Five & Done: The Knux

Currently, there’s a crop of progressive artists stretching the boundaries of Hip-Hop in every which direction. They’ve all but tossed conventional thought of what rap music should be to the wind in favor of a more experimental and care-free approach to making Hip-Hop. Leading this movement, we find the New Orleans bred-duo and brothers, the Knux (comprised of Alvin “Al Millio” and Kintrell “Krispy Kreme” Lindsey). In their music, you can find the spirit of the Ramones kicking it right alongside the sounds of Prince-inspired synths. Throw in a healthy dose of Electronica and heavy influences from the Wu and you got something we haven’t seen before. Their genre-bending single “Cappuccino” has the music industry buzzing with everyone from Rock to House to Techno to Hip-Hop fans anxiously awaiting their Interscope debut, Remind Me in 3 Days…On growing up in New Orleans with a New York state of mind…Al Millio: The s**t that really brought us together man was Hip-Hop, like the real Hip-Hop like Wu-Tang. Krispy Kream: We were like real big Wu-Tang heads. We were rocking Wallabees and Timbs in hot ass New Orleans. Motherf*****s thought we were buggin’ out of our minds (laughs). They thought we were crazy. They’d be like, “Where you going with those big ass boots on?” (laughs) Then it got acceptable [to rock Timbs] down South, but we were doing it way before it became acceptable.Al Millio: We were in New Orleans with a New York state of mind. You know everybody done did that s**t. We had the fake New York logos and everything (laughs). We [did it because we] were in love with Hip-Hop so much. But everybody [who ’s a fan of Hip-Hop] had their New York stuff going on at some point or another because [it ’s] the birthplace of Hip-Hop. [The Knux "Cappucino" Video]On how nowadays rappers try to formulate their flow…Al Millio: I think It Was Written really put things into perspective for me. That was like…a real crazy album to me and that dude Nas’ rhymes were something vicious. Krispy Kream: You felt like Nas didn’t really have a structure…like, like he was just going…like the words were just flowing from him. That’s what I feel like a flow is. A flow is not trying to make your words come together. Nas’ s**t would just come out…you know like how Juvenile used to sound early on. His s**t would just spray out. I feel like now n****s try to flow instead of letting the words flow out of them like water. Im’a tell you something. A lot of things Lil’ Wayne says is not the most fire s**t but I understand why n****s feel his flow. It’s because it just comes out of him naturally. That’s the thing about us New Orleans cats. We’re all different but we all just flow. We don’t think. We just go. Down South, that’s how we do it. On Southerners being naturally funky...Al Millio: Hip-Hop to Down South cats is like dancing. It’s just natural. When a beat comes on it’s like, bam, just start dancing. It’s not like calculated steps like we’re doing the Cha Cha Slide or something like that (laughs). When the beat comes on, two-step, go with it you know what I mean? We just flow with it and that’s how we do it in the South. We funky! We don’t try to be funky. We just—and I’m not trying to be cocky or anything—got a funky ass flavor. N****s talk like that in New Orleans. They’ll be like (in a strong N’awlins accent) what’s hap’nin wit’cha’ ya’ heard me? It’s a natural thing for us. When we rap we’re basically talking. Rap to us is more like expressing ourselves then an art form. Krispy Kream: There isn’t like a Hip Hop school for us. We just had to live that s**t. On elevating songwriting in Hip-Hop…Al Millio: We’re not preaching or anything like that. We’re just trying to bring a refreshing sound back to Hip Hop. It’s just us n****s kicking rhymes that don’t have to be so serious all the time or about tearing a cat head off with every rhyme we do. And we’re not boasting about how fly we are. We’re just kicking rhymes making good songs. Krispy Kream: We’re cool with a lot of Indie rock bands. And the reason why a lot of people don’t respect Hip-Hop is because we don’t have any good songwriters in Hip Hop. N****s rap but they’re not good songwriters. You can’t put their s**t against Bob Dylan or James Brown because it’s not good songwriting! I understand why the only people they respect in Hip-Hop is like 2Pac and Eminem because they can really write songs. They’re not just rapping about rap and rap things. They’re rapping about the world around them.[The Knux "Cappuccino Remix"]On pinned-up creativity in the hood and shaking off the shackles…Al Millio: I went back home for Mardi Gras and I seen some crazy s**t. I saw cats in the projects in retro-punk style. And that almost brought a tear to my eye (laughs). I was like that’s brave, especially in that city (New Orleans), because it’s so closed-minded there. It’s something as small as clothing, but still it means so much. For a while, you couldn’t even put a slash in your eyebrow without someone looking at you crazy. I don’t knock s**t like that when people just want to think outside of the box. That’s why there’s so many angry youth [out there] because they’re not expressing themselves. They’re not doing what they want to do because they think someone’s going to knock them for doing it. Krispy Kream: If someone knocks you for doing you, then they’re a coward and insecure and they’re mad because they’re afraid to do them. Al Millio: Right. I want to show people you can do that s**t. F**k what people think. You can do what you want to do. You don’t have to be locked into the unwritten rules that we have in the hood growing up. I say unwritten because no one speaks on them but they’re there. You can’t do this. You can’t dress like this. You can’t listen to that you know what I mean? [It’s] all that dumb bulls**t that keep people down and oppressed because they have so much pinned-up creativity inside them and can’t express it. That’s something I will not embrace…[The Knux "Hard Days Night" - will not be on album]