There are very few artists who can grab an audience’s attention longer than one hit record. There are even less who have the ability to release an body of work that can be listened to in it’s entirety. It’s a rare thing these days, but Kris Kiss is keen to change this tradition. Hailing from outside London in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, the rapper/vocalist began penning his words on paper, pouring out his feelings, at the age of 10. His supreme gifts are an expansive vocabulary and vivid mind, which he unleashes with raunchy humor and unsparing enthusiasm in equal measure. He is also racking up some major co-signs. Case in point: he recently collaborated with Mobb Deep’s Havoc.
Filled with enough verbal muscle and plenty of well-executed rhymes, Kris Kiss is ready to breakthrough with his mixtape, King of Herts Vol.1. It may be too early to predict if he will be next to hit it big, but it is certainly worth stating that he is a viable contender. Kris Kiss has been one of the best-kept secrets on the Hertfordshire hip- hop scene for a hot minute now, but with talent like his you can’t stay a secret forever. RESPECT. caught up with the rising star to talk tattoos, his debut LP, and hooking up with his childhood hero, Havoc.
RESPECT.: What’s the inspiration behind your name?
Well my birth name is Kristian Kiss, but the reason I have the pseudonym of ‘2K’ is because I started writing in the year 2000 and my initials are KK so it’s a double meaning.
Are you also Kris Kiss at home?
No, I morph into a superhero! [laughs] The reason I have released myself under my real name is because I am the same in the studio, on stage and at home. I didn’t feel the need to change my name.
What’s the hip-hop scene like in Hertfordshire?
It’s not that great, I mean a lot of people think they can rap. Very rarely do MC’s from Hertfordshire have real talent and spit real shit. Most people are just trying to be something they are not. Having said that I do actually know quite a few really decent rappers.
I have been hearing quite a lot of hype about your growth. You’re debut mixtape King of Herts Vol.1 seems to be gaining a lot of attention. Where does it sit in your journey?
It’s quite simply my first release. It’s the ice breaker!
How important has Mobb Deep’s Havoc been to you as far as inspiration?
Well, yeah Mobb Deep in general were definitely one of my favorite hip hop groups from a young age and inspired me a lot on the hip hop side of things.
Apparently, there’s a collab on your mixtape between you and Havoc? Is that correct?
Yeah, he is featured on one of the tracks off my mixtape. It’s an old school 90’s style hip-hop roller and he went in! It’s called “Main Motivation”. Watch out for that one.
Have there been any other surreal experiences?
Getting [UK MC] Scorcher on a collab so early in my career was pretty cool. I was really happy about that.
Do you actually do any of the stuff you talk about in your lyrics?
Without an example, I couldn’t tell you, but I keep it real. I don’t chat shit about stuff that I haven’t had the experience of, if that is what you’re saying. A lot of the time people get mixed up when they listen to lyrics because they do not understand the difference between metaphors and similes.
What about puffing on lemons? Have you ever done that?
If you’re talking about actual lemons, then no I’m not sure I’ve ever puffed on one, but gimme a blunt of lemon haze and I’ll fire it up.
So where does the anger in your music come from?
I wouldn’t say that there is much anger in my music, its passion. It comes from my experiences of the world and my frustration at the monotony of suburban life.
You have a song called “On My Grind”. What does your grind consists of?
It’s basically a track that represents the confidence I have in myself to succeed in this game. It’s about putting the work in and believing that you will achieve. I know that the way I spit in that track is very different to a lot of the stuff in the scene at the moment, but I honestly think that’s a good thing. It’s got a lot of energy and people who work hard in their own right will relate.
What do you want people to get from your music?
I want to inspire people mainly but as long as I can provoke some sort of emotion then that’s good enough for me.
Are there any other hip-hop artists you’d like to work with from the States?
Of course there are. The list is endless. I think Frank Ocean would be the main one right now that I would like to work with, but there are also many others.
You seem to have turned your skin into a diary. How many hours do you think you’ve spent getting inked?
I don’t know how many hours, but it’s a lot. Everyone of them has a true meaning to me. I love it. It’s another way of expressing myself artistically.
Quick fire. Nicki Minaj ort Iggy Azalea?
I would probably say Nicki Minaj.
If you could be a fly on the wall in another rapper’s studio, whose would it be?
It would have to be Eminem because he’s one of the main reasons I decided to take this career path. Although I don’t think he is as good as he used to be, I would still love to see him in action!
Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?
Brad Pitt, of course.
Who’s your ideal lady?
Listen to Kris Kiss’ debut mixtape below:
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