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Not So Famous: Keffaleng discusses the dangers of fame & the importance of Kid Cudi

Toronto, ON – Back in March, Toronto artist Keffaleng unleashed his sophomore release; a seven-track EP entitled Not So Famous.

Not So Famous is a cohesive, and all-too-relatable body of work that plays out as an emotionally volatile rollercoaster ride. Downtempo, slower jams like “Lucid Dreams” balance out the more charged tracks like “Anything” and the title track “Not So Famous.” The 22-minute project has one lone feature courtesy of Def Jam artist Amir Obè, along with production credits courtesy of Yani, Davinci, EhCee, CVRE, Nahum, and Keffaleng.

This project came as the follow-up to Keffaleng’s 2016 released debut Still Shanti EP. Still Shanti was a much darker body of work focused on the importance of riding out life’s waves and remaining calm. But since he was able to get through that darker period in his life, Keffa was forced to switch up his sound and approach for Not So Famous.

Keffa’s approach to this EP was to dispel the misconceptions about fame, and to remind us that fame is actually a very dangerous substance. It’s addictive, it’s unpredictable, and it’s something that affects everyone to some extent. The album also serves as a marker for where Keffaleng is at right now in life. There’s a much more balanced emotional spectrum this time around (and quite a few more songs for us females).

HipHopCanada recently caught up with Keffaleng to discuss the dangers of fame, working with Amir Obè, and how Kid Cudi has influenced Keffa over the years. Check out our in-depth interview after the jump, and make sure you take in Not So Famous ASAP if you haven’t done so yet.

Song of the Day: Keffaleng previews Not So Famous project with Off The Wall single - HipHopCanada.com

Fame is like a toxic drug in gas form. It affects any and everyone.
– Keffaleng


Q&A: Keffaleng

HipHopCanada: Start off by telling me about what this project means to you on a personal level.

Keffaleng: It’s about my journey as an artist and all the things that I have experienced this past year. There has been a lot of ups and downs. The best way to describe it, is as if I was on an emotional rollercoaster. 2016 was a pretty crazy year for the city of Toronto, Canada.

HipHopCanada: Talk to me about the significance of the project title Not So Famous, and why (in your opinion) fame is so dangerous.

Keffaleng: The significance behind the title is one’s quest for fame, and the come up being the hardest part of it, and all the things it comes with. Fame is like a toxic drug in gas form. It affects any and everyone; through the TV, headphones, speakers, and even walking by a person. It’s like a fume. Once a person gets a whiff, they’re hooked. I personally don’t think I’m famous, hence the title Not So Famous. But I’m well on the aware of what I’m chasing. No one is ever prepared for fame. It’s like parenthood; you adjust to it as you grow.

I personally don’t think I’m famous, hence the title Not So Famous. But I’m well on the aware of what I’m chasing.
– Keffaleng

HipHopCanada: It’s kind of funny that the “fame” you’re so skeptical of wound up being a natural result of the release of this project. You dropped a project about how fame is dangerous, and that project basically made you even more famous.

Keffaleng: I don’t think that this project has made me famous yet, per se. But it has certainly put me on the map in terms of people recognizing what’s most important to me. And that is my music, and the way it is received by the people.

HipHopCanada: What are the steps you have taken to ensure that you don’t fall into the fame trap?

Keffaleng: Building a solid core around myself who are fully aware and focused on my career and the direction it’s headed, but treat me and each other equally. We’re a family.

HipHopCanada: Talk to me about your progression from Still Shanti to Not So Famous. What changes have occurred – artistically and personally – and how have those changes affected your sound and approach?

Keffaleng: A way to look at the two projects is as if you were on top of a hill in complete darkness, watching the sun rise. That’s the feeling I get when I hear the two projects. I made Still Shanti in a dark period in my life; going through personal stuff that I eventually overcame by remaining calm. Hence the title. “Shanti” means calm in Hindi, whereas Not So Famous has a very vibrant and moody aesthetic to it. Not So Famous is where I am and what I’m feeling now, whereas Still Shanti is a depiction of where I was in my life and the emotions I felt. I go off the vibes I’m feeling when I make my music.

HipHopCanada: On that note, I feel like Not So Famous marked a really big artistic progression for you, in terms of becoming more vulnerable with your music. Still Shanti was a fantastic debut project, but it wasn’t as emotionally charged. I thought Not So Famous dug a lot deeper into your feels.

Keffaleng: Still Shanti was more personal, that project was for me. And Not So Famous caters more to the people. We’re all humans, we all experience the same feelings. Some may try to deny that but I say they’re full of shit. Everyone experiences love, happiness, anger, heartbreak, sorrow and disappointment, which is what I feel Not So Famous has. It embodies all of that and is the perspective of a person’s awareness to not repeat the same mistakes they once did, but to have fun and experience more life… no pun intended.

HipHopCanada: Which song off Not So Famous is most significant to you, and why?

Keffaleng: “Cross My Mind” because that is my current state of mind right now. I’m focused on getting what I want and where I want to be in life. I used to always put others before me; depending on others for my happiness. I now realize in order to truly love someone you need to learn how to love yourself. Sometimes it’s good to be selfish.

I now realize in order to truly love someone you need to learn how to love yourself. Sometimes it’s good to be selfish.
– Keffaleng

HipHopCanada: You only had one feature on the entire project, and that was Amir Obe. Tell me the story behind how the two of you ended up working together.

Keffaleng: Amir Obè is probably one of my favorite artists out now. I heard Happening In The Grey Area and instantly thought, “Yo this cat is fire!!! I got to get him on a song.” Originally the song I sent him was totally different from what you hear today. He found a moment in the production and went left with it, taking it in a whole other direction. When I heard his verse I was like “OK. I feel you.” I instantly picked up my pen and notebook and began to write a verse around his, giving it the vibe you feel now. It’s almost like it’s the same story but from two different perspectives

HipHopCanada: Tell me about the first time you ever heard a Kid Cudi song, and how Kid Cudi has influenced your music over the years.

Keffaleng: Wow! Where do I start? I think it was when I was in the ninth grade when I first heard Cudi’s music. I can’t remember if it was “Sky Might Fall” or “Day n Night” that was the first song I ever heard of his. But I was in the school library working on a project. His music randomly popped up on YouTube after I played a Kanye record. I instantly fell in love with his music. I felt like I could relate to his music. It would put me in a trance and uplift my spirit. Every time I hear a Cudi record I want to get in the booth and make music. Even his new album Passion, Pain & Demon Slaying played a role in influencing one of my records off my upcoming project Deep End, which I plan to release in September.

HipHopCanada: You’ve gotten a lot of play time this year via Beats 1, XXL, Rap Season, DJ Clue?, and more. Talk to me about the biggest milestone you’ve achieved so far in 2017.

Keffaleng: It’s too early to say because the year hasn’t ended yet. But I’d say the whole rollout thus far has been a milestone for me.


Stream: Not So Famous

Song of the Day: Keffaleng previews Not So Famous project with Off The Wall single - HipHopCanada.com


Twitter: @Keffaleng

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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