Tell me about growing up in Little Rock.
Growing up there is probably what you think it is. I had to have a really big imagination, so I was always watching TV and I knew that there was always more out there in the world. But I love where I’m from. I love the hospitality, I love the food, I love the people. Music was another thing that helped me - it definitely acted as a form of escapism for me. I love the prominence of nature in Little Rock too. It’s actually called the “Natural State” so there’s a lot of green. I feel like I’m humble because of where I come from.
It’s not like growing up in LA.
Yeah, exactly. Even me falling into music, it’s still weird to the point where I’m like, “how did I even get here?” to this day.
So your focus wasn’t always music?
I wanted to be a veterinarian, then I shadowed a veterinarian and quickly realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do. It’s very gruesome. I went to cosmetology school for a bit too, thought I was going to do that...but no, I don’t even like doing hair! Music was something I always did throughout high school that I just kind of kept doing throughout my life, music was something that I never really thought was going to happen because of the fact that I’m from Arkansas.
How did linking up with Donald Glover early on in your career help push you further into the music industry?
So I had released a mixtape called “Laugh Now Die Later” and it was poppin’ off on the internet. Donald’s manager had found the song and hit up my co-producer at the time and was like, “yo this is crazy, Donald might remix it.” I was freaking out, but I wasn’t trying to get too excited. Anyway, he ended up doing it and they all came to Little Rock and naturally we forged a relationship. After that, he suggested that I come to LA and see more of what the world has to offer me, and I’m really grateful for that. I learned so much from being around that crew of people, most importantly how you can make an idea come to life. I was in the house where Donald and his friends were first discussing Atlanta, so I watched it go from simple ideas that people exchanged to this massive success. Even the album “Awaken My Love,” I was around for the beginning of that.
Do you think you wouldn’t have felt that push to get out of Little Rock if not for these newfound relationships?
I had already felt the urgency to leave. I moved to Atlanta a couple of times. Atlanta is kinda like Little Rock, a bigger city but just as southern. They pushed me to get completely out my comfort zone and travel to somewhere that was totally unfamiliar. I think that when I got to LA I began to understand that making music was an actual career, that music was actually what I wanted to do.