Vancouver’s Kresnt stops by to discuss his latest album Everybody Knows
In October 2017, Kresnt (known then as King H) was featured on the English album debut from fellow-Vancouverite Mozhdah Jamalzadah, often referred to as the “Oprah of Afghanistan.” Kresnt’s raw talent and energy, along with the buzz he was building online, was enough to propel Mozhdah to put him on the album’s lead single.
It would be Kresnt’s first appearance on a major digital streaming platform, and also his official introduction to the Afghan diaspora around the world. It was also an early testament to the type of moves Kresnt would come to be known for, tying his Afghan roots cleanly and intriguingly into his art each step of the way.
Since then, he’s been featured on over a dozen other singles, and today marks the official release of his third album, Everybody Knows.
His album debut Rumi’s Reflection dropped roughly a year ago, and he followed it up this past August with Rumi. Kresnt’s moves have been very calculated, and the latest album’s format is a the culmination of the previous projects getting you familiar with what Kresnt is all about. Now Everybody Knows, and as Kresnt explained, the new project is about presenting his listeners with huge records.
“Rumi’s Reflection sounds like one long song and that was the goal with the cohesiveness of the project. Rumi showed my diversity with fans… that I can sing, rap, and experiment with different sounds. With the Everybody Knows LP, it’s just bangers!”
The 12-track project features production by some of the most talented producers and production teams in the game including Nani Beats, audiodrugz, Young Jin, Licka Rish, D.Y.D., and 100x platinum producer Ken Lewis.
The album is limited to just a small handful of guest appearances, with the Roney and Eric Reprid-assisted “Immortalized (Remix)” receiving visual support earlier this afternoon. It’s one of six videos being released off Everybody Knows, and follows the Zectrix-directed “OVERTOOK” video which came out in March.
Along with pouring everything into his music, Kresnt’s attention for detail also stretched to the album’s official artwork. He connected with artist Jenavieve Louie, to recreate himself as a Chapandz from the ancient sport of Buzkashi. The main objective of the dangerous sport is to grab a goat and put it on top of your horse until you reach the goal while fighting off other players. Louie was famously commissioned by controversial rapper/producer Russ for a painting he later tweeted to say was hanging in his house: “You KILLED this,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s hanging in my house rn 🙏🏻🙏🏻”
We recently caught up with Kresnt to discuss how he’s been holding up during quarantine, how Everybody Knows came together, his thoughts on support from the local scene, working with other artists and more.
You can find the Q&A below along with a stream for Everybody Knows, and the video for “Immortalized (Remix).” Click here for streaming options.
HipHopCanada: I’ve always thought that one of the perks of this job is being able to take in advance copies of releases. This is one of those projects you know people will still be talking about down the road. So, congrats on the new release, thank you for the honour of checking it out early, and thank you for taking the time to speak with us now.
Let’s get right into it with something easy. What’s your average day looking like during this time of quarantine and self-isolating?
Kresnt: I been using this time to record demos, reflect and write new songs. Other than the basics, I try to stay active so I’m usually working out or playing basketball. However, for the next month, I am fasting for Ramadan.
HipHopCanada: Can you give me a particular memory of the creation process for the Everybody Knows LP that will stick with you the most?
Kresnt: This project has 12 songs and inshAllah I’ll release a deluxe version with 17 tracks at the end of next month. Each song has a story, so I’ll avoid the essay response. One story I can break down is the lead single “Everybody Knows,” which I made last year. I knew it was a banger when I made it and when I performed it live for 100k audience at 420 Vancouver; I still wanted to wait for the right moment before releasing this track.
Fast forward to 2020, I have been dropping nothing but bangers every two weeks, with the exception of a few weekly releases. I am the best rapper alive and I also want to show the world that I have an unmatched work ethic. When I officially released the single “Everybody Knows” April 2, the track was featured on the front page of Apple Music. Maybe I’m cocky in my demeanor but fuck it, I know I’m the GOAT and you need to focus on the work.
HipHopCanada: The whole album is a vibe. Compared to your previous releases Rumi and Rumi’s Reflection, how would you describe the overall sound of Everybody Knows?
Kresnt: Simply put, more BANGERS! Rumi’s Reflection sounds like one long song and that was the goal with the cohesiveness of the project. Rumi showed my diversity with fans… that I can sing, rap, and experiment with different sounds. With the Everybody Knows LP, it’s just bangers!
HipHopCanada: You’ve some got incredible beats on this album. Can you speak about your relationship with the producers you worked with for Everybody Knows and what made them a good fit for the project?
Kresnt: Working with Nani Beats, Audiodrugz, Young Jin, Licka Rish, Brent Kolatalo and of course, Ken Lewis has been a blessing. Each producer or production team has their own style and I trust the process while staying critical of the sounds. For this project, I wanted to compile some bangers so here we are.
HipHopCanada: Your lead single is the Licka Rish-produced “High With You.” Can you tell us how that song came together and how you originally linked up with Licka Rish?
Kresnt: I have been working with NXSTY for about two years now and when he showed me his melodic beats under the alias Licka Rish, we pretty much made enough content for two projects. One of my close friends had his engagement party the same evening I recorded this song, but being the big supporter that he is, he said it was more important to go to my studio session. Gotta show love to the people who want you to win. HIGH WITH YOU is for the ladies.
HipHopCanada: And how did you connect with Roney, Eric Reprid, and Zac Flewids?
Kresnt: I linked with Roney in a production space. I was in a photoshoot and he was filming for “Tyke”; we both played some unreleased music and respected each other’s work. I connected with Eric on IG and he is a comedian. Zac Flewids aka Isaac Zale is the young kid in the city that I’ve always helped out for years, and I thought it was best to include him in this project, great to see his evolution.
HipHopCanada: Along with being extremely on point sonically, your visual game for Everybody Knows is off the charts! Six videos coming in support of a 12-track project which is highly impressive. Which one are you looking forward to sharing with people the most?
Kresnt: Thanks bro, I focus on delivering quality content on all aspects. Check out the “Body Count” video, that’s one of my favorites.
HipHopCanada: Any chance you’ll do videos for the remaining five songs?
Kresnt: The “High With You” video is coming soon, so be on the lookout for that.
HipHopCanada: Ok, one more visual question but this one is about the album artwork. You really went the extra mile for this one. Artist Jenavieve Louie got a lot of praise when she unveiled her 24 x 48 oil painting that rapper/producer Russ had commissioned her to make. She also created the artwork for the album and depicted you as a Chapandaz from the ancient sport Buzkashi. For those that are not familiar with those terms, can you describe the sport and the particular role of the Chapandaz depicted in the artwork?
Kresnt: Buzkashi is not for the lighthearted, the violent game has changed now but it used to last days. The players are known as Chapandaz, and they are on a horse fighting each other to grab a goat carcass from one side of the field to the other. The artwork turns into a punchline as we see the GOAT (myself) on top of the Horse. Also, the state of mind that these players must be in order to compete in such a sport inspired this artwork. Tracks like “Everybody Knows,” “Claim,” “Jumuah,” embody the Chapandaz mentality.
I’ve always highlighted my culture and repped for my people. Afghans, Muslims worldwide. For “Everybody Knows” I am paying homage to my ancestors and Jenavieve Louie captured the essence of this perfectly.
HipHopCanada: After just a few short years your catalogue has grown to become quite massive! So, hypothetically speaking, if you’re in a situation where you have the chance to gain a new fan, but it’ll be determined by which song you let them hear from your discography, which would it be? Why?
Kresnt: “Everybody Knows” produced by my boys Nani Beats. You’ll know when you listen.
HipHopCanada: Do you get a lot of love from Afghans around the world?
Kresnt: Afghans show me love worldwide. The diaspora continues to share my music. I get messages daily from new afghan fans residing in Germany, Kabul, Iran and more.
HipHopCanada: How about in your hometown? When we first started our website back in 1999, “crabs in a bucket” was pretty much the mentality in every hip-hop market across the country. Lately it seems to have improved quite a bit in certain cities with a lot more artists working together and supporting each other. How do you feel Vancouver fits in that conversation? Do you feel artists are getting enough local support?
Kresnt: 1999? That’s crazy! Congrats on two decades of success, and wish you more my g. The same story is everywhere, and Vancouver is no different. Local politics with insecure gatekeepers that use their power to fuel business decisions that meet their personal agenda. More power to them, they can only go so far. Controlling all the shows out here won’t make their artists’ music sound better… As far as the majority of Vancouver hip-hop artists are concerned, I do my part, support where I can.
HipHopCanada: Which Canadian artists and producers have you been checking for lately?
Kresnt: BBNO$ from Vancouver, Murda Beatz, Frank Dukes. I’m excited for the new NAV project and see what Belly’s up to.
HipHopCanada: Assuming isolation is going to be significantly longer than what a lot of people might have originally expected, have you been thinking long term in terms of how to get work accomplished?
Kresnt: I am working on building my home studio, and I’ll use this time to brush up on mixing and producing.
HipHopCanada: What’s the first thing you’re going to do when quarantine is over and life is relatively back to normal?
Kresnt: Link back up with the team and get back to work!
You can follow @Kresnt on Instagram.