If you’re not familiar with the name DJ K.I.D, you soon will be. The Bay Area native by way of Charlotte is one of the hottest DJ’s and he’s just getting started. The Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment DJ is creating waves beyond the music industry.
DJ K.I.D might have gotten his big industry break thanks to Da Baby, but make no mistake that the self-proclaimed hottest young DJ and producer in the world, is a star in his own right. We talked to the 22-year-old DJ, engineer, producer, CEO, entrepreneur about his journey into music, how he became Da Baby’s DJ, recording the first song he produced for him, “Intro” while on a cruise, his alkaline water company K2O, and more.
Mireya Hernandez: Hi!
D.J. K.I.D: How’s it going? how are you?
I’m good. How are you?
I’m doing well.
So let’s get started. DJ, engineer, producer, CEO, entrepreneur. That’s quite the list for being a 22-year-old.
You are probably the first person that interviewed me that started off and got it right like that. You named everything.
I’m glad I did. I want to make sure we get it all in there. It’s important. You’re more than a DJ. So for the people who don’t really maybe know DJ K.I.D, tell us a little bit about yourself.
So to jump things off. Me being the hottest young DJ, producer, superstar engineer, waterboy, CEO, entrepreneur, the list goes on man. It’s like I’m a chameleon, jack of all trades, you feel me. So as a kid, it was just me being so invested in the music. And now I want to do anything else. For me that I was so focused on perfecting my own craft. I was an artist at first. And then I pretty much moved into being a DJ seeing I can make money making people have fun and dance. That was like a good feeling to me when people can pull out to my party and be going through something at the crib, like abuse or anything, whatever the extreme is. Come to one of our parties, and it’s good vibes. I love that feeling.
“goes along the lines of me telling people to always be prepared. To stay ready so you ain’t got to get ready”.
That’s awesome. So one thing I learned or I didn’t know and I don’t know, many people do know that. First of all, you were born in the Bay Area. Santa Clara. I’m from up there. And then also that MC Hammer is your godfather?
The music is in the bloodline.
Literally in the bloodline.
That’s awesome. So most people are aware of you working with Da Baby. You’ve told the story of how you met Da Baby and how his DJ asked you to fill in for him when he wasn’t able to make it. That’s kind of how you got your big break. Can you just talk a little bit about that?
Yeah, it was a party. My guy Stimp was a promoter at the time I was a college DJ. And I was booked to DJ this ECU party, their homecoming party. Da Baby was pulling up it was about to be a vibe. It was like a target to town. His DJ called me like K.I.D. “I can’t pull up I can’t make my flight. So can you do the show for me?” I’m like yeah, I got you. I see what I can do that I can do. Knowing in my head. I know what I’m gonna do, I’m about to step. I’m about to take it there. So when he pulled up — and it just goes along the lines of me telling people to always be prepared. To stay ready so you ain’t got to get ready. So outside of me being a fan of Da Baby’s music, I was just ready for any occasion. So when he pulled up I had his music already set to what I needed it to be. Even if I wasn’t to be his DJ I already had his music in a crate, in a folder. I knew I was gonna bump for him just because to show love as a DJ. It’s like hospitality. His manager pulled up dropped that flash drive and I already had his songs and we rocked out. It was lit.
That was the beginning of what is now.
It was the beginning of it was like you never would have thought it would have went from that to me making millions.
Now when that happened, and you said you know you have to stay or be ready so we got to get ready. Are you ready? As far as I mean, did they tell you what songs to play? How did you go about doing that since it was your first time working with him?
Yeah, it wasn’t any prompt or them letting me know these are songs you gonna play. His manager Carter, part of SCMG, pulled up with a flash drive like plug this in. It wasn’t no, this song, this song, this song. It was pay attention to what he doing and then play the next song. It was being on your toes and being ready to adapt to the situation. It was crazy because that’s how our relationship is now. It’s super fast like when we on a stage. He can say a song –the crowd, you can feel that energy and mentioned it to him like, how old are you? They’ll be like 21, okay have “21” put up in like point five seconds.
That’s awesome. So you guys are in sync like you already know where to take it just off a few of the words or keywords that he may say. So you go next.
It wasn’t always like that though. I had to learn bruh, but once I learned him, and we got on the same accord it was over.
Yeah. So “Intro” was the first song that you produced. And I read that you recorded that on a cruise.
Yeah. I ain’t gonna lie. It was lit. It was lit. But it was like you never would have thought you would have got that song with so much substance from being on a party cruise. The fact that bro was able to tap into that and take it to another level. While we’re in a whole different environment. It’s crazy. That’s legendary for me.
Besides that, that song is very personal, I would think. He’s talking about losing his father. And the fact that you guys recorded that not only on the cruise like but right after too. Not anybody can do that.
Bruh, he’s just super strong and willing to adapt. I don’t feel like he really showed the world his feelings too much so when you get a record like that, I feel like they appreciate something like that.
Another thing that I learned was that when you created it at home, your mom mentioned that the 808 wasn’t kicking enough.
She told me. She was right under me. She told me, son, listen to me, the 808 ain’t it. I was like aight bet. I’m gonna go make some medicine and cook up something different. So my next concoction and I came back with, it was out of here.
It was mom-approved?
It was mom-approved for sure. it had the mama stamp on it.
So now is your mom — does she do music as well? Or is she just has an ear or she kind of knows what she thinks would work.
She was an artist. So that’s why I tell people, music runs in my blood. That’s kind of how MC Hammer’s came apart and being my godfather, but she was an artist as well as her being the president of Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment. She handles a lot of the business side for like the label. Me and my mom really work hand in hand. But it’s always business.
That’s awesome you have that relationship with her. Now, after you produce “Intro”, “Blame It On Baby”, a much larger role that you played there. they’re producing co-producing half a dozen of the project, thirteen songs, and engineering seven of them.
Wow, that sounds crazy. Just listening to it.
It was love though. It was definitely love. I became a Grammy-nominated engineer through that. Not even just the records that I produced on but the whole album in its entirety, being able to do that and being a part of something so big. Having a huge role and how his voice actually sounds before it gets to mixing and mastering or wherever else we take. It’s something I take pride in because it’s almost like I’m the pit stop before it gets to the people. So I try to make sure that everything is all the way right
That’s awesome. So with the co-producing. How do you go about finding producers to collaborate with? So now I saw something on your Instagram where you asked people to send you stuff. That’s kind of how you found people?
Yeah, pretty much. I’m just that type of dude. Some producers they so locked in with themselves and don’t want to hear other sounds or have other people help them out. But I’m music is a collaborative effort. So why would I not want to collab with some other sounds or different ideas that I might not come up with myself? I’m open to doing that. So extending the hand like the hand that was extended to me like. I know y’all probably super creative, but nobody’s gonna know because nobody’s giving you that opportunity. So here’s the opportunity to show me something. Give me your best work.
That’s great that you’re giving other people an opportunity like someone gave you an opportunity. Now that you’ve got quite the resume under your belt. Are there certain producers that you want to work with?
I probably say my boy Marshmallow we supposed to be working on some real soon. We’re supposed to work on something a while ago, but some things happen. Probably Metro Boomin and that’s really it right now.
That’s awesome. So now let’s talk a little bit about your waterboy sound.
Come on now the waterboy sound is curated from the waterboy himself. Mr. K20 the waterboy. Even when I was a kid I didn’t really listen to trap music or I wouldn’t be like a Hip Hop head, but I was listening to Katy Perry for real. I like the pop sounds. It sounds easy to the ear, kids like that type of music. And it’s not too aggressive for them. For some people, Hip Hop music might be. So it’s like, I meet you in the middle. So I’m gonna give you a pop melody that’s gonna make you feel like you got a ringtone. 2002 ringtone stuck in your head that you can buy from Apple [store], the Android store. Put some hard 808s and some bouncy hi-hats and claps and all that to bring it together and make the sound bull. I love it.
Give you that waterboy sound.
That’s what it is. That waterboy sound.
But speaking of waterboy you have your own water. K20, so how did you get into that?
People tell me I think too ahead of my age. And I’m like, okay, that’s cool. But it’s like I’m looking for generational wealth. I went and got the bag for producing. I went and got a bag as a DJ. But I’m also opening to new ventures and putting myself in a position where if I wanted to stop producing or DJing today, I could do that because I got to a Fortune 500 company behind me. K20 water is never going anywhere. People need water at the end of the day. Your body is made up of 77%. Water is something big to me. It’s big to everyone else at the end of the day.
Absolutely. So what’s the overall goal with K20?
The whole overall goal is to put the people around me in position that might be struggling or need a job, I can put family members on my team and really expanded to a market that people think that I’m not supposed to be in. Bringing awareness to people showing them that us as kids, 25 and under or 27 and under are there are still worried about our health at the same time. Not just about going out and partying or going to the club and drinking and having fun. But worrying about health at the same time. Cutting that kind of stereotype.
So in that sense, it’s almost like you’re bridging those two things, being a young millennial with also a healthy lifestyle, because like you said, we all need water, every single one of us. I think that that’s great. So where can we find K20?
K20Water.co. If you’re in Charlotte is in the gas stations. And it’s coming soon to all the other gas stations. And Amazon, it’s on the way.
So that’s where we can get it. Speaking of Charlotte, where does the water come from there? Or do you source it from other places?
As of right now, it comes from the Blue Ridge Mountains. But I’m looking to tap into another water source because I always want to make the water better. Like it’s great water right now is a great pH balance. But I just want to get a little more hands-on with the ingredients and what’s going.
Yeah, that’s awesome. So again, you’re only 22 you’ve reached a real high level of success. Entrepreneur, CEO, your water company, chart-topping producer. So at this point, what motivates you to keep going?
What motivates me is understanding I’m really just getting started. I’m 22 years old, but having the accolades of an old head that has been around here for years. That motivates me itself. Being able to stand with these other producers that I looked up to. Or these other big dog producers I’m looking up to, but they don’t want to look up to me because I’m little bro. But having a stain for somebody to actually look up to me. Just being motivated, understanding that God is great, and it’s so many more doors to unlock. Without even knowing that the doors in front of me are gonna open and I just want to be ready for when it does.
Yeah. So you’ve been teaching yourself how to play the keys?
Yeah, every day I’m on a piano journey.
How’s that coming along?
Nice. Pretty good. I’m actually picking up on it pretty fast like teaching myself I know none of the basic melodies and keys and how I’m supposed to place my fingers the right way, but I’m playing it by ear and I’m making it sound good. So that’s all that matters to me. The fact that I can, I’m really working on cooking up in front of people. I was always the producer to cook up in my own element like in my studio around my inspiration but I want to be able to pull up artists say I do a melody and I can just play it right there and they don’t take me that long. So that’s my goal right now.
You and Da Baby put out a short project last year for the single “Find My Way” can you talk about how I how that came together?
“Find My Way” came together we recorded oh my gosh, we recorded the first part of “Find My Way” in a clear port. We were in the back like a little meeting room. The beat didn’t have any 808, didn’t have any hi-hat, had a clap and had some kicks on it and Baby pretty much laid down the foundation for it. I went back and built around it. Then the next day we finished the song. That was pretty dope.
Did you enjoy filming that short? You’re acting so now you can add actor to your resume.
We really can. Even in my latest song “Tony Montana”, I’m acting as well. That’s crazy that you mentioned that. That’s something that I want to look into in the future, but for “Find My Way”, it was definitely a dope deal to be able to be a part of that.
Yeah, I mean, since you mentioned “Tony Montana”. That’s the first single as a DJ with DDG. How did that collaboration come together?
Just being a youngin reaching out seeing his influence on YouTube and him wanting to go from YouTube to a music artist. I’m like okay let’s make a stamp in the game. I want to be a part of that. A lot of people were saying man, you’re not a rapper. DDG, not a rapper YouTuber. I’m like bruh but you actually raw. I like your music. And I can see that got a lot of potential. So I’m like, let me tap into your let’s take you there. Show the people.
And how did you think that record was received? Were you happy with the results?
I look at the stats from the first 15 days of the first month and we got like a million. We got a million we got two point something million views on YouTube other month and then a million-plus views on Apple Music, plus a million on Spotify. That’s breaking some of these records. Like debut singles, they don’t even hit that in like the first two months. So that was an accomplishment.
Congratulations on that. I also saw recently that you landed a publishing deal with Sony. So talk to me about that partnership.
Last year Sony ATV shout out to big John shout out to Jen and Lauren Jen’s assistant. They helped me out a lot. Sony ATV I really saw one of the best producers does last year for an upcoming producer. With my catalog, I signed in with like seven records. So it was it was phenomenal. What I ended up signing for I’m not gonna speak too much on it. But it’s crazy. I shouldn’t be there right now, as a 22-year-old. I’m not gonna say I shouldn’t I should. But I did. So it was great. I love them. Sony ATV, that’s my family. I always send them beats and we’re working on new stuff.
So when is the “Waterboy” album releasing?
This year, hopefully. I’m not gonna put a date on it. But I need to world out to be open. They got to feel me. I got to be able to get out there and show them.
So speaking of the world being open, how have you been adjusting to the pandemic?
I can’t lie. It’s actually been pretty good for me. And you feed me other than I actually had COVID but I was okay. I was was it asymptomatic.
Happy to hear you’re fine.
Nah for sure, that’s love. Thank you. But being able to just be myself and we’re not touring. I’m not listening to anybody else’s music, but I’m really in my own comfort zone. It was the meaning of perfecting my craft room like sitting in my own crap. I don’t have to listen to anybody else. I’m not listening to the radio. And I can just make the waterboy sound. That’s where that came from.
In a sense of pandemic although it’s been probably difficult since you’re unable to tour and be out there. It’s been good for you because it like you said it’s allowed you to kind of zone in and really focus on you all your products. Jack’s your sound your music. So some good has come out of it.
Even when it comes to locking in with other artists. Some of them are not doing as much so they don’t have nothing else to do but go to the studio. So I can send an artist a beat at like 10 PM when they might be doing a show but they’re in the studio right now. So it’s a quicker source to get it to them and getting it finished.
So I’m gonna ask you some questions that have nothing to do with music. Just my observation. You love kicks.
I do. 1’s to be exact. But I love shoes.
Okay, so what’s your favorite pair of 1s?
My favorite pair of 1s? Probably my UNC off-white 1s.
Any pair that you don’t have that you would want?
It was a pair that I wanted since I was a kid. It was the Bordeaux 7s but I just got them the other day so I’m gone to go ahead and cross them off my list.
What a blessing that you weren’t able to have them as a kid. And now you can get them.
And I can get them for so. Those are my dream shoes.
Oh my god, you’re paying attention. That’s all I wear for real. I wear a Bape shirt every day or a Bape hoodie. I’m the real ape. The waterboy ape.
The waterboy, that’s a good name. Do you have a favorite piece from BAPE?
My favorite piece from Bape? I don’t even know. I got so much Bape. I got boxes of Bape. So I really need to go through and look at them. Probably my purple — I got like a purple hoodie. It’s like a light purple and dark purple.
So now if you could create your own Air Jordan 1? Do you have an idea of what like any elements or what you would want it to look like?
Come on, man. You know what the number one element is going to be? Water. The check is gonna have a surfer on there. It might be a surfboard. It’s gonna be hard.
So we got to talk to Jordan Brand about that, right?
For sure. That waterboy merch is on the way as well.
Awesome. So what’s next? What else can we expect from you?
More music, my first album as a DJ and a producer at the same time. Showing people that it’s okay to have an image as a DJ. You can be in your own light, have your artist in their own light and you’d be under him and be a superstar in opposition at the same time. Showing people that’s possible without getting in the way or doing too much to try to take the attention from your artist. Play your own position and still be a star at the same time. Showing the youth that it’s possible at a young age and 22 years old for you to get these accolades that these other dudes have with just a laptop. I got rich off a laptop.
Well, I’m sure you’re out there inspiring a lot of you the kids, the youth, I’m sure they see you. They watch you. They want to be like you. So you’re setting a great example for them. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. Wishing you much success. And we’re waiting for that album.
Thank you so much. I got to get you some of this K20 too.
Yeah, I love water. I drink water all day.
You need this then, it’s good for you.