. So when people from the same place as you have managed to get by when they see success, the first reaction is jealousy and envy. Nipsey Hussle, who did so much for his community and his hometown, was gunned down by someone from his own neighborhood. Most of the time, rappers continue to live their past (gang activities) even after being successful. This not only caused a lot of deaths but also put many rappers behind bars.
You told us in a previous interview for the article "Rap is not WEEKND 2/2" that rap is "one of the most popular music genres", why ?
Right now, 8 of the 10 most popular songs in the world are rap songs. Social media is the main reason for this. YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, etc, have put rap in the spotlight and made it spread like wildfire all over the world.
What do you think of the way rap music is shared (platforms like Soundcloud, Instagram, ...) ?
I love it ! I've had Soundcloud since I was 12 and it opened my ears to a lot of new sounds that I would never have heard before. This is the reason why rappers can explode overnight and artists can make a career only in their bedroom, on a laptop.
In rap, there are fewer restrictions for sharing music than in pop music for example, why ?
The reason there are fewer restrictions for sharing this music is that rap is constantly evolving.
Something can be popular one week and old the following week. This is what drives rappers to constantly get out of music to try to stay on top.
What style of rap do you think has had the greatest impact on culture ?
These are the "Mumble rappers" like Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, etc., which have had the greatest impact on the culture.
How do you see rap in 10 years ?
In ten years, I will see rap as the dominant genre worldwide. I also think that it will continue to be less focused on lyrical talent and more on production, sounds and general singularity. Rappers like Young Thug have started pushing this style of rap to the general public and I see others like Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert being at the forefront for the future of rap.
In one sentence, what do you think of the rap industry today ?
It is a mixed opinion... I am happy that more and more artists can have better opportunities
than before. I think the industry is diluted right now and I feel like almost all of the labels are
constantly over-saturating the market trying to get the latest hit for TikTok instead of trying to produce more music timeless.
Who do you think is the most influential future rapper ? Why ?
100% Young Thug! He was the one who contributed the most to the future generation.
Do you think that in rap, women are underestimated ?
Most certainly, although last year it started to get better with rappers like Megan The Stallion.
The sector not only needs more female rappers, but also female producers.
-Grunge News thanks you for your collaboration-
Some videoclips of artists that Caden Kujawa works with :