The Kid Daytona: How the Bronx Native Became A "Rising Icon" [INTERVIEW]


Hailing from the Bronx and being a rapper is not an easy thing to carry on your shoulders, especially nowadays. After all, the Bronx birthed such legendary emcees as KRS-One, Big Pun, Sadat X, Slick Rick…the list goes on. Yet The Kid Daytona does not falter at the thought of what his borough’s icons have achieved throughout musical history. Instead, he is determined to focus on the future and creating the best possible music he can – not for himself, but for his fans.

After dropping a few mixtapes and EPs over the years, The Kid Daytona really cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with with last year’s critically acclaimed project, The Interlude. Today (December 19), Daytona released his follow-up, The Interlude II, a mixtape that features some of the game’s hottest producers like 6th Sense, Harry Fraud, and Statik Selektah. Never one to rest on his laurels, Daytona has pledged that although he intends to go out with a bang in 2011, no one is prepared for what he has in store for 2012. What’s going on, Daytona? How you feeling?

The Kid Daytona: Good, man, real good. Just chilling. So first things first, for those that don’t know you or may not be familiar with you, tell me a little bit about who The Kid Daytona is.

The Kid Daytona: The Kid Daytona is an MC from the Bronx, a real MC. I make dope Hip-Hop music that’s fly and for the culture and all of that. Is “forward-thinking” MC an appropriate title to give you?

The Kid Daytona: I mean, the thing that I’ve been seeing a lot is that after my songs, you know on Twitter, they’ll hash tag “real Hip-Hop” (#realHipHop). So I guess that’s what I make. I’m not sure what fake Hip-Hop is, but I guess I’m the opposite of that. And how heavily do you carry the title of being a rapper from the Bronx?

The Kid Daytona: I grew up in New York, you know, so it’s what I know. I’ve been other places and seen other things obviously, but I’m from New York and that’s my character and that’s what I ride with. As far as my music in concerned, I only talk about my experiences and I don’t make any faux accents, it is what it is; I’m from New York. You know, similar to cats from Atlanta or cats from Texas, that’s what they do and they don’t ever try to rap or sound like they’re from New York, so I figure I’ll stay close to my roots and true to who I am. So then coming from the legendary Bronx, which birthed some of the greatest MCs period, who are some of your influences?

The Kid Daytona: I listened to a lot of that regular music man ‘cause my uncle firsthand – he really had a big part in my love of music and my love of the culture – he’s like 13 years older than me, so when I was coming up, I was listening to what he was playing first, and that’s Run DMC, LL, Tribe, EPMD, KRS, Slick Rick, all of that classic stuff, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. I used to just watch him play these kinds of records all day, and that’s when I first really, really loved it. Me as a fan moment, though, like when I really became a fan of it, I would have to say was when I heard the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx album. That was the first joint that I really took in. I had the big, brolic, waterproof cassette player Walkman, where you used to have to flip over to rewind it [laughter]. I had that, and I just used to play that purple tape over and over and over again. I was in fifth grade, and the first rap that I ever wrote was to that album. That’s great. Any chance you remember what that first rap was?

The Kid Daytona: [laughter] Nah, man, but I know that whatever it was, it sounded like whatever they were saying. I’ve got to commend you anyway though, Kid, because you’re not just a dope rapper, you have an ear for great production also. The production you use really compliments the content you rap about, so what do you attribute that to?

The Kid Daytona: I think I would attribute that, and also, I’ve been around a lot of DJs from just coming up. From the Cipha Sounds and Ed Smooths, to just a bunch of DJ cats that were coming up, and listening to what their ear has been and just being around good music. I guess it comes from me being young and having that ear from day one. I guess that’s really the only thing I could say about that. Yeah, and you’ve worked with some amazing producers as well, but before we get into that, I have to ask, where did the name Kid Daytona come from?

The Kid Daytona: Um, Daytona originated first because my man had a Toyota Camry back in ’81 or something when we were in high school, and we used to joyride the cars around, and when it was my turn, I ended up bashing alongside like four parked cars, and we all got out and ran, and everybody started calling me Daytona 500 [laughter]. That’s where it all started right there, being young, and dumb, and from the Bronx. That’s a great story [laughing]. I think it’s safe to say that last year, The Interlude was one of the dopest projects that dropped in music and also received tons of critical acclaim. How did you approach creating the follow-up?

The Kid Daytona: With The Interlude, I strictly made that in frustration. I just wanted to show people that I was nice and that all I cared about was rhyming and raps; that’s why I picked those beats, just anything that I knew I could go in on. You know, I didn’t really care about being critically acclaimed, I didn’t care about the hype or whatever comes along with all of the stuff that’s going on now. I was just sold on letting people know that I could rap and it turned out great. We got a lot of exposure off of there from MTV, and BET, and a lot of “best-of” lists; people really loved that tape.

So with this coming around, what I wanted to do was expand the sound a little bit more and just make records. Instead of taking classic interludes from other albums, this time around, it’s all original music, and all of the music is brought together by interludes, so, you know, that’s why it’s The Interlude II. It’s really like a growth process; it’s for my fans, not really for me because I’ve always been experimenting and making different kinds of music, just that nobody has heard ‘cause I haven’t put it out. I wanted to just expand the sound this time around and make bigger records, have them spin on mix shows, radio, and in the club, just for people to really understand that Daytona is for real. He’s not just that backpack rapper. You’ve already given fans a good taste of what’s to come on The Interlude II…I believe you released three or four of the projects tracks before it dropped.

The Kid Daytona: Yeah, we just dropped the fourth one last week with Melanie Fiona. There honestly hasn’t been one out of the four songs that isn’t pretty stellar, so I’m curious if there is a reason why these specific tracks were released as opposed to other ones from the project, and do you have a favorite?

The Kid Daytona: It was just the joints that I figured was going to get people’s attention because it was like a last minute thing. I had a bunch of records and right now I think we’re at like 50 that I recorded for The Interlude II, so it was just at a point where we knew we should put something out as a last minute thing, and we decided to put out these records, and then we’re gonna come with Interlude III and end the trilogy in the beginning of spring.

So with these records, I knew it was something that people would really mess with. I came through with the leak of me and Action Bronson, but first I came through with the song from me an Goapele and I wanted to just come with that  ‘cause I think it threw people off and that song turned out crazy, and to have Statik Selektah do the beat. Then I came through with Bronson, and we took it to that ill tropical vibe with the storytelling on there and just going crazy. Then I took you to the club with my man Harry Fraud on “Low” beat. Then with the Melanie Fiona record, I wanted to show people that I could make a radio-friendly record but still do it in my way and still just go in. I just wanted to have people’s ears and eyes this time around, like ‘yo man, Daytona is really coming through with something. Well, it sounds like the concept definitely paid off ’cause all of the tracks that you released so far from the project are dope, and you gave fans and listeners all those different sides of you. As we wrap up, I want to congratulate you on the success you had in 2011. You were also just named one of Grey Goose’s “Rising Icons” so congratulations on that as well.

The Kid Daytona: Oh, thank you, man. It’s just a result of all the hard work just paying off. I always tell everybody that it’s definitely not an overnight thing; I got my first record deal out of high school. We coming up on close to 10 years of really trying to achieve this goal right here and it’s just ill seeing everything coming together the way that it is, just me really doing it my way. Definitely. Well, looking ahead to 2012, other than The Interlude 3, what do you have in store for your fans and listeners next year?

The Kid Daytona: I mean, we’ve got a whole bunch of videos. We’ll definitely be doing a whole bunch of collaborations with Grey Goose; I’ve got a couple of ill things coming up with them. Just more brand collaborations, and a tour, and shows, and videos; a bunch of dope stuff man. It’s going to be exciting in 2012, man. It just seems like all of the stars are aligned right now. Thanks again for the interview, and I’m looking forward to hearing The Interlude II and seeing what you have coming up in 2012.

The Kid Daytona: Thank you, JP. Thanks a lot.

Download “The Kid Daytona – The Interlude II” Now! 

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